In this week’s blog, Fr Paddy speaks about the great achievements of 22 year old Rory McIlroy following his recent US open victory.

Fr. Paddy Byrne has a weekly column in the Nationalist papers.

This column appeared in the edition published 29 June 2011.

Rory McIlroy’s recent US Open victory was a fantastic achievement. The young 22year old displayed talent, genius and wisdom, well beyond his years. Such an achievement after his devastating Masters defeat is truly legendary. He highlights, yet again, when we fall, we can get up again. Speaking after his tremendous victory, he enthusiastically said, “I remained focused, concentrated on the positive and maintained an innate confidence that I can achieve, no matter what”. These powerful words surely are a prophetic message to a nation in crisis with its self-confidence and image.

So many good people are struggling at this time. Struggling because of unemployment, debt and uncertainty. Despite mid-summer, there are so many shadows and grey clouds. This is a time to take on board some of that youthful optimism shared by Rory McIlroy following his historic US victory.

Being confident is not being naïve or foolish; rather it is an appreciation that our lives  are much greater than the uncertainty that is felt in hearts of so many at this time. Confidence allows us to see beyond the present moment. Confidence helps us to stay calm, breathe easy and appreciate, no matter how many grey clouds there may seem to be, a blue sky shines above them.

Many people feel humiliated and let down because of the cross that is unemployment. Not being able to work is a denial of the human spirits desire to contribute and be fulfilled. It is not good enough, that the brain-drain of our talented young graduates, maintains some respectability to 14% of our nation being deemed unemployed.

Irelands most talented, educated, confident and enthusiastic are leaving our nation in their droves. This is a terrible tragedy. We are not benefiting from the huge investment given to their education and cultivating their success. Our potential harvest of recovery is being reaped in far away lands. This has to be seriously addressed.

The Gospel speaks loudly about opportunity, justice and equality. “I come not for the healthy, but for the sick”. The Gospel dreams about a kingdom, where all feel both included and necessary. We all have a role to play. We are truly necessary. Christianity, if it was to be fully embraced, truly would offer a radical alternative, to so many institutions in our society that are tired, bureaucratic and burnt out.

I recently came across a very optimistic and hope filled prayer called “Success”.  I suggest this prayer be prayed frequently. An anthem perhaps, to embrace the positive power of inspiration and hope, we all are so hungry for at this time. So many good people feel that their lives are irrelevant and not important. Let’s together embrace the power of good news.

“Success is speaking words of praise. In cheering other people’s ways. In doing just the best you can, with every task and every plan. It’s silence when your speech would hurt. Politeness when your neighbours’ curt. Its deafness when scandal flows and sympathy with others’ woes. It’s when duty calls. It’s courage when disaster falls. It’s found in laughter and in song. It’s the silent time of prayer. In happiness and despair. In all of life and nothing less. We find the things we call Success.”