As the New Year has begun so too has the rather gloomy chorus of doom and gloom that we have become accustomed to… No recession can ever take away the hope that God wants us to possess in all our hearts.

moyrossmonkswithcomm

Fr Paddy Byrne has a weekly column in the Carlow Nationalist.
This column appeared on 07 January 2009

Recently I visited the Franciscan Friars of Renewal in Moyross, Limerick. It was my first time to visit Moyross and it has left a lasting impression on me. I never witnessed such a sense of real social poverty in terms of poor housing, lack of basic amenities, unemployment, addiction and social disadvantage. It seemed strange that such a place exists less than a half mile from the newly built Thomand Park Stadium amounting to millions of euro. I tried to imagine what it must be like trying to rear a family in such an environment and pondered on all the good families that indeed struggle everyday in this place that has for all the wrong reasons become the darkest and most disadvantaged address in our modern Ireland.

The monks are doing great work in this place that carries so much tragedy in the hearts of its people. Drug addiction, murder, suicide are everyday realities for so many in this place where dreams and ambition are rarely if ever realized. The Friars live in the heart of Moyross and are a presence of hope and ear that listens in a compassionate and loving way to the community that they now call home. Many people call to visit the friars in their home where hospitality and friendship offer an opportunity for these people to experience Gods presence in their lives. As the New Year has begun so too has the rather gloomy chorus of doom and gloom that we have become accustomed to, these recent months. In a time of recession and economic uncertainty the Christian message can offer a wonderful gift to all our lives at this difficult time.

The Friars I visited in Moyross have made a life option to live in poverty, yet they possess lives that are rich in faith and hope. It is the wealth of love and hope that they want to offer in gentleness and compassion to the people of Moyross. One lady shared with me that the monks were the best thing every to happen the people of Moyross, because they “are always present and poor like us”. In the same way our God wants us drink from the rich reservoir of his hope and joy. One can be materially poor or worried about employment and mortgage repayments and yet be very rich in faith and hope. No recession can ever take away the hope that God wants us to possess in all our hearts.

Often when we are bombarded with negative news we lose our sense of confidence and struggle to believe or realize the ambitions and dreams that we are all encouraged to possess. The gift of faith allows us to believe in a kingdom that is much greater than now. The gift of faith allows us to be grateful for the many blessings that are without doubt the most important, friendship, family, health, a place of belonging. Early January is a time to dream new dreams to look forward to the coming snowdrops and daffodils. Take time to cultivate a personal friendship with your God. Be confident that with “God on our side who can be against us”. Believe in the words of the Angel Gabriel “Nothing is impossible to God,”