Yesterday was my 39th birthday. Since I'm not on Facebook any more it passed quietly, although my office mate in work did give me a gift of a John Deere baseball cap, before he went on holiday to Edinburgh last week. (I am vocal in my liking for baseball caps, but I keep losing them. I'll try not to lose this one.)
It was also the estimated birthday of Sadbh Treasa, our second child lost to miscarriage, who we think would have been a girl based on her time of conception. We have lost five children to miscarriage, one this year. Five immortal souls, who would have looked like me if they had survived, who would have inherited all my family anecdotes and family traditions, as well as those of their mother. To whom I would have taught prayers and poems. Who would have developed their own unique personalities, as well.
Yesterday was also the feast of St. John Paul the Great, whose greatness only seems more impressive with every passing year. I was taken to see him when he visited Ireland in 1979. Apparently I was very excited, but I don't remember it. Many commentators have called this the zenith of Catholic triumphalism in Ireland, or perhaps an Indian summer. But if you actually read the Pope's addresses during the visit, you realise that the vast crowds that came to see him-- over a million in Dublin alone-- did not deceive him as to the forces at work against the Faith in Ireland, or the dark times that were ahead.
So please pray for Ireland, and me and my family in Heaven and earth.