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Lent 2017

Aidan Mathews retreat, Lent 2017

Week 2: Pray

Butterflies, God bless them, are deeply attracted to the smell of human urine. That is not, of course, the first word in the sciences of the botany and/or biology of the Lepidoptera order, as the sceptics might insist, and it’s not the last word, either, as the savants might exclaim. But it is a fact among many other facts, and ...

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Week 1: Stillness exercise

Stand on one leg and extend your left arm upwards in the shape of the spout of a teapot. Say to yourself out loud three times, first in Hebrew, then in Greek, and finally in Latin: “What on earth am I doing this for? It is ludicrous.” Now do something perfectly normal. Sit in the back of the bus over ...

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Week 1: Gospel reading

Matthew 13 (New International Version) The Parable of the Sower That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went ...

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Week 1: Prey

I grew up between two homes and two parishes. My parents lived in Dublin and my godparents in Wicklow. So, over the years, I would have heard this parable in the city, where it was proclaimed by a D-Day veteran who had buried seventy soldiers in one day, both Allied and Axis; and I would have heard it in the ...

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Lent 2017: Introduction

AIDAN MATHEWS A response from a religious illiterate in the Republic of Letters A WORD OF WARNING AND A WARNING ABOUT WORDS Because I was a little boy in the aftermath of the Second World War, I grew up with a military, rather than a religious, sense of the term ‘retreat’. Down the road on which I lived there was ...

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Week 1: Pray

Broadcasting, which has been my job of work in a radio station for the past thirty years, understands itself, almost literally, as a form of sowing. In the last little while, however, there’s been a cost-benefit fashion for a more planned and productive ‘narrowcasting’, or for what media human resources now call niche programming. The parable of the sower and ...

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