In this interview with Pat Coyle of Irish Jesuit Communications, Brendan McManus SJ talks of his book Finding God in the Mess: Meditations for Mindful Living in collaboration with Jim Deeds. At just under €10, it is offered as a New Year’s present for the year ahead.
While recovering from a fractured knee and in the midst of immobility and boredom, Brendan came up with the idea for a book combining his photos and Jim’s reflections. When he got better, they walked the mountains that ring Belfast and discussed something that would speak to the messiness of people’s lives and help them find God there. This meant tackling tough subjects such as depression, pain and grief, as well as joy, peace and happiness.
Speaking around the Christmas and post Christmas season, Brendan says: “God doesn’t want the mess. God helps us to get out of that mess, and to move on. So it’s that transformation process that happens, that God is with us through all of this. God is helping us to move on”. Brendan talks of developing a contemplative attitude, especially in the small things: “How to be what God wants us to be… how to be good enough to get through these difficult situations”.
The book was written from the twin perspectives of Ignatian spirituality and a focus on the mysteries of the Rosary, and it invites readers to consider how each reflection and each image is revealing of God’s Spirit, even the messy ones. The Examen prayer is key to developing the contemplative attitude promoted in this work.
Finding God in the Mess: Meditations for Mindful Living can be purchased online through the Messenger Publications.