A blog post from Rev Paul Fitzpatrick, St Flannan’s Cathedral, Killaloe
Recently, I am reflecting upon the following scripture passage, it is,
1 Corinthians 4:5 ‘… light the things, now hidden in darkness ‘.
For me, it makes reference to so many people I am encountering, who though appearing well within their career status and demeanour, are actually quite fragile in their mental well-being and state.
Many of us might identify with this. Some family member, colleague or friend might be going through the mill. It could be our own selves. Circumstances or the culmination of predictable and unpredictable events might be exasperating the slow and gradual build-up of pressure that has complicated unpleasant and disastrous consequences, poor or non-existent sleep, a short fuse, a sense of foreboding anger regret or self-loathing amongst other things. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder might be unaddressed within us which can often be transgenerational.
For any of us who experience overwhelming feelings of fragility or who might experience elements of the aforementioned, there is a way forward, there is a safe path in which one may find solace, rest, sleep at last, blue skies again. There is light that is stronger than the darkness.
We need encouragement and guidance to embrace this. We need to confidently remind ourselves that there is always a way forward. Nothing is lost, nothing is insurmountable. I believe the key besides best practice, medical guidance and expertise, lies within the Church of Ireland offering rich spirituality and depth of faith. Often too, it is hearing and listening to those who have journeyed forth from the dark, dark depths and have encountered the personification of 1Corinthians 4:5.
May I offer something of practical substance to those who might read this. If the following is for you, if it causes you to take note or to raise an eyebrow, perhaps you have something you have been searching for quite a while, it could be one little step forward at last.
I have invited four guest speakers to Saint Flannan’s Cathedral Killaloe during the weeks of Advent 2022.
Tuesday 29th November (Advent 1), 7.30pm
Peter McVerry S.J, Campaigner, notable for his battle to find solutions to homelessness and founder of the McVerry Trust, Ireland’s largest provider of housing first services.
Tuesday 6th December (Advent 2), 7.30pm
Paul Ritchie, Limerick Baptist Church.
Paul , published in recent times ‘ Is It unspiritual to be depressed’.
Tuesday 13th December (Advent 3), 7.30pm
David Bolton, author of ‘ Conflict, Peace and Mental Health: Addressing the consequence of conflict and trauma in Norther Ireland’. He’s founder of the NI centre for trauma.
Tuesday 20th December (Advent 4), 7.30pm
Leona O’ Callaghan, Mental Health Campaigner, who has an amazing story of overcoming adversity and evil. She is one, who used her pain to help people like herself and challenges the justice system in their treatment of survivors.
Please feel welcome to come along. The sessions will be streamed via the webcams. Also, there will be an opportunity for follow up and support if one chooses to take a worthwhile risk. Whatever light – no matter how little is shone – I guarantee, you will not journey alone.