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St. Patrick’s Day this year came right in the middle of Lent which enabled us Irish, soar from the Lenten ashes and burst out singing Shaun Davey’s version of “St. Patrick’s Breastplate”  as sung by Rita Connolly:  “I arise today, in the strength of the Trinity” from the magnificent music of :“The Pilgrim”. It was an opportunity for us to get in touch with our heritage and link up with our Celtic roots which is a graced moment when we feel ‘at home’, even though millions of miles may separate us. Our Celtic tradition is embedded within us ‘as firm as a rock’.  This is HOME.

flying bird

March 23rd Pakistan Day, is Pakistan’s National Day, commemorating the Lahore Resolution of 1940 and the adoption of the first constitution of Pakistan during the transition of the Dominion of Pakistan to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on 23 March 1956 making Pakistan the world's first Islamic Republic.   
Every year the celebrations include a full military and civilian parade in the capital, Islamabad. These are presided over by the President of Pakistan. Wreaths are also laid at the mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi, the founder of the nation. It is a day of great festivity as each Pakistani gets in touch with their heritage.

Picture Pakistan flag

Throughout the world our Christian and Islamic roots are awakened by a new drum beat as the mystical traditions of both are springing up with one voice, uniting us, building bridges, collapsing ‘set’ minds and calling us HOME to unite and drink the wisdom of God around the one hearth.  Through this great upsurge of spirituality, the Spirit is actively inviting us back home, to sink deep into the depths of our being and discover the treasure deep within, as Meister Eckhart, the great Christian mystic calls the treasure: the ‘spark of God’.  Jesus talked about the man who discovered the treasure in a field and sold everything he had to go and buy it for ‘where your treasure is, there is your heart’. In 2 Corinthians 4, St. Paul reminds us that God said: Let light shine out of darkness,….. has shone in our hearts …this treasure we posses in earthen vessels, to make it clear that its surpassing power comes from God and not from us.

Picture Earthen Vessel 

In the Islamic tradition, Rumi, also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī was a great Persian Sufi mystic whose underlying theme is about the absolute love of God.  He lived most of his life in Turkey which in the 13th century was a meeting point for many cultures, where Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Buddhist travelers mingled. Rumi’s poems can be heard and quoted in Churches, Zen monasteries, Retreat Centres, Synagogues, as well as downtown bookstores and art exhibitions showing us that people of all religions and backgrounds can live together in peace.  In Islam, his great work of tolerance, peace, reason and access to knowledge through love is well known and is universally relevant today as he encourages us to reach inner peace.  In this way, we can move towards stopping the continual stream of hostility and hatred to achieve true global peace and harmony. Rumi tells us:  ‘Go to the well of deep love inside each of us and be generous and grateful’.

His tolerance and openness to dialogue is evident in what he wrote: 

"Out behind ideas of right and wrong,
there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.   
When the soul lies down in that grass,
   the world is too full to talk about .
Ideas, language, even the phrase each
doesn’t make sense"

Picture …Lady birds talking

Perhaps Lent is a time to take steps on our longest journey, which is the inward journey to the heart and discover the treasure and richness of who we are and what unites us.  All religions speak of God’s love and invite us to ‘Come back, for long have I waited for your love’.  Jesus cried over Jerusalem and wished to gather them as a mother bird gathers her chicks under her wings and they would not listen.

Picture Bird with chicks

St. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:10:

"We are God’s work of art,
created in Christ Jesus,
to live the kind of life we are meant to live."

Rumi says:

"Don't bow your head to the ground;
Raise it ecstatically
 To become like a spring-awoken peach tree,
  All freshness, all smile."

Picture: Blossoms on tree.


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