Some years ago I spent a few weeks helping out in a parish in the middle of Paris. One morning I switched on to Radio Notre-Dame the station run by the Archdiocese. The speaker asked a question: “Why do we all love to go to a night club?” He had my attention right away. He then outlined the features of a night club. Normally you make your way down from the street into a crowded basement. The atmosphere is warm and inviting. There is a great buzz in the place. There are flashing lights. People are close together (he was speaking in an era when Covid 19 was far in the future!). Dancing skills are not required. Besides the loud beat of the main drum, there is also the more frequent repeated beats of a smaller drum.
The speaker went to say that in a night-club we are reliving our first experience of life. The womb, though dark, is a warm and safe place. The first big drum beat that you ever heard was that of your mother’s heart. It was accompanied by the little beats of your own …………. two hearts beating as one !
I was intrigued to hear that the speaker was none other than the distinguished Professor Jerome Lejeune, (1926-1994) the French scientist who, in 1959 identified Trisomy 21, the cause of what is known in the English speaking world as Down Syndrome. The process for his canonisation is now on course.
Yon Wednesday last – the Feast of the Annunciation – Ireland’s bishops, with the approval and support of the people, consecrated our country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The immediate cause for this initiative was the Covid 19 pandemic afflicting all humanity. This Act of Consecration brings to completion what the Irish people did way back in 1873. On Passion Sunday of that year, we were among the first peoples in the world to consecrate our country to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We are now consecrated to the Two Hearts. Months before Jesus was born in Bethlehem – these Two Hearts first began to beat in close proximity to one another as soon as Mary said “Let it be done unto me according to your word”.
We pray for the grace to live as befits a doubly consecrated people.
Fr Barney McGuckian S.J.