Christ and Craic, Guinness and God...

After a month of revisiting my favorite places and people in Ireland some things are becoming clearer. Some of the most deeply moving experience and wondrous wisdom comes out of places and people that are rejected by the institutional church and labeled as secular by many. I cannot say it enough... there is no such thing as secular! Everything and everyone is infused with divine presence and beauty. Everyone! If we could only see one another as we really are. I wish I could describe some of the things I've seen and heard. Imagine a room full of men, women and children, elbow to elbow, singing and telling stories and listening to each other with loving eyes, affectionate smiles and encouraging voices. This is Marrinan's Pub in Milltown Mallbay during the Willey Clancey week. This is a sacred moment if ever there was one.

The Irish have a word " craic" which describes fun, wit, banter, stories, laughter... In some of those moments Christ is seen so clearly. The laughing, loving Jesus is too seldom appreciated today. This deeply human Jesus is the greatest source of vibrant faith and deep wisdom. Great "craic" is something that everyone deserves to experience. Great "craic" is something that every church needs to experience on a regular basis. " Craic" needs to be busting out of every pulpit and every pew in every church! If anyone is a master of craic it's Christ and those whose very life is brimming over with Christ.

What always fascinates me is how we can relax after a pint or two of Guinness. The conversation flows along with the good beer. Often we are able to say things that we need to say but are afraid to say for whatever reasons. Sometimes very important things, indeed. Words of truth, love, forgiveness. I picture Jesus at the wedding of Cana. He's dancing, singing, and drinking good wine. He's speaking freely with his friends and family. He's flowing along with the gathering along with the wine. Remember the story...he actually provided some of the best wine( and I dare say craic) himself!

I imagine his eyes as he looked on his friends and his mother. Radiant, warm, so in love with others. Half of what he says he says with a twinkle in those eyes. His smile...his joking around. Ahh...here comes that "craic" again. It 's all part of being a whole human being, isn't it? And my God, we need more whole human beings.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: let's stop dividing our lives in categories. Let's stop splitting our psyche . It's truly a painfull thing. Let's stop trying to be something we think we should be and simply be what we are - beloved children of a most loving God. Rest and joy in that. Let's live divided no more. Let's begin again and again to live whole lives...wholly passionate, wholly in love with God and one another, whole and full lives...full of Christ and craic, Guinness and God.

In Lovely Ireland,

Stefan Andre