2024 Grateful 47: The things I do

When someone I’ve just met asks me what I do, I have a hard time explaining it without using a litany of labels. We’re too fond of labels these days. Even our all-embracing, all-inclusive, super-tolerant younger generation seems obsessed with labels.

Usually, I choose one thing and go with that. I work with the context I’m in. I say I edit. I copy-edit. I proofread. And yes, they’re all different skills. I say I train. I speak. I write.

Is blogging writing, they ask? Splitting hairs, I say.

I write other stuff, too, though. A monthly column with the Budapest Times. Essays. Letters.

And more recently, a retreat.

Sacred Space, a Jesuit prayer site, gets a lot of hits. In lots of languages. It has a huge following from all over the world. Our local parish priest in Ireland is a fan. I know people in Hungary who use it, too. I started volunteering with them a few years ago, publishing prayer requests.

This year, they wanted to run a  Lenten retreat and they asked if I’d write it for them.

I hadn’t realised what an undertaking it would be when I agreed to do it.

I had to choose 47 passages from the bible (they’re running it right up til Easter Sunday) and write 47 reflections based on a theme of my choosing.

I chose gratitude because of something the pope said:

Let us not forget to thank: if we are bearers of gratitude, the world itself will become better, even if only a little bit, but that is enough to transmit a bit of hope. The world needs hope. And with gratitude, with this habit of saying thank you, we transmit a bit of hope.

And if anything is true this year, it’s that the world needs a little more hope.

It was a cathartic process, a challenging one. I read parts of the bible I’d never heard of before. The Book of Sirach is now a favourite, for which I’m grateful.

The Book of Sirach, also known as The Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach or Ecclesiasticus is a Jewish work, originally written in Biblical Hebrew. The longest extant wisdom book from antiquity, it consists of ethical teachings, written approximately between 196 and 175 BCE by Yeshua ben Eleazar ben Sira (Ben Sira), a Hellenistic Jewish scribe of the Second Temple period.

Who knew?

The retreat went live today, to cater for the different time zones. If you’re so inclined, here’s the link: https://sacredspace.com/events/retreat/lent-2024/


2 Responses

  1. So glad you agreed to write for Sacred Space! I have been praying with them for years. It is wonderful the work you do regardless of the label you assign to it. Thank you!

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