Write like you’re dying!!!

I have not played golf in a long, long time, but the memories linger on. When you can say “I am are playing the back nine” this means you are finishing or close to finishing the round. Now when that applies to life, and you say you are finishing the back nine then the club house is in sight. This “spirited” place is also call the “The 19th hole.” A place where pints and drinks are drunk and lies are told. Of all the Irish priests that I can remember not one has made it out the 80’s. So I am playing my back nine. I do not know whether I am teeing up on the 18th,or have teed off and now searching for my ball. I am in no hurry to hit that second shot, the approach to the final green. I hope I am in the woods. That will be great to be searching among the trees. I have done a great deal of searching among trees. It is there I have found not just golf balls but many spiritual treasures as well.

Walking on the golf course can be such a spiritual experience. I learned to play golf, playing with my Dad, on the course in Youghal, County Cork. It was a seaside course. On heights overlooking the ocean. No matter how good the playing was or how bad the shot making, the walk was the main event. That is as I reflect back on those, can we say sacramental moments, through a different set of lenses. That walk side by side with my dad on those sea windblown green carpets still nourish, inspire and strengthen me. We spoke about many things. About his 44 years as a Civic Guard in Ireland, and the challenges of keeping the peace, enforcing the law, and still live in peace with the people entrusted to his care. Now I see that was a great preparation to becoming a pastor. Where you have to live within a community, live by the church laws, and at the same time be a nourishing pastoral presence. I have to apologize to all those I failed over theses 56 years. It was not the church that failed it was Joe Hennessy, with his innate Irish temper and weaknesses that failed you. I am sorry. Please forgive me. If you cannot forgive then ask God for the willingness to forgive.

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