I’d like to take one lesson from Bishop Eamonn’s life. Every Christian faces the task of turning their wounds into wisdom. When Saint Thérèse of Lisieux wrote about death she said, “When I come before God I’ll come with empty hands. That is the best way to come. If my hands are empty then he can fill me with his life, his peace and his joy”. She knew her wounds and knew she had no claims on God. Her hands were empty and ready to receive. Her honesty allowed the Lord to turn her wounds into wisdom. In a short life (she died at the age of 24) the Lord had taught her true wisdom, the wisdom that always takes God into account when looking at life.
Bishop Eamonn’s journey was rather different to that of Saint Thérèse, but with a similar outcome. If you believe that some values are worth fighting for – and he did – wounds are inevitable. He made mistakes and paid a high price for them. As far as I could see he never resorted to self-pity. His love for the Church enabled him to accept retirement from active ministry bravely. When he moved to Carrigoran Nursing Home he faced two huge challenges. How would a man of his energy settle in a nursing home? He did. Secondly, there was the issue of giving up one thing that gave him many a thrill, driving his car. He let go of that too. That was wisdom at work.
As his memory deteriorated he tended to recall the positive in his life, especially his time in London. Gradually he found peace with his past. A strong belief in the mercy of God allowed him to leave the past to this compassionate God. Prayer led him to peace and trust and to the confidence that the past was in safe hands and the future was also in safe hands. God had turned his wounds into wisdom.
May this God of peace now give to Bishop Eamonn peace without end and may he fill Bishop Eamonn’s empty hands with joy and the fullness of life. And may he teach us how to turn our wounds into wisdom as we journey on in faith and trust.
- Bishop Martin Drennan is Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Galway and Kilmacduagh.
- Bishop Casey’s funeral Mass will take place tomorrow Thursday 16 March at 2.00pm at the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas, Galway followed by interment in the Cathedral crypt.
- Information for the media on the funeral liturgy will be made available tomorrow morning.
- The cooperation of the media continues to be much appreciated and the request to respect the privacy of the grieving family is repeated.
For media contact: Diocesan Communications Officer for the Diocese of Galway: Father Diarmuid Hogan +353 (0) 86 888 8642 or the Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444