Posted by: meditati0n509 | May 24, 2011

Nunc Dimittis

Nunc Dimittis

“Nunc dimittis servum tuum Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace.”

“Now, Lord, you can you can let your servant go in peace according to your promise.”


Presidential and Royal Visits

In a week in which tremendous things happened in Ireland I am revisiting a reflection I wrote about Holy Week and the central truths of my own faith.  On Monday May 23 I was part of a huge crowd in Dame Street, facing College Green, for the public address given by President Obama.  He told us he had visited the whereabouts of the ‘lost apostrophe’ in Obama (O’Bama) and had found it in the home of his ancestor in Moneygall .  Near  the end of his speech he  said “Is féidir linn” which means that ‘ Yes, we can’  come through our current and future difficulties!   It was a joyful day in Dublin City and there was an atmosphere of celebration here – a celebration of ‘Irishness’ and of the many links between Ireland and America.   May you be blest with wisdom, President Obama, as you continue to hold the tensions of difficult situations and ideoligies both at home in the US and internationally. 

Last week we had the State Visit (to Ireland) of Queen Elizabeth II. I am grateful to her Majesty for coming here and acknowledging our past troubles, for honouring our fallen heroes and for expressing her appreciation of the new relationship between our two peoples.  It was powerful to see the Queen and President Mary Mc Aleese both laying wreaths in the Garden of Remembrance and at the ‘Great War Memorial’ in Iveagh Gardens. Here the sacrifices of Irishmen who fought for Irish freedom and the sacrifices of Irishmen who fought for wider freedom in both World Wars were honoured. 

Every place that the Queen visited must have held many layers of significance and emotion for her and I admire her strength of purpose and character for undertaking this visit which many see as the culmination of work begun many years ago in the peace process in Northern Ireland.  I am deeply gratified by the Royal Visit and know that this symbolises a maturing of the friendships between our two nations.

Nunc Dimittis Garrett Fitzgerald

While the Queen was here the death occurred of a beloved Irishman, Dr Garrett Fitzgerald.  He was an intellectual, a university lecturer, a politician and a journalist, among other things.  A person of great love and great integrity; he had a great love for his family and friends, for the people of Ireland and for the wider world.   He was Taoiseach ( pronounced ‘theeshuck’ meaning ‘chief’  or ‘prime minister’) twice during the 80’s.  It is a tribute to him that his work in laying the foundations of the Northern Ireland Peace Process has reached this new level.  

We were privileged to pay our respects to him as he lay in State in Dublin’s Mansion House on Saturday May 21st and later our Government granted him the highest honour accorded to a distinguished citizen by giving him a State Funeral.  This took place on Sunday May 22 2011.  

Thank you Garrett.  You are an inspiration to us!  It seems a fitting tribute to pray, on your behalf , this canticle of Simeon:  

 “Nunc dimittis servum tuum Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace.”

“Now, Lord, you can you can let your servant go in peace according to your promise.”


Nunc Dimittis – A Reflection


esus, these words were spoken, by Simeon, to your mother when as a newly born infant you were presented in the Temple.  O surely, this must have been your prayer too from that last Passover Meal with your disciples. Then you spoke intimately with each of us as you lovingly tended our feet – carefully pouring water over them and drying them with the towel around your waist.  We felt such connection, such communion with you that even time stood still.  During the meal you continued to teach us though we were far from understanding your message and then led us while we joyfully sang hymns and processed out into the garden.  Later you took three of us a little further on, the same three who had witnessed your glory on Mount Tabor, and going away further into the night you left us to watch with you but we were lazy and sleepy and did not see the urgency. 

Such loneliness, such agony; you were alone, on our behalf. Your life’s work was to show us who we are; that we share kinship and essence with each other and with you and the Father.  How urgently you tried to tell us.   “I go to prepare a place for you”.  “I am the way . . .  The Father and I are One.  If you see me you see the Father.’’ We are all One!  But we failed to understand.

Then later your betrayer ‘Judas’ – who is ‘everyman’, because each of us is capable of doing anything – led the soldiers into the garden to arrest you.    You were taken away in bondage like a slave. What a long night that must have seemed going from Annas to Ciaphas and then to Pilate.  You were tortured as a traitor – whipped like a criminal and then executed on Golgotha Hill. Yet you never complained.  You bore it all courageously and held compassion in your heart for everyone even for your executioners.   By your Acceptance, while grounded in your infinite love for unawakened   humanity you showed us how to be with everything that happens.  Lord we had mostly fled by now.  Only Mary, your mother, and John and Mary Magdalen showed the love you needed from us.   They stayed with you and enabled you to bear your pain, your suffering. 

You forgave your executioners for their unawareness then, just as now, twenty one centuries later, you continue to forgive humankind for wars and greed and terror yet holding your heart open with compassion for all the sufferings of humanity. “O Happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam” – our unawareness – “that brought for us so great a redeemer”. You even experienced, as we often feel, the apparent abandonment of God, of love and of all meaning. O surely then you must have wanted to pray like Simeon had when you cried out ‘It is accomplished’.

Lord there is so much suffering in the world and we still do not understand.  Help us to experience Being – your being and ours – Oneness with all that is.  You give us precious moments when we contemplate your creation and your life and your sufferings. Be with us in our steps towards being fully human for we, unlike you, still live in two worlds, the world of the temporal and ephemeral everyday while knowing dimly that we belong to eternity – to the Now – to the Cosmos – to Life itself.  “Turn to me, O man, and be saved, says the Lord, for I am God.  There is no other – none beside me – I call your name”.  You meant even here, in this psalm, to teach us that ‘everything is God’ and so, “I thank you, Lord for the wonder of my being”.

O Lord, what a wondrous universe you have created, what wondrous stars and galaxies and planets. What beauty and power and diversity of creatures inhabit our home, this Earth.  What marvellous flowers and trees and lakes and mountains. Such varieties of animals and peoples – all of these manifestations of your divinity! O Lord, how perfect a human being is when he or she is aligned with you and conscious of your presence in all things.  Jesus – we are eternally grateful for your life and work and healing and teaching yet without the events of Holy Week we would not have received the truth of your teachings, or know for sure that death is not the end.   Thank you for your Cross and Resurrection so that we may experience our coming home to you within – to our own Resurrection!

“Nunc dimittis servum tuum Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace.”


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