I love this song! Mary Black does a fine job but thought I’d include the Sligo Man! I am never fully sure what the first verses refers to but think the second verse is classFor all of you must discover for all who seek to understand for having left the path of others you find a very special hand and it is a holy thing and it is a precious time and it is the only way forget-me-nots among the snows it’s always been and so it goes to ponder His death and His life eternally ….
Jimmy MacCarthy wrote this song and I’m told was never forthcoming about its meaning. He seemed to want people to take their own meaning from it. I always felt the verse above and the closing lines refer to Christ. Recently I heard Jimmy interviewed on a morning radio show and when asked directly if the song was about faith he replied “I have never had any difficulties with the faith”. I thought it a powerful reply. He wasn’t, I imagine saying he never had questions about it but that it had remained with him through his life. How refreshing to hear someone say that.
This notion of “leaving the path of others” seems very at home in today’s Gospel passage when Peter asks Jesus to call him from the boat and to walk towards him on the water. “Come”, replied Jesus. Peter left the boat – the path of others – but quickly lost faith and hope and became fear-filled. “Help me”, he cried. Jesus offered him that “very special hand” and stabilized him again. “Why did you doubt?”
The “boat” we are told, when mentioned in Scripture, refers to the Church. In this gospel the “church” is battling with stormy waters and heavy winds. It is thrown from side to side and its occupants are full of fear. How close we might feel to that image at this time. Our Church too continues to battle with heavy winds and swollen waters. In parts of our world, this is certainly the case today. Into all of this walks Jesus, seeking to bring calm with every step on troubled waters. Often we don’t seem to see or hear him though.
With Peter then, maybe it’s a day to call out to him – to ask him to draw us closer to him, to move towards him. Even if we feel we are sinking, an outstretched arm and a cry for help is enough. He will not let us sink. Stepping into our church, being allowed and welcomed into our circle of existence, can only bring calm. “It’s always been and still it goes ….”
(On Good Friday, I used these lines in Urlaur Church at the Stations of The Cross. I made a little recording that I had posted on the blog but forgotten about til now so am going to share here as well!)