8 Nov 2015

8th November 2015 - Reflections on memory and grief: an interview with Alice Taylor

On this week programme John, Ann and Shane are joined by a very special guest, the Irish writer Alice Taylor. We have some liturgical odds and ends and on the blog this week we give some links for reflections on this weeks gospel.
You can listen to the podcast of this weeks full programme HERE.
Reflections on memory & grief: An Interview with Alice Taylor

November can be a hard month for many people as we recall the memory of our dead. In the Roman Catholic tradition it is the month of the Holy Soul's. And it seems to be an appropriate time to reflect and pray for our dead as the year and seasons move towards the death of winter.

But coping with death and grief can be difficult and on this weeks programme we are joined by Alice Taylor to reflect on memory and dealing with grief especially after writing her book As time stood still.

Alice Taylor lives in the village of Innishannon in County Cork, in a house attached to the local supermarket and post office. Since her eldest son has taken over responsibility for the shop, she has been able to devote more time to her writing.

Alice Taylor worked as a telephonist in Killarney and Bandon. When she married, she moved to Innishannon where she ran a guesthouse at first, then the supermarket and post office. She and her husband, Gabriel Murphy, who sadly passed away in 2005, had four sons and one daughter. In 1984 she edited and published the first issue of Candlelight, a local magazine which has since appeared annually. In 1986 she published an illustrated collection of her own verse.

To School Through the Fields was published in May 1988. It was an immediate success, launching Alice on a series of signing sessions, talks and readings the length and breadth of Ireland. Her first radio interview, forty two minutes long on RTÉ Radio's Gay Byrne Show, was the most talked about radio programme of 1988, and her first television interview, of the same length, was the highlight of the year on RTÉ television's Late Late Show. Since then she has appeared on radio programmes such as Woman's Hour, Midweek and The Gloria Hunniford Show, and she has been the subject of major profiles in the Observer and the Mail on Sunday.

To School Through the Fields quickly became the biggest selling book ever published in Ireland, and her sequels, Quench the Lamp, The Village, Country Days and The Night Before Christmas, were also outstandingly successful. Since their initial publication these books of memoirs have also been translated and sold internationally.

In 1997 her first novel, The Woman of the House, was an immediate bestseller in Ireland, topping the paperback fiction lists for many weeks. A moving story of land, love and family, it was followed by a sequel, Across the River in 2000, which was also a bestseller.

Alice's new book is called The Women and is available HERE

The interview with Alice excerpted from the main programme can be listened to HERE.
Gospel - Mark 12.38-44

In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds,
"Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues,
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext
recite lengthy prayers.
They will receive a very severe condemnation."

He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
"Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood."

Reflections on this weeks gospel:
Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy
Sunday Reflections 
“She Contributed All She Had”: Reflecting on the Sunday Gospel
The Paradox of Poverty – A Homily for the 32nd Sunday of the Year
A generous heart is never lonesome. A generous heart has luck. The lonesomeness of contemporary life is partly due to the failure of generosity. Increasingly we complete with each other for the goods, for image, and status." (John O'Donohue, Eternal Echoes)

Todays Gospel tells of the widow who had little but shared what she had. Her generosity comes not from what she has, but from a deep trust in God who provides. She does not give because it is extra money over, or because it is safe to: she gives because this is how she chooses to live.

Sometimes we get scared of being generous. We worry that we will not have enough, and so we become fear-ful. We may seem sensible, reasonable and correct about our fears - but these fears separate us from the love of God. For if we close our hearts to sharing, we close our hearts to God.

"The practice of generosity is a good way to counteract whatever tendency to stealing we might have. To practice generosity is to make a conscious effort to give away whatever we can — money, time, food, feeling — as a way of realizing that generosity is perfectly safe and it's even a relief to give things away."(B Norman Fischer, Taking Our Places:)

This week lets notice where our hearts are closed or worried. Instead of beating ourselves up, lets just ask God to heal our worried hearts. Then as an act of trust in God, lets choose small acts of generosity every day this week.

Thanks be to God, who takes care of us and inspires us to be generous! Amen.
Liturgical odds & ends
Liturgy of the Hours - psalter week 3, 32nd week in ordinary time
Saints of the Week
November 9th - Dedication of the Basilica of John Lateran
November 10th - Pope St Leo the Great
November 11th - St Martin of Tours
November 12th - St Josaphat
November 13th - St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
November 14th - St Lawrence O'Toole

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