Monthly Archives: June 2011

Pope Benedict XVI’s message for World Youth Day 2011 – Xt3 Library

This is the audio for a short talk I gave to WYD pilgrimage leaders on Pope Benedict’s message for WYD.  One of the things that really struck me about the letter was the way in which Benedict unpacks the kerygma or basic proclamation of the Gospel.  Thanks XT3 for the audio.  Stay tuned for more WYD posts as Madrid draws near.

Fr Chris Ryan Breaks open Pope Benedict XVI’s message for World Youth Day 2011 – Xt3 Library.

World Youth Day 09 Catechesis in the Cathedral

This is the audio of a catechesis for young people that I gave at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne for the first anniversary of World Youth Day 08.  It’s about Christian hope.

What’s with the Title of the Blog?

Seeing Swans is a reference to a poem by the Australian James McAuley.  It is titled “Nocturnal“, and consists of a dialogue one evening between the poet and a swan that seems to be flying away, forsaking the world below.

The swan is a symbol of the Holy Spirit (a favourite image of McAuley for a favourite theme of his).  The poet cries out anxiously to the Swan,

Do not depart,

bright image of desire

if you forsake us

dishonour in our deeds, death in our art

will overtake us

Then the poet seems to hear the swan reply, telling him not to complain “if absence rules the season”, because the “works of men” are secretly moved by a power beyond this world that, like the tide, ebbs and returns in order to “fight the wars of love”.

The poem gathers together some themes that are important to me, and that I intend to reflect upon in this blog: the brutality and ugliness that ensues when human beings try to live as if God did not exist; the enduring presence of the Spirit, especially when all around us seems dark; and that there is something in this world which is worth fighting for.  And that, of course, is Love.  Seeing Swans is thus an exercise in cultural exegesis – becoming aware of the Spirit who renews creation, even when night seems to have fallen.

Raison d’etre

Welcome to my blog.  I guess I’ve joined the blogosphere for the same reason other people do, to get some of my musings ‘out there’, into the ether.

I thought it might be worth sharing what I’m thinking about, reading and writing about, in the belief that conversations are the heart of community, even and especially when those conversations are online.

I’m also taking my cue from James K.A. Smith at Fors Clavigera, who blogs in order to ‘think out loud’ and to practice writing quickly.

Happy reading!

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