Faith Matters

Making sense of our messy lives in the peace of Lough Derg

A special event at Lough Derg next week will help people to embrace the untidiness of life in all its fullness and affirm that God isn't concerned with our 'Sunday best'

Lough Derg

LOUGH Derg is complementing its one-day retreats this month with a special event emphasising how God is not some distant figure interested only in our 'good' side, but is involved in the everyday 'mess' of our lives.

'Finding God in the Mess' is being held next Thursday and takes its name from the title of the book written by the day's two facilitators, Jim Deeds and Jesuit priest Fr Brendan McManus.

In the book, they point out that people tend to create a "false division" between their everyday life and what they think of as spiritual, such as attending church or praying.

Authors Brendan McManus SJ, pictured left, and Jim Deeds will be leading the 'Finding God in the Mess' day at Lough Derg

The liberating message of their book is that God is, in fact, involved in our lives all of the time.

"People often create a false division between their lives - chaotic and challenging - and things spiritual, spotless and holy," they write.

"Many feel they have to be good, saintly and have everything worked out before they come to God.

"People tend not to see the mess and muck of their lives as a sacred place, and yet that is the very place where the action happens.

"'God is closer to us than we are to ourselves,' said St Augustine."

At Lough Derg, Jim and Brendan will lead two workshop sessions, offering ways to support people to pray with difficult situations in their lives and to help remove blocks to realising God is close to them, especially in tough times.

People tend not to see the mess and muck of their lives as a sacred place, and yet that is the very place where the action happens 

They will also share several different methods of praying and how to integrate these methods into everyday living.

Lough Derg prior Fr La Flynn said that the workshops delivered by Jim and Brendan lived "up to the promise" of their book's title, Finding God in the Mess.

"It challenges us to question the assumption that God is to be found only in the 'tidy' parts of our lives," he said.

"The two workshop sessions of the programme will offer space for participants to put the life-giving insights, born of Brendan and Jim's experience into dialogue with their own life experience.

"I am so happy that Lough Derg can host such a promising day."

  • Finding God in the Mess, with Jim Deeds and Brendan McManus SJ, takes place at Lough Derg on Thursday September 20. Boats to the island are available from 9.15am with return crossings from 4.30pm. Admission is €45 or £40. The morning session runs from 10.30am, with a programme that includes 'Ignatian freedom, principles of the mess - God in all things' and guided meditation. The afternoon features guided meditation, scripture reflection, ritual exercise and celebration of Mass.
  • Finding God in the Mess - Meditations for Mindful Living by Jim Deeds and Brendan McManus SJ is published by Messenger Publications. For more information, or to order a copy, visit here.
  • Lough Derg will be hosting its annual 'Living with Suicide' day retreat on Saturday September 29.

Finding God in the Mess - Meditations for Mindful Living by Jim Deeds and Brendan McManus SJ is published by Messenger Publications

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