On Thursday, I sent the following letter to the Irish Times, in the vain hope that it might have appeared on the newspaper’s “Letters to the Editor” page and might have provoked reflection by even a few of those listening to the carol service from Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on RTE Radio One at four o’clock today.
The letter was not printed.
As the traditional service of Nine Lessons and Carols is broadcast from Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin this Christmas Eve, might the members of the board of that cathedral reflect upon the closing words of the Ninth Lesson?
Saint John concludes the prologue to his Gospel in Chapter 1 Verse 14 where he writes, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth”. The Christ child, whose coming is celebrated at the carol service, brings not only grace, but truth – the two are indivisible. If there is an acceptance of Christ’s grace, there needs also to be a commitment to his truth. In the light of Saint John’s words, might the members of the cathedral board seek after a fullness of truth and ask that the Oireachtas establish a statutory inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the heinous deeds perpetrated by a man who has been described as “the most prolific abuser in the history of the State?”
As the congregation sing “Hark, the herald angels sing,” might the words, “Hail, the Son of righteousness,” cause a pondering of what righteousness might mean? The Christ who is welcomed at the carol service once stood on a hillside talking to the crowds, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,” he told them. If the cathedral chooses the way of righteousness, the way of truth, the way of grace, Jesus says everything else will be as God wishes.