Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Compassion for Self and Others Leads to Freedom:

He saw death as a path to freedom. He had spent so much time ministering with the dying – one of the greatest privileges of ministry, as far as he was concerned – that I felt he was, while totally committed to living life to the full, somehow also looking forward to his own death. Not in a morbid sense, but simply because he did believe that our own death is a step forward.

He often said ‘when you enter into freedom, possibility comes to meet you’ – I imagine that he is, right now, experiencing a kind of freedom about which he would – at the very least - write some pretty marvellous poetry. It is hard to begrudge him his death when part of him was so ready for it. I wonder how he’d describe it. For those of us left behind, well, we miss him dearly, and are grateful for the spaces he opened in our lives. I find it almost impossible to believe that he is gone; but if he was right about his own future, we will meet again.

BY JOHN O’DONOHUE, from ‘Benedictus – A Book of Blessings’:

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,May the music of laughter break through your soul.

As the wind wants to make everything dance,
May your gravity be lightened by grace.

Like the freedom of the monastery bell,
May clarity of mind make your eyes smile.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May a sense of irony give you perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,
May fear or worry never put you in chains.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough
To hear in the distance the laughter of God.

Also see O'Donohue's Talk on Compassion for Self and Others:


  1. Also see the recent revisit of an interview between Krista Tippett and O'Donohue recorded shortly before his death in 2008.

    The Inner Landscape of Beauty with John O'Donohue []
    John O'Donohue was an Irish poet and philosopher ... and Remembering John O’Donohue, in Ireland" Krista reflects on her Irish respite and the words of John O'Donohue ...

    If there is a bit of the poet the artist the filmaker and/or the musician, I'm sure you will be enthralled. Listen especially for his quick yet dense, poetic and thoughtful answers to Krista's interview questions (and her own poetic responses); His poem for his mother upon the death of his father; the music he loved so beautifully recored here...

    Find another post celebrating O'Donohue's wisdom at

    There seems to be the use of two spellings of John's last name. But then I guess he would not mind that much...

  2. Please remove my copyrighted work from your site. You do not have permission.

  3. Dear Mister Dunne:

    I removed your gorgeous and haunting piece of art & I apologize. I try to be most meticulous & must have considered your name on the art piece enough. That was a slip-up. However, IF I may have your permission to post it once again, plz send me all the criteria -- including the URL again -- if you'd like me to add it once again for notice. If not, blessings on your amazing talent and a most beautiful spring. I can't imagine a more beautiful painting to frame this post and the content.