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Glimpses Of God: Reflections for Days and Seasons

Glimpses Of God: Reflections for Days and Seasons

Lesley Carroll

The art of meditative presence to life is both gift and call. To open to the mystery within us, between us and in the world around us is sometimes to catch glimpses of grace – ever at play at the heart of life and making all one. In these reflections, two women in faith – both Northerners and long-standing friends, one a Presbyterian minister, the other a Dominican sister – express something of their musings on what it is to find a home in God’s world, to discover God at home in the world, and to be pilgrims living towards a vision of a new heaven and new earth. Originally broadcast on BBC Radio as ‘Thoughts for the Day’, these unpretentious reflections – on the seasons of Lent and Advent, and the days in between – prompt the reader to pause, to lift the eye and open the heart for grace in unsuspected places, finding hints of what one seventeenth-century poet described as ‘Heaven in Ordinairie’.


Lesley Carroll, from Co. Tyrone, is currently Minister at Fortwilliam & Macrory Presbyterian Church, Antrim
Road, Belfast. She is well known for her leading role in reconciliation and peace-building, and most cently as a member of the Commission on the Past, chaired by Archbishop Robin Eames and Denis Bradley. She completed her studies at the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin, gaining a Ph.D. in Theology in 2007.

Geraldine Smyth OP is a Dominican sister and theologian from Belfast. She is a Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of the Research Degrees Programme at the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin and a former director of ISE. Geraldine has a Ph.D. in Theology from Trinity College Dublin. She is a board member of Healing Through Remembering, a Belfast-based organisation focused on dealing with past conflict in and about Northern Ireland and shaping a new and peaceful society.

The paths of both women first intersected in 1993 when they came together to preach in Clonard Monastery, Belfast. The text that night was from St Luke (1:39-56), telling of Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth. This gospel event was once described dramatically by Bishop Jeremy Taylor, the seventeenth century Anglican Archbishop of Armagh, as ‘a collision of joys’, and perhaps this is also an apt metaphor for the friendship of Lesley and Geraldine and their continuing exchange of gifts in the Irish School of Ecumenics and beyond. The authors are appreciative of the wisdom and professional guidance of Rev. Dr Bert Tosh, Head of Religious Broadcasting in BBC Northern Ireland, who, with Chandrika Nayar and the BBC team, enabled the two women to share their reflections with a wider audience of listeners through the Thought for the Day programme.


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