The Word on the Week


Queen Maeve not the legendary Queen of Connaught but Maeve Binchy, Queen of Irish story writing died this week. The name Maeve is steeped in mythology and probably means “she who intoxicates” which our Maeve certainly did with her many novels.

These books reflected her lifelong interest in people, their problems and their ability to overcome them. She was a student of human nature who delighted to eavesdrop on others conversations. She had a lively imagination and, whilst her ability to lip-read was limited, her imagination made up for it producing fascinating dialogue which became the essence of her writings.

Seldom can the eulogies of fellow writers have been so uniformly flattering.

The warmth of her personality, her wit, her intellect and her prodigious appetite for hard work have occupied many column inches of newsprint his week. She will be sadly missed by all who knew her and by all those who enjoyed her writings.

The one facet of her life which she did not shrink from herself, although understandably the tributes do, was her inability to believe in God. In the homily the preacher said she was a searcher in the tradition of the Magi, a seeker of the Divine, but it eluded her.

She herself had wanted to be a Saint – but not the kind that got martyred! Her school friends said she made it up but she never looked up into trees in case she saw “Our Lady beckoning to me”!

What has the Bible to say to all this?

Perhaps the greatest irony is to have someone whose lifelong joy was the written word to come to the end after 72 years during which the Written Word remained a closed book. In the Bible St John wrote his Gospel expressly, “so that you may believe” (Chapter 20 verse 31). The consequences of unbelief are dire.

At Irish funerals, religion always finds a way to land the deceased in heaven but such texts as Psalm 23, which was read, ring hollow in the face of unbelief.

Maeve specially requested the theme from “The Brendan Voyage” to be played after the homily. The music depicts Brendan setting sail into the unknown in his home-made boat.

St Paul also prepared for his departure in a way which has modelled the response of faith in the face of death for generations of believers. “The time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day —and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2Timothy Chapter 4 verses 6/8).

Who are you sailing with? Get on board with Christ and trust Him for your journey through this life and into the next.