Its 12.05pm and the letterbox has just rattled. A moment of silence follows and then my son, Karl, has come in with the "Post", "Post", "Post"! Only one letter and it is addressed to me. I open it read the first few lines and hand it to my wife who reads it and smiles. Through her smile it is obvious that she is deeply pondering what it all means both for me and for her and for us as a family. It reads "Dear Fergal, Thank you for the interest you have expressed in the Permanent Diaconate and for attending interview. The interview panel has recommended you as a suitable candidate"
That is all I need to read and I am relieved, delighted, nervous and unsure all at the same time. I think it is because I realise now that indeed history is being made in this Diocese and I am beginning to feel that weight of it all already. How will folk react to the news that I could, with the grace of God, be one of the first permanent Deacons in this Diocese. How will my parents, siblings and relations react? My kids, my neighbours? My colleagues at work how will it go down there? Its all spinning around in my head. It is all becoming very real now. It is like waking from a pleasant dream only to find out that your dream is continuing in reality. I can't describe it any better than that I'm afraid after all I am a man of the sciences!!
At the same time I am reminded of the words of the Priest from Carlow with whom I had my initial meeting. He told me in all sincerity that, by following this path the Lord seems to be calling me to travel, there is a lot of heartbreak ahead. They did not impact on me right away but they are impacting on me now. The more I think of this the more I am overawed by the significance of his words. I think of Our Blessed Lady and what she was told by Simeon as she and St Joseph presented Jesus in the temple. "Et tuam ipsíus ánimam pertransíbit gládius" which translates to something like And a sword of shall pierce your own soul too. These words were spoken to Mary by Simeon at the start of what was her motherhood to Christ.
So what is my response to be? For now let it be as was Mary's response. Lord give me the grace to take the time ahead to ponder deeply within my heart all that the you have done for me.
Múlier, ecce fílius tuus, Totus Tuus!