Reflections: 18th March 2018

A Reflection for the Fifth Sunday of Lent

JN 12: 20-33 (

The Seed Must Die.


What is needed to die within myself? What was the magic recipe in being free to acknowledge the Author of Life, the Creator of Creation?

When I was a child, I could never have imagined how my world was going to unfold.  From my earliest years and in the most unconventional manner, I dared to welcome voices within myself that would lead me to only God knew where.

I am happy that I decided to listen to my heart, though my head got in the way so many times. I wouldn’t change the last thirty-two years for the world.  Only God knows how many times I have allowed certain attitudes to die. 

I never felt that I had to prove myself while training for the priesthood with The Congregation of the Holy Spirit (The Spiritans); it was natural for me to be there.  The Holy Spirit had to work with mistakes, naïvety and immaturity; slowly I was learning from those surrounding me on a daily basis and from my own basic generosity that God could do much even with me. 

Coaches, mentors, supervisors, counsellors, and spiritual directors can help greatly in accompanying us to listen to what is stirring deep in our being.  Sharing with others about what is going on deep down is a courageous act and a gift; if we are patient, it is amazing who we can become if we trust the process.  It becomes obvious in such a space what needs to die.

I continue to learn, to become the person that God wishes me to be.  I still make mistakes. I apologise - sometimes when it is not even my fault.  I have never seen what I do as a job, but as a way of life.  All of this was - and is - made possible because of the great compassion that I feel from others; in such an environment only good can occur.

I was lucky to spend nearly two years in Sierra Leone as part of my ‘apprenticeship’ in becoming a missionary and twelve years in Angola.   In both these countries there was an experience of war, famine and sickness; a daily challenge to organise water, and a situation where electricity was at a minimum.  

Through all of these experiences, from my time in the seminary to my time working as a missionary in west and later southern Africa, life is what was celebrated, simply because Death was such a part of Life itself.

Joe Poole C.S.Sp.- Fr. Joe is leader of the Spiritan Community in Ballintubber / Ballymoe parish in Elphin diocese, and contact person for Spiritans in the midlands and west of Ireland.