Homily Notes of Archbishop Charles J Brown for the Annual Croagh Patrick Pilgrimage
The path of Christian faith is still alive in Ireland in 2016. Perhaps at ...times we are tempted to be downcast, to keep our eyes down and our heads down. Even physically, many of us, and I include myself in this, have our heads literally down as we read our smart phones and type and text. But Jesus Christ is saying to each of us today: “sursum corda” – hearts up! – Archbishop Brown
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains, from where shall come my help? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1).
Brothers and sisters in Christ, from the dawn of history, human beings have been fascinated by mountains. There is something intangibly mystical, attractive and enchanting about the high places, something profoundly renewing about just being in the mountains. The American naturalist, John Muir, the father of the American National Park system, famously gave advice to his contemporaries about finding peace: “Climb the mountains” he wrote, “and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”
For Catholic Christians, the mountains are something more than a place of beauty and refreshment and renewal. The mountains are places where we come in contact with the mystery of God: in the Old Testament, it is on the Mountain of Sinai that Moses encounters the unspeakable majesty of God and receives the Ten Commandments. In the New Testament, on the new Mountain, the Mountain of the Beatitudes, the disciples of Jesus receive from him the new law of love.