The Ocean in the Dewdrop by Francis J Padinjarekara was launched by Fr Peter McVerry S.J., at Avila Centre, Donnybrook, Dublin on Sept 2. There was a large gathering of more than 150 guests who came from all over Ireland and outside.
Introducing Liz Dillon, the facilitator for the evening, Fran O’Reilly spoke about the two great passions of Liz – the wellbeing of children and the teaching of Awareness. Liz spoke about her own life journey and how it was transformed by contact with Anthony de Mello’s teachings. From the time Paddy McMahon, the well known spiritual teacher and author, introduced her to Tony’s work in 1994, life was filled with many changes and challenges. It was awareness that helped her traverse these difficult phases of life in becoming a parent as well as teacher who makes a difference in the lives of children. And it was this personal quest and discovery that brought her and Francis on a spiritual journey and mission.
Our guest of honour, Fr Peter McVerry gave a most inspiring speech in which he observed how Francis’ book is relevant for our time. In the Celtic Tiger years we lost our way forgetting who we are and acted in foolish ways and lost our soul as a nation. We are confronted with the spectre of serious unemployment, home repossessions, loss of financial security, and even the possibility of civil unrest. It is necessary for a healing of the soul of this nation. And for this Francis book is most timely and helpful.
Francis spoke about his own spiritual quest and the way he had found his own freedom through awareness. Contact with Tony de Mello had brought about profound transformations that involved the letting go of the world he had known – religious faith, community, family, friends, financial security, and community. This intense and unrelenting process had taken more than two decades. It was as a result of this that the two books could be written. He ended with the this story from the book:
The sage was not a champion of prayers. One day he told his listeners a story. After her geography exam, a little girl was heard adding at the end of her evening prayers, ‘Oh God, please make New York the capital of America.’”
“Does that mean our prayers bear no fruit?”
“To ask that reality be different from the way it is, is madness not prayer,” the sage replied.
In response to the questions of his listeners, he continued, “Accepting what is, is the best prayer you can make. It is always answered.”
“You’re always at peace no matter what happens.” (pg. 120)