Advent poem

Pink-flower, creative commons

time is drawing near
when darkness shall be pierced by a new dawn

so there will be stars all over the sky
even in the darkest nights

Then, when heaven will meet the earth
time will go in reverse
not to back or forth
but within,
and eternity will be soaked into the 
pores of the earth’s skin.
It will shine from the centre of the globe for
God will be born
in the cradle of frailty and love

Yes, this humble epiphany
happened in Palestine two thousand years ago,
but now, the eternity is knocking again
from within your heart
wanting to be born like a flower
out of the depths of
your darkest nights

time is drawing near,
in fact it is almost here
when light of the dawn will crown each day
and heaven will sing us a love-song
as sun colours the sky every morning,
every night

Then, in the chambers of our heart
we will find a diamond
long forgotten and lost
not a diamond from the ring,
but the one that holds the essence
of who we are

Iva Beranek
Dr Iva Beranek is the Ministry Facilitator for the CMH: Ireland

Silence can be healing


“As the deer longs for running streams,
so my soul is longing for you my God”
(Psalm 42:1) 

Recently I was in America, in Chicago, and a group of us went for a pottery class for my friend’s bachelorette party, which is like a hen party, just a little different. I realised there is something quite insightful that we can learn from making pottery. I will try to illustrate it. We had the wheel in front of us and we were each given a piece of clay. The first thing we needed to learn was to ‘centre’ the clay onto the wheel.  Centring the clay means that clay will not detach and fall off the wheel, in other words it ensures that we can mould the clay after it is centred. 

The process of doing that goes something like this: you put the clay into the centre of the wheel, pour some water over it so that it is moist and then you spill the wheel and use specific movements to press the clay down and then different movements to lift it up, and you alternate between these two movements. Through the whole process you need to keep adding water because the clay needs to be moist when you work with it. This is not as easy as it sounds, especially when you are just a beginner, even though it is a lot of fun. Eventually, after a few minutes, when you press the clay down again it should form a smooth circle and you should feel no bumps as you have your hands around it while turning the wheel; the clay should roll smoothly through your hands. The instructor who was teaching the pottery class called this end result, when the clay is centred: ‘silence’.

Perhaps this is what the practice of solitude does to us as well, it centres us, even if it may be a bit challenging to go through the process at times; solitude helps to bring us into the inner silence, where there are no apparent bumps, just us in God’s presence. It is a place where healing happens. There God is free to do His work within us.  

(Photo by © Jen Steinmetz)

Iva Beranek
Dr Iva Beranek is the Ministry Facilitator for the CMH: Ireland

Dublin & Glendalough Diocesan Service

The Dublin & Glendalough Diocesan Committee for the Church’s Ministry of Healing will hold their annual service on Sunday, 19th October 2014, at 5pm in St Patrick’s, Church, Powerscourt (Enniskerry).

Archbishop Michael Jackson will preach at the service and will also commission newly appointed prayer ministers.

A reception will follow, and everyone is warmly invited.

“Journey of Forgiveness”, a Quiet Day with the Rev. Ruth Patterson

A Quiet Day led by the Rev. Ruth Patterson will take place on Saturday 22nd November 2014 in Raphoe Cathedral.

The day will start at 12 noon and conclude by 3.45pm. Coffee and tea will be provided, but participants need to bring their own lunch.

“Throughout our day together we will reflect on the process or the journey of forgiveness, enter into some practical exercises and, then, recognising that forgiveness and reconciliation are not the same, we will move into a workshop based on Psalm 85:10 that will help us identify what is necessary in order for reconciliation to take place.”

All are welcome to attend, and participants from other dioceses are invited to come too.

To register your attendance please contact Dr Iva Beranek at iva[at]

An Evening for Suicide Awareness and Prevention

An Evening for Suicide Awareness and Prevention will be held on Tuesday, 11th November 2014, at 7.30pm in the Church of Ireland College of Education, Rathmines, Dublin 6.

The speaker for the evening is Joan Freeman, Founder and CEO of Pieta House. There is no charge for admission, and all are welcome.

This evening is being organised jointly by the Dublin & Glendalough  Diocesan Committee for the Ministry of Healing and the Diocesan Social Action Committee. For further details, please contact Avril Gillatt (059 862 4974).

Tuam Quiet Day

Compassion: Seeing with the Heart, a Quiet Day with Dr Iva Beranek, will be held on Saturday, 8th November 2014, in St Mary’s Cathedral, Tuam.

Come at 11am for coffee for an 11.15 start. The day will conclude with the Eucharist to finish at 4pm. Coffee, tea and soup will be provided, but participants are encouraged to bring a sandwich to complete their lunch. All are most welcome, and there is no charge to attend.

To enquire further, or to register your attendance, please contact Dean Alistair Grimason (deantuam[at]

Cork Quiet Day

Dr Iva Beranek will lead a Quiet Day on the theme of compassion in St Luke’s Home Education Centre on Saturday,  20th September 2014. This day is especially for those living a life of ministry, including clergy, readers, lay pastoral assistants, chaplains, healthcare works and others whose daily lives require a commitment to compassion.

Coffee and registration begin at 10am for a 10.30 start. The day will close with the Eucharist to be celebrated at 3.30pm. Refreshments and a simple lunch will be provided. There is no charge, but a donation towards the costs would be appreciated.

Booking and further details from the Rev Stephen McCann (Email:, Mob: 087 147 8300, Home: 028 37117).

Healing as ‘homecoming’

Rembrandt-The Return of the Prodigal Son, detail

The mystery of God’s love is not that he takes our pains away, but that he first wants to share them with us. Out of this divine solidarity comes new life. Jesus’ being moved in the centre of his being by human pain is indeed a movement toward new life.
(Henri Nouwen) 

If we look into Jesus’ life we can easily notice that healing was integral part of His public ministry; what is more His death on the Cross and His Resurrection not only restored our relationship with God the Father, but they show us a pattern that most of our healing in this life will take. There is often pain involved on our journey of healing, no matter how much we wish to avoid it. Sometimes just by knowing that God is with us in whatever we are going through can bring us peace, which in itself is a sign of God’s healing. In Heaven all our tears are going to be wiped away, so any healing we receive here on Earth is like an experience of Heaven. Or in other words, it is an experiences of homecoming, as we see in the Gospel story of the return of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32).

At times even though we are in a need of God’s healing and compassion, like the prodigal son we think we are not deserving of it, and yet God’s compassion is not based on merit. God’s compassion does not depend on who we are, but on who He is. God is compassionate because that is the only way He can be – it is in His nature to show compassion. God understands our humanity, our struggles and our pain much better than we do. 

If we listened to the parable that Luke writes about with ears of the 1st century Jews, we would notice that the father’s reaction to the return of his son is surprising. Luke tells us that he runs to the son embracing him with forgiveness, but it was very unusual for a patriarch to run as the greater one’s dignity was, the slower one moved. The father knew the son was to pass through the village and as the people considered his son being outcast, they would act according to their ways of exclusion. The son would not be welcomed. So the father runs to welcome the son. “More than any other story in the Gospel, the parable of the prodigal son expresses the [richness] of God’s compassionate love” (H. Nouwen). The son is welcomed back into his true identity. Whenever Jesus offers His compassion and healing love He invites us into a new identity, He restores us even ever so little. This experience of homecoming makes us more ‘whole’.

I am sure that we could identify with different characters in the story of the prodigal son at different times of our lives, with either the younger or the older son, but in a way the goal of our Christian lives is to become compassionate like God the Father.

As we allow Jesus to form us more into His likeness and as we let the compassion we received from Him to flow into our whole being, into our heart, and from our heart into our hands, we become better equipped to bless the world with God’s love and compassion. And the world today needs this blessing.

Iva Beranek
Dr Iva Beranek is the Ministry Facilitator for the CMH: Ireland

Annual Thanksgiving Service & Gift Day

You are warmly invited to our annual Thanksgiving Service & Gift Day, this year held in St Michan’s Church, at 3.30pm on Sunday, 22 June 2014.

This is a Service of Wholeness & Healing with Holy Communion, and there will be an opportunity for prayer ministry with the laying on of hands and anointing with oil for those who desire it.  Our celebrant is the Very Rev Dermot Dunne, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, and our preacher is the Rt Rev Patrick Rooke, Bishop of Tuam, Killala & Achonry and Chairman of the Church’s Ministry of Healing: Ireland.

We can also look forward to some special music on the harp from the Rev Anne-Marie O’Farrell, and some refreshments after the service. We’re hoping the weather will be nice for an al fresco reception!

Getting to St Michan’s is easy. The Four Courts stop on the Luas Red Line is just opposite the church, and Dublin Bus no 83 stops right outside the building. Dublin Bus numbers 37, 39(a), 145, 25(a/b), 70, 66, 67, 79(a), 51d all stop along the quays, just a few minutes’ walk away. If you are planning to drive, in addition to on-street parking, there are also Smithfield MultiStorey Carpark on New Church Street (€2.20/hr or €12 per day) and the Four Courts Carpark on Ussher’s Quay (€4 for the day), both nearby.

If you have any questions, please email or telephone our Ministry Coordinator, Jessica Stone (hello[at]ministryofhealing[dot]ie or (1) 872 7876).

A soothing summer touch


Spring has turned into the summer, with summer showers still watering the flowers that blossomed earlier in the year; there are no more bare trees. Yet summer is not only sunshine, May blossoms and long bright nights, with occasional shooting star. Summer still has shadows too. In some places unlike Ireland the heat can consume one’s energy and time may seem like it is standing still. Summer days, though often they bring delight, may hide boredom in them too. 

Welcome this new season within your heart, with everything that it already introduced into your life. Let the gentle love of God shower your soul with His delight and let the Holy Spirit fall upon your heart like tender raindrops falling on the thirsty ground. Allow yourself to be filled with God’s love.

In your soul there is a garden where flowers can bloom too. God’s grace like sunshine makes these inner flowers grow. However, we may need to learn how to protect that inner garden from unwelcome influences that wish to distort the inner work of God within us. Earlier in the year we reflected on seeds planted within our hearts that needed nurturing, protection and encouragement in order to keep growing until they were ready to blossom. Do you remember which seed has been growing within you then; can you see, has it grown so far? 

Is there something you would like the summer to sooth within your heart? Maybe you noticed areas in your life where you may need rest, restoration, a soothing summer touch. Take some time to tend to those. 

Or perhaps there are areas where you may be tempted with boredom or where things seem like they are on a standstill. Take a few moments of silence to reflect on this, journal about it if that would help you to gather your thoughts, go for a reflective walk and talk to Jesus about it, or listen what He is telling you.

May God bless you with the eternal summer of His love, and bring you restoration and healing you may need in this season of your life.  

Iva Beranek
Dr Iva Beranek is the Ministry Facilitator for the CMH: Ireland