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Book review: The Universe Provides: Finding miracles and inspiration in unexpected places by Eddie Gilmore

15 September 2023

David Chillingworth on an Irishman’s outlook

EDDIE GILMORE is CEO for the Irish Chaplaincy, a charity that supports Irish people in Britain, including prisoners, travellers, and seniors.

In many Irish people, faith lives close to the surface. They speak the language of faith easily. As migrants, they spend their lives in Britain but they carry a yearning for the things of home. Irish people yearn for connection — for the life of small communities in which everybody knows and is known by everybody else. He reflects that “It is the retelling of memories and stories that binds us together as humans.”

Gilmore’s book reflects that experience. It is a holy book — not in the conventional sense, but because it deals with holy things with a light touch. He puts it like this: “Every day and every situation and every meeting provide the opportunities for countless small miracles and inspirations, if only we have ‘eyes to see and ears to hear’.”

But, of course, the realities of life make their presence felt — most obviously the impact of Covid. Gilmore is positive about the experience of online worship. He comments that “There was a real sense of intimacy about the Mass and I liked how everyone was sort of equal on the Zoom screen.” But he also felt that “I needed to get out on a Sunday and take part in a liturgy in a physical place.”

Kindness is a recurring theme. He quotes words of the late Jonathan Sacks: “We never know, at the time, the ripple of consequences set in motion by the slightest act of kindness.” And kindness turns up in all sorts of forms: the tablet that allows the elderly Irish person to connect directly with their home community; the gift of time given at just the moment at which it is most needed; the sharing of food and the building of relationships.

This book is an opportunity to share in a life of caring and joy. As he says, “In the end, all is gift.”

The Rt Revd David Chillingworth is a former Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.


The Universe Provides: Finding miracles and inspiration in unexpected places
Eddie Gilmore
DLT £9.99
Church Times Bookshop £8.99

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