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The Irish family name “O’MEARA”, pronounced in English “O – MA – RA”, is sometimes spelled “O’MARA”, to avoid having to spell it out loud in the original form which most of us prefer, when civil officials request or require it.  In Gaelic it means “Merry”, and refers to “THE Meara”, the Merry Man, a renowned Tipperary hero centuries ago and patriarch of the clan “O(F) MEARA”.

What on earth is a paragraph like that doing in this Blog ?  I mean, who, for heaven’s sake, gives a damn ?  Astute readers, accustomed to the eccentricities (if not the egocentricity) of the Blog’s author, know he must have, as ever, something up his sleeve besides etymology and family history.

“MARA” is the name of the demon that tempted the Buddha, a bit like the Devil who tempted Jesus, except that Jesus’  temptation was power and glory, while Buddha’s was a gaggle of gorgeous girls.  Both holy men resisted – Jesus by his famous “Begone Satan !” and Buddha by refusing to open his eyes.

The same astute readers will fear that by associating myself with Mara I am once again shooting myself  in the foot.  At least one of my violent opponents will decidedly be delighted to discover this demonic dimension to my name.  FRANK O’MEARA  :  the son of Satan, master of lies and illusions , a Modern Mara dedicated to tempting Believers on the Brink to abandon their Catholic faith as he, a Priest of God, scandalously did by becoming an atheist.

Too much honor, dear friends !  I am not a Dawkins, a Hitchens or a Krauss (or even, more appropriately, a Talleyrand !) .  I’m a nobody no one has ever heard of, a voice crying in the wilderness of the blogosphere.  Pretty harmless, in fact, though a pig-headed Irishman who simply won’t give up preaching his militant, blasphemous atheism in a Blog nobody reads (thank God !).  O.K .  But that is just another of your illusions.  I will continue to mock the illusions I once shared with you, and invite my very real readers (like you, reading this) to share the illumination I have discovered.  Call me the Mara, if you like.  It’s a handle accurate enough for somebody who can only invite and tempt, not force or oblige, doubters to seek and find the light at the end of the tunnel they have lived in for too long.