Did it ever strike you that the main symbol for Tuam is a broken wheel? A broken wheel is utterly useless; it is kaput, in need of repair. St. Jarlath broke his wheel around Tuam, and he stayed to found a monastery. Great fact to be remembered for! We also have to deal with broken wheels. No, I do not refer to the after effects of potholes, but to something even more common, the broken wheels of our lives. Our lives are broken by that what the Bible calls sin, not just major ones as perverse, immoral acts, sin also applies to those minor human shortcomings as lying, cursing, gossiping, drunkenness etc.
the wages of sin is death
We take the title ‘Sham’ as compliment, but do we realise that our lives indeed are ‘sham’? Are we strong enough to admit that something serious is affecting our lives’ journey? Or do we hobble along and hope no one will notice? We are of course glad that Jarlath decided to stop when his wheel broke, and so become the founder of Tuam, but what do we do after realising that the wheels of our lives need repair?
Tuaim-dá-Ghualann (Tuam) means “the tumulus of the two shoulders.” These are represented by the two green ‘shoulders’ in the arms of Tuam. It is a sobering fact that our town is named a cemetery.
After having broken his wheel here, St. Jarlath not just recognised the state of death, but it became to him a ‘ place of resurrection .’
We as well, having realised that our lives are broken, that we do not live to the standards we set ourselves, let alone the standards God wants, need to find this place of resurrection. God offers us a new life in friendship with Him, if we come to Him with repentance. The Lord Jesus Christ wants to be our Saviour: just tell Him about the brokenness of your life!
but the gift of God is eternal life
Jarlath’s wheel didn’t get miraculously repaired – and the mess of our lives also does not disappear the moment we turn to Christ. What we do get however is a new standard to live from, a life given from God, in friendship with God.
The Latin Cross in the Arms of Tuam is a reminder of the ecclesiastical status of Tuam, of the Archbishops who resided here. It is not difficult to relate the Latin cross with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. A Latin cross is an empty one: it is a reminder of Him who died at that cross, but He no longer suffers there for our sins, He is victorious, He lives for evermore.
The cross is red: He needed to shed His blood. That was the only way in which the price for all our (minor and major) sins could be paid. It shows us the way how Ireland – and Tuam – can once more become a place of ‘Saints and Scholars:’ by faith in Him who died for us.
in Jesus Christ our Lord
Two crowns decorate the Arms of Tuam, which are a reminder of the two (last) High Kings of Ireland that had their residence in Tuam: Turlough and Roderic O’Conor. For us it is the realisation that a new life makes us sons and daughters of the High King of Heaven. The crown God gives is more valuable and longer lasting than the empty roar of the Celtic tiger.
The motto under the Arms of Tuam means: ‘Long live the people of Tuam.’
Everlasting life is available for all those who repent and turn to the Lord Jesus.