Tuesday, February 18, 2020

David And Goliath

David is a small guy.  Goliath is a big guy.  David put himself into harms way since now Goliath wants to kill him in battle.  What to do?  David makes a decision that affects Goliath.  David sling shots a stone into the forehead of Goliath, which knocks him out.  David then kill Goliath with his own sword.  Many decisions we make affect someone else, in this case, not so innocent a person, Goliath.  But what if you are about to make a decision that does affect someone else who is good, innocent, not deserving of the consequences of your decision?  Do you say, “I am free to decide what I want to do?”  Such decisions are not all about me.  So I have to take into consideration as to how it will affect others.  What has changed for me is that I used to do pretty much what I wanted, if I could get away with little tolerable consequences.  Now I find myself asking, “How will what I want, affect others?”  I find in this new attitude, that I don’t as often want the things I used to want, when it was more about me.  But there are still moments when growing away from bondage to self that is hard.

Monday, February 17, 2020

The Why Of It

It is a good thing to do something that affects someone else for love of them, as in love of neighbor.  Such action might be motivated by compassion, a sense on oneness with this other person.  But I have found that there is another reason for doing an action that affects someone else.  It is motivated by insecurity and/or low self-esteem.  If I get caught up in this, then I act in order for you to like, praise, approve of me when in fact your opinion of me is none of my business as my sane friends remind me.  Or maybe I act from a blotted ego that needs constant feeding.  No one likes to think about their death, their mortality, but it sure is a way to keep us right-sized when ego and insecurity are out of control.  Or hang around with people who are working on these issues successfully.  Or keep an honest diary or daily inventory/examination of conscience at night before bed.  Don’t assume your motives are always selfless.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Old And New

My experience is that I cannot place the new on top or in the old.  There is a saying, “You cannot put new wine into old wine skins.”  The wine is meant to expand and it would break the already old wine skin that cannot expand.  So the old me is not going to do much with suggested new behavior.  I might do a little better, live a little more sane and less self-centered, but not much.  I will survive, but there will be casualties in how I treat and live with others.  I need a new me.  Meditation, reading to expand my horizons, listening to other people who are trying for a “new me” transformation really helps.  Just trying on my own will power won’t do it.  The old me has a broken will power.  It needs more than repair.  So each day I wake up and say a gratitude prayer (that I have another chance at change) and then ask for a new me.  Since I am asking for a lot, I have to put in a lot.  Action beats wishing every time.  Even trudging is better than complacency and fantasy.

Saturday, February 15, 2020


I just finished the book, “Temp” by Louis Hyman.  More and more we are becoming a temp work force rather than full time security and benefits.  I was feeling badly for all those people who want full time challenging work with benefits, and then I realized that I am a “Temp” worker.  I am a temp priest.  Right now I help out at a parish because they do not have a full time pastor.  But as soon as he comes, I will be dropped from being a priest in that parish.  This is the life of the temp.  When I work I get paid.  Don’t work.  Don’t get paid.  A retired priest who has a retirement income can help out here and there at different places, a mass, confessions, and maybe a funeral.  But it is to supplement his income.  Me...I have to work.  The life of a temp is that there is no full time work out there.  You can develop the virtue of humility and acceptance when you realize you are not really needed.  I wake up with gratitude that I have any work to do each day.  

Friday, February 14, 2020

Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!  It is a day to talk about love.  I realize that I am not in love with God.  At times, I am in love with God but I don’t love God with much consistency.  Let me explain.  When you were young or are young now, you may have fallen in love.  “I am in Love,” you tell anyone who will put up with you.  When in this state you will do anything for your beloved, pretty much.  That is, you give up your will for their will.  You go out of your way for there wants, much less their needs.  But what happens when you move on from being in love, to loving?  Notice that you don’t do everything your partner wants.  Your will takes over quite often.  You might negotiate who gets what when.  But basically you don’t do much surrendering.  You did that when you were falling in love and that stage is mostly past.    So it is with me and God. ON a good retreat I might be in love with God. But retreat emotions pass.  But generally, on a daily basis.  I don’t do everything that God might wish me to do.  I am self-willed.  So obviously I am not “in love” with God.  Only occasionally do I do God’s will, but quite often I just do what I want even though I know it is not my best self.  I don’t really sacrifice of obey or surrender on any consistent basis.  So now and again, I “love God” but it seems to be when our wills coincide.  So how does it go with your partner if you have one?  What does “Happy Valentine’s Day” mean?  God is supposed to be a significant other in my life, but today reminds me that I am of the tepid variety of love.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Cancer Report

So I had a polyp removed from my colon and it was sent off to the lab.  I get this colonoscopy exam every five years. A week later, a live person calls from the doctor’s office and says, “How are you?”  How am I?  My heart is in my throat and hardly beating.  I am waiting to hear that my life is over.  Please don’t start out with chit chat.  I would prefer, “Fr. Ryan you are cancer free.  This is the doctor’s office.”  Then we can do nice, pleasant talking.  She can tell me what the name of the polyp is and that I will have this done again in five years.  All good.  I talk the talk of hope, faith, God has my back, but I walk the walk of gloom and doom when it comes to biopsy reports.  But for now I am good to go for another five years.  This could mean endless blogs.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Tyranny of Emotions

I like this phrase, The Tyranny of Emotions."  Why should my emotions run my life?  All emotions pass.  They are emotions.  But when I am feeling good why must I try and maintain or up that good feeling?  Enjoy it for the moment but I don't have to act on it.  I see a girl across the room and say, "I am in Love."  Never met her.  The emotion then takes over my life and I do whatever it seems to indicate.  We make mad passionate love that I say is undying.  I wake up one morning and say, "I don't love her anymore."  Whoops!  People who wait on such love emotions and don't act them out,  do so to avoid the tyranny.  They are not prudes.  When I am down, feeling depressed why do I have to do something about it?  I am down.  It will pass and drugs, alcohol and other substitutes are just that.  Yes, some people have mental and chemical body issues that require treatment but for most of us, it is just a need for patience.  We are human and the bad times remind us of this.  Besides, for me, God has my back.