Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Praying With Self-Interest

Ranchers know how to pray.  I was out haying a big field.  The sky did not look so good.  I prayed: "God it is fine for you to come down here, but don't bring any rain with you.  I got to get this hay baled.  Don't pay any attention to those people who are environmentalists or live in forests and want rain.  Tomorrow is fine for them.  I need no rain today."  I would bless myself, and then ask Mary to talk to her Son.  I prayed that the baling maching would hold up and not lose any bales, cause I had no time to fix stuff.  Direct prayers.  Trouble is, those prayers are all about me and what I want. Hay pays our bills.  I was not much interested in how my prayers would conflict with someone else's want or need. Anyway, we finished 436 bales.  No rain.  In the middle of the night, it began to pour.  It has rained all day.  I guess God pays attention to all kinds of prayers.  But God did cut it close.  Who says praying to Mary is silly?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


As the Gospel story goes, this fellow sows good seed in the field and then goes to bed.  While he is sleeping, his enemy came along and sowed weeds in the same field.  Isn't this our life?  We make promises to do something good, or we actually do something good, and then rest on our great "effort."  But there is always an enemy, either our own faults, character defects, or the devil if you will.  We need vigilance.  Each day we need to check in and see how we are doing.  Take an inventory of yourself.  Yesterday's good deeds or promises, are yesterday.  We cannot sleepwalk through life.  Each morning I try and read something that will help me to focus on what is important for me to keep growing.  Otherwise, boy is there a slippery slope.

Monday, July 29, 2013


The pope says that money, power, and pleasure, are things we should beware of, or not make the focus of our life.  Well, life is a compromise.  His native country, Argentina, was at the same economic level as the USA back about 1920.  We went entreprenurial and they went to govenment redistributing money, but not making anything.  That is what government is good at.  It takes money someone else made, taxes it, and then redistributes it around.  But you have to have risk taker people too.  You need people who are willing to invest and try to produce something.  These people seem to like money, power and pleasure.  Government has its place in all this.  It is to encourage investment, pass laws, and be a watchdog.  Monitor but don't stiffle free market economics.  It is  balancing act for sure.  I will live with the lovers of money, power and pleasure, as long as the government has my back.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Once, when I was a little boy, and playing with a friend of mine while Maureen was baby sitting us, I broke his toy.  I could not fix it.  I just fumbled with it.  He took it, and said, "Terry, you are useless," as he reassembled his toy.  I said, "I am not useless."  I turned to my sister, Maureen, and said, "Maureen, tell him I am useful."
"Maureen?" I wimpered.
"I'm thinking," said finally replied.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


A friend of mine told me today that she has learned to be grateful for what she has instead of worrying about what she does not have.  It is fortunate that I ran into her, because her comment seemed to hit home for me.  I need to take in the bigger picture instead of focusing on only one area, usually "I lack," without also noticing areas that might bring out gratefulness.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Second Opinion Friends

Maureen said to me, "You are whining."
I said, "NO I am not.  I am just giving an opinion with lots of emotion."
Maureen said, "Well, here's a second opinon.  You are whining."
We all need second opinion friends, fellow travellers on our spiritual journey to wholeness.  These are people who know us well, but still care about us enough to tell us the truth.  Too often, our opinions are filled with our "stuff" so that we don't really see the reality before us or within us for that matter.  Jesus was a second opinion for Mary Magdelene.  She thought he was dead and his body stolen from the grave.  She thought he was the gardener when he spoke with her.  Grief colored her ability to see.  So who is the second opinion person in your life?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Martha, Martha

Now and again a gospel story becomes part of the culture.  We call people Martha, who are very busy trying to do good things, but fret and complain that no one is helping them.  In the gospel story Jesus says to her that her sister, Mary, has chosen the "better part."  Does this mean that sitting around in quiet prayer is better than working to get important things done.  No.  It is not about comparison.  The better part refers to not complaining when you do whatever you are doing.  If in prayer, don't complain if you think God is not there or not answering to your request.  If you are working at some task, don't complain if no one else seems to deem your work worthy of their attention or help.  Complaining makes neither you nor the situation better.  I know.  I am a complainer.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


When God Created the universe, all was God's. No one else owned anything.  Then along comes creatures, who claim ownership, and will fight for this claim.  In the Old Testament, we are reminded of who owns what.  God gave the Chosen People a special land that others thought was theirs.  Pharoh thought that all land was his in Egyptian areas of control.  God came to Moses and said, "This land where you stand is holy ground."  Anywhere God dwells, is holy territory.  Think about that the next time you say your body is your own, and you decide what to do with it.  You are not the only one dwelling in your body.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Body

I think that inner person and outer person is a better way to see ourselves, rather than body and soul.  In the former, there is more a sense of combination, a oneness working together.  The inner part of ourselves hungers for the divine.  The outer part hungers more for the temporary.  Inner and outer can complement one another.  Too often when we separate into body and soul, the body gets hit with being bad, a source of all that goes wrong with us.  The soul is good and seeks God.  The body is not so good, even bad, and must be disciplined to prevent sin.  Physical pleasure is bad.  Did not this God the soul seeks, make the body also?

Monday, July 22, 2013

My Sister Maureen

Today is my sister Maureen's birthday, or would be, if she were here instead of in purgatory.  She died nine years ago.  She was my big sister, in charge of my life.  I used to remind her that her birthday was the Feast of Mary Magdelene, a notorious sinner.  Maureen would correct me, as she usually did.  She reminded me that "Saint" goes before the Mary in Mary Magdelene.  Maureen would say, "Mary was bad, but she got good.  When are you going to get good too, little brother?"  Maureen always had the last word.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Entry

You enter into contemplative prayer at the moment that you stop thinking about your self.  All other prayer, we are thinking about ourselves, our life, our needs, wants, meditations, talking to God.  In all this we are aware of ourselves.  In contemplation, there is only the Presence.  You are not thinking.  You are loving and being loved.  I have found it so.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Reminders

I read about a person who gets together with friends and calls it, "A Community of Reminders."  I like that.  We each need a community of friends who remind us of who we are, especially in our shortcomings.  We don't need a group of those who don't like us or are indifferent to us to remind us of our faults.  We need support if we are going to deal with our "stuff."  Church could be that.  It would have to be smaller than the Sunday worship gathering which is too large, no dialogue, and no chance to get to know one another.  Recovery groups have this on a daily basis.  You might find one or two people with whom you share your life on a regular basis. We all need "Reminder People," in our lives, who like us in spite of our faults.

Friday, July 19, 2013


Racism can be very subtle, or not.  Can you really read the news about Trevor Martin with an open mind?  If you are light skinned, you might find yourself thinking that the black youth was up to no good in that white neighborhood.  If you are dark skinned you might think that it is racism that killed the youth.  It is hard to read such a story with an open mind.  The African American community is saying that the verdict is an injustice, that this is a hate crime.  A lot of us thought that OJ was guilty, but the court ruled.  We rarely start out with an open mind.  If you are a Christian and try to read the Koran, what is your reaction to what you read?  It is probably different than if you pick up the Bible.  For Catholics, if the Pope says it, then it must be so.  I find people saying, "This is inspired by the Holy Spirit," when in reality, it simply fits their view of the world.  Pray for an open mind.  Too often, our drug of choice is our own world view.  When Jesus said, "Travel the narrow road," he was not referring to our personal way of seeing things.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Humility follows an experience of God. It does not precede the experience.  A woman who faces the glass ceiling, is abused by their partner, put down by their family or classmates, should not be told "be humble."  It gets all mixed up with feeling like nothing, unloved, insignificant in the world, not enough, second rate goods.  These women need to be given some self-worth, empowerment, positive thinking, ego.  Humility can only be of use as it comes from God.  God only gives it to us after we have had the "wow" experience, or the moment of realization of how great and good God is.  We then will feel a heathy smallness about ourselves, a gratefulness for all that God has given to us, and our ultimate dependence upon God.  It is only then that we will feel Loved and humble at the same time.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I grew up in New York with Thomas' English muffins for breakfast.  It was not until I moved from New York that I discovered every place else was like camping out.  There were no Thomas' in Chicago or San Francisco.  New York was the center of the universe.  After a few years I discovered that these primitive outbacks brought in "frozen" Thomas'.  An abomination!  Frozen is so third world.  Now of course you can get them everywhere, except in a monastery in Snowmass, Colorado.  Fasting is not being able to eat Thomas' English muffins, the orginal, not that bran or wheat stuff.  It is not how much we give up.  It is what we give up.  Quantity does not lead us to change.  Give up something valuable and precious to you.  This is the cutting edge of dealing with your Will.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


If you suffer greatly in loving another you are closest to the imitation of Christ, so says Caryll Houselander.  In the case of caring for the dying I would a agree.  Caryll goes on to say that we become grateful in so many things, such as noticing a flower or a star.  We notice these seemingly small things in our life.  I recall going out to see the stars each night after putting my parents to bed.  I adored the Creator at that moment.  The Cross has its upside.

Monday, July 15, 2013


Addicts rejoice in your defects of character!  This is not insanity.  Believe that a higher power is your strength and not your own will power or resolve.  If you try to deny or be ashamed of your faults, you might fantasize that they are gone, or else try to be rid of them on your own power.  No can do.  And what about humility?  Can you be humble if you think you have it together now.  Beware of thinking, "I am fine."  "We," that is, you with your higher power, are fine.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Rebel

So tis Austrian priest comes to Chestnut Hill College in Philly Archdiocese to speak about issues of which the Church does not want to dialogue.  He is labeled a "Rebel."  He is barred by the Archdiocese from speaking on Church property.   Now if someone from the Vatican Bank came to Philly, would that person get barred too?  I wonder.  Seems if you say "Vatican" everything is OK.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


My priesthood is most boring when I am most self-centered.  I wonder if it is that way in marraige and job?  when I am of service, and trying to be helpful, I am not bored.  Only when I reflect on "What is in it for me," or "I got better things to do," does my day seem to go into the dulldrums.

Friday, July 12, 2013


Well, well.  If I read this corrrectly, the Pope went to an island where many people died in shipwreck trying to get to the mainland of Europe, and a better life.  And...the chalice was made of wood from a wrecked ship.  Didn't the fussy bishops say that we had to use gold chalices for the Precious Blood of Jesus?   I am going to do a home mass with Waterford Crystal as the chalice.  That should work, no?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Just the Facts

Opinions are facts to the one who has them.  I have to be careful, that when I am "giving the facts" I am not just giving my opinions.  How will I know?  Usually, people will change the subject or tell me that I am full of ____.   I need to keep opinions in their proper file.  "Truth" is not the file for my opinions.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


I came into the chapel and thought, "I am so bored having to sing these same old psalms."  Then the thought struck me, that God might be bored with my same old sins.  I don't seem to have new and exciting sins.  It is the same old recycled stuff.  Am I boring to God? Just think, the reason you did not make it into paradise is not that you were too bad.  It was that you were too boring in your badness.  Would you want to go to any gathering that is filled with boring people, doing the same old stuff over and over again, stuff that is not so good, yet boring in its repetitiveness?  I would not want to be there.  So why should God want such people in paradise?  I sometimes say, "Oh, those good people, they are so boring."  Maybe I need a new pair of glasses to see who is really boring.  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Noisy Creation

Some birds are outside the chapel window making a racket and distubing my peace of mind!  Wait a minute.  Did not God make all creation to praise God?  I read that in the psalms.  So God made those birds to sound just like they sound.  They are praising God.  Who am I to complain?  A guy who wants what he wants when he wants it would describe me at these times.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Squeaky Clean

The rule keepers in Jesus' time got upset with him when he called a public sinner to follow Jesus.  Matthew the tax collector then had a banquet with Jesus and their friends.  It seems we all like that idea of calling sinners.  But no sooner does Christianity become institutionalized, then it starts rejecting the sinners who don't shape up and keep the rules.    In other words, we welcome you, but then you have to keep the rules or else you are not going to get "in" seems to be the attitude.  The fact that over time the rules change, along with prejudices and customs, is swept under the table.  Recall usury and slavery.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


So some folks bring Jesus a guy who cannot walk.  Jesus says, "Your sins are forgiven." I think the stretcher bearers had a different priority.  But wait.  We live in a land that wants the freedom to pursue happiness.  Thomas Jefferson was for this.  But some things get in the way of our freedom.  A paralyzed person is not free to walk.  A selfish,  self-centered person is not free to love.  Which freedom would you choose to have?  A heart that cannot love is not free.  Only a truly free heart can abandon itself to God.  I have met many a person who climbed out of misery by abandoning themselves to their God.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Voting Rights

The bishops did come out two days ago with a statement against the Supreme Court ruling on the voting rights decision.  They responded, though not as quickly as they did on the marriage decision.


Wonder is the beginning of the experience of faith or at least of the spiritual life.  If a drunk sobers up and wonders how it happens, the drunk is in a state of numbess or maybe dumbness.  But when the drunk wonders AT the reality of sobriety in their life, then they are beginning to enter the realm of faith and a spiritual life that will transform them.  Be faithful to the wonder my friends.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Shame and Humility

I read this daily reflection today. "I pray that my humility will overcome my shame."  So true.  When I mess up I feel embarrassed and ashamed of myself.  "How could I be so weak, stupid, self-willed?" I ask.  Upon further reflection and grace, I realize that I lack humility.  I think that I should be more perfect, when in fact I am weak and need God's power on a 24 hour basis.  Left to my own "strength" I have no chance.  I find it hard to admit my own lack of power.  So I opt for shame before humility.  Shame keeps me from all spiritual growth.  Failure is not the problem.  Ego is.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


When we feel life is a storm and got is asleep, ignoring us, maybe it is our faith that is asleep.  Maybe we have been ignoring God when life is smooth sailing.  Now, in this stormy mess we are full of fear and say, "Where are you God?" Maybe God is right here with you, but not frightened.  Fear blinds us.  So does the ignoring of daily contact.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Bible or Church

If you decide to try and meditate on the bible at home, or any spiritual book for that matter, see how long you can do this before someone interrupts with their agenda.  But if you go to church you won't get interrupted by those same people.  Maybe Catholics have a rather hectic home life or a demanding one.  More of the ones I meet seem to prefer Church worship to Scripture.  We old Catholics were told not to read the bible, but that was a long time ago.  We were told a lot of things when we were young that we have put aside.  "Don't read the bible,"  seems to be one of the commandments for most of us.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Why The Silence?

The Bishops are coming out strong against the Supreme Court dicision on same sex marriage unions, the use of the word marriage and so on.  The Supreme Court made another decision this past week.  They shot down the voting rights act of 1965.  Hours later a group of southern states passed rules that will make it harder for poor, i.e. black and democrat, to vote.  Nothing much from the bishops on this.  But then we are a medieval monarchy in which equality is not a big issue.  Bishops are big on immigration reform because most of the affected immigrants are Catholic.  Not many black Catholics in the south.  Just sayin'

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Checkup

Both St. Peter and St. Paul ran away from Christ.  Peter ran away because of fear.  Paul ran away because of zeal.  Each day I wake up, I ask myself, "What am I afraid of? and What am I zealous for?"  Sometimes the things I am zealous for are no good for me.  I am so zealous for something that it takes the place of something that will connect me with God.  Sometimes, the things that I fear are what will lead me to God.  Things to ponder.