Monday, March 31, 2014


I am amazed at how quickly I become territorial.  I came into a rectory to begin a parish mission.  The rectory was new and strange.  No one was there.  The pastor was away.  I did not like the place.  Skip to two days later, being in the rectory alone.  The front door opens and I hear someone come in.  It is one of the staff people.  My thought is, "Who is this coming into MY home."  How quickly things change.  Sometimes, time is all that is needed to change one's view of the same thing.  If a spiritual practice seems strange, give it some time.  You might find yourself at home in your soul.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Religious Fears

A Cardinal said that some Vatican officials used to think, not too long ago, that any complaints of sexual abuse by priests, was being done by enemies of the church.  This seems kind of backward and out of date, but as I look around at other religions in third world countries I find more out of date stuff going on.  I read where one religion wants Christians to convert or die/go away.  Maybe there is something about religion that has trouble growing into maturity.  It tends to live too much in the past.  Fortunately, God does not live in the past.  This is good, as my worst sins are back there.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dumb Me

I accepted a parish mission without asking enough questions.  Turns out the pastor was going to be away when I got here.  Plans for eating were a bit "thin."  I was expected to preside at three consecutive Sunday masses, something I do not do anymore at 70+ years of age.  It beats up my back and legs.  Turns out it is Spring Break and many people are away, which is not good for attendance and $$$.  I never thought to ask about that either.  The pastor gets no newspaper and his cable plan has few stations. No March Madness here.  I blame myself for not thinking of all these things before I offered or agreed to this date.  It was 5 degrees when I got up my first morning here.  I could have been in Florida.  God must have a plan?  God's ways are not my ways.  Ain't it the truth for all of us one time or another?

Friday, March 28, 2014


I overheard a priest "teaching" a group of Junior High students about Christian beliefs, specifically Catholic ones.  He talked about Jesus, listing the things we are supposed to believe.  Well, say that the students agree.  Do they really have to make any fundamental changes in the core of their life? They will go off from that catechism class and do the same things they were otherwise planning for the rest of the day.  But what if the same priest were to say to a group of homophobes, that Gay people are just as loved by God as everyone else, and are made in God's image just like everyone else?  Now that would call for some change.  I suspect the change would be in the priest's assignment.

My Birthday

Today is my birthday.  I am 71.  Everyone seems to have given up chocolate and sundry other treats for Lent.  So I don't expect to see treats filling my mailbox today.  I will have a day of profound anonymity and gratitude for all that I do have.  But maybe a wee bit of self-pity for lack of chocolate.  Most of my pious friends are working on perfection.  I am still trying to stay out of hell.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Power Up

Some one said that prayer is like plugging your smart phone or electronic device into the wall or another computer to recharge or download something.  I like this.  I am pretty good about making sure that my phone and iTouch do not run out of power.  Would that I were as conscientious as to my spiritual life.  I have to turn to prayer of some sort each day to recharge my spiritual battery, or to get some info from the spiritual realm that is new or I have forgotten.  I am a good forgetter.  So the next time you are feeling low energy think about prayer, be it sacraments for Catholics, or meditation on some Scripture or spiritual reading, or getting together with another on the spiritual path.  Just taking a nap does not fill us up.  Besides, you don't need a nap as soon as you wake up in the morning.  But you might need to POWER UP!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


My gums are rotting.  Well, a nice Dentist way tosay it is that my gums are receding, but I like "rotting" better.  It catches my attention, and  gets me focused.  It is better to say we are aging than to say we are rotting.  It makes for a better day.  Anyhow, back to my gums.  I got some stuff put on my teeth to help fix some of this during my six month teeth cleaning appointment.  I came out of the dentist chair feeling so very clean.  I may be rotting, but I feel good!  I don't ever want to eat.  It would mess up the gleam in my mouth, that smooth feeling.  Not eating would be an unatural act though.

It got me to thinking about confession.  Spiritually, I feel at times that I am rotting away within.  I am an Irsh Catholic male, so sin is part of my spiritual DNA.  But when I come out of confession, I feel so clean.  I don't want to sin anymore, which in unatural for an Irish male.  But for a while, I will really take good care of my spiritual life, to maintain that good feeling, just like I will take care of my teeth.  Gotta go!  Time to floss.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I noticed a restaurant sign that advertised "aged" beef, as if it is a good thing for beef to be aged.  What if they called it "old" beef?  Would it be as attractive to eat for carnivores?  I don't think so.  So why is it that we call people who have been around for a while, matured to wisdom figures, "old."  Why not call them "aged?" I like to think of myself as aged.  I am seasoned by life.  My presence feeds the spirits of those around me.  Think positive, you old, I mean, aged persons!  We ain't done yet!

Monday, March 24, 2014


This is for drunks.  Others just wait for tomorrow's blog.  While drinking, many emotions are blocked, held in check or just obliterated.  So, with sobriety, through some spiritual recovery program, these emotions will begin to pour out.  Instead of numb, you will now "feel."  Emotions may gush out in torrents!  This is very discomforting at first.  But it is the natural process in healing.  That is why recovery is not meant to be done alone.  A fellow sufferer, who has been through the same emotional binges, will be of great help.  Normal people may not understand.  You may be in a big person body, but you are still an emotional adolescent.  Feelings are normal!  What a concept for the recovering person who is coming out of the fog of active addiction.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Tides

I like this piece of advice.  If you live near an ocean, why not go out and try and stop the tide from coming in.  It might do wonders to keep your ego small.  I cannot control much of anything outside myself and often things outside myself are not my business anyway.  My spiritual program is meant to work on me, to give me a little humility and perspective on who and what I can and cannot control.  If I work on me, a lot of other issues become more clear.  Maybe I cannot fix other things, but with clarity, I often see that it is not my job.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Missing Me

I recently left a parish where I was working, in Vero Beach, Florida, and wondered if people missed me yet?  No, they do not.  It seems that they think I am still there but that they are not at the same mass as I am each weekend.  This is good.  I can go away for a long time, and people don't feel any absence, or wonder where I went.  Maybe it is the same way in Boulder where I frequently preach.  People think I am always there, but not at the mass they attend?  I have just figured out how to be in two places at once, at least in the minds of others.  When I get back to a place I will simply say, "Oh, I have been here all the time, just not at your masses."

Friday, March 21, 2014

Head In Sand

Seems the Irish Bishops have decided not to publish the results of its survey on the family.  Well, at least they sent out the survey to the Lay community.  Guess they did not like what they heard.  Finally, the bishops took an incoming call.  At least now they know what people think and believe about everyday life in the family, including sexual issues.  Were the Bishops the last to know?  Then again, don't we all like to hang out with people who we think agree with us?

Thursday, March 20, 2014


I don't mind penance, as long as I can choose it.  I like to keep control of my sufferings.  For Lent, I will give up lima beans and liver.  Not much interested in either anyway.  But do self-chosen penances challenge my shortcomings?  I think not.  When unchosen annoyances and troubles come my way, my shortcomings tend to take center stage.  I whine and complain.  I get fearful at times.  Aren't penances supposed to be part of changing us for the better?  I hate change!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Trash Talk

We are not allowed to trash talk in my Boulder running club.  So I muzzle myself when I run with the group.  But recently, I was running in a local park here in Vero Beach.  I was out for a gentle run, having hammered the day before.  As I ran around a bend in the trail, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a Mom pushing a baby carriage as she ran.  A bit later in the run, I noticed that the carriage was catching up to me.  I could not let myself be passed by a Mom and baby carriage!  I picked up the pace.  Still she came closer.  Now I am running really hard as the carriage comes alongside me.  I make like I don't notice.  Then the shock!  Mommy says, "You going to let yourself be passed by a baby carriage, old man?" Happiness.  I had just met my new best friend in Florida: a trash talking Momma.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Notice how the Ukraine news is no longer in the news much on TV.  What happened?  First, TV is about making money.  It does that by getting viewers and selling advertising.  Most people are pretty dumb about history and could not tell you where the Ukraine is, much less the Crimea.  On top of that, it is pretty complicated about who was part of what over the course of history in that area.  Second, we don't want to look bad.  We told the Ukraine they did not need a lot of weapons because we would take care of them if stuff happened.  It happened.  We did not.  Third, there is a lot of Russian money in our stock market.  Big American investors, insurance, pension plans, local governments, do not want the market to go down.  Put sanctions on the Russians and the market will drop.  The public prefers everything black and white, though we will go for a mystery if we think it can be solved.  Thus the lost airline is top news.  It gets everyone talking with opinions to explain what happened.  Less opinions about the Ukraine because we know that we don't know much.  We don't like to look stupid and uneducated.  So we tweet on about our shallow lives.  

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Celebrate! The Irish suspend Lent for a Day.  Well, this Irish anyway.

The Times

A church prelate said that gay unions make him feel uncomfortable.  I suspect that a Plantation Owner would be uncomfortable having dinner at the same table with a free black person in Charleston, SC in the mid-nineteenth century.  Sometimes we are just not ready for a change.  Whenever I am uncomfortable about something or someone, I have to ask myself how much of this is about me and how much is it about the person or event.  Sometimes we label the outsides with "wrong" or "bad" when in fact a lot of it is about change for which we are not ready.  Time will tell.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


I notice that in the beginning of Genesis when all the creation stuff was going on, chapter 2, God made a human being, one human being.  Then God made all the other stuff, the garden, trees, partner, animals, and eventually clothes.  But in that beginning, before all else, it was just God and the human being, with God-breath.  So what?  So, maybe there is something in our spiritual DNA that requires us to spend some solitude with God, just the two of us, not thinking about all the other stuff that is in our life.  Solitude is not loneliness or even being alone.  God is here with you.  I find that when I get some solitude each day, I am less crazy about all the other things in my life.  Though I think that I am normally crazy, I am really a mystic.  We all are, mystics, that is.  But because we do not give our spiritual DNA some solitude, (stillness and silence), we act kind of….weird.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Why do I always pray that I get what I want, and that things go my way?  Do you?  I seem to pray for my preferred outcome.  Jesus said, "Take up your cross and follow me."  I see no acceptance of cross in my prayers.  I don't want a cross.  I want my way.  I have found that getting my way is pleasant for a while, but does not really change me for the better.  Maybe I could pray that when life happens this day, I might act like Jesus would act.  His miracles were all about helping others, not himself.  For a guy who could walk on water, he did not try and escape or whine about that last Friday when he died.  Talk about life on life's terms!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Better Or Perfect

If you do only the good that you want to do, you will be a better person than if you did nothing, right?  But Jesus did not say, "Be better as your Father is better."  He said, "Be perfect as your Father is perfect."  I think that if we try and do the good we DON'T want to do, then we are moving from better to perfect.  So, if there is some way that you can be helpful to others, but decide not to go there or do that, but just stay in your personal comfort zone of good behavior, you are at the 'better" but.  Example: Recovery person skips meetings where they could be of service to other newcomers, but does daily meditation that suits them.  I have found that when you stay on the level of better, eventually, you move down the ladder to mediocrity.  Disaster is not far from there.  Just sayin'

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Church Attendance

There is this bible story where Jesus separates people like a shepherd separates sheep and goats.  It is Matthew 25, if you want to check it out.  Anyway, Jesus says that when you cared for the hungry, visited the sick and imprisoned, clothed the naked, you were caring for him and when you ignored those people, you ignored him.  He invites the caring ones into the kingdom and sends the rest to a rather bad end.  Notice, Jesus never lists going to church as a requirement here for getting listed with the nice people.  Strange.  When I was a boy, I was told that if I skipped mass on Sunday, I committed a mortal sin and would burn.  So why is this behavior not in Jesus' list?  Maybe the priest of my boyhood didn't get the memo?  I am sure no such priests exist today, right!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Volunteers And Disciples

I like this one.  An announcement in a church bulletin: "Disciples wanted. Volunteers need not apply."  What is going on here?  Well, picture this.  Two persons are helping to give food out to people who come by saying they need food.  One "volunteer" is giving out food while babbling about how this one or that one does not need the food, or should be out working, or is just using the church for one thing or another.  The other "disciple" is giving out the food, while seeing each receiver as the the face of Christ, the presence of Christ, the temple off God.  A disciple lives in a way to become like Christ, to be transformed, if you will.  The volunteer person reminds me too much of myself.  Yikes!  Pray for me.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Short And Small

I have found that my homily gets shorter and more to the point, as my ego diminishes.  When I am all about me, I can go on and on.  My ego likes to be self-referential.  Unfortunately, my ego has done little to help anyone grow closer to God, improve their life, or feel loved.  It seems that people are a lot less interested in hearing about me, than I am in talking about me.  My ego tells me otherwise.  It wants me to fail.  In my worse moments, that which I worship wants to destroy me.  A hint: when people ask, "How are you?" be brief, but honest.  Let them ask for more.  Here in Florida no one has asked me for longer homilies.  For the moment, my ego is right-sized.

Monday, March 10, 2014


Seems Pope Francis has improved the attitude of many people about the Catholic Church and its direction.  Behavior of the people has not changed.  They may feel better about the Church, but they are not going back to church.  When someone decides to go back to church they still must face the fellow in the pulpit, at the altar, on the other end of the phone, if he even answers the phone.  If the priest could speak the vernacular so that he could be understood, gave a homily that is brief, based upon the scripture, and with a positive message of how we could live our daily life, that might trump even a bad Borgia pope.  As the ad says, "It's not that complicated."

Sunday, March 9, 2014


When God refers to us as "servants," I think that God wants us to shut up and listen to find out what God's will is.  Most of us just know how to do the prayer of babble.  We talk.  We want.  We whine.  Bad servant.  Try meditation.  Bored?  When did God become your entertainment center?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Coffin On Wheels

I am visiting a place where there was an "extra" car.  Good.  I would save money on a rental.  It turned out I was driving my coffin.  The car had major problems which I did not discover until I had put several hundred miles on it in a couple of weeks of work.  By the time we got it fixed up it cost about $900.  Now it has good tires and brakes and motor belt.  Yikes!  Next time you think you are saving money on someone offering you a car, make inquires about its fitness.  Look it over and in.  Isn't your life worth it?  I ask God to take care of me, but I need to put a little effort into my care as well.  I have faith in God, but now not so much faith in "extra" cars.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Ugandan Bishops

These prelates said as a group that they "reserve judgment" on the new draconian law that punishes gay and lesbian people in Uganda.  Reserve judgment?  Isn't this a bit tepid to say the least about an over the top law of public punishment?

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Some Vatican types say that they might "tolerate," though not approve of divorce/remarriage so that people could go to communion.  Tolerate?  Who wants to belong to a church that tolerates you?  I thought that God was Love, not Toleration.  Good grief!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Flat Tire

I found a flat tire on my car in a parking lot here in Florida.  Yuk.  Big nail in the tire.  Anyway, after the usual whining, and fear based response, I got it taken care of.  Made me think.  My soul has holes in it from bad habits, character defects and bad choices.  I need the wind of the Spirit to blow some sanity back into my soul.  I need to be God-filled.  I pray and get God-filled.  Then I mess up and get flat and deflated.  Become useless.  Back to prayer, being helpful and so on it goes.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

NO Free Air

Did you know that you pay for air now?  I thought it was free.  I had a slow leak, or not so slow, in my front right tire, the one you never look at when you get in and out of the driver's seat.  I had to pay a dollar in quarters to get the hose to give air into the tire.  I want a world in which I get what I want without cost.  Come to think of it, everything has a cost.  A flower blooms without me paying anything. Yet, if I mess up the environment, no flower.  Even God has a cost.  Give up my life to find my life.  Ponder that one!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dress Code

Not too long ago the bishops and cardinals of my church when in public, were seen draped out in all their red and lace.  Look at them now.  They are in black with a tad bit of red.  Francis dresses from the heart in simple attire for a pope.  I am not so sure that his prelates do it from the heart.  Politics?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Pray For Me

Did you ever mess up by what you say or do and really hurt someone's feelings, someone who cares for you?  What to do?  First, admit you messed up.  Don't try and ego weasel your way out.  Say you are sorry.  Apologize.  Your friend still is hurting, right?  Yes, if you really messed up.  Finally, ask them to "Pray for me."  You need prayer so you don't act so much like a heartless jerk in the future.  You need grace.  But also, I have found it easier to move to forgiveness if I am praying for someone.  Not only do you benefit from their prayer, but so does the friend you hurt.  That may be the best gift you can give them after your mess.

Saturday, March 1, 2014


Here in Vero Beach, Florida, we have a couple of local stations that play "Oldies, But Goodies."  They are songs from the 50's and 60's.  The media know the audience down here is of a post 65 year old age.  In other places out west where I live, the same type of stations would play music from the 70's and 80s.  They think anyone over 70 is dead?  Anyway, they know their audience is not so old as here in Florida with so many retirees.  The church could learn something from the media.  When preaching, know your audience before you come up with your message.  Birth control sermon for a post 70 year old congregation?  Odd.  Plus, we can't hear much anyway and forget most of it.