Saturday, February 28, 2015
I heard this recently and it made me think about "perspective." One guy says to his friend, "My wife went out for ice cream and never came back!" I immediately thought of how tragic and sad it is that a wife disappeared. But the other fellow had a different view. He said," Don't worry. By now the ice cream is melted." Whenever you think that your life is a mess, you ought to get a second opinion. That is one of the jobs of friends. I have found it so.
Friday, February 27, 2015
I am always hearing that we God believers are supposed to be evangelizing, spreading the good news and inviting people to join up. Steps are presented as to how to do this. I am puzzled. The one step, the first one, is never mentioned in the evangelizing tool kit. Change yourself on the insides before you open your mouth about your group. What if I am acting like a jerk, but inviting people to give my faith group a try? I would be a good example of why NOT to join. Who wants to join a group or follow path that has my behavior as a result? I think that the recovery groups learned this a long time ago. Would that church groups did so too. Step one: change. Step two: change some more. Step three: be a good example of whatever it is you believe. Walk the walk. You will attract rather than promote.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
It takes only one good person to make a difference. All the world was behaving badly, except for one person, Noah. The Creator was going to destroy all that lives in or on the earth/sea. Noah made the difference. So when I see everyone around me acting badly, I ought not to give up and join in the disfunction, but rather try to do good and act rightly. If everyone around you is polluting the world, you don't have to join in or give up and say you would make no difference. Come to think of it, we don't need the Creator to destroy the world. We are capable of doing that ourselves!
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
When I make a choice to do one thing instead of another, it is part of a plan. I want certain results. When I don't get the expected results, i.e. my plans do not work out, I tend to blame others. I suffer, am a victim, because of the stupid things that they do. Why don't they cooperate with my plans? I rarely want to look at the beginning of the debacle. What began it? I made a choice. I could have made another choice that might have ended up in a mess. I will not know. When I can accept that many of my problems come from expectations based upon my decisions, I become more calm. I have the power to accept or blame. That might be the choice I need to make each day.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
I am the best kept secret in Vero Beach, Florida. I came here to teach and help out in a local parish. Another priest, retired from the Brooklyn diocese, bought a house here to winter. He showed up to help the same weekend I began. His name is Fr. Danny Murphy. After our first weekend here, people came up to me before mass and said, "Hello, Fr Murphy. We are so glad that you are here." They told me how much they admired the short homilies and the humor. They asked about Brooklyn. "What about me?" I thought. I told Fr. Danny Murphy all the nice things being said to me about him by people who thought I was him. I waited for him to say the people told him nice things about me. Nothing! Silence! Then I remembered that Jesus had told a leper he healed to say nothing about Jesus. Why? Because only the outside wounds had been healed on the leper. There were soul scars that needed some work. Maybe God wants me to stay unnoticed until I do more inner work. When nobody notices you, instead of getting upset, work on your own inner self. The best recognition is when it comes from our inner work.
Monday, February 23, 2015
Successful advertising began in The Garden of Paradise. The account executive was the serpent. The market was Eve. Advertising started small like any start up company. Diana Gaillardetz gave me the spark for this idea. Anyway, the premise of this business is that you are missing something that you did not know you were missing. You can become something that you were not previously thinking about becoming. Eve bought the idea and Adam followed. I worked in advertising and marketing. It was part of my reason for becoming a priest. I began to ask, " Who cares which brand you buy? They are all the same." "Who needs this stuff?" I asked myself. This is not a good way to become a success in the business. I had to find something I could sell that did matter. So, I have always been in marketing, I guess. My MBA is not wasted. I try not to make one religion a better brand than another, or the only product to have. I just say what is a value for me and let others decide. If you cannot find something unique or special for you in a spiritual path, then find another. God won't be offended.
Sunday, February 22, 2015
"Mic" a news site, was discovered to have copied from other news sites without giving these other sites recognition as the original source of the news. Mic lied. To claim something as your own that is not, is lying, no? Mic is a site for the younger generation. What is different about the younger generation is not that they lie. Lying is older than the ten commandments. The difference is that geezers like me know it is wrong. The younger generation does not think lying is wrong. It is just what one does. It is OK to lie. Lie to avoid punishment or to get something is just part of living. The sad part is that it is a diminished life. Getting things the honest way is for suckers, losers. No wonder so many young people are so unhappy, yet have so much in the way of gadgets, internet, modern conveniences. Their soul is not being fed properly. It is a spiritual hunger that goes undernourished. Some are probably wondering what is the big deal about Brian Williams, the newscaster, being punished. I am glad that lying still bothers me.
Saturday, February 21, 2015
I just read about this fellow, A. J. Muste who was a peace advocate. He died in 1967. He did these vigils outside businesses that seemed to make a living on war related stuff. Someone asked him why he did it. I guess the questioner thought it was a fruitless attempt to change the world. Muste gave this answer. "I don't do it to change the world. I do it so that the world does not change me." I love that quote. Whenever I think I am wasting my time or there are no results in what I do that I can see, I might ask myself what I would be like if I did nothing. When I don't pray, when I ignore being useful, when I stop the search, change is happening. It is a change in me and it is not so good.
Friday, February 20, 2015
Someone gave me a book titled, "Jesus Calling." It is by Sarah Young. It has short daily reflections. I Thought it might be something too pious and saccharine for me, but I find that I read it each day and it is quite good for me. It is too bulky to carry in my bag though it is by no means bible size. So I guess it will stay in Florida when I leave here to go West. I just found a card in the book that says, "If you have no problems and life is fine, then please pass this book on to someone else." I guess I got problems because I like this book.
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Self-centeredness can creep even into our prayer life. Ask yourself if you spend most of your prayer energy/time wanting something from God? Since I suffer from creeping self-implosion, I try to spend some time each day in meditation. There I am not asking for stuff for me or for others that will make me feel better. It is important that I just be with God. Come to think of it, a friendship blossoms when we can spend time with someone without asking for something, trying to get something, or trying to be interesting, important or whatever. If I enjoy someone I can enjoy them without talking. Nor do they have to talk. I enjoy just being with. Be friends with God. Don't try so hard. Besides, God knows what you want, and more important, what you need. Most of us only know what we want.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
One of the enjoyable things about living in Vero Beach, Florida is that I get to hear the FM radio station, "Ocean." It has tunes from my youth and into my twenties. I listen in my car radio. I never get tired of these songs. I understand the words. Last night the Grammy music award show was on TV. I did not watch. Will these current winning songs be played in fifty years on a Florida radio station for the retired? I suppose so. I can accept, work with, and understand the modern world as I find it. I have my smart phone and computer and super stop watch. But the music left me behind. I don't long for the old days of religion or anything else. They are past. But music...I am a guy of the 50s and 60s and some of the 70s. After that, the music world left me behind. "Ocean" makes it all current again. A sign I should stay in Vero Beach? Say it isn't so.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
I read in the bible that I should nicer to people because I could be "entertaining angels." I needed that at a big package store recently. This high tech customer tried to pay with her cell phone. The clerk was clueless, as am I. This was the only customer in front of me. I thought I was on a short line. Wrong. A supervisor was needed. They can be as rare as a sale at an Apple computer store. I was about to grumble with whining when I remembered the bible passage. The clerk and customer might be angels. I hope they don't share my space in heaven. Oops, I am a bit presumptuous here. But the thought of angels in front of me gave me more patience, and that is a good thing.
Monday, February 16, 2015
When someone new walks into your group, do you get uncomfortable because they are the newcomer or the stranger? If it is a "closed" group, you might. Open groups can be just as bad, such as in church scenes. Catholics are notorious for claiming "their personal pew space" and then getting upset when they find a newcomer who does not know better, sitting in "their" space. Recovery groups can be as bad. Someone told me to think of the new person, not as stranger but as possibly the next leader of the group or committee. I like that, especially if I am looking for a replacement! Most of my social manners and responses have to do with attitude, mine, not theirs.
Sunday, February 15, 2015
So how many of you got a real card either in the mail or at home/work? The trend seems to be to say,"I love you," electronically. It is faster and easier for the sender. I don't much care for fast easy love. I guess it is better than nothing for sure. Completely ignored is the worst. Now I am supposed to be in love with God and God does not use the post office. So I cannot complain if my mailbox has cobwebs. I did send some cards. I had to go to the store, and find the appropriate card, write something from the heart and find a stamp. Then I had to take it to the post office because you cannot leave stuff in the mailbox waiting for it to get picked up in my Florida neighborhood. I was with both my sisters on Valentine's Day, so I could say personally to them my wishes. No need to mail a card. Good grief! Love is work.
Saturday, February 14, 2015
The Catholic Church is about to name Junipero Serra a saint. He founded a bunch of Catholic missions in California before it was California., and introduced Christianity through these missions. They are visited by many tourists to this day. The Native American population takes issue with his canonization. Serra traveled with the conquistadores. They say he was part of the enslavement of the people and spread disease that wiped many of them out. What struck me was that his defense said "he must be judged in the context of his time." Say what? I did not think saints were judged in context. They did extraordinary good or they did not. They lived quite exemplary lives or they did not. If we want to start judging in the context of their times, Alexander VI, the Borgia Renaissance Pope did a lot of good things "for his time." So did other renaissance popes but they will never be made saints. They did some not so good things too.
Friday, February 13, 2015
In the Fairy Tales written in the Middle Ages and the time of Inquisition, elder women are always the witches, and the young beauty is the heroine. The elderly woman is pictured as wrinkled, stooped over and ugly. She is full of evil. it is the time of "witch' burning. It is a time when the wisdom of the elder woman is being devalued by male power and control. Wisdom is in the institution and tradition, whereas the wise elder woman questions a lot of accepted practices. She has the wisdom of years to pass on, but this threatens power structures not of their making. The wisdom of years helps these women to see through those rules and customs that are more about control than growth. In the fairy tale the elder woman is full of faults such as greed and jealousy. She is destructive of goodness. The young beauty is full of goodness though naive. The solution for the young girl is often the handsome prince, the young male power who comes to save her. The Wizard of Oz is a bit more modern with the good and bad witch, though the good witch is prettier than the bad witch. The bad witch did get the Oscar though! Age is not all about dying and losing. It can be about gaining wisdom, but a wisdom that can be threatening to some.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
He was shot while saying mass in El Salvador during the was there. He championed the poor and challenged an economic and social situation that did not help the great disparity between rich and poor which was at the base of the war in the first place. His death was around 1980. Thirty five years later he is finally declared the obvious, a martyr. Some people might say that he was not a martyr because he did not die for the faith. No? When did the faith ever defend the few rich against the many poor? I do not find this disparity defended in the bible. Romero followed Jesus. They both were killed by the power structure. I wonder if the El Salvador wealthy tried to prevent him being declared a martyr? It would be a quick road to sainthood for Romero and an embarrassment for the rich. I guess you can ask them. They are probably skiing at Aspen and Vail.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
He was the Bishop of Milan, and died in 1921. He was very much like Jorge Broglio, Francis I. He was considered to be Pope material but he did not get elected in 1903. Instead, Pius X got elected. Pius was against the modern world and its new thinking. Ferrari was not. Their relationship cooled. Pius got canonized, while Ferrari had to wait until 1987 to even become "Blessed." Such is the politics of it all. There but for Ferrari, I grew up in a fear based, medieval church, that did not care much to embrace the 20th century. Saint John XXIII tried to open the windows of a stuffy church, but there were many Pius X types who tried to close it after he died. I am enjoying Francis I, surrounded by so many anti-modernists. There was a time when "pure" church meant you were ready to die for what you believed. It got watered down to out of date rules, pomp and a good ole boys club. The Holy Spirit is still at work though. Keep the faith.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
I know people that say God does not exist. They get angry at talk or belief in God. Why get angry about something you don't think exists? What I often find is that these people believed in a God who was supposed to make the world "right." The world is a mess, or their world is a mess, so God is not doing the job. They are angry at God. Then they move to "God does not exist." But they stay angry. I agree. Their God does not exist. That God never existed. They need a fixer upper God and are angry that they don't have one. It is a much harder work to figure out why God does not fix up the world if God is Love. Many people don't want to do this hard work. It takes a lot of silence, stillness, reading, meditation, and they just cannot be bothered. So they stay angry at what they say does not exist.
Monday, February 9, 2015
When Jesus said, "Come, follow me," he did not mean become like Jesus. He meant become all you were made to be. Become the true you. Jesus became all he was made to be. You are not Jesus, except in moments of grandiosity. Institutional religion says its people have to become like Jesus. Institutions are about control. If you become all you are meant to be you might not keep all the infantile rules made to control you. That was Jesus' problem too. So if you become who God made you to be, beware of institutions. They may see you as the enemy. That becomes your cross.
Sunday, February 8, 2015
One does not usually connect the spiritual life with a colonoscopy procedure. I did. It happened this way. The nurse said I had good veins but she could not get the needle to stay in the vein. She took it out, stopped the bleeding and then did a second needle that took in a second vein. By now I was getting a little dizzy. She left. I got very dizzy and hit the emergency button. I thought triage showed up! Fluid bag, oxygen in the nose, test for blood sugar, and heart rate. I missed my slot for a colonoscopy I think, because they left me in the holding room for quite a while, though they came to check up. So I got a chance to meditate, pray some verbal prayers and review my spiritual life. I did not have any polyps. My God seems to be everywhere.
Saturday, February 7, 2015
I said in an earlier blog that I am shallow with only a few things to say. I get out of town before people realize I am repeating myself. Then I got to thinking, maybe I ought to hang around more. I had a running coach who said the same few things over and over again, but we never tired of him. Why? Because we did not listen well enough to put what he said into action. We made the same mistakes time and time again. Is this not like sin? So for those who hear but do not act or understand, I will repeat myself and stay around more.
Friday, February 6, 2015
A Church in San Francisco is putting a ban on having altar girls. One reason is that having just boys is that it will make for a bonding experience among the guys. Yes, now that you remove the servers who are smarter, more reverent, and just more together than the boys. My experience of girl servers is that I much prefer them to the boys. Boys seem more clueless than the girls at the same age. When boys and girls serve together, the girls at times hold back from doing something in deference to the boys. When it is all girls, that is the best. At least that is my experience.
Thursday, February 5, 2015
Freedom is not about doing anything you want. If everyone is free to drive wherever and however they want, there will be crashes and destruction of things and people. We have traffic laws. When the Hebrew tribes were freed from slavery in Egypt they did not know how to live as free people. So God gave them laws. As slaves, they did not need law. They knew their role and did what they were told to do by the master. When someone says, "I am free to do whatever I want," that person is not free. They are slaves to whim, ego, selfishness and some other bad habits. Freedom is work. It is work that makes us who we are at our best. Doing whatever you want can become an addiction. Freedom is a choice and sometimes we need help to make that choice on a daily basis. I do.
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
God is a bit like the tide of the ocean. If you want to swim in the ocean it helps to know about tides, what and when they are. If you swim against the tide, you don't get much of anywhere. If you swim with the tide you get somewhere much more easily. Hopefully, that somewhere is your destination. You get to know God by experience, rather than by reading. You can read a little about tides to know that they exist and what they are, but until you try to swim, you don't know tides. Catechism is learning to swim, the technique. You can practice in a pool, or pond with smooth surface. Swimming in the ocean is like experiencing God. It is more than catechism which tells you there is such a thing as a tide and what it does. Many of us just read about stuff. We do not plunge in for the experience.
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
There was a time when a Catholic church wedding did not cost much. The priest got a tip of a few bucks, maybe. As a server I might get all of $5.00 for being the altar boy. The musician, if there ever was one, might get a little or was paid by the parish. The use of the church was free. Marriage prep with the priest was free of charge. Then my church decided to get in on the action. Charge for the use of the church, the priest and the music. Charge for marriage preparation classes. Churches made some money for sure, but then something else happened. Couples gave up on big weddings, including church ones. We have fewer weddings today than in the past. Brides are not so much interested in walking down the aisle with people looking at them in their expensive bridal gown. It is not just about some loss of faith or church interest. It is a lot about $$$. God's grace is not controled by how much you spend on a ceremony, be it church or otherwise. Grace is free. God does not charge. The price you pay is in the way you love over the years. For that we all need grace, free of charge.
Monday, February 2, 2015
I try to stay in Boulder long enough so that when I leave people will really miss me, but I don't stay so long that people get bored with me when I say the same old stuff all the time. My problem is that I am shallow. I know one or two things but not in so great a depth that I am profound. If I stay too long people will catch on that I am a pleasant, approachable, but lightweight priest. This is why my parish missions go so well. I am really good for a few talks. I tell stories and make a few points. Then just as people want me to stay longer or come back, I leave. I am really helpful, given my shortcomings. We all have to do the best with what we have, and not bemoan what we do not have. I have learned to make the best with my little.
Sunday, February 1, 2015
I will be in Florida for about seven weeks, teaching and doing sacramental work. When I was about to leave the cold of Colorado, my friends said, "Have a good vacation." Why do people think I just play when I leave town? What if I said that I was going to work for seven weeks in Northern Ontario. Would they think I was going on vacation? I doubt it. They would think I was working or why else would I leave freezing Boulder and go to more freezing Ontario? Is it my fault that I save souls in warm places in the winter, fun places like San Francisco in the California Fall, and do my summer retreat in the mountain valley of a Trappist Monastery? Well, maybe my life is a bit soft, but I am working too. I just have a low threshold for cold weather.