Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Create Customers

The purpose of business is to create customers.  I read this.  When you are small with no or few customers, this is what you try to do.  Customer service is big.  As the customer base grows, the purpose of the business often shifts to profits.  Money replaces customers in importance.  I think that large organizations can learn from recovery programs such as AA which is growing each year in "customers."  AA seeks to make no profit.  Its passing of the hat is for expenses.  There are a few national level employees.  But at the local "shop" the work is done by caring volunteers.  AA seeks to stay in business to pass on the product, which is the message of recovery and communal support.  I am at my best when I think of myself as a volunteer for my message.  I seek to pass on a message and have enough money to stay in business.  This allows me to work because I love what I do.  I used to make a lot more money, Columbia MBA, and all, but I was a lot less happy.   Of course, I would love a few more people to attend my talks, but then again, I might not be all that talented.   Maybe I am lucky to be in business at all!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Functional Caring Or Not

I have no idea who made the clothes I wear or grew the food I eat or packaged anything I have.  If these people get sick or have troubles do I really care?  Not really.  If my shirt says, "Made in Vietnam," I don't know anyone in Vietnam.  If the country is having economic upheavals, I pay little to no attention.  These are what are called "functional" relationships.  There was a time, even in my life, when we knew who prepared the things we eat.  I knew all the Mom and Pop stores in our Bronx neighborhood.  Longer ago then that, in small communities, people did know the farmer, who knew the baker, who knew the tailor and so on.  They cared about what happened to and with one another.  These are called "reciprocal" relationships.  I read that what comes out of these relationships is the Principle of Gratitude.  We are grateful to persons who do something for us.  I feel no gratitude to Vietnam for sewing my shirt.  We tend to be grateful for what an individual we know, or encounter does for us, but not for what a large comglomerate  is doing for us.  When people say they don't like some big organization it may be because of an individual event or simply because of some opinion or what they read.  When I go to the hospital to visit someone and pray with them, they are grateful.  It is the one on one encounter.  One encounter in love and concern, a gentle smile, a sense of humor, can counter attitudes of a functional nature.  The reciprocal always trumps the functional.  Now if I met the woman who made my shirt, I might break out in gratitude!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Reap What You Sow

I tend to take my hat off when I am addressing a female, and often a male.  This is how I was taught.  I have had surprising responses when I travel.  I was in a bus terminal and asked the agent, after I took off my hat, if I had the right bus line brochure for where I wanted to go in Denver.  She said yes and then asked me if I wanted her to show me how to read the brochure.  I said yes, and she was very helpful with her yellow marker.  She reminded me to get a transfer when I reached Denver.  I went on a bus for the first time to Denver.  I changed buses and did fine.  Saving gas and following Laudato Si, the Pope's encyclical.  Left me car in the garage.  Polite is nice.  Women seem to like it.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Change Hearts

The Pope's focus on the environment has an underlying purpose which is very much in keeping with the purpose of religion.  The Pope wants to change hearts, not just the environment.  He links climate issues with the suffering of the poor.  He wants people to change the way they do things because of compassion for the poor.  Many people give money to charity to support the poor, because they care for the poor.  The Pope has asked for more of a change of heart.  He wants us to care enough so that we change our lifestyle.  It is one thing to give money.  It is another thing to leave your car in the garage.  The same goes for corporate business.  There is a lot of money to be made, for some, a few, in the way we do business that involves energy.  The Pope wants the Directors and business leaders of such companies to change their hearts because of a compassion for those who cannot even afford their products.  It will be a hard cell.  So was the Gospel, and still is.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Credal Insight

Now and again in my reading I get a profound and new insight into one of my Catholic creed beliefs. It never comes from someone defending the superiority of the Catholic Church.  It never comes from someone who is teaching catechism.  The new insight is the "Aha" moment for me.  It is the same words of the creed but the meaning is much deeper.  This shows me that there is nothing wrong with my creeds.  It is that they have not been taught in any sense of their fulness.  Where the teaching is shallow, it is often due to a mistranslation of original texts into English.  The translation was political.  The "authority" had already decided what Jesus, Moses, or some prophet must have meant, or what some wisdom poem must have meant, and translate the original texts or the most ancient text into whatever will support their "opinion."  Once you discover writers living "on the edge" they will lead you to other writers and more insights.  If your religion does not stimulate and excite you, then you have not found the right teachers.  Then again, the pupil might not be ready.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Starting Place

People ask me why I am still a Catholic.  I like to think of my church as my starting place in the spiritual journey to who I call God.  Everyone has a starting point.  It is usually given to us when we are young or discovered by us when we are finally open to the search for deep meaning and purpose in our life.  But you don't want to stay where you start.  It would be like staying in the first grade.  The spiritual start is usually about "believing" something as the truth.  We like it if our initial belief is the whole truth and no one else has anything unless they believe what we believe.  There may be some ritual/worship early on as part of the teaching.  None of this is about transformation or the sacrifice necessary to make the world a more holistic place.  In my case, I believed in Jesus as God and worshiped him.  I did not follow him.  I did not ponder the New Testament Gospels that give me the meaning of his life for me.   I was told how to get to heaven.  Obey rules and avoid breaking commandments.  All other religions were not worth the time.  They were hopelessly wrong.  My Catholicism has moved on into something much more contemplative and interfaith.  I seek wisdom wherever I can find it, including pondering what the sayings of Jesus mean for me to do.  Not believe, but do.  I am still a Catholic but not a first grade one.  The Pope's encyclical on environment is about doing.  Most of us would rather keep our toys and stay with "belief" and worship.  I spend less time worrying about creeds and more time struggling to live as Jesus taught me.  The Borgias, the Renaissance Popes, believed but did not follow Jesus.  The reformation was a about creeds, and so we went on killing one another.  I suspect the Sunnis and Shiites are having the same inability to grow up in their faith.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Six Thomas Jeffersons

I was having a bad day.  Nothing was all that wrong, but I was in one of my moods where nothing was right.  I was begrudgingly helpful.  In the afternoon I was asked to go on an emergency call to anoint a dying woman.  Drop my agenda and go off.  OK.  I get to the nursing home and the daughter of the dying woman asked if we could wait for her husband to arrive.  So much for an emergency.  It was just one of those days.  I sat down and said that since it was not such an emergency I would do some work.  I ignored the daughter and did some cell phone stuff.  Then I was hit with a bout of niceness.  It did not come from me.  I began to talk to the daughter and ask about her dying mother.  The mother was 97 and with all mental faculties until yesterday.  She even played bridge.  Nice chat.  Then the husband came in.  We greeted one another in my miracle nice mood and got on with the sacrament.  I chatted with them afterwards, and said that if the mother woke up, to tell me, because I needed two miracles to become a saint.  On the way out, the husband asked if he could make a contribution.  I said sure thinking it was for the church.  Not for greedy me.  He took out six Thomas Jeffersons and handed them to me.  "This is for you father," he said.  Good grief!  Sometimes it pays to be nice.  I was flat broke from my New York visit.  God is good, even to rotten priests.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Laudato Si

Why is corporate American, big donors to political causes and the politicians they support so upset by the Pope's stance on Global Warming? I don't mean why do they disagree.  People disagree with the Pope on other things, but don't get all upset about it.  They think the pope is wrong on some other issue but otherwise get on with their lives.  Lots of other issues simply won't affect your life all that much and you get on with your decisions and think yourself fine in the church or outside it.  But global warming has gotten people heated up.  I think it is because it affects their money.  Some people simply worship money and want plenty more than they need.  At a certain point in your life as you age you move beyond birth control issues for yourself.  You never seem to move beyond concerns for money.  Any stance that says you have the money and should spend it to alleviate global warming makes lots of people upset.  Don't mess with their gods.  You might disagree with who causes global warming, but the pope's stance focuses on the fact that such warming affects the poor adversely, and that should be the concern of those who have access to funds (business and government) to do something about it.  It is possible to be rich and be a good person, or good Catholic for that matter, but the pope has added an extra box to check if you measure up.  Many people like to think that the poor make their own poverty by decisions they make.  The pope does not think that global warming was their decision.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Lightly Populated

When I was a boy I got the idea that only Catholic girls were going to heaven, and they had to be good ones at that.  Catholic boys had no chance.  We were full of lust and mischief.  Protestants had no chance.  They were heretics.  As for all the unbaptized, they were automatically out too.  In time I realized that there are guy saints, but they pretty much had to be virgins.  Marriage would doom you.  Pretty grim.  I don't know why I kept being a Catholic since I had no chance.  Frequent confession gave m the illusion that I would be the exception.  Then lust and mischief would come along and I was again on the outs.  For a while I just gave up.  If I was going to burn anyway, sin boldly and often.  It was actually an unfulling life that brought me to the Truth.  God loves me and wants not to judge or condemn me.  God wants me to be all God made me to be, with my imperfections.  In transformation I still have faults.  They keep me humble, but are way less messy in practice than they once were.  And I met some really nice Protestants, Jews, and peoples of other paths or no belief in my God.  I guess heaven is a lot bigger than I thought when I was young.  I will get to see Helen there in heaven.  She was a good Catholic girl who lived across the courtyard from me in the Bronx apartments.  She was Irish with red hair.  We were young, before lust.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Catholics have a Valentine's Day that is not February 14.  It is June 12.  It is when we get to celebrate how much God loves us no matter what we do.  It is called the "Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus."  To non-Catholics it can look kind of weird, I know.  The image is the heart sticking out of Jesus' chest.  That may be a bit over the top, but does not take away from being God's Valentine to us.  Some February 14 Valentine cards are quite weird too.  Anyhow, I am a priest and share with widows, widowers, and single people who might have no special other, that Valentine's day is not so uplifting for us.  Cobwebs in the mailbox so to speak.  So for me, June 12 is a big deal reminder that God never gives up on me even when I am messed up in behavior or action or hard of heart.  God is always loving and never abandons me  The feast day was developed because some really weird people in 17th century France said that God is quite angry and not many people are going to get to heaven.  Gruesome.  And not scriptural or dogmatic.  But that negativity seemed to win the day in many places.  The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the medicine to cure that sick idea.  I need to try and be that kind of a heart in my daily life when people are acting badly around and with me.  Then I will be a sacred heart rather than an angry, resentful and fearful heart.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Anne Frank

June 12 was her birthday.  Anne Frank was the Jewish girl who was hidden from the Nazis for two years.  Eventually, they found her and she died in a concentration camp from typhoid in 1945.  She is know for her diary, "The Diary of Anne Frank."  It is quite uplifting.  In spite of all the fear, and death around her, the dreaded Nazi regime, Anne wanted to maintain the virtues in herself that would contribute to a better world someday.    Wow!  I have a bad day or a stretch of messy stuff in my life, and virtue for a better world flies out the window.  These are the times when I get resentful, fearful, and self-pitying.  That is for starters.  Anne was just a kid, but a graced kid who shows me how to "detach" or as we sometimes say in sports, "suck it up."  She could not change the Nazis or her present situation in a "secret annex" but she could change her attitude.  Maybe she was grateful for life, for being Jewish, for a God who loves her.  You think?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Spiritual Recovery

One way that I look at religion is as a spiritual recovery from a lot of mediocre to bad behavior.  It is a recovery from apathy to compassion, from ignorance to open encounter, and from fear to love.  AA is a spiritual recovery program.  A lot of outsiders and some AA people think that it is all about not drinking or drugging or whatever the addictive stuff is.  AA is really about learning how to live without the stuff you used to ingest.  It is called "sobriety."  Sobriety is a lot more than not drinking.  Religion is a lot more than going to church, which is like going to a meeting.  It is a lot more than avoiding bad behavior.  It is about learning good behavior through a connection to a spiritual force that is not you.  It is more than believing this spiritual power exists.  It is taking time to encounter it within yourself and than within others.  Sobriety is a lot harder than abstinence.  I meet people who abstain from things, but many of them are quite miserable and not much fun to be around.  For me, prayer is the key to a sober way of life.  I must have been into spiritual sobriety yesterday, because people seemed to enjoy being around me.  Working on today.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Falling In Love

For whom would you dress up?  For whom would you like to look your best?  God? Not really.  Most of us have at best a relationship with God that is like one we might have with a loving Dad.  We know that Dad loves us, but we don't much care about how we look around Dad.  We don't dress up for Dad.  We never fell in love with Dad.  We never fell in love with God.  When you fall in love, how you look, what you wear makes a difference.  Many people find a Higher Power that keeps them out of hell.  Life is not as bad as it once was.  But they don't fall in love with the HP.  They maintain sobriety.  Heaven for all of us, I think, is an experience of falling in love with whoever you call God.  It changes you.  Even St. Francis ofAssisi, who was not into clothes, changed what he wore and how he lived when he fell in love with his God.  I am fairly good at spiritual maintenance.  I am rarely at the falling in love place.  Oops! I see a food smudge on my shirt.  I think I will change the shirt.  I will do it for God if not for anyone else.  If what I wear can help me to focus on God, with GRATITUDE, then it is a good thing.  Just showing up is good, but there is so much more to transformation.  It can be the little things that  help move us to the next level.  If you are a church goer, think about that the next time you are going to church.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Looking Back

I may not be all that I could be.  I may not have fulfilled all my potential, but I am not the person I used to be.  I like looking back on my life when I find myself wallowing in the present, beating myself up for not doing or being "more."  Be good to yourself.  You have grown some and this is not to be discounted by useless guilt feelings.  I don't do a lot of the dumb things or selfish things that I used to do.  No one is perfect.  Only a wounded or exhaulted ego expects or dreams of that.  I have today to be the better me.  Gratitude is an attitude pick me up!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Newcomer

While on my Jubilee weekend at Fordham University, many of us stayed at a dorm on campus.  It was the first time at this new dorm for all of us.  We were what you might call "newcomers" to the dorm.  The dorm had no heat but did have a cool air blower on all the time.  It was rainy and cool outside.  This put the Jesuits on my resentment list.  But this was minor.  The big mishap came on Sunday morning when the first event did not begin until after 10:30 AM.  Where would we go for coffee.  Nothing was open!  Behold, this was not so, but most of us did not know it.  Right next to the dorm, but in a direction no one went, was a small coffee shop with free coffee and treats for us.  It had been there all weekend, but no one informed us.  This is one of those instances that remind me of how we overlook the newcomer because everything is so familiar to us who go somewhere all the time.  It could be a church, a meeting, a club, or a regular event of some kind.  We forget that there might be someone new in our midst.  The coffee shop was right there, if you will, but for us who were not looking "right there" we knew nothing.  May the Jesuits be rightly punished by God.  Oh, I forgot.  Forgiveness and tolerance are to be practiced by us.

Monday, June 15, 2015

A gem

I arrived at the Italian restaurant on East 62nd Street early.  It turned out to be food to die for in New York.  Being early I decided to go see some brownstones nearby.  Suddenly, I cam upon a gem of a neighborhood Catholic church.  The doors were open.  I went in.  One other person was there, praying in this quiet place, Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church.  This is what the church can do.  Provide places of quiet respite with beautiful art for people to go and find/be with God in peace and quiet.  On the way out I saw a sign asking me to sign a petition that the church not be closed.  It is on valuable property.  If sold, lots of money can go elsewhere from the proceeds.  A Fordham alum who lives nearby says that the church has a congregation that does not live in the area but comes to church there and maintains it.  There is an Irish pastor.  No debt.  Why not let this church be a witness in this neighborhood, of the presence of religious art that points to the Holy in our midst?  Oh!  St. Patrick's cathedral is being redone to the tune of a lot of money.  It is my favorite church of all, but I am always for the little guy, the small parish almost hidden on East 62nd Street.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


The public transit in New York City is called the MTA.  When I got off the plane, a native of New York, I had fears about being murdered in some area of the city that I went to by mistake, lost and confused.  I thought, "We must deal with fear!"  Or at least take a stab at it.  So I found an agent with a red coat at the LaGuardia Airport Welcome Center, which was pointed out by a security guard.  I was helped to buy a Metro Card.  I deposited $20.00.  The agent told me where to find the Q70 Bus which was supposed to take me to a subway which would take me to Manhattan to transfer to another subway.  With thoughts of "Uber" limo service  dancing in my head, I chose to try the bus.  There is good signage.  I could not figure out how to put the metro ticket into the ticket machine, but the bus driver politely did it for me.  At the train stop, the only stop for this bus once it leaves the airport, I followed other people with luggage into the bowels of the subway.  I read the map.  I asked questions.  I was not murdered.  People were nice.  I got on an E train for Manhattan and took it to 7th Avenue.  A computer sign inside the air-conditioned subway car told me it was 7th Avenue.  I got off and followed signs to the D and B trains that go uptown.  I went one stop.  Voila!  I was a block from the church.  It cost me $2.75.  The President of the Paulists gave me the directions and I followed them.  My New York genes were activated.  I took public transport all around town for my week there.  I am no longer fearful.  I can do New York.  I am lining up some work for there next year when it is warm which was not the first week in June this time around.  

Saturday, June 13, 2015


I am now a Golden Jubilee Ram at Fordham University.  It was a wonderful weekend.  I wore my black suit and collar both evenings for the more formal dinner occasions.  My classmates were very supportive and proud of me for being a priest, as I of them for all that they had done and many still do.  We did not spend a lot of time going over crazy stuff from years ago when we were young.  We were more interested in the journey since then.  I learned a lot about how Fordham impacted upon their lives over these fifty years.  And I was in New York City which brought out my New York genes.  The best times for me were when I could talk quietly to friends on Sunday morning as we were winding down from the big group affairs.  It was a chance to see what fascinating lives and turns we have taken.  But always, there was that Jesuit sense of making the world a better place, of questioning what people say is true and challenging old ways of doing things.  No wonder I don't fit in so well in the institutional church!

Friday, June 12, 2015


Tolerance is OK to get one through a meeting or passing scene.  It is not much of a way to focus one's way of life.  When I am tolerant, I might avoid unpleasantness, but I also avoid any encounter with the "other."  I don't have to change or be challenged in my way of seeing things.  My first encounter with gay people was seeing the "Gay Pride Parade," in San Francisco many years ago.  I do not recall meeting anyone who I knew to be gay when I was growing up.  I was obtuse I guess.  The initial parades were kind of over the top as gay and lesbian people were expressing themselves publicly for the first time.  Clothes were lacking, and costumes were weird to me.  I got as far as "tolerance."  I did not actually meet a gay person, actually meet and talk with anyone.  They were weird from my distance.  As the years of my priesthood wore on, I did meet many gay and lesbian people.  My experience of encounter changed my opinion.  My opinion had been based upon no experience outside of a parade that happened in San Francisco each Spring.  Tolerance did not challenge or change me.  I now have compassion and understanding.  I have friends who happen to be gay.  To me their sexual orientation is simply a part of the larger person.  It does not define them.  Tolerance defines in a more narrow sense.

Thursday, June 11, 2015


I love this one from Mother Teresa back in 1994.  She says that the idea of peace for most people is that we don't bother one another.  "Just leave me in peace" usually means, go away and don't bother me.  This is what might be called the "World's Peace."  Mother Teresa said that there is another kind of peace, the "Peace of the Heart."  This is the peace that comes with loving, with doing good for others even when it might hurt us who try to love from the heart.  One peace is a bit self-centered, as a solution to our misery.  "Leave me alone."  "Don't bother me."  I know this peace quite well.  It is a peace that might actually harm others, by avoiding them.  "Blessed are the Peacemakers" does not mean doing nothing, but doing good.  It requires compassion for the suffering of another, as well as the humility to accept that the good I try to do might meet with no success or change anything.  Well, it will change me for the better.  That is a good thing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


I am not saying that my  church needs to change its teaching on marriage, but it might need to change its approach to how it speaks about marriage to those who disagree.  Telling people they are wrong goes nowhere.  That is not a teaching methodology.  Telling people that the present definition has been around forever won't sway anyone.  We believed the world was flat.  Then we believed that the sun revolved around the earth.  Change for my church in one area, such as cosmology, meant that other things connected to old ways would fall too.  People's experience is beginning to vary from church proofs about the definition of marriage.  The church says that a child needs a father and mother, as in man and woman.  People's experience is that this is not necessarily so.  In the postmodern world people are going more with their experience and less with authoritative pronouncements.  I believe that my church needs to address experience if the church hopes to get people to listen.  When the Reformation came, we at first ignored it and then denounced it.  We did not dialogue with this profound shift in the way people thought.  Everyone took sides, became entrenched, and the split is still with us.  

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Grace Again

I met a young woman who has a five year old boy.  The Mom seemed like a good Mom.  She found out that she was pregnant when she was homeless, unemployed, and putting bad things in her body.  There was no husband around either.  She was rather young at the time.   Lots of solid reasons for an abortion?  Yet she never went in that direction.  She had been a selfish thief, and yet when she found out she was pregnant something else took over.  I call it Grace.  Against overwhelming odds, Grace can happen.  It is a spiritual power, unearned, but always surprising in its power and presence. Today, this woman is free of all the mess in her life.  I like hanging around people like this.  I hope Grace will rub off onto me.

Monday, June 8, 2015

No Cash

My week in New York City is my attempt to enter the present age when no one wants money, as in cash.  The MTA (Metro Transit Authority) wants me to buy a card with my cash or credit card and then use this computerized card to go where I will.  The limo services want me to sign up ahead of time, e.g. Uber, so that they just charge my card for the ride and send me a receipt.  You want a map? Go on the computer and find a map of where the buses go and where the trails are in Central Park.  The Big Apple is reminding me that the City of my birth and school years has changed.  It is I who have been left behind.  Maybe this is why I like my summer in the monastery?  it is why I like old friends.  New York was full of them this week.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Look Back

If you find yourself being angry or upset about some good thing you are doing at the moment, you might look back and see what you did just before this moody fit.  That is where the anger, frustration and whining began.  Sometimes we yell at someone in the present or decide not to do some basic good action that benefits others, because we failed to connect our anger with its correct event.  Example:  I get moody about doing some religious service.  I think I have no time for this or it is a waste of time.  I might say something to those present that is off-putting or even offensive.  Yet, what I am really upset about is that I could not get my email to function on my dumb computer just before I had to leave this "problem" to go do the religious service.   Of course, if you are not a whining, resentful, and self-imploded person, you don't have this problem.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Proof For Spirit

I met a woman recently who came across to me as a very nice and together person.  I felt comfortable in her presence.  Then she told me about her life as a younger woman.  She was kind of crazy and wild years ago and had the anecdotes to make for a vivid picture.  Then she spoke of some spiritual something that seemed to help change the course of her life.  I am a believer, but if I were not I think her story would at least get me to thinking.  She was crazy and wild and now she is sane and a useful member of society.  She felt that she did not do this on her own will power.  My church could learn form her.  We try to convince people of God by philosophical and theological arguments or put fear into you or debate with you.  There are people who tell me how important God is to them, but they rarely have stories of years of debauchery.  Young people all committed to God and church generally had uneventful lives beforehand, if not boring ones to a listener.  But real change, that might make people stop and think.  We need more of that in my church.  Peter the Apostle was like that, a real mess.  Then things changed.  I have aways been held attentive by his story.  I relate to mess in a spiritual journey.  Must be something about me.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Relate OR Separate

We just celebrated Trinity Sunday a few days ago in my church.  I used my volunteer experience in a big 10K race as an example of becoming "relational."  God is relational.  That is the Three in One idea.  As a volunteer at the Memorial Day race, I related to all the runners.  I cared about how they were doing.  I tried to keep my part of the course safe for them.  I watched for anyone stumbling.  I felt connected with the runners regardless of who they were or how they looked.  When I run I compete.  It is all so self-focused.  If I separate myself from others I am more likely to notice differences in ethnicity and language.  But when I am of service I feel connected.  The differences seem to disappear.  This is the benefit to me of being of service, helping another person.  And I seem to feel better about myself.  When I compete I get into the "coulda" and "shoulda" done better.  When I am of service I seem to do just fine.  God is at work when my ego takes a break.    

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Irish Vote

One Vatican hierarch said that the Irish vote on gay couples was "a defeat for humanity."  Meanwhile, another group of prelates, theologians and such met to talk about a "theology of love" to replace the "theology of the body" that JPII so loved.  I think that this synod on the family next fall could be quite interesting.  I keep reading the various responses to the Irish vote.  A lot of conservative Catholics in this country identify with their Irish ancestry, and proudly so.  This is going to be a reality check.  The Catholic young adults of Ireland came back to the sod from other countries to vote on this issue.  These are the people the Church hoped to evangelize.  Maybe not.  What is the future of such a church in Ireland, or anywhere for that matter?  Time will tell.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Course Marshall

I was a course marshall for a town footrace/walk, that had about 50,000 entrants.  My job was minimal.  I was to work at one intersection to make sure that no cars tried to get through while the race was on.  We had barricades as well.  The weather was good for running and marshaling.  At one point during the morning, I realized that I was doing something that benefitted almost 50,000 people.  I never benefit this many people in anything I do.  About ten people will read this blog and maybe half will benefit.  I am small potatoes in the benefit world.  Until the race I marshaled.  It was my first time to volunteer to be of some use in this race.  I have either run it or been out of town for it in all the years I have lived in Boulder.  I think I did a good deed and now ten of you know it.  When you volunteer you never know how many will benefit.  You can only say yes and show up.  Oh, and a few people thanked me as they ran by.  I told them if they can still talk at that point in the race, they are not running hard enough.  I am still al little bad.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Flesh And Bones

A local bishop is talking about when children should receive Confirmation and how that relates to Holy Communion.  This is an internal matter of my church, as is who and how our liturgical services are done.  This is only one part of what Church is supposed to be.  Many bishops focus most of their remarks on this.  If they get outside of these issues it is usually about sex.  I call it the bones of the church. The Pope is trying to put some flesh upon this body by talking about outside issues that affect everyone.  These are ecological and economic.  People who are not at all upset about liturgy and sacrament edicts get quite upset about the Pope and his "flesh" agenda.  Why?  We have no say about internal matters and/or they don't affect us much, unless we are involved in the specific internal issue.  We all are involved in ecology and economic issues as the Pope presents them.  We don't want to change.  Plus, we have very specific opinions about them.  The Pope is hitting on the sensitive issues of money and lifestyle.  A balanced church needs to be involved in both flesh and bones to be a sustainable body.  This is the church at its best.  It is OK to disagree with the Pope, but to say that the church should be silent on these "flesh" issues, is to say it should not be church.  That is not your call.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Brown Bread

Well, I tossed my beloved, tasty white bread and ate a piece of wheat toast.  I expected the bread would be tasteless.  Wrong.  It was better than I thought.  Someone put two pieces of wheat bread on my desk with the label of stuff in the bread.  It is made by a local bakery store rather than the supermarket.  I am not sure why people want me to eat wheat that has no white flower in it.  Anyway, change has to begin somewhere, so this day it began for me in the bread category.  Next up is cheese. Is this going to make me holier?  I will let you know if there is any improvement as the wheat eating goes on.  The monastery has lots of homemade wheat bread too.  But their white is to die for!  OOPS!  Backsliding in thought already.