Sunday, July 31, 2016


I used to say that I have a God of my understanding.  This really became a God of my convenience.  The God of my understanding was convenient for where I was at in my spiritual journey.  Then I began to read the professional prayer people, the mystics.  I, being an amateur at prayer, was surprised that they all abandoned the idea of understanding or knowing God.  They seemed to agree that God cannot be known, but that God can be loved.  The God that I thought I knew, was really Spirituality 101.  OK.  It was a good place to start.  And convenient.  This God had a home or place, heaven.  I put God in a God-box.  Outside the box was not God.  If God had a special place then I could imagine that place, call upon God to come to me, and then give my what I want.  When things worked out according to my plan, I was all for God.  Doubts came when I thought God was absent, ignoring me, or simply not fulfilling my wish list.  My love meter went up or down depending on results of prayer.  It really was all about me.  I used the word, "love" but I have come to see that it was shallow love, with no self-surrender on my part.  The mystics say that we can love the real God, who dwells within and around us always.  The road to this love is letting go of self, surrender to  the God agenda, whatever that is.  The more I abandon myself, the more I will have a love relationship.  No wonder I prefer the God of my understanding.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

A Part

Sometimes I am a part of something, and sometimes I am simply apart.  When I get up in the morning I have some silence and solitude, apart from the outside world and my inside parade of thoughts.  This meditation time is for getting connected with my interior, spiritual self.  I want to be together, all my parts one.  Then I can go forth and participate, be part of the day, with people and situations, with compassion, and listening.  A member of a team, participates, as in soccer and baseball, and business groups.  When I do singular things, like run, I do not participate.  I am alone.  Even with a group, I am way behind.  No one is waiting for me to catch up.  Now if I don't get into that morning mediation, I enter into the day "apart" from everything.  I isolate.  I have low levels of compassion and fail to listen adequately.  I am all about me, not a team player.  I want to contribute to a world larger than me, be a part of that world.  Isolation is a slippery slope.

Friday, July 29, 2016


Many people dismiss the idea of "contact with God."  They diminish God to thoughts of dogma, or joining a religion.  They judge dogma and religion as rather useless and problematic.  But God existed before dogma and religion.  God is about human freedom, not restrictions.  Specifically, God is about interior freedom, in which we open ourselves to expand our horizons, our potential to be fully human.  This is God's call to each one of us and we need to be awake to hear and respond.  To do this we need a prayer of listening and openness, not so much words and rituals.  The prayer of listening, meditation is all about surrendering self, the self that is busy with accomplishments, or avoiding hassles, allying fears.  Our potential as humans is boundless, but first we must take some time out each day to stop focusing on ourselves or others as it relates to our limited agenda.  Helicopter Moms, stop managing the world around you for a few minutes each day.  If you are living in a care or assisted living facility and think that time is limited, interior prayer can remind you that life is limitless.  In the external world we can be subject to more or fewer rules depending on how totalitarian the system.  But the interior life is one between you and God that no one can touch.  Access it and you may become a witness to others of our human potential, to finding who we truly are.

Thursday, July 28, 2016


I have no experience with drugs or pills.  They never really appealed to me.  An occasional this or that when I was younger just did not do much for me.  So when someone comes to me now and says that they are having a problem with drugs, I do not assume that they want to stop.  So I first ask them if they want to stop.  I have found out that often enough they do not really want to stop.  They want to stop suffering consequences.  They would prefer their drugs with no loss of health, job, spouse, reputation, or finances.  I am the killjoy priest.  I tell them my opinion.  Stop, and find other people who have stopped and stayed stopped.  If they counter with "there is nothing the matter with drugs," I ask them why their life is falling apart?  I am not here to judge and condemn.  I do point out that for this person, there are consequences.  It is they who said they were having a "problem."  I am a big believer in abstinence.  Talk about the narrow road!  If you are having a problem with something, and your attempt to manage the problem is not bearing good results, then maybe your problem cannot be managed, at least by you.  Most people I meet don't care for abstinence.  I seem to have the minority opinion.  I certainly cannot make a living at it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


I used to like to drink alcohol.  I enjoyed wine with dinner, beer almost anytime, and sipping Glen Livet and Chivas Regal scotch.  I liked Black Russians occasionally.  One evening, I was at the home of some friends having dinner.  I recall I was suffering some of the effects of shingles.  I drank Chivas, wine with dinner, and something after dinner.  I good dinner with friends, and no shingles discomfort.  The next morning, I woke up and decided I did not want to drink anymore.  That was a pretty drastic idea.  I recall having no such plans the evening before.  But like any drastic decision, one ought not go it alone if possible.  So I thought to myself, is there anyone else who makes such decisions, I being a rookie at this?  Sure enough there were such people around.  I found them.  And there was no internet at that time.  I wasn't interested in meeting other non-drinking rookies.  I mean, what did they know?  I listened to the pros.  An added benefit was that some of these longtime nondrinkers came from walks of life, of which I had no experience.  Who cares!  They were content.  Plus, they seemed to want to be helpful, to share wisdom.  I wanted wisdom.  So, I advise you, if you want to change something in your life, don't try and do it alone.  Find people, a group, who have figured out how to change and stay changed.  I want to run for exercise.  But I run with a group when I can.  Alone, I come up with excuses to not run or exercise at all.  On my own I lack fortitude.  If you want to meditate, find meditators.  Find a group.  False pride goeth before the fall.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Wandering To Our Center

I think I am where God wants me to be, a Paulist priest, living my summers in a Trappist Monastery. How I got here was Grace.  Some would call it happenstance.  The point is that we can wander around in one career, work, relationship, or other for awhile, all the time moving to where God wants us, often through what seems like failure, mishap, or plain bad luck.  God is always at work.  In my case, I got hired by a Chicago corporation.  So I moved to Chicago.  The Paulists had a church around the corner from my office.  I knew nothing about the Paulist Fathers.  I was not looking for them.  They were just in the neighborhood.  I liked their short, to the point sermons.  Seemed like nice guys. Then I moved to another corporation in San Francisco.  The Paulists had a church near my office.  Thinking about being a priest, I eventually stopped in to talk to them.  I joined up.  As a priest, the Paulists asked me to go to work in our Boulder, Colorado parish.  There, I heard about a Catholic monk who would be talking with a Buddhist Roshi.  I decided to attend.  The monk was Thomas Keating, who was living at the Snowmass Trappist monastery.  I met Thomas, and that is how I eventually ended up here.  I was simply going to the next thing.  I only thought I was in control.  God was at work the whole time.  So don't worry if you think you are a bit lost.  God may very well have your back.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Cold War

I grew up in the Cold War, East versus West.  In grade school in the Bronx, we practiced drills, hiding under our desks, in case Russia send us a hydrogen bomb by air.  Whatever was going on in South America, was of no concern outside of geography class.  In my church this has all changed because today we have a Pope from Argentina.  He lives in the Vatican which is very concerned about protocol, business as usual, law, and the protection of the institution, The Roman Catholic Church.  This pope seems to have bought a Latin American focus to Rome. He is not uninterested in the above agenda, but he is interested in the Gospel, specifically what Jesus had to say about caring for the forgotten, the poor, the outsider, and those who do not seem to fit nicely into the legal structure of the church.  This goes beyond charity for him.  He calls for a change in structures of society.  It is a bit of a conflict, Pope and Vatican hierarchs, and maybe many North American bishops in general.  As in the Cold War, many people take sides, and their side is right while the other side is all wrong.  I pray for dialogue, compassion and openness.  These are all gifts of the Holy Spirit who is the one really running the church.  God is always coming into our lives in unexpected ways, not according to anyone's plans.  The Incarnation attests to that.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Oops! Forgot.

A friend asked me to send a mass card to someone.  He gave me all the information, address where to send the card, and what to write on the card, and what the relation of the deceased was to the person receiving the card.  As I began to fill out the mass card I realized my friend had left out one very important item.  I did not have the name of the deceased!  Don't we all have those situations where we forget one essential item?  I have gone to my gym with the intention to shower there after the workout and then go straight to work.  I bring all my "street" clothes.  After exercise I shower and as I dress, I realize I forgot my shoes, or forgot my pants.  It happens.  How could I be so stupid!  Yet, if I "forget" the essential part of my spiritual life, Prayer, I don't seem to mind or think myself stupid.  Better to be shoeless, than soulless.

Saturday, July 23, 2016


The Abbot of the monastery gave me this idea.  Our spiritual self is like a stove that has a fire in it to warm us.  When we are at a place of low energy, feeling down, and listless, that fire is but embers flickering.  They need attention.  Prayer is when the breath of Spirit blows on the embers and kindles them into a little flame.  Now we can add some fuel, and have that interior warmth that gives us peace and comfort.  What might that fuel be?  It could be more meditation, a book, talking to a friend, listening to, or looking at nature, and such things that feed our innards.  Abandon your spiritual center and the world will appear to be a cold place.

Friday, July 22, 2016


Today is Maureen's birthday.  I assumed that she was celebrating it in purgatory, if one celebrates at all in purgatory. I had been praying for her, since we are supposed to pray for the souls in purgatory.   But now I am not so sure as to her whereabouts.  In prayer, I contacted her Guardian Angel, who is in a Guardian Angel Retirement setting in heaven, with other angels who had a very stressful time with the last human being they had to guard.  My sister could be difficult even for Guardian Angels.  Anyhow, her retired angel told me, in prayer, that she had not seen Maureen or heard anything about Maureen in purgatory in recent purgatory time.  I am not sure how they measure time in purgatory, but more importantly, where is my sister!  Is she in transit?  To heaven?  Has God no standards?  I digress.  Her angel said that she would make inquiries with the Admittance Department in heaven to see if Maureen is now there fully enjoying Divine Love.  I know that the Pope said this was the Year of Mercy, but I did not think it applied to afterlife as well.  Maybe God is being especially Merciful this year.  If so, it would be a good time to die if you think you are on the cusp of eternal life and just need a Mercy shove to get into heavenly bliss.  If you do die and get into heaven will you please look for my sister.  If you see her, please tell her hi from her little brother, and to now pray for me.  In turn, I will stop telling Maureen stories.  Angel rumors have it that my Guardian Angel is looking for retirement too.  They just don't make angels like they used to.

Thursday, July 21, 2016


Jesus had some pretty good wisdom sayings.  One of them is, "Things are hidden from the wise and learned but revealed to the childlike."  What is that all about?  Tolstoy says that if you want to understand something of the spiritual world, then practice it.  Jesus told people to follow him, that is do what he does rather than sit around and ponder it like a professor or philosopher, who might think good thoughts and give good talks, but in fact do not practice what they preach/teach.  A child is one who follows the parent, and mimics what the parent does.  Of course, later the child may rebel, or try to find their 'Unique self," but by then they are not being childlike.  If you are merely thinking about meditation, or reading about it, you are becoming wise, but not transformed.  You have information, but not transformation.  We become loving by loving, not thinking about loving.  Some people think that being of service might be a good thing.  You never know until you try it. You read enough now of this blog.  Be childlike.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Come As You Are

A good attitude toward prayer is to come as you are to your God.  My God does not need me in special clothes, or dragging all my worthy good deeds to impress.  No.  I can come as a mess if that is the way I am at the moment.  Just come.  Then, instead of simply asking God to clear up the mess, do all the heavy lifting, while I remain helpless and forlorn, I ask God to give me the strength, some call it grace, to be rid of the character defects, faults, and bad habits, that made my mess in the first place. I try not to blame others for the mess.  They may have a part in it, but prayer is about changing me, not other people.  Finally, I try to just sit, be, and listen in silence for a few minutes.  The results of prayer of this type is that, though I came as I am, I did not leave as I came.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Some people think that a Trappist Monastery, where I stay each summer, is a place of asceticism and self-denial, with lots of fasting and little sleep.  That is all external stuff from before St. Benedict founded the Benedictines, of which the Trappist rule follows.  In the early church there were desert monks who generally lived alone and did a lot of bodily self-denial to deal with passions.  Benedict shifted this discipline from the body to the will, from externals to the interior.  True, we do not eat meat, but we have sufficient food.  The emphasis here is more on humility, obedience and learning to accommodate oneself with the community, with all its give and take.  One grows holy through learning to live with one another.  The emphasis was on balance and moderation.  It is a rule, a way of life, for ordinary human beings, like me.  I suffer differently here than in a big metropolis.  We all have suffering.  Here, we hope that it helps to transform us, rather than drive us crazy.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Our Needs

Why not pray each day for what we need instead of what we want.  Sometimes you might not be too sure where the line is drawn, but generally we know at least some of our needs.  I have wants, things that I would prefer or favor, but I don't absolutely have to have them.  I might like to have a new car, but I don't need a new car.  I find that often I spend my prayer requests on wants to go along with my plans.  "Please Lord, don't let it rain on my outing day."  Clear skies is not a need for me in this case.  It might be for the hay rancher.  He can pray for sun or rain depending, but weather is generally not a need for me.  My best waking prayers begin with gratitude.  Then I ask for needs.  I then might throw in some wants or preferences, but God and I know that these are not necessities.  Focusing on wants gives energy to my self-centeredness.  Wants are all about me, and sometimes they might get in the way of someone else's need.  I am still trying to figure out which category is "a parking space."  I treat it as a need.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Out Of Control

A person told me that their life was out of control.  Well, so is mine, and this can be a good thing.  My life used to be out of control. Period.  Finally, I decided that I had to do more than believe in God, pray to this God for momentary help to fix things, while I lived the illusion that I could steer my life back onto the wide road of self-will, just not at that moment.  I took a drastic step.  I surrendered control.  So now, on my good days, my life is out of "my" control, but it is not out of God's control.  This is a much narrower road than the broad highway of "my way."  Plus, I don't drive.  I am a passenger.  Prayer is when I fill up the tank and clean the windshield, and get into the passenger seat.  God steers.  Sometimes, I make plans as to where we are going.  But my plans may end up wanting to go one way and the road is going another.  I don't take over the control, on the good days.  When I take control, there is a wreak.  I don't want my life to be a wreak.  Been there, done that.  

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Silence As A Response

Why is it that silence is seen as a bad or wrong response to something?  I sometimes hear a person say, "I could not think of anything to say."  Maybe not thinking of something to say is a grace.  You were not supposed to say anything.  Your presence, maybe a touch, a caring look was enough.  Someone told me that if your words cannot improve on the silence, then don't say anything.  I try to keep my blogs somewhat short...not too many words.  Friends of my sister Maureen wish that I would say zero words and go away to a monastery to repent.  Well, I am at a monastery, repenting, but we have internet!

Friday, July 15, 2016


What do stars do?  They change.  First they are born, taking matter from here and there.  OK, I vast here and there.  Then they die.  Once a star is fully functioning, it begins to use up its energy.  It is letting go of itself.  It is dying.  Every star I can see in the sky is dying, giving up of itself, so that I can have this magnificent view, and see the face of God.  I am part of this same cosmos.  If I am going to be true to who and what I am, then I must let go.  Stop hoarding and trying for "More."  To be fully me in this creation, I must be letting go, dying to self, so that others can see the beauty that is me.  The miser, Mr. Scrooge, was a pretty ugly and mean guy when he was hoarding.  Then he became like a star, shining as light for all.  Be a star!  Or as they sang in the movie, "Frozen," "Let it go!"

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Face Of God

I like to look at the stars at 3:30 AM from the monastery election of 8,000 feet.  when I look at all these stars in the dark sky, I am looking at the face of God.  Everything in the sky looks still and silent, but this is not so.  All is energy and movement.  Even space is not just empty nothing.  God is not male or female, young or old, nor of any religion.  The night sky came long before any religion.  The night sky keeps me from boxing God into some image.  God is pretty big, the universe, and pretty small, in me.  And if God is in me, then God is in you.  So when I look at you, I can be looking at the face of God too.  God is Love, a verb.  So I had better shape up.  After my nap.  3:30 AM takes a lot out of me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


I rarely hear someone describe themselves as "lazy."  People might admit that they are selfish, prideful, judgmental and too sensitive.  They feel that they have been pretty honest.  I suspect that when I am lazy, I don't admit to it.  I simply give an excuse as to why I am acting the way that I am.  "I don't have time."  "It is not all that important."  "What mess?" "I don't do that work."  "I have to meditate." And so on.  We seem to attach a lot more shame to being lazy, than to a other character defects or shortcomings.  Some of us use the "depressed" card.  I find that one of the best ways to get out of myself and self-centeredness, is to do what is in front of me, or what I am tripping over on my way to accomplishing some ego-boasting task.  Gotta' go.  My room is looking a bit shabby.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


I do not put butter on my toast.  I put local honey on toast and in tea for that matter.  Local honey helps to ward off hay fever, and colds.  I am thankful to the bee.  Yet if the same bee were buzzing around in my "space" such as room, I would see it as an intruder, a foreign agent, something to be destroyed with a swatter or spray.  Same bee.  My attitude or reaction changes depending upon the context.  Do we not tend to make judgments based upon context, situation, or culture?  Same person but in different circumstances is judged and treated differently.  You are in your group of homogenized people.  This is why you like the group.  It is people just like you.  Then in walks someone who looks different, such as in skin color.  They are in your space, your neighborhood.  You make a judgment and then treat them a certain way.  They could come into your neighborhood church!  Do you welcome them or avoid them?  Now the exact same person is doing checkout at your grocery store.  The line is short, so you go to that checkout person.  Color of skin makes no difference.  You even thank them maybe for being helpful, like I thank the bee for my honey.  But don't come into my neighborhood space, bee.  I will kill you or call pest control.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Shut Down

Well now it seems that my blog got shut down over some Facebook password change.  Now maybe that is why no one read the maureen vignette.  So I don't know if my readers are sick of Maureen or else no one could get in there to read anything.  Help!  I am all confused.


One summer day when I was a little boy my big sister Maureen, took me to our local parish church in the Bronx.  She brought me up to the front of the church and over to the side of the altar where there was a statue of Mary.  I did not know anything about Mary at that point, but Maureen was about to teach me.
"Who is that person?" she asked me, as she pointed to the statue.  
"It is no one," I answered.  "It is a statue."
"You are such a bad Catholic boy," Maureen countered.  "This is Mary, your Mother."
"I already have a Mommy," I said.
"Mary is your Mother in heaven," Maureen countered.  "She watches over you at all times.  Wherever you are she is too."
"You mean when I go to the toilet?" I asked, puzzled
"You are such a pagan.  I don't know why she would care about you!" Maureen said, exasperated. 
"Seems weird that Mary would be with me when I pee.  Mommy tells me to close the door."
"Shush!" said Maureen.  "Don't say the p word in church.  You will surely burn.  You need Mary's help.  Ugg!  Why do I bother."  
So we left church, my sister shaking her head and me a pagan Catholic.
Some years later, I found out more about Mary.  Beneath all the piety that had developed over the centuries, there was a deeper and more biblically challenging story.  Mary had said "Yes," to God's will.  It would change her life very much and make her life more difficult.  But it had a big payoff, as it will anytime we let go of our plans and open to God's plans.  Each day, I thank her for saying "Yes," and ask her prayers that I might say yes this day to whatever God might want in my life, no matter the difficulty or more likely the inconvenience.

Maureen Passe

I had a Maureen vinette in my Sunday blog yesterday and hardly anyone read it.  I mean hardly anyone!  So I must pay attention to the market, like a good MBA that I am.  The market seems to say that they have tired of Maureen stories.  I will retire her from the blogs.  Sad.  Did I read the market wrong?

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Help The Helper

Sometimes the best way to be helpful is to allow someone to assist you in whatever helpful task you are undertaking.  It can be hard to ask for help, but it is better to seek some help yourself lest you become resentful while you are doing your "good deed."  I have found it so.  My mother knew to ask my big sister, Maureen to help her to mind us kids.  We were all useless.  Unfortunately, Maureen had no one to ask who could help her.  I think that is why she became a witch.  Don't become a witch if you can help it.  When I tried, as a good priest, to do it all myself, I got resentful, angry, self-pitying, and exhausted, along with stressed.  If this is a good priest, then I would rather be a bad one.  Am I a bad one?

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Know It All

I don't think it is good form for someone to come up to me and say, "That is not how to do that," whatever it is that I am doing.  "Let me show you how to do that," is just as bad.  Two things happen, neither of which is productive.  First, I hate the person, not with a hateful hate, just a run of the mill, "you irritate me" hate.  Second, I never do it the way that person showed me, because, well,  the person irritates me.  I prefer to say, "I have found that doing this way, works for me."  This does not make the other person feel like a ninny, and allows their way of doing something to be in the realm of possibility.  No one is made to feel stupid.  I have found it so.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Top Down Change

Usually, when I hear someone say that a corporation or educational institution needs to change, the speaker means that the top people have to change or be replaced.  Change is never seen as something that happens with the office worker or low level manager or salesperson.  It is always "the top" that has to change.  But religious institutions are more like AA.  No matter who is at the top, unless the membership lives out the mission or purpose of the institution, nothing really changes.  If a religion is supposed to be more merciful, kinder, more accepting and inclusive, it is the membership who must live this out.  The top people really can only suggest, exhort, live what they say.  But inertia is pretty big.  I think that more change comes from a few in the rank and file who begin to act differently.  They influence those around them, even with initial resistance.  If you want change in whatever you feel you are part of, club, institution, society, community, begin with yourself.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Live It

Someone with a spiritual life of some depth said that "To preach the Gospel, means living it."  I feel depression coming on.  My job is to preach the gospel.  I am pretty good with words and stories, to make a point.  I don't blabber on for a long time.  People say nice things about my preaching.  My problem is that I cannot seem to live the Gospel in my own life.  But there is hope.  The writer I quoted above adds, "We are weak, sinful, and unimportant.  But we must try."  Now if you are any of those things, and I am all three, this can give us some hope that we are not just words without deeds or action.  We must try.  We will fail sometimes.  We are not God though in false pride I at times forget this.  Prayer is so that I might fail less often, but when I fail, grace will lift me up and I can go on to "try."  Again and again and again.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Changeling

One day my sister Maureen said to me, "Terry, you are a "Changeling."
"What is a changeling?" I asked
"It is where the devil changes babies in the hospital.  You know how when Mommy comes home from the hospital she has a baby?"
"Well, Mommy is good and loving so the hospital gave her a good baby.  But when no one was looking, the devil came along and changed the babies, took the good one and gave Mommy you."
'Where does the devil get the bad baby?" I asked
"Oh, lots of places. Heretics, Communists and Atheists all have bad babies."
"Well, where did the good baby go?" I asked
"Greg Carroll became the good baby.  I know his sister, and she says he always obeys because he loves his Mommy and his big sister."
"Well, I obey too, so I don't think I was switched."
"Yes, you obey Mommy if she will give you a treat.  And you only obey me to avoid being punished by my smothering you with a pillow in your sleep.  You don't obey because you love.  You only think of yourself.  You obey to get something for yourself or to avoid punishment."
Years later, I have days when I wonder if my sister Maureen was at times correct about why I do the right thing.  To get something for me, or to avoid some punishment is not "Love."  I am glad God loves me when God gets nothing back.  Running out of time to change!  One can only hope.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Freedom From Bondage

A friend who was taking care of an elderly parent, once said that "Freedom From Bondage," meant that you do something you should do, but you also want to do it.  I like that.  I took care of my parents when they were sick and dying.  It was a very important time in my life because I was doing something, caring for them, that I thought I should be doing, but I also wanted to do it.  By the grace of God, I stumbled into selflessness.  Life was not all about me or my plans.  For support, since I am weak, and tend to be whiny, I met with some people each week who kept me on track, and loved me so that I could continue to be "free from bondage to self."  Whenever there seemed to be a calamity, that was when serenity rose up to meet it.  Life can be quite full when I can get out of the way of "bondage to self."


I found out that over the weekend the number of people reading my blogs dropped a lot.  I read that where speaking cannot improve on silence, then it is better to stay silent.  So the public my be telling me something.  What?  It is time to go and live in a cave and be still and silent with no internet.  Anyone ant a computer?

Monday, July 4, 2016

Bad Thinking

I heard someone say that they don't practice bad behavior anymore, but they still practice bad thinking.  I agree.  Healing, transformation, and such begins on the outside for many people who have been in the bad behavior business.  You might find ways to stop bad behavior in order to stay out of jail, avoid divorce, poverty or unemployment.  You might do it simply because you are tired of acting the way you do and suffering consequences.  But the thinking does not change so easily.  There is thinking behind all that bad behavior.  You come to discover this after you change the outside.  Then you have isolated the inside, and it glares at you.  This is when we really need some spiritual program that will counter the thinking and urge to act out.  If you live with a former crazy person, support and urge them to work on their thinking, and feelings.  Craziness is not simply in what we do.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Promises

Spiritual paths all have promises.  This is what attracts people before they get much onto the path.  I find that dying to selfish preoccupations and rising to loving service of others will lead to the promises.  But you don't get there on your own willpower.  This is why you have to follow the instructions, which are all actions, not intellectual categories.  Mediation, for instance, in whatever path, has some suggested methods, and takes discipline.  All paths have instructions.  Self-centered people, false pride, narrow-minded, don't much care for instructions.  So they keep their misery, or sadness, looking down a path not taken.  Follow instructions and you will die to self and rise to service.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Action Before Belief

Continuing on with some of the theme of yesterday's blog, AA suggests that if you don't believe in this higher power stuff, then why not try the program.  Do the suggested steps with the help of someone, to the best of your ability at that time.  What might happen?  Sobriety.  A person who could not stop their addictive behavior in drink and lifestyle, begins to experience freedom from compulsion to addiction and self-centeredness.  Belief will follow.  They found a new power, call it what they will, or no name.  This new positive energy, re-creating this person, does not need a specific name to exist.  Call it "Anonymous" if you want.  This is action followed by belief.  It is in the Big Book.  I did not make it up.  Churches take note.  

Friday, July 1, 2016

Before Baptism

In Christian circles it seems that people get baptized and then are supposed to follow Christ.  The grace of the sacrament is supposed to help them to do this.  But what happens if these churches end up with a lot of baptized believers and sometimes worshippers, but not real followers of what Jesus said and did himself.  It seems he emphasized "follow," more than believe or worship.  So what if baptism came after someone had a period of time when they were taught, not doctrine, but what to do as followers of Jesus?  Several things would be discovered in this process.  One, they would realize how hard it is to become like Christ with all that selflessness, forgiveness, and mercy showed to some not so nice people.  Some would decide that this path is too narrow or steep for them and go elsewhere.  But just maybe, they would realize that without God, they cannot accomplish the lifestyle of a Christian.  They can choose Christ, but they cannot practice Christ, on their own power.  Their experience of failure would recognize their need for grace. Then Baptism would be seen as so much more precious as well as demanding.  How will anyone know how to follow Christ?  I guess that is what my lifestyle, and maybe yours, if you are baptized, is supposed to model.