Monday, October 31, 2016


Happy Halloween!  It is the one day a year when we put on obvious masks to hide our true identity.  All the other days of the year, the mask is not so obvious, but it is on nonetheless.  Why wear these masks.  I think that it might be because we think we lack power, control, security and esteem.  That is, if you really knew me, you would not like me.  I would lose leverage in my world.  I like my faith and my religion.  Someone does know who I am and still loves me.  This is God as I understand God.  I am always amazed when I reveal something embarrassing about myself, something that I see as really bad, and a friend accepts me.  Their attitude toward me, their love does not change.  They may even tell me something about themselves, maybe even the exact behavior as I just revealed.  I accept them.  We have compassion for the human condition because we suffer it.  Anyway, today you can be an obvious fake and get some treats.  Go to high end neighborhoods.  They might give you Godiver chocolate.


So why do so many Catholics think that abortion is wrong?  If they say it is because the fetus is a human person, this is spiritual kindergarden.  The spirituality behind anti-abortion goes much deeper than that.  Christian spirituality begins with Jesus, not biology.  What did he do?  He gave his life for others.  This is sacrificial.  The cross is not just jewelry around the neck.    Second, he was blameless.  His suffering, his sacrifice was blameless.  Like a rape victim, he did not do anything wrong, but violence was done to him, and he is willing to suffer the consequences for the sake of another.  Fourth, love is a decision.  Jesus did not wait around to feel love for the other or for all people.  This is the Christian path to transformation.  I think it is everyone's path to transformation.  I do know some Christians who wear crosses as jewelry, and are against abortion because of their opinions on biology and the status of the fetus being a human being.  But they would not enter into blameless suffering as a decision for another.  Bringing an unwanted pregnancy to birth is very counter-cultural today.  I suspect the cross has become counter-cultural as well.  St. Paul calls it a stumbling block, much like an unwanted, and even blameless pregnancy.  Now pre-birth humans that are killed/destroyed while still in the womb are much like Jesus.  They decide to love the mothers, though their death was blameless.  They are with God and praying for their mothers.  The miracle is that no matter how we are conceived, we are all lovers from conception.  Though daily life can harden us, transformation returns us to our original true self.  The cross says that it is no easy road.

Sunday, October 30, 2016


Why do I need rest, both physical and in prayer?  Someone pointed out to me that we need rest so that we can be ready to be of service, to be helpful, to be welcoming to the next person who God puts into my path.  Without rest, both sleep and meditation, I tend to not be so welcoming to others who come "unannounced." I am too busy.  They are bothersome.  I have plans and they are not part of my plans.  A better day begins with the night before when I go to bed early enough to get good sleep.  This is followed by some morning meditation.  If this is a regular habit, I can better deal with surprises that interrupt my routines.  I suppose if you have a partner, or children, you would need to negotiate some space for yourself.  Your partner, your significant other, your spouse, who used to be the love of your life, your best friend, is now an inconvenient interruption.  This is the signal that you might be a mess in need of rest.  I am single.  I chose the easier, softer way.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Restored To Sanity

I lack sanity.  Here is the episode.  I walked into the dining room of our San Francisco rectory.  I open the refrigerator.  The light is off.  My first thought is that the electricity is OK.  I need do nothing.  This is because I don't want to be bothered.  I look around.  The toaster does not work.  The Keurig coffee maker does not work.  Now I move into disaster mode.  All the food will go bad.  I will get sick.  I try to reboot electricity.  I fail.  Now I am worthless.  I am stupid.  Next, why doesn't someone who lives here all the time come and fix this so that I don't get sick?  Someone comes.  He is unaware of the problem.  Why is he unaware.  He should be more omniscient.  I storm out to go to meet people who will pray together.  At the prayer meting, the light goes on.  I confess to the group that I am whinny, an idiot, immature, insane, fearful and resentful.  No one disagrees.  I think I need new friends.  God heal me.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Pause Button

Being in a fit spiritual condition means, in part, that our pause button is working.  We are not perfect, nor need we to be on our spiritual growth.  That is false pride.  We are still flawed, but the pause button allows our flaws to be noticed by us, but not acted upon.  We hit the pause button, and thus do not activate our bad habits or weaknesses.  An example: someone does something that upsets you because you have drifted into "the world is all about me," or you are frightened about not having something work out according to your plans.  You are about to say or do something that will solve nothing, and make matters worse.  Your spiritual condition suddenly remembers the pause button.  You realize bad behavior on your part needs to be de-energized.  You have an inspiration to act in a much more positive and constructive way.  Feelings and thoughts simply arise.  The pause button frees us to choose not to act on every thought and feeling that we have.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

No God

I think that you can have a spiritual life even if you do not believe in a personal God separate from yourself.  I hear people say, "Find God and good things will happen."  It sounds as if God is a thing that you look for.  I think that spiritual experiences are in behavior that makes us better persons.  Like what?  Well, become more honest.  Accept others as they are instead of judging and gossiping.  Be come grateful instead of complaining.  Be compassionate for the sufferings of others.  Become more helpful and less self-imploded and fearful.  Ask a person of good behavior to walk with you on your spiritual journey, so that you are not so much self-directed.  Find people who are tolerant of your non-belief.  I have met some very good people of the behavior just mentioned, who don't believe in a personal God that they have had to go find.  If I want to become a chemist, I need to find chemists who know a lot more about chemistry than I do.  I find a lot of spiritual wisdom when I make the effort to look, search.  I don't find much wisdom when I sit around thinking about it in my head.  Non-belief is OK.  Isolation, not so much.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Prophetic Drink

A prophet is someone who identifies your behavior and tells you what will happen if you continue on your present course, but people don't listen because they see no problem or change "in the present moment."  In essence, the behavior of the moment has not yet reaped prophetic results.  The first drink for an alcoholic would be an example.  The first drink is "prophetic."  It is announcing, as much as a drink can announce, that this first drink is a bad idea.  It will lead to craving for more.  More drinking will lead to more drinking, and then disaster happens.  But the alcoholic does not listen because the first drink makes them feel good in the moment.  Now consider a good spiritual practice.  Meditation, prayer, is prophetic too.  Say what?  Well, it is telling you that if you continue on a daily practice, your life will change for the better.  You tend not to believe this because day one of this prayer seems to bring no great change, if any.  Keep at it and good things will happen.  For the recovering alcoholic, what if you spent as much time on spiritual matters as you did on drinking?  Wow!  That is a lot of prayer.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Not ON The Radar

A lot of young people don't even think about God.  It is not that they have lost interest or rejected God.  They never had an interest.  Clergy are not getting the memo on this one either.  We are like physicists talking about neutrinos.  The physicist is all excited about neutrinos and wants to explain it all.  But a lot of people, like me, are not interested in neutrinos.  We neither think about them or find them at all important in our daily living.  We don't care.  God and neutrinos are taking a big hit nowadays.  I find that I cannot begin talking about God with the idea of God's existence, as if that is a given.  I have to start out with someone's experience.  Too many clergy dismiss a person's experience, as less than important.  If you want me to be interested in neutrinos you had better start out with my experience of daily life, and then connect me with the importance of neutrinos.  See if the light goes on.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Looking Back

Some of the health issues that I now have, originate in bad habits, or unhealthy patterns of many years ago.  I look back and remember when I used to smoke, sunbathe, eat lots of sugar and drink.  When I first began any of those things they seemed to be pluses or at least harmless.  Having a nice summer tan, or better, a winter tan from vacation, made me look good.  Sunlight is a good thing, right?  Alcohol at parties and sport events made things more fun.  Sugar always tasted good in whatever form, except fruit.  It caught up with me.  Even bad habits, stopped long ago, seem to be having their effect.  I puff and pant when I run.  My dermatologist is always having to do something with my skin.  Now if bad habits have long term effects, what about good habits?  Maybe I might start a good habit, like a daily reflection/meditation time.  At first, maybe no seeming effect.  But over time, I suspect good habits will have lasting effects, just like bad ones.  Never too late to start a good habit, and drop a bad one.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Dirty Hands

The nuns always told us to wash our hands.  Dirty hands were unacceptable.  Why? Jesus did not mind dirty hands.  What were those first disciples doing when Jesus called them to "come follow me?"  They were cleaning their nets.  They had just finished handling dead fish.  Not only did they have dirty hands, but their working class dirty hands made them ritually defiled.  They were simply outside the law, kind of low life, or you might say working class trash, if you were an uppity temple priest.  Jesus did not say, "Wash your hands first and then come follow me."  He invited them to come as they were, imperfect and all.  So the next time some Catholic school teacher or Christian parent says dirty hands are unacceptable, just pull one of those WWJD (What would Jesus do).  Don't tell them I said this.  It will get me in hot water and wrath.  How you look is of little importance to Jesus.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Anti or Counter

It is one thing to be anti-culture and another to be counter-culture.  Someone who is anti does not want to have anything to do with the surrounding culture.  They generally would not read the local news or participate in local events.  They participate in their own world that does not depend in any way on the wider cultural world of sports, concerts, festivities and seasonal gatherings.  Consequently, they have very little influence on the larger cultural.  Counter-cultural people are ones who do participate but with their own set of values that might go counter to the prevailing mores of the larger world.  The more immature person thinks this means that they dress differently, or look a certain way, or act a certain way.  They have no influence on the larger world.  The young person who sits at the mall dressed in black, tattooed, unemployed, along with like people would be one example.  So what might be counter cultural that would make others pause and think?  At times, carry no cell phone.  Take the bus or train.  Read opinions that disagree with your own.  Eat meals as a family.  Avoid plastic.  Watch a sunrise or sunset.  Work in a community garden.  Give to the "undeserving" poor.  If you run a consumer business sell at lower prices than supply and demand would fetch.  Monasteries do this.  Periodically, have a day of fasting.  Become willing to suffer from aging or illness as an opportunity to witness to life on life's terms.  Don't drink or drug when everyone else is getting wasted.  If in a college dorm, go to bed earlier than others and get up earlier to have some quiet time, maybe going out to look at the stars before dawn.  Drink only as much caffeine so that were you to stop you would not get massive headaches.  Study without headphone music.  Practice a little silence and solitude each day.  Offer rides to people in your high end luxury car.  It will make their day.  Read poetry.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Nitch Parish

A nitch parish is one that offers itself as a product, a high end product.  It is for people who want to feel special, "better than," more advanced in some way.  This would be a parish that specializes in doing things a certain way that would appeal to but a few people.  It is a bit like selling a high end car, like a Rolls Royce.  There are a few people who want it and are willing to do what it takes to get it.  It makes them feel special, as if they have arrived.  It sets them apart.  Usually, this is a sub-group in a larger, more ordinary parish, because the nitch is so small in numbers that it could not maintain a whole parish, nor would it want to.  Generally, they are not much for joining the larger parish which is tainted with too much ordinariness, and mediocrity.  They would well admit that they are sinners, but not quite as bad as those "others."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Service Model of Parish

Some parishes believe that they are offering a service.  They begin with, "How can I help you?"  In the Catholic church we have certain standard things, such as seven sacraments, and mass schedules.  The service model of parish realizes that not everyone fits into a pre-planned product.  The religious order run parishes are generally more service model than diocesan parishes.  The service model parish is usually a better listener to people who don't fit in, or see themselves on the outside looking in.  The focus is somewhat less on law, rules, and customs or "the way we do things here."  So I have found it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Product Or Service

I find that churches vary as to whether they see themselves as offering a product or a service.  In the Catholic experience, when a parish has a product mentality, it seems to say, "We have this or that for you.  If you want it and qualify, you can have it."  The "it" is generally a sacrament such as holy communion.  It is a top down organization of people who are pretty set in their ways.  There is not much going out to find new members.  New members are welcome so long as they don't upset the way things are done by the longterm members.  There is a core group of believes who talk to one another and like things just the way they are.  This is the product variety parish.  Tomorrow I will talk about the service model of parish.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Binge Drinking

This is for early stage alcoholics.  There should be another blog today for those not interested.  Back to early stage drinking.  It is not how often you drink, but what happens when you drink, that is key to catching alcoholism in its early stages.  I have heard some people say that when they started drinking they did not drink every day.  The drank on special occasions or some party atmosphere.  So they thought themselves not addicted.  Frequency is not the issue early on for many potential alcoholics.  The key is how much did you drink when you did drink?  What happened?  The alcoholic may be a binge drinker at this stage.  Once they start to drink, they don't stop until they pass out, or run out of ways to get "more."  Over time, without a recovery program,  binge drinking becomes more frequent.  Then you move to daily drinking at certain "controlled" times, with or without binges.  Then the morning drinking.  Then you die.


You are not a failure if you don't believe in God.  This does not make you a bad person, or a "less than" person.  To admit, to a company of believers, that you don't believe in God is to tell your truth.  Why be a liar to fit into some group?  You can still be on a spiritual path.  You are being honest.  Honesty is important in becoming all that you are made to be.  The real lie is to try and live someone else's life, or someone's idea of what your life "should" be.  If you are doing crazy, destructive, hurtful things, those will have to stop.  But a fake belief in "god" is not going to help much.  With some communal support, some spiritual guides, you might be able to cease bad behavior.  That is a good thing.  But real change comes when you come to some self-acceptance about faith.  Faith is a gift.  If you don't have it, OK.  Practice love.   How? Observe people who act lovingly.  Follow good action, not words.

Monday, October 17, 2016


I have days when some portion of my faith does not make much sense.  I may be able to recite a dogma, but not always make sense of it.  So I have to work at faith.  I have to ponder it which means it must be interesting enough to ponder.  If I am eating something I do not like, or does not appeal to me, I will not sit there chewing on it.  I spit it out.  So faith must be tasty enough to be worth chewing on.  This is why I keep looking at scripture and reading some spiritual book each day.  In summary, my faith is important enough to work at it.  I don't take it for granted.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Monastery Freshness

How do I keep the monastery experience of each summer fresh day by day now that I am back in "the world." I go out in the early morning and look up at the stars just as I do in the monastery.  I try to find quiet time with no phone, TV, or people talking.  Then I read a little of the same spiritual type things I would read in the monastery.  Then I try to sit quietly in meditation that might lead to stillness and interior quiet.  I try to repeat some of this later in the day.  Finally, I go to bed early most evenings, around 8:30 PM or thereabouts.  When you have a really good retreat or vacation you might ask yourself what made it so special?  Then see what you can near duplicate of that special time, given that you are back in your routines.  If you went with a special friend, try to stay in touch.  If you found some new recipes, cook and eat the food.  There are certain things you do on a retreat that can be repeated.  I try never to get too busy, and frazzled.  It is the quickest way to destroy all the benefits of the time away.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

God The Verb

I know people who are pursuing a spiritual path, but don't believe in God.  The God that is most often referred to in this context is what I call "God In The Box."  It is  a separate person, other than myself, who lives somewhere, heaven, and looks at creation.  Many good people do not believe in this image of God, which seems to be one given to us as adolescents.  It is a simplistic child's God.  You talk to it and ask for stuff.  When things go well, you might say thank you.  When things go badly, faith takes a hit, and so on.  I ask the non-believer if they are loving, compassionate, forgiving, merciful, and kind.  The good ones are that.  I tell them, that is God in you.  God is a verb.  But they say, being loving comes natural to them.  I say it is not natural.  It is super-natural, because a lot of people are not loving at all, many of who say they do believe in this separate God.  God is not a noun.  God is a verb.  When  you live love, you live God.  Not believing in an adolescent's God does not make you an atheist.  You might be an adult on a spiritual path of love.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Nobel Dylan

OK, folks from the 60s.  Get out your old Bob Dylan albums.  Nobel just discovered the singer, song writer, Bob Dylan.  A nice Jewish boy, Dylan did not like the mores of the modern western world, that seemed to lack compassion and was full of cold war fear.  So he used his gifts to focus and awaken us to a deeper life.  What were his gifts?  Certainly not a beautiful voice in a classic sense.  His gift was song writing and his voice was just right for his message.  This is why he is getting the Nobel prize for literature.  Dylan could write lyrics that would make one think, if one cared to stop and think.  I admire Dylan because he did not seem to focus his musical career on making money by becoming famous and appealing to anti-establishment sounds and looks.  A lot of groups gave the "look" of anti-establishment in hair and clothes, but were really out for the dollars.  Dylan lasted because, well, he just stayed Bob Dylan, funny hats and all.  Youth today probably do not even know of our Bob.  So, old folks, you have  job to do, and the news of the Nobel gives you an opportunity to get out the message of this lyrical genius.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Cave

Going deeper into the cave will not generally get you out of the darkness.  Yet, that is what many of us do in our behaviors.  People have a few drinks, feel good or better, and decide to have more.  People run and feel good, and so they decide to run some more.  Things often do not get better with more.  They get worse.  A lot of the "more" behavior is an effort to feel better.  It is all about going deeper into the cave, but such behavior thinks it is going toward the light.  Even in our prayer life, we think more is better.  The mystics speak of dark nights, which might be OK for mystics, but most of us are no more mystics than we are Olympic runners.  Prayer has to lead to action from the fruits of the prayer.  Pray daily, but with some moderation.  We might try that with a lot of behavior.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Columbus Day

One of the great things about growing up in New York City and going to Catholic schools, is that we got off from school on Columbus Day.  It was always on that exact day, no "Columbus Day Weekends" where you move the date to accommodate travel or sales.  There was a parade in Manhattan to celebrate the day.  We all loved Columbus for getting us this day off from school.  A normal kid would trade "fun" at school for a day off anytime.  There was plenty of stuff to do on our day offs.  Lots of play things.  I am afraid that life outside of school might be more boring for kids today.  What does one do in a neighborhood where kids do not live near one another, and everyone is worried about being abducted?  Columbus Day is no longer a day off from school or work.  Days off have become a burden for parents and missed by kids.  So school is supposed to be the place to have fun.  The nuns never got that memo, and would laugh if you sent it to them.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Yom Kippur

This evening starts the Jewish feast of Yom Kippur, a day of penance.  It is also a day off from school for Jewish kids, and when the feast comes to the end, great food.  So we Catholics lose out on a day off from school, and great food.  We think Jesus was God and God is supposed to be smart.  Why would God found a new religion that keeps kids from getting out of school and from really great Jewish food?  We should of all have stayed together.  I think Jesus would agree.  I think too many guys who don't know or care about good food must have gotten my church turned in some other direction.  We do plenty of penance but not with the day off from school and the good food.  We Irish could learn something from our Jewish neighbors.

Monday, October 10, 2016


I don't know that it is good idea for me to tell people that they can be anything they want to be, that they are free to follow their dreams.  Some of us are delusional and our dreams are unrealistic.  I might want to be a baseball player and make lots of money playing at a game, but I have no talent for baseball.  So I cannot be anything I want to be.  I cannot do physics and math, so I don't have the talent to become a physicist.  What I can be is all that I am made to be with my unique talents, dormant or realized.  As a God believer, I am made with a God plan in mind.  The spiritual path is to actualize this potential.  But even if you believe in no God, you can only become what your talents allow.  To discover, develop and use your gifts for a greater good is a life well lived.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Dead Mail

I just got an email from a dead person.  He was a friend of mine.  In the email, he told me that he had something very important to show me, and I should click onto an attached link.  Now what could a dead man have to tell me that is so important?  I got it.  There is a God and there is heaven and my friend, a good man, in his time on earth, is there enjoying it all.  It must be true as well as important since it is on the Internet, right?  Isn't this why the millennials spend most of their waking day on their smart phones?  To keep up with what is important, and true, well worth knowing?  I gotta go.  I need to get a life.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

A Foreboding

I had a vision in a dream one night.  It was my sister Maureen, and she looked happy.  She looked very happy in the dream.  So I asked her, "Maureen, why do you look so happy?  I thought that you were in purgatory."  "I am  not in purgatory anymore," she said.  "I am happy because I know where you are headed when you leave this earth."  "How do you know this?" I asked.  "Because I am very close to God now, and God told me where you are headed with this earthly life you live."  "Well," I asked, with some trepidation, "What did God tell you?"  "You are not coming here, directly, and maybe never!"  "What!" I exclaimed.  "I am a good boy."  "You are delusional.  You think you are good.  I know better," Maureen countered.  "I am going to purgatory?" I asked fearfully.  "Doubtful on that," she said.  "God has used up his bag of mercy in your case.  Only a big bag of comeuppance awaits you, baby brother."  "You are happy that I will suffer torment?" I asked.  "Shush  Don't tell God!" Maureen exclaimed.  "I am happy I am in heaven.  My guardian angel pointed out to God that a mistake had been made in sending me to purgatory.  So it is all good now."  "Can my guardian angel get me out of the torments?" I asked pitifully.  "No, yours has gone into retirement.  You overworked your angel," she said.  Just then I woke up.  Only a dream.  Maureen is still in purgatory.  But is my time running out?

Friday, October 7, 2016

Bad Habit

I hear people say that they want to get rid of a bad habit or shortcoming in their manner of living.  Well, when you get rid of something, what replaces it?  There is no such thing as a void in behavior.  Either we do the right thing, the virtue, whatever that my be, or we do the wrong thing, the vice, bad habit. When I do not seem to be getting rid of a bad habit, I find that it is because I have not practiced sufficiently a good habit.  Someone says, "I want to stop drinking."  What is going to replace it?  If you drink too much, it is your solution to some misery, identified or not.  If I run too much and am hurting myself, I cannot simply say, "I will run less or no more."  I run too much as a solution to something.  What is going to replace my running too much, that will deal with why I run in the first place?  All bad habits lead to misery for the practitioner or those around them.  A void does not replace a bad habit.  Gotta go and run.  People say I am looking a little skinny.  What do they know?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Second Opinion

When I am in my saner moments I tend to get second opinions when I am trying to decide something.  I try to live in the moment, but then I have to decide what is the right thing to do with the moment that follows.  If I have been getting second opinions, that is, I am not traveling the spiritual road alone, I tend to make sane choices.  When I try to live life in isolation, making decisions about what is the right thing to do, I tend to mess up.  This is what I call insanity, continuing to make wrong decisions, alone.  We all know what ordinary maintenance of self and surroundings entail, from past training and experience.  Then why do so many of us ignore good maintenance.  We eat wrong, live in mess, don't get sufficient quality sleep, and avoid healthy solutions?  At least I know I can be insane.  This is the first step to a better way of life.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Self Check Out

I meditate in the morning.  I am ready to have a day of tranquility, trust, peace, acceptance, patience and confidence that God is with me.  Then comes the "self check out" at the store. Fear.  No trust.  God has abandoned me.  I am stupid.  The one line with a cashier is full.  Go there and I have to camp out for the afternoon.  So I go up to the check out machine.  I do what anyone in a recovery program does.  I admit I cannot do it on my own.  I need help with directions. I see a sponsor employee with his employee jacket on.  He comes to my aide.  First off, I should ignore the computer screen.  Good, because I cannot figure out what to do.  He shows me how to register each item using bar codes.  He does the first item and I do the rest.  Then he points to the computer screen and asks me to make choice: no bags or some bags.  I choose no bag.  He points to the next screen and tells me that I can now pay money.  The total is on the screen though I cannot seem to see it until he points it out.  Fear of failure and incompetency, and a publicly crushed ego blind me to the obvious.  He shows me where to pay my money and where the change will come out.  I would never have found those slots either.  I pay and get my change.  Success.  I walk out a new man.  I have a new skill.  I feel good.  Try it...but make sure there is help nearby.  This is a good idea for life in general.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Animal Blessing

Today is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.  Now even if you do not believe in any of this Christian saint stuff, your dog, cat, bird or whatever pet you have, may have some faith and want to be taken to a nearby church that is on the ball and blessing animals today.  Yes, on the Feast of this saint a lot of churches bless animals.  This is because St. Francis loved animals and all living things.  He was very ecological.  In the ceremony today, your pet gets baptized with holy water, the same kind of blessed water that baptizes people.  Your pet is your blessed friend.  Why not get a little blessed water sprinkled onto them.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Rosh Hashana

This is the Jewish New Year's first full day, Year 5777, I believe.  It is also the first day of the Islamic New Year, I think.  We get to celebrate NewYear's day several times a year here in this country.  It is what comes with our freedoms.  There is the Western calendar's New Year's Day on January 1, and then the Chinese have their New Year begin in February some time.  If you like New Year celebrations you get to have several each year in this country.  If you heard any ram's horns blowing last evening that was your Jewish friends feasting at the beginning of their celebration.  Lots of good food too.  Wish people happy new year as part of our celebration of diversity.  In some other parts of the world diversity is looked down upon.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Guardian Angels

Remember to say hello today to your guardian angel.  Today is the Feast of Guardian Angels.  I try to have gratitude for my guardian angel, because I need someone to guide me away from my blind ego-centered self, and to speak well of me when I get to the pearly gates.  Guardian angels have  experience in trial defense.  I am hoping that mercy triumphs over comeuppance.  Ignore your guardian angel at your own peril.  

Being Special

I would rather tell a child that they are unique rather than special.  I would explain unique as meaning that the child has gifts and talents that they need to discover and develop  so that they can be the person God made them to be.  So the child does not need to try and look, act, and be like everyone else.  Become yourself, not some other person.  If every boy in your class wants to play football, but you are attracted to the violin, then you go for the violin.  That is your uniqueness.  Being told that one is "special" too often ends up them thinking that they are better than others in their differences.  "Special" sets a very high bar in relation to others.  The violin player does not have to play the instrument better than others play football.  There is no competition.  When you are called special, the pressure is on to do better than others in grades and common achievements.  Special people end up comparing and contrasting.  They fail to identify with others around them.  If their lives become messy, or they develop bad habits, they are befuddled as to why this special person is doing so badly.  Special people can end up quite lonely and maybe even suicidal.  I thank my sister Maureen for convincing me that I am not special.  Boy, was she unique.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Women Of Abstract Expressionism

I don't think that God is unchanging, static, unmoved.  I was at the museum recently to view an exhibit of 20th Century women who painted "Abstract Expressionism."  The paintings are a lot of color and flow, or seeming movement, without any discernible figures, trees, people, buildings.   Their is a unity in all the colors.  The paintings are to be experienced in all this abstraction.  I felt myself experiencing God.  God is ever flowing, creating, mixing color, uniting from the divine imagination.  In times earlier than the modern world, God was seen more like a still life or a portrait.  Still.  Unchanging.  Why should God be still and unchanging?  That is a human idea.  Is not God free to change?  Whatever we think of God today will probably be different in the next century.  And so it goes.  God cannot be pinned down.  God can be loved.  I sit still in silence, not because God is still, but because I have distractions in my head and body that need some time to become quiet.  I need the flow of my life to be unitive and not crazy-making.  God is ever unfolding!