What is a friend? I used to think it was someone who made me happy. Duh. That scores a 100% on the Selfish Meter. Being happy with a friend requires a lot of me. Like what? Like giving them time to be listened to. Time and listening is important. Listen to what? If my friend talks about her weaknesses, ask her about her gifts. If she talks about her needs, ask her about her mission or purpose in life. If she thinks she has none, I need to note her gifts, unique to herself. We are all unique as givers, and all the same as takers. In all this my hope is that she knows she is loved, valued and precious. If she seeks any guidance, I must be on my own spiritual path so that I do not desire to possess, control or manipulate her. Finally, I must be living what I say I believe, or else there will be no trust. All this makes me the best person I can be, not perfect, but a lot better than scoring 100% on the Selfish Meter. When I am the best I can be, or moving toward it with someone then I am happy. I will be even happier if my friend cares to listen to me. That is when the friendship deepens and bonds. When people come to me and want to talk about their life, problems, difficulties, I can be of service which is good spiritual practice. But as we all know, if one person is doing all the talking, and it is about themselves, you may be of service but it won't be with a friend.
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Rita grew up poor, as her abusive father abandoned her. She stayed poor by joining a contemplative order, The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration. Then she had spine surgery that threatened her ability even to walk. Well, forget about her, right? Bad luck and anonymity in a cloistered order. She would become someone who could not do much because she did not have much. Rita had other ideas and would not let her "life" deter her. She did walk again. So she goes and founds a monastery in Alabama, Baptist Country. From here she begins to write inspirational booklets that seem to catch on. She does not stop there. Impressed by the Baptist entry into television, she decides to produce a TV show for a local station. She knows nothing about TV producing, but does it and gets a local station in Baptist country to air it. Mind you, this was a poor kid, no advantages of education, money or connections who just does stuff. She is not done. In 1978 with a mere $200 and twelve cloistered nuns, all with no TV experience, turn the monastery garage into a television studio. Thus is born Eternal Word Television Network, known as EWTN. The Catholic Church with all its bishops, committees, expertise, connections and money could never figure out how to do something on this scale in TV. Rita showed that committees rarely start anything. They more often keep things from starting. Oh, you may know her by her TV name, Mother Angelica.
Saturday, April 28, 2018
The church where I live in Boulder, Colorado has a school with an annual fundraising event called, "Mayfair." One of the items up for bid is dinner with me. I am befuddled as to why people would bid against one another to have dinner with me since I have very little to do with the school, am an introvert, and have bouts of low social skills. Now, I realize that one of the reasons for the bids is my blog. People in Boulder who rarely see me, read my blog and have children in the school. Blogs can take the place of people listening to me in church or in a class. This is the internet at its best for helping others. It used to be if no one came to church or a class, then I was useless as a priest. Everything was based upon face to face. A blog changes all that. People can be one place and I can be another, but something I wrote on one occasion, might help them when they happen to read it. They can be in their bathrobes and slippers, no makeup, and I can be in my jammies blogging away, but the internet connects us. Mayfair is coming soon. If no one bids for the dinner, then I will know to become a hermit in a cave without internet.
Friday, April 27, 2018
I love this one: "You can't steer a parked car." Action, be of service, use my gifts and talents to be of use. What good is it to ask God, or whoever, to make my life better, to help me, fix me, if I am just going to sit there like a parked car and do nothing. My meditation is when my spirit is in park, but this is but a few of the many minutes given to me each day. When people tell me that they tried some spiritual path or group gathering, or church/synagogue, to make their lives better and it did not work, I ask them, "And what did you do to be of some service there?" Almost always the answer is, "Nothing." They parked themselves and waited to be fixed. Recovery for instance, is not a fix-it shop where you bring your car, park it, and it gets fixed. Recovery programs give you the tools, and you do the work. You work with others, but you work. Parked is not enough. Why blame religion that did not fix you, if you did nothing, and between services went no further than being a parked victim? Yes, there are spiritual paths, religions, recovery programs in which you gave of yourself and were hurt. When it happened to me, I found that it was not the path so much as it was crazy and sick people who disguised themselves as being well when in fact they were still nuts. I try to make sure that on a daily basis I do not become one of those. Be helpful, not hurtful.
Thursday, April 26, 2018
What is "Rock Bottom?" I hear that phrase from people who say they hit rock bottom. A definition that I like is this: Rock Bottom is when the last thing you lost or the next thing you are about to lose is more important to you than whatever stuff you are using or doing that is destroying your life at the moment. Everyone has a different rock bottom depending on the person and the thing you give up. My dad used to be a boxer when he was young. Then someone belted him on his Irish Roman nose, and dad did not fight again. One good punch on the nose was it for him. He kept his good looks and passed them on to me, who avoided fights. But enough about me. Anyhow, some people can lose spouse, family, home, job, car, and still go on destroying themselves say by drink or drugs, gambling, sex, food. For some people, even their very life is not worth stopping their bad behavior or addictions. I don't ask people if they would like to stop and live, because some do not think life as valuable as a drink. So I ask them and myself for that matter, what is the next thing we will lose, if we don't change, and is it worth it? For those who are on a healthier path, at the moment, and it is but one day at a time, what will you lose if you go off this path? That has always frightened me to better behavior. Oh, actually, my Dad was better looking than me. But I am a priest, so it does not matter.
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
You can be a girl, but dress and pass as a boy and still become a saint. Hildegund of Schonau is an example of this. It seems that she was dressed as a boy when she was making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to protect her. She was 12 at the time. In her slow adventurous travels back to Germany, she remained dressed as a boy. Then she was admitted to a Cistercian monastery in her home town, as a boy. She never took vows, but her sex was not discovered until her death. She was a good enough nun/monk to be made a saint. Cistercians do a lot for contemplative prayer. God does not seem to care, nor does the contemplative, about one's sexual orientation. In contemplation one does not focus on the body anyway. One does not focus on anything for that matter, but being in the Presence and open to the Will of the Creator. So if you are having trouble with your sexual identity, you might want to make Hildegund your patron saint. Not that she had any problem with it, but she might be a reminder that how you dress or look on the outside, is not all that important to God. If you feel hated, it is not God who is doing the hating. Thank you, St. Hildegund.
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
The recent Boston Marathon, 26.2 miles, was done in cold, wind and rain. A marathon is referred to as a "Trial of Miles," and "Miles of Trial." It is a metaphor for the "can" and "should" of life. Can you do something/should you do something. Most often our minds and bodies convince us that we should not be doing something because it is too hard or we might get injured, or fail,when in fact, we don't want to put in the effort or undergo the suffering. Long distance running is one of the ways that teach us to know the difference. We all have bad days, but that does not mean we give up and quit. Rather, we complete the task as best we can, but we complete it. Finishing might be the best we can do. Showing up is step one. 95% of the starters in the Boston Marathon completed the race, though times were quite slow versus a good weather day. Life is a trial. Hour by hour is like mile by mile. When I wake up in the morning, I might not feel like running or doing much of anything. I don't let my mind or body decide. They are generally tricksters on those days. I know the difference between injuring and malaise. I stretch, wear the right clothes and shuffle out the door. I might start out at an embarrassingly slow pace. If with a group, everyone else leaves me in their dust. I trundle on. In time, I feel better and run with more ease. I finish and feel good about the run. It is like that in a lot of my daily tasks. Trial by trial.
Monday, April 23, 2018
Sometimes, the less I know about a situation, the more likely I will choose it. For instance, I chose to come to the monastery yesterday to have some monastery time, help out, be with the brothers, and so on. A real spiritual high so I thought. But I did not know about a few things. For one, my bathroom next to my room had the water shut off due to a leaking pipe. Two fights down stairs and a long corridor is the next bathroom. In my room, my chair is missing as is my blanket that was on the chair, and a table was gone. The monk who will sit next to me in choir is at death's door with congestion. Knowing me, I would simply have bailed on coming up here and decided to find God in a more convenient fashion. But I am meant to be here, so it is right that I not know things that would have kept me away. This will be a good in spiritual experience for me if I stay open, practice acceptance and life on life's terms. Think about your partner. You say, "If I had known what I know now, I would never have married this person." But it might be the right person for you with all their flaws as you judge them. The career you took, the home in which you live required decisions based upon some ignorance or else you would choose nothing. I will be in great shape after this experience at the monastery because every time I want to go to the bathroom I will have two flights from my room and we are at 8,000 feet altitude. I'll practice non-whining. Fat chance.
Sunday, April 22, 2018
When making a choice do we ask the right question? Such as? Well, say you are choosing a church or society or group. You probably ask, "Is this the right church or group for me?" If you think that you are the one doing the choosing, then this would be the right question. But a lot of us are too damaged from past life scars to make such a choice. We might be too selfish, or afraid, or prideful. Plus, what if we are not the one with the power to choose? Maybe the right question is, "Is this what God has called me for?" "Is this God's choice for me?" If we make this the question, then when things are not going so well with the group, church, or society we joined, we don't blame them. We don't try to fix them. If God chose the group, then it is the right group and we are the ones who need to change. When the group is supposed to fix me and make me happy but I don't have to do much otherwise but sign up for membership, then I tend to drop out of things. Groups are not magic. They support me, direct me and help me when I ask for help...for what? So that I can do the daily grind of becoming all I am supposed to be as an adult human being.
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Two things about Judas that a lot of the world knows nothing. First, Christianity never declared Judas condemned. Second, he may not have hung himself. In Acts of the Apostles Judas bought land and fell headlong, bursting open his middle and spilled out his insides. Sounds gruesome yes, but not necessarily suicide. Another scriptures says he hung himself. But whatever, he is not condemned. Maybe God's mercy is able to overcome our sinfulness. But Judas might have given up on himself. When I am really bad and see no way of reversing it by my own power, I try to remember to turn towards God's mercy and unconditional love. I may give up on myself but not on God's power and love. While I may be killing myself slowly by my bad actions, God's merciful love can compensate and save me from myself. Such thoughts can save me and you from tying the noose.
Friday, April 20, 2018
I am proposing my sister, Maureen, for sainthood. I just found out that you can be declared a saint in my church without verifying a miracle or having a formal canonization ceremony. So, as soon as Maureen gets out of purgatory, I am declaring her a saint. Here is my proof. Me. I was a bad boy when she was my big sister in the Bronx. I was, in her estimation, on the way to burn in the eternal fires. But then I became good, or at least not so bad as to burn. I owe it all to my sister who taught me all about being Good. Though she might have been a witch, that is merely an opinion, she did know how to direct little boys toward being good. Her two little boys, Fred and Chris, were bad too when they were small but they became good later. That would make three miracles I guess, so my big Sis more than qualifies for being a saint. I like to think of myself as a walking miracle. And I owe it all to my big Sis. Are you a walking miracle or have you always been good, or always been bad?
Thursday, April 19, 2018
The words, "I miss you," can be both wonderful and debilitating. For instance, if I write someone and say, "I miss you," and they read it and think,"Terry who?" I would hear nothing back and that would be depressing. But on the other hand, if I say "I miss you," and it makes a difference in the life of the other person, that can be quite wonderful. When I go away from Boulder for a while, my damaged mind begins to tell me, "They have all forgotten you." "No need to go back there." Then someone contacts me and says, "I miss you." It makes me want to go back to Boulder and be with friends who miss me. So you take a chance with such words. They make you vulnerable. But I choose to say these words and take my chances. Life is full of chances, and the courage to take them. But it is also the path to love. San Francisco, where I am now writing this is quite beautiful and exciting, and no one is saying, "I miss you," at the moment. I think I will stay here a while longer!😇
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
There is wisdom for all of us in the Twelve Step Spiritual Path. Example: Step Twelve says that we "try" to carry the message. The word "TRY" is key. Success is never up to us. Effort is. God is in charge, or in my Paulist spiritual path, the Holy Spirit is in charge. I try, in prayer, and looking at the signs of the times to ascertain what the Holy Spirit might want me to "try." If I had to be successful in everything I did I would be all ego and whining about things that did not work out as I planned. Many of us would make no effort if we thought we would not be successful, which is to get our way. A mother complained how she had "tried" to bring her daughter up to be good and proper, but the daughter did not turn out as planned. The mother said, "What did I do wrong?" Maybe nothing was done wrong. We simply don't have as much power and control as we would like to think we have. I try to write a good blog, but if someone says, "This blog is trash," I don't go to pieces over it. Though my heart is maybe broken I say to myself, "I tried." It is all I can do. We all have limitations in spite of what our egos tell us.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
I heard from Pre-School pedagogy debates, that some say it is more important for a four year old to learn to be a four year old rather than to prepare to be five. That is, let them be kids at play and don't be so concerned about them being prepared for the next level, such as Harvard. I am seventy-five. I think that I will learn how to be seventy-five rather than prepare to be seventy-six. Live in today, and play more. Will it work for you? Someday will be our last day, and I sure hope I am learning to live that day rather than being totally focused preparing for a next year.
Monday, April 16, 2018
I notice that many people are concerned about where they will have their funeral, and be buried. They think about who might come to the funeral and who might want to visit the grave. Now, as a Jesus believer, this ought not to concern me. Why? Well, I am supposed to follow him, right? He did not have much of a funeral at all. They took him down from the cross and put him into a tomb. No big rituals, songs, eulogies. Nothing. Then when he rose, he did not hang around much at the tomb, and after the morning of his resurrection, his followers never seemed to much interested in visiting the grave. So I won't worry about my funeral, or where I am buried. If it is important to someone else, then they can make a to do about it. I would rather people pay more attention to me while I am still around than after I am gone.
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Today is a tax deadline or else get an extension. It can be a stressful day. Someone gave me an idea for stress and life's difficulties. They use an acronym for God, G-O-D. It is "Grateful Or Dead." I like that. Now I am supposed to be a believer, but even if you are not a god person, the acronym can work. If we are not grateful about some things, or live a life of gratitude, then we are probably slowly killing ourselves, with anger, fear, frustration, control issues and whining. These feelings all funnel into feeling sorry for ourselves. Such a deadly life, and such a wide and easy path to follow. Gratitude is the road less taken, the narrow path. I try to think of things that I tend to take for granted, but should be grateful for them. "I am handsome, young, strong, and competent." Oh! Excuse me, that is the delusional path, also wide and frequently taken by many of us. Don't make things up. There are things in your life that deserve gratitude, that maybe you did not earn, or acquire by effort. These things, people or places are generally right in front of us or with us on a daily basis and so we forget to be grateful. I try to think of my "gratefulness list" when I first wake up. It sets the tone for the day. It allows my God an easier time of it in my life.
Saturday, April 14, 2018
What is all this "Ascension" stuff about in Christianity? As best as I can tell, Jesus had a horrible death, and many people thought that was the end of him as a human being in this created world. He had no future. "Oops," say the Christians. He got a resurrected body, which was his old body but more advanced in its creatureness, if that might be a word. That is, Ascension says that the human body as we know it, is not the end of the creative process. There will be more and Jesus in his Ascension, is giving us an advance on what awaits all of us. That is, death is not the end. Creation does not stop with death like we thought, or so believers say. What might this have to do with us? Well, even if you die a horrible death against your own wishes, as did Jesus, like nuclear holocaust or global warming, it will not be the end of you. There is a cause for hope. Ascension is not something that our normal body can do, but a more advanced one can. You have to die first. The catch for me, is that I might have to be a lot better than I am to become this new creation, e.g. more like Jesus lived. I gotta go. I got a lot of work to do.
Friday, April 13, 2018
European drug companies are working on a pill that will reduce the amount that people drink, so that such people do not drink alcoholically. Really? By drinking less or not drinking at all, one will no longer be an alcoholic? If you ever read the twelve steps, you will note that alcohol is mentioned in only one step, the first one. What are the other twelve for? For the alcoholic who is not drinking. You mean you are still an alcoholic even when you don't drink like one anymore? Well, yes. Like how? Like FEAR! Alcoholics are feared based people. The drink just buries the feeling for a while. There are other issues with alcoholics but I will just raise this one. Those other eleven steps are to help you not let fear control you. AND become useful and loving members of society. I don't think science can come up with such a pill. Spiritual paths can and will help if you work them.
Thursday, April 12, 2018
Many people who read my blog are much better people than I am in thought and deed. So maybe they like to read me because it makes them feel better about themselves. "Father Ryan is so bad, or so messed up, or so full of faults, that I am glad I am not like that," or something to that effect. So here is another fault. "I don't belong." I don't fit in." "I am different." This sense or feeling of not belonging, when it raises its powerful head and commands moments in my life, leads me to generally blame whatever group I do not feel part of. I have found over time a pattern. The issue is not about the group. The group is just the group not to be judged by me. What needs to be worked on and changed is me. This is hard work. If the group needed to change, I could just walk away, judging them, and saying I cannot change them, though I am better than they are. Or I might say that the group is wonderful but I am dreadful and hopeless. In either case, I take no action. I have learned that when I focus on me and what needs to be changed in me good things can happen. Like what? First, stop feeling sorry for myself. Second, see if I can be helpful to someone else, without my ego getting in the way. Third, acceptance of the group. If I do one, two and three, then I often begin to have some tolerance without judgment. After that? Love. I am not quite there yet, but trudging. Aren't you again glad you don't have my problems?
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
People seem to be more attracted to spiritual paths that have clear and definite entry rules, but the same people don't really want to change...everything. In Christianity, the first Pope, Peter, tells people in Acts of the Apostles, to repent, be baptized and you get the Holy Spirit, whatever that may be. So, lots of Christians get baptized. That is it. Repent? That would require they change their entire way of acting, and thinking. You are supposed to change your life, not just your club membership or tribal group. But not to be stuck in only Christianity, lets go to AA. Membership? Simply the desire to stop drinking. I know a lot of people who drink too much, but want to stop drinking. I guess that qualifies as a member. But no one is going to become transformed into all the goodness and humanity of which they are capable simply by wanting to stop drinking or in Christianity, to get baptized. Affiliation is not transformative. It can be a beginning. You have to do the work so that you can change your life. Repent is to turn around and go in a different, better direction. You become this better person when you are kind, forgiving, compassionate and patient in spite of what actions or inactions others around you do. Your best self is unconditional. It does not require others to praise, thank or act better. You are about changing you, not them. How hard can twelve steps be? Very hard, but worth the effort. The Gospel? Very hard. I fail more than I succeed, but there is always hope.
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
How does one suspect that some spiritual statement is true? How do you know that "The 12 Steps of AA work," as many say? You might ask the same question of the Resurrection of Jesus. "Jesus is risen," people say. How do you know that it might be true? Both AA and the Risen Jesus have common proofs for the believers. Say what? If you want to know that something might be true, look at the followers. Have their lives changed for the better and not just a little better. I mean going from a drunk, to a person who is not drinking is better, but I mean "real" better. Some people have learned to stop drinking without the 12 steps, or maybe just two or three steps, but look at what else if anything, has changed in their life. Have they become selfless, compassionate, forgiving of those who don't even ask for it, kind, patient and non-judgmental? If the 12 steps are for real then this is what should happen to those who practice them. The same goes for Jesus people. Lots of "believers" go to church, even tithe, and appear respectable at least on Sundays or Sabbaths, but otherwise are not very nice people. Christians say they believe in Jesus but I think maybe they are delusional, because they don't follow what he said. What good is a Risen Jesus if he makes no difference in your life, or more importantly, in the lives of others who are affected by the so called believers bad behavior. Ya gotta work Christianity, Judaism and the 12 Steps. Intellectual belief, and knowledge avails us little otherwise.
Monday, April 9, 2018
Himalaya refers to those big mountains where Everest and K2 are up there in Nepal and Tibet. The native peoples, tribes, many of them are thought of as rather spiritual people. The locals gave the mountains that name. It is really two words. "Hima" means snow. "Alaya" means abode. Their idea is that snow does not simply fall and lie on the ground like a "thing" that is so different from us. Snow abides. It has a home, the mountains. The snow is alive, animated, with a spiritual entity to it. Those people who climb to the heights of Spirit, a tough climb for sure, enter into the world of "eternal life." Up there in the home of the abiding snow, there is also the abiding spirit that permeates all matter, as "Himalaya" implies. This spiritual and physical climb is best done with someone else, never alone. So many of us fail in our spiritual climb because we try to do it alone. We all need help. I climb with others and when I am not sure of the path or next step, someone with more experience and strength at that moment shows me the way and helps me along. Climbing requires "recovery." Stop along the way and regroup. Lots of steps, but one at a time. "Namaste" is what the Tibetan says. The plus of the spiritual journey is that you can do it at any age. An old person can do it. We can grow in Spirit as we age. But you cannot climb the big mountains after a certain age. By 40, you best stay at the fourteeners in Colorado.
Sunday, April 8, 2018
"AA is for losers," or so I have heard. I tend to agree. Everyone is AA has lost something, maybe everything but their life, which would have been next had they not gotten into recovery. And all the members feel lost, in a daze. No one hangs around in AA unless they have lost a lot. People who have lost only a little due to addiction, think they are "OK" and have things under control with only this temporary setback. Like marriage over, car wreck, job loss, and deteriorating health. I certainly have had losses, as most of us have. I did not get over them or work through them alone. I found people who had losses like mine. But I only tried to find like-minded people when I found that the loss was one I could not get over alone. Grief at the death of a loved one for instance required a grief support group. But there are still some groups that need founding from my experience. We need "Girl Friend Loss Anonymous." This would be a group for guys who screwed up a relationship. If the girlfriend dumped him for a better financial deal, well then the guy would fit into the grief part of the group. But generally, in this anonymous group the guy would find out that the girl was not so much a heartless witch, as he was a jerk. Now that would be my experience, and I would have recovered much better if someone had founded this group to enlighten me at my whining and self-pity times. If I tried to found such a group where would I find potential members? Bars. I am so glad that the only thing I am now losing is my memory. See, there is always a silver lining.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
I like the psalms in the Hebrew Scriptures. There are 150 of them and they convey every emotion that I can think of. Psalms are prayers of emotional feelings that seem to hide nothing. I mean if the person is angry with God, then God is going to get it straight up. A lot of prayers are negotiations to get something, and so those prayers don't let God in on all we got going inside of us. Such prayers lack honesty. Psalms are rigorously honest. They make me feel better even if I am in a bad mood because there is a psalm that expresses just what I am feeling. So I don't feel so alone in my misery. It is nice to find someone who "feels just like I do." I have psalms for whining, self-pity, anger, hurt feelings, praise, thanksgiving, and so on. Searching the psalms is a bit like shopping for just the right greeting card. The right card is somewhere on the shelf, in a particular section. You just have to keep looking. When you find the right one you say, "Ah, just what I was feeling." Same with the psalms. Hallmark did not write any of the psalms.
Friday, April 6, 2018
During this past week in my church, the name of Judas, the fellow who betrayed Jesus, came up a lot. People would say, "Thank God, I am not like Judas. I would never do that!" No? Don't we betray people all the time? How many people are a gift in your life? A gift means that you did not manipulate them into your life. You did not plan it. They show up and your life is so much better for them being here. Do you say thank you? Do you wake up with gratitude as one of your early morning thoughts and feelings? So why don't we say "thank you" to these people in action as well as word? Maybe because we are judging them to be NOT how they "should be" or we want them to be for our own selfish ends. There are some people who are obvious gifts in my life, and I do say thank you. But there are so many more people who are gifts in my life, and I am blinded to their goodness because I am judging them. False pride gets in the way of enjoying more people in my life. Maybe you too have this malady?
Thursday, April 5, 2018
Lutgard was a Belgium girl back in the 1200s. Her family had money, which would have made her a good marriage catch since back then people did not marry for love, but for more economic reasons. She had a good dowry, but then her dad bet it all on a business venture, and lost. Lutgard lost too. No one wanted to marry her. Pretty, young, fun, but no money, meant the convent. Dad unloaded his expenses by putting his girl into a convent. She was more of a boarder as she had no vocation to be a nun. She just wanted to have fun and enjoy friends when they visited. One day all this changed. She saw a vision of Jesus standing in front of her. She was a nut case? Maybe, but her prayer life happened big time after that. She went on to become a Cistercian nun in another stricter convent where she did not even know the language. This gave her even more solitude. You would think she would go completely crazy? The proof would be in the results. After a few years a steady stream of people sort her counsel. Why? Like us today, people want some assurance, about this Jesus, that is more than catechism or pulpit. They want someone whose life has been changed by a spiritual encounter. Such was the case of Bill W. in AA. Now I go to a Cistercian monastery to get holy too. But I get no steady stream of people. What happened? Either people hate me, or don't care, or my experiences are delusional and I am still a mess. Well, people do not hate me, and they do care. That leaves only one answer. But I hope you find someone like Lutgard to help you along your way. Lutgard please pray of me. I am trudging along.
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
I am inclined to believe that if you love someone you express that love through service and touch. I even think the Bible would agree. In the Christian scriptures there are two sisters, Martha and Mary. They both love Jesus. Martha is depicted as making and serving dinner. She expresses her love by being of service in a practical way to Jesus. Mary, her sister, is depicted as being physically close to Jesus to the point of breaking open an expensive container of perfume and bathing Jesus' feet with it and drying his feet with her long hair. This is a lot of touch, extravagant touch. Most of us need both the food for the body and the touch for the skin. It keeps us fully fed in the world of love. If no food for the tummy, we get cranky if someone is only into physical touch. So ask yourself if you do both and get both from someone you love or says they love you? Teenagers who are falling in love are less likely to be of service to one another than to want to be kissing all the time. "Would you do the dishes my love?" "Forget it!" As a priest, it was suggested to me years ago that I get a good healthy massage, in part, to have my skin touched. Skin has soul and needs touching. I have some Martha persons who feed me. I need some Mary's in my life! Then I would be like Jesus? One can only hope.
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
When I was a boy and first thought about the meaning of Holy Saturday, I counseled with my big sister Maureen, who was my first theologian. I said, "Maureen, is Jesus dead on Holy Saturday?" "Yes," she answered. "Is Jesus God?" I asked. "Yes, Jesus is God," she answered. "So if Jesus is God and Jesus is dead, then God is dead on Holy Saturday, right?" I asked in good Jesuit logic. "Where is this all going?" asked Maureen as her face hardened. "It means that if God is dead then on this one day, it is OK to be a bad boy and still get to heaven, because God won't know what you did on this day. He is dead," I figured. "I will tell God on Easter when he comes resurrected out of the tomb, so you will have to be good every day," Maureen threatened. This is why my big sister is a witch. She tattles to God about me. My thinking, conniving, was how to get to heaven doing the least amount of good, like getting a "C" grade simply to pass the test. Don't many of us do this when we think about relationships, rewards, goals? We want to do just enough, but no more. I hear people in Recovery programs say they want to "not drink" but they don't want to do anymore than that, no service, no helpfulness to others, no making the world a better place. People in church ask, "What is the rule that I have to do to stay on God's good side?" "Unconditional love" would be far more than they bargained for. Maybe go to church weekly or read the bible daily. Doing "MORE" or pouring themselves out unselfishly for people who won't even say thank you is not part of the equation. Somedays I am still like I was when I was a little boy. "Just enough Terry," is my name.
Monday, April 2, 2018
Now Judas did commit suicide and we did not hear much about him after that. No one gave him a nice funeral, saying wonderful things about him, but avoiding how he died. Suicide is in part an attempt at control. You see your life spiraling out of control, going nowhere good, full of pain and misery, hopeless, and you choose to end it in a certain way and at a certain time. Control becomes the key to your escape. Is it a form of cowardice or weakness? Some people are suffering terrible lives of misery and destitution, even slavery, and they fight to stay alive. You read about it in Holocaust, and Gulag prison work. They become "successes" or "survivors." Different people make different responses to the same or different circumstances. So I am no one to make a judgment about anyone's suicide. A person might be crazed with pain of one sort or another. But a common aspect of most suicides is that it is done by a person who feels alone, or is alone. That is why I think community is vital. I need community so that I do not come up with dead end solutions to my problems. I can be in a group of people, but if I am not honest about me in the here and now, that is not community that will sustain me. This is why I admire recovery programs. People gave up trying to control their alcohol consumption. Life came after giving up control and getting honest with a group that accepts you. Judas might have had a life if he had found "Betrayers Anonymous." Anyhow, my God still loves Judas.
Sunday, April 1, 2018
If you are trying to make something of Easter, you might want to make some quiet time for yourself. That is, make a choice for some silence. It might make you more attentive to what is going on around you, much less within you. Silence is the food of our inward self, whatever inward might be. For all those people who believe in Resurrection and are going to make this a pretty noisy day, you might recall that in the Resurrection story, Jesus seems to rise at about dawn or even before that. Not much noise going on. No fanfare. The guards were blown away, yes, but no other people seem to have experienced the event. Maybe Jesus wants to surprise you in the quiet on this day. I don't mean that you should go into a hermitage all day. Who would feed me Easer dinner if that happened? But some quiet time for yourself. Maybe walk around in a garden. Jesus was buried in a cemetery, and those are garden type places, quiet places. And if you think that you are too big a sinner or bad person, or crazy, I recall that he did appear to a woman named Mary Magdalene. She had her demons and lived a life a bit tainted. But she knew she was loved being Mary Magdalene. That is the key. Search in the silence, like she did. Surprise! That is Resurrection.