Thursday, January 31, 2019
A lot of people think that the Bible or such religious scripture books are or should be like the evening news. It should be true, factual and not fake. They think something is fact or it is false. But such books are not really all about facts and events reported from centuries ago. A lot of it is storytelling to express a truth that may or may not be based upon some event. Yes, some of it is factual, but even then, not all the facts of the event will get reported. The books are basically inspired truths, potent messages as to one’s identity and how to live one’s life. Someone might have said some truth a long time ago, but maybe not in that particular setting. What looks like a single sermon might in fact be a whole series of saying over time that were put into a particular scene for a particular purpose. The writer is inspired to “report” in this way. The question is, are you at all changed by facts? Do facts become so many beliefs stored in your head but change nothing of your behavior? I prefer “meaning” and the wisdom truth of scenes that will challenge me to become a better person. The facts of the evening news do not seem to affect my behavior. It might affect my mood, but I have a way of recovering from that if it is a bad mood.
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Now and again, the God of my understanding has to save me from “Uniqueness.” When I am in the throws of feeling unique, I break out into two allergy moods. One, is whining and self-pity because I think I am the only one who suffers whatever is bothering me. “I am the only one who has this problem, or suffers this misery,” is how I speak to myself and anyone who would listen to me. The other mood is resentment, anger and judgment that I am not treated as someone who is more special than everyone else, or my specialness deserves special accolades. Because I suffer from the tide of uniqueness, I have joined a recovery group of other people who have the same condition. When I meet with them we talk about our life and find that we are not so unique. We all suffer from time to time and we all feel ignored from time to time. In other words, we are not so unique as we think when we are a sample of one. The power of God is at work when I listen to others. One of the best ways to counter some bad thinking is to find other people who suffer the same malady. It is call recovery.
Tuesday, January 29, 2019
"My life is over," I have heard said now and again. What I have found this to mean is that my plans, my way of living, the day to day, my self-identity connected to my plans, is over. This "life" is never ended by me, but rather by someone or something else over which my power and will can do nothing. These strong outside forces are what closes one door, but then allows for another door to open. Sometimes the path we are on has a shelf life. It has an end. It becomes an out of date way of living. This allows us to move. The "end" of something might be the gift of growth into something we would not have chosen if we could have stayed in our old path, or rut. If I am on a Spiritual path then its outward display need not always be the same. Fear of change can be a great obstacle to becoming all we are meant to be.
Monday, January 28, 2019
If you think I am a wonderful and holy priest, than don't read on. It will crush your image of me. But for those who are a bit battered, imperfect, struggling, or addicted you can continue to read. Thirty five years ago today, January 28, 1984, I came to in the morning with a hangover and an urge to commit suicide. I was alone in the house. I was scared. I did not want to die, but I did not want to be in this body. Fortunately, God gave me a gift at that morning moment: desperation. I picked up the telephone and dialed AA. After that, I contacted a friend who came over, and without judgment ( I guess she had already figured out I was a mess, but worth saving) she stayed with me to get me through the morning. She called another person and he got me through the afternoon, no judgment. Then I had the evening mass. I was a bit shaky to say the least and gave a bad sermon, but it was short. Then I had to go to a party of couples who run our marriage prep program. They drank a little, but my morning friend was with me and I did not drink. I stayed in the background. I slept well that night. The desire to kill myself had passed and it has not come back. I never got drunk again. In fits and starts, and a beer in Vienna, Austria, I got on a spiritual path that has kept me sober. I had been on a spiritual path, but it did not keep me sober. The gift of desperation, humility, honesty, and some service to other desperate people has helped. I am good with people who are a mess. I am lost with people who are holy, perfect, and seem to have no problems. Maybe they are more like me, but hide it. Anyhow, this is a good day for me. I guess now I will have fewer readers. I am writing this late in the afternoon, mostly for myself. Life is good, but I have to work at it on a daily basis.
What do you make a a priority in your life? Duty? Job? Exercise? Prayer? Meetings? Many of us think that we ought to prioritize according to what we deem necessary/important, whatever that might be. It can get a bit fuzzy as to what that is. So I try to prioritize according to what gets me out of bed, what energizes me so that I can then go on to do the more mundane and routine things or the deadline things in my life. Each morning when I wake up I have an instinct for what hat is. Sometimes it is a run, or reading scripture or mediation or a meeting with friends. But I try not to start with the mundane, the deadline, the routine unless they energize me. I like monastery life because what they do so early in the morning does energize me. Maybe it is the food? Anyhow, maybe my blog energizes you? One can only hope.
Sunday, January 27, 2019
You have heard of gluten free food. It is all the rage now. But I am more focused on glutton free food. What is that? Well, gluttony is when you keep eating past what is healthy. It is part of the “more” syndrome of actions we do to bury feelings about reality. Something is not going my way. I get anxious, angry, resentful and then eat the wrong things or too much of a thing. Reality did not change,nor did my capacity for acceptance. But I messed up my body with food. So, to be surrounded by glutton free food I need to be in some fit spiritual condition, such that I can accept reality as it happens each day. I can accept something without liking it at the moment. I need to get out of being judgmental because I often find that what seems bad now, turns out to be very beneficial later. A higher power than me is at work, but does not always give me the memo as to where reality is going. So I tend to pray before I get too far into my day. A balanced diet is in direct proportion to a balanced spiritual practice. I have found it so. Oops! I am thinking of chocolate.
Saturday, January 26, 2019
I may be incurably mediocre but this is not a bad thing as long as I know it is incurable, left to my own strength and willpower. I think it is better to know that alone I am mediocre, rather than think delusionally that I am some kind of comic book hero. The latter is all ego and self-centered fear that I might not be enough. Mediocrity can seek help to rise above mediocrity. I seek a community of people who can assist me to become more than mediocre through the relationships. I am incurable only when left to my own self to solve all problems and deal with all situations. I seek a spiritual path that is relational, with a power in the relationship that I cannot have alone. I start out each morning with the idea that if I don’t get some help, I will have a mediocre day at best. Alcohol, sex,drugs, food, exercise always had a component of “more” to them. And a bit too much self-focus. When I have had a good day, I usually have done something for someone else. Just showing up can do a lot for another person. There is very little love in mediocrity.
Friday, January 25, 2019
Chastity is not all about physical sex. That is about as far as any of us got with explanations of the virtue of Chastity. I believe what someone told me, that chastity is about loving someone for their sake and not for mine. This virtue is in battle against self-centeredness and selfishness. Oops, maybe I am not so chaste as I thought. It is a challenge to love someone who ends up next to me for reasons not of my choosing. It is a challenge to love someone when I don’t feel the adrenaline rush of “falling in love.” Young people, still maturing, go in and out of relationships, falling into almost obsessive love, and then becoming bored with that same person. This is really about satisfying one’s own emotional rush. People “dump” one another at times. This is all various forms of hidden selfishness. Do I think I am loving others when in fact I am simply feeling good when around them, and when that passes, so do I from their lives? Not very chaste. But rather a very utilitarian life.
Thursday, January 24, 2019
Where is the star in your life? Say what? Well, the Magi in the Christmas story are following a star. They are searchers, always open to a deeper life, challenged to grow through darkness to new light. Remember that they do not know where they are being led. The roads are bad but they will not be deterred. They even lose sight of the star and have to ask for some advice, and direction. Then they see the star again and follow it to a house where they find a mother and child. They trust that they have arrived and offer the gift of themselves and other symbols. What does this all mean for us? First, I must be a searcher for a deeper life, and open to the arduous challenge to grow, even when I am not sure of the way. This means I must have hope and trust in whatever spiritual path I follow. At times I have to stop and ask for advice, seek direction. People in twelve step programs, religions, spiritual traditions all do this as part of their journey. For me it would be sacraments, meetings, meditation, and doing it all even in times when I am not sure where it is all going. So, where is your star? You are a gift waiting to be given.
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Luminaries are lit candles that sit inside of paper bags. They are used to light pathways. You often see them at Christmas season. They are basically paper lanterns, so they are fragile. I would like to be a luminary, a fragile person, who can also light the way for someone else on their search for safety, home, spiritual journey. Think of yourself as a possible luminary. You are always enough for someone else who is in their own darkness. I have to keep the candle of my life lit so that I can be of use to others. Being fragile simply means that I have to work at staying on the path myself. Moderation might be a goal. Too much flame and the paper bag will burn up and the wind will douse the exposed candle flame. Some daily spiritual practice and then activity in the world of my fellows is a good balance. Light my fire! Maybe this fragile blog is a luminary for someone today.
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
I read where half of the fruit and veggies produced in the United States goes to waste. Why? Because people are obsessed with how the product looks. It is tough for growers to sell stuff that does not look "right" on the outside. Blemishes won't sell. This would be me when I shop for groceries. The question is, "Do I treat people the same way?" Oops. Maybe. I am supposed to love all people regardless of how they look on the outside. Their appearance should not matter. Social standing, gender orientation and such should not influence me. I am afraid that at times I do shop people like I shop my veggies and fruit. I may burn. How about you?
Monday, January 21, 2019
A lot of meditators think that their God or Power exists in a quiet environment. They cannot access their God if there are distractions. Oh? The universe, so say the scientists with their Hubbles, is quite noisy. Noise, chaos, the whirlwind of life's daily activities might be just fine for your God. So why not meet your God in this instead of trying to control distractions. Yes, it is nice to have some peace and quiet, but if that is the only way, place in which you think you will encounter God or Power, than most of your day will be "Powerless" and you will feel powerless as well. If it be God's will that you lie tossed in the waves of life, do you think God is abandoning you in those times and places? When I have this attitude, it is control that is my issue. Silence is not the solution to control. Abandonment is.
Sunday, January 20, 2019
If you are a Jew or a Christian, or someone trying to stay sane and sober, I don't know why you get so bummed out when your plans are not working out. When the Israelites left Egypt, they ended up by a river and Pharaoh's brigades were about to slaughter them. Not to worry. That was the parting of he Red Sea. See the Charlton Heston movie about Moses if you want to know more. As for the Christians, the disciples of Jesus got into a boat without him, and started across the Lake, a big Lake. A big wind and storm comes up and it looks like they are goners. Then Jesus comes along, walking on water, and gets into the boat. He tells them not to be afraid, and the storm shuts off. All the Twelve Steppers know that fear is no good. Hope is a good virtue to have in the storms of life. I have come to see that my plans are simply mine. I am a singular vote for my plans to become a reality. There are powers greater and wiser than me, who have my back. I often encounter this Power in the darkness of my own mess. The dawn is after the night.
Saturday, January 19, 2019
Desperation, not faith, is the primary reason many of us seek God. Faith is fleeting, otherwise people who say they have faith would always be seeking God or some Power. Faith-based people have huge periods of time when they ignore their God or give the search a low priority at best, maybe a weekly thing or a "good night god" prayer. But people of desperation have "the seeking" on the front burner, a focus of their day. An example: the so-called thief on the cross next to Jesus at the crucifixion. He is desperate. He is on the way out. Suddenly, he says to Jesus, "Remember me when you come into your kingdom." That is a big leap. This is what is called "the faith of face to face in the darkness." Now if Jesus has the keys to let someone into heaven, this desperate fellow is in great shape, because Jesus says to him, "This day you will be with me in paradise." So I don't mind being desperate. It keeps me on the path. Get complacent, and bad things can happen. In some circles it is called a slip.
Friday, January 18, 2019
I need to have on a daily basis, good feelings about my little personal world. You might think this to be a bit silly. You say, we need to accept bad feelings and realize that our world is not always good. Well, that depends on your personal resources. What do you do with these “bad” feelings and negative views of your world? I try to admit them, feel them, not live in denial, but then I have to take some positive action. You see, for me, and maybe a few others, if we cannot get a better feeling, we just might go back to searching for “the best feeling in the world.” That search ended up losing jobs, partners, houses, cars, health and sanity. If people like me wake up with good feelings, we are into gratitude. If we wake up with bad feelings, we are into “help!” Know your demons.
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Many of us are on a journey. There is the obvious spiritual journey. But there is the journey of simply trying to grow up, to move from one level of maturity and physical growth, to something more evolved. Then there is the journey of career, relationship, education and so on. I ask myself where I am in relation to all the people who are on these journeys? Am I a hindrance or a resource? Am I a roadblock or am I a pointer, a place to stop and rest, a guide, emergency help? Each day I make this choice. If I do not work on my spiritual program, live a healthy lifestyle of rest/food/exercise/nurture supportive friendships, I will become a hindrance before I even see it coming. I will make a rash remark, a judgement, complain, act out a resentment, be filled with jealousy, none of which will be helpful to anyone trying to get somewhere in their growth. My bad behavior does not just block my growth. It affects those around me. So if you do work on your own spiritual growth, you will be better able to live and let live when you come upon someone like me who is in rut. Think of “First things first.” Take care of you each day and you will be able to be a resource as well as not stumble over someone who is a roadblock. I hope my blog is not a stumbling point!
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
A wise saying: “You can’t get it unless you give it away.” I think of this in all areas of my life. How do I know what I believe in religion or politics/economics or spiritual paths unless I first try to explain it to someone. I learn by teaching. Often, I am surprised at what comes out of my mouth and mind when I am teaching about prayer. I make connections that I did not even know I had. I get enlightened by expelaining myself. You say you believe something about God. Well, try explaining it or tell someone what you think you believe. And if you say, you cannot explain it, then I suspect you don’t really have it in the first place. Maybe that is why religions and 12 step programs emphasize evangelization, or sharing what you say you have. One of the best ways to find out how shallow we are is to try and talk about what we say we believe. The more I read outside my comfort zone, the more I find out how little I know.
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Notice how on social media people show their "best" face, or at least the face that want to show to the public. This is why I do not use social media to get my connection with other people. I do see it as a place where I can be informed of someone's whereabouts, or an event of passage such as a graduation. Social media may not be the place for the "real me" stuff, but say you are lonely and sad. Why not say so and see what happens? If no one takes the time to reach out to your sense of failure, isolation, sadness, then why bother to tell them about your "successes?" Do we all want to hear only the seemingly successful and fun stuff, but not the daily reality of human struggles? What if we are having trouble paying our bills, child care costs, broken car issues, death, sickness, loss of a lover from a move, or betrayal. What if you are losing or fear losing your job, or cannot afford insurance? This is the stuff of life. This connects me to others. If all I see is your "success face" why would I bother with social media? My life is a struggle many a day. Success for me is the gratitude that I do not succumb to the human struggle of each day's challenges, and events that do not go my way.
Monday, January 14, 2019
I don’t know why religions make such a big deal about their creeds, those dogma lists. Someone said that creeds remind them of flight attendant speeches about safety. No one is listening. Safety and creeds are important, but no one is listening. We seem to recite them because we are “supposed to.” But no one is particularly changed by the words. I rather emphasize what a pope said. Being a Christian means having love. Love without conditions or payback. It is easier to believe in a creed than to do that kind of love. The creed is rejected by many and ignored by many others. For me, the world will be a better place if we can love like Jesus loved, then to worry about the creed. I have met more than a few people who have emphasized dogma, but are not very nice people. Dogma did not make them less racist, sexist, selfish, arrogant or judgmental. My job is to love them unconditionally. Good grief! I can’t do that alone. Friends help.
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Families are perfect in an imperfect way. A parent gets her kids to church. They are late and are not acting very pious. But they are there. Showing up takes a lot of time, effort, patience, acceptance and humility. When you get a gaggle of children anywhere, pat yourself on the back for “showing up.” You could have as easily given up. Years later, these same children, now adults, will talk about those showing up times. This is when you get the assurance that your showing up was worth it. At the time, you had your doubts about being a parent. Some of the best surprises for parents come years later. Why is that? Why not immediate gratification? So that parenting does not become an ego trip. When it is all about you, that is when you do only those things that make you look good. And the children miss out on the “showing up” times. Under the dysfunction are the wonders of family bonding. Remember that even Joseph and Mary lost their child in a big city, thinking he was with the other parent. Parents are holy. Perfection is not required.
Saturday, January 12, 2019
People want spectacular if they are going to believe in God. Doubters and non-believers tend to say that if there were a god then the world would be a nicer safer place. The world is a mess and so there is no god who is all-powerful and good. Well, my belief is based upon God coming in the ordinary. For a couple of weeks we Christ believers have been celebrating a baby. Hundreds of babies were being born the same day as Jesus. A baby has no power and won’t fix a broken world. I think that organized Christianity makes too much effort to make God all this and all that. For me, the baby came without being asked to come. God decided to come in an ordinary fashion and hang out with us and love on us without us earning it. That is extraordinary. So I try to celebrate the everyday places and situations in my life where I can find love. How do I find love in these places? I put it there. I am an ordinary guy, but I can love you without you feeling you have to earn it. Being ordinary still can have the aspect of surprise that might make you smile. Like looking at a baby.
Friday, January 11, 2019
Alcohol for many people is a beverage, but for some people it is a solution. So you are not an alcoholic and this does not apply to you. Well, let's broaden the solution choices. For some people exercise is for fitness, but for other people it is the solution. For some, clothes are to cover the body, keep us warm or cool, but for others it is the solution. For some, work is to make living, or be creative, but for others it is the solution. For some, control is about keeping some order, but for others it is the solution. For some, marriage is about relationship, love, children, but for others it is the solution, until it is not. So you might ask yourself if you have solutions that don't work? How would you know? You keep pressing the "more" button, but things don't get better. They get different and for some people different is the solution. Even if "more" people don't read my blog, I can still be happy, joyous and free...I hope. I think.
Thursday, January 10, 2019
There are two ways to respond to unmet expectations, and both are bad. One is alcohol. The other is resentment. Alcohol has a way of soothing unmet expectations. It keeps you from getting the resentment. But if you don’t drink, then you are left with the resentment. You expect something and you don’t get what you expect. Drink or resent. Both are dead ends. The only solution that I have found to work without getting tipsy or angry, is a spiritual solution. It results in acceptance. You accept the way things are at this moment. You are free of the energy suck of resentment, so that you can use that energy to make some positive responses. Like what? You might try and get out of yourself and be helpful to someone else, or some other situation that could use your attention. Take out the garbage. Maybe while you are being useful, you might come up with a positive solution to your dilemma if in fact it is a dilemma. Maybe you will discover it is simply self-centered fear. I cleaned my room and changed my linens, bedding, cleaned the bathroom. Resentments left. Spirituality is not always about saying prayers.
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
In the Catholic mass there is a moment when each person in the pew is supposed to turn to one another and give a blessing. It is called “A sign of Peace.” But it really is not a wave or handshake or hug or nod. It is supposed to be where you bless someone near you and they bless you. Why don’t people do this or why are they not encouraged to do it? I wonder if it is their Catholic DNA that thinks a “mere” lay person” cannot give a blessing. It is clericalism to think that only a priest can give a blessing. In the Mexican culture, the mother and grandmother give blessings to their children and grandchildren. People need to trust the power of their own blessings. Next time you have that ‘Kiss of Peace” time in your worship service, give a blessing to the person near you. If they look at you like you are weird, tell them you read it in a blog!
Tuesday, January 8, 2019
OMG! I think that the dermatology procedure I had last week that burnt my face off, had an impact on my brain. I think some brain cells might have been burnt away. How so? Well, now each morning and evening, I have to wash my face with some facial cleansing lotion and then I have to put on a facial moisturizer. “How tedious!” I thought. It recalled to me, my big Sister, Maureen, when we were growing up and shared a bathroom. I would watch her doing precisely what I have to now do for the rest of my days. Then my brain said to me, “She did this each day to keep herself beautiful!” What? Yes, underneath my outer brain cells that said Maureen was a witch, were brain cells, memory cells, long buried, that told me my sister was beautiful. I was at a wedding of one of her grandsons recently and sure enough, they had a picture of her high school graduation. She was beautiful. So if you have a resentment about one of your siblings, see your dermatologist and get stuff burnt away. Better skin might make better memories? Maybe a lot of 12 step work would help too. Did I say too much?
Monday, January 7, 2019
Someone said, “We should listen to other voices besides the ones in our head.” That got my attention. The difference between prayer and insanity is that with prayer, I open myself to some other voice, a second opinion, a different view, than the one I have. With insanity, I listen only to the voices in my head. These voices tell me that I will be happy if persons, places and situations would change and be what I think is right and just. My head voices say I will be happy with a different job, city or living situation, or partner or religion. The voice of prayer, though quite quiet and gentle, tells me that my happiness is within and a spiritual path is the way to reach that inner self. Many a time I have gathered with friends, with my thinking that the world is all wrong out there, and unkind or ignoring me or whatever, only to hear a person say a piece of wisdom that reminds me that the “wrong” causing my unhappiness lies within me and my attitude or thinking. Usually, when I pray less, the world around me gets all wrong. Then, self-centered fear rules the my day.
Sunday, January 6, 2019
My recovery from having my face fried is into its second full day as of this writing. I resemble Dracula insofar as I am not able to go outside into the light or else I will have bad things happen to me. Remember that Dracula would suffer a permanent death if he went out other than in the night. so I go out at night or early morning. So I can go for a power walk in the dark at 5:30 AM and I can go out at night to meetings or church or fun. So far, no one seems to want to have fun with my Dracula face. But I am hopeful that tolerance will prevail. In time, I may peel, but be able to go out in the light with sunscreen and moisturizer. With peeling skin I will resemble a Zombie risen from the dead, but not Dracula. So, what is the lessen. There are several. Be patient and trust in the process. I am not powerless. I can put on moisturizer and use moisturizing/hydrating cleanser to wash my face. I get power from listening to the experts and following directions. Someone always knows more than you. Be humble, listen and act. I have learned that if you are going to be inside, but not bedridden, have good books and Netflix. Thanks to my niece in Florida I have the latter, and from the local library I have the former. And find friends who will bring you cappuccino. Maybe you are a tea person. Oh, I just learned, the hard way, that if you are stuck where you are away from the refrigerator which is near while lit windows, have friends bring you salad with protein or else you will have to wait until dark, and starving, to have anything to eat since your early breakfast. I am starving at the moment with but access to a yogurt. But life is a learning process. Whining will not make things better. This is a reporting blog, not a whining blog. My stomach is growling!
Saturday, January 5, 2019
I knew that the bishops of the United States wrote a “pastoral letter” on Peace in the World in which they supported nuclear disarmament. It was controversial at that time. But since I neve read the letter I missed the part where they encouraged a return to “meatless Fridays” for Catholics. Well, maybe there is no world peace because I did not return to skipping meat on Fridays. I only abstain when I absolutely have to in my church. Maybe that makes me mediocre, but I think there are many other reasons for my mediocrity in practice of religion. I never liked Friday abstaining from meat. When I grew up, supper was so boring and tasteless. We ate fish sticks which had hardly anything close to a fish in it. No one cooked fish in my home when I was young. I suppose now I could start eating some good fish on Fridays, among other stuff. Maybe tofu. Well, maybe not since I don’t know what to do with that gob of tofu to make it tasty. I can do fish, shrimp, scallops and pastas. Maybe it will contribute to world peace. What do you eat on Fridays?
Friday, January 4, 2019
OK, there is a dog movie coming out soon. It is probably already showing in big cities like LA and NY. You will need the hankies if you are a pet lover. Anyway, the dog get separated from its owner. Home is where the dog is loved by a human being. Is that not home for all of us? Anyhow, the dog does good things, is helpful and loving in spite of some nasty creatures who see dog as a meal. Being loved, the dog knows how to love, as in rescuing somone. Plus, the dog needs a friend to help it out of difficulties. Without giving away all of the movie, only about 80%, the dog movie teaches at least two things. If we are going to find our way home to love, we will need to be loving along the way, be self-sacrificing, plus we will need some help. If you see someone trying to get “home” be helpful.
I had the PDT dermatology treatment this afternoon. While washing my face the scab from the MOHS surgery from three weeks ago fell off. Boy is that one ugly wound and PDT did not help make it less ugly. Anyhow, they get all the moisture off your face with some cream that stings for a while, but this is just the warmup. Then you get 10 minutes of bright light on either side of the face. I said a rosary on my fingers to not think about the sting of the intense light frying away bad skin and maybe some not so bad skin. Who knows. Now I am home and not supposed to be in any bright light including bright reading lamps, sunlight, windows with light from outdoors, for 48 hours. I guess a lot of Netflix. Anyhow, the instructions say to use a lot of moisturizer, but I got only small sample bottles in my take home kit. Not supposed to go out so how does one buy the stuff in the next few days. I had to wrap up my face in a scarf and brim hat when I left the doctor’s office. So I will use up the moisturizers I have and then agony, I don’t know. More rosaries I see in the next few days. So if I will look like a beast, I at least hope to be a holy beast.
Thursday, January 3, 2019
If I am helpful to someone, but they do not come back and say, “Thank you,” it does not bother me, so long as they then go on to be helpful to someone else. Passing it on is a wonderful way to say thank you. We are supposed to make the world be a better place for love and kindness, not for making all the money we can make or having more and bigger stuff. If someone says to me, “I don’t know how I can ever thank you,” I say to them, “Be helpful to the next person you meet who needs help.” One of the saddest things is to see a parent be kind and loving to a child, only to have that child go out and become mean, unkind and ignoring of others who might need a little attention and love. Children of privilege have this as the downside. Privilege does not mean that you give of your surplus wealth, as in charity. Yes, this is necessary for bare essentials, but the rich may never encounter the poor in this circumstance. Love and kindness is for anyone who has a barren or broken heart, a loneliness that cannot be filled by anything but love. This emptiness shows up in all economic circles. Money and poverty share loneliness and pain. Only the outer garments differ.
Wednesday, January 2, 2019
I think of my spiritual practice like driving a car. When I ignore my God connection it is like me driving the car of my life and it is out of control. It swerves into places that are not good for me. My will turns the car in all the wrong directions. I get lost, or end up wrecked. So I don’t drive the car. I move into the passenger seat and let God drive the car. I ask, “Where do you want to take me God on this day?” I let God direct the car, where I go, and what comes from these destinations. That is prayer. Prayer is letting God drive the car. I stop directing my life and let God do it. I ask for God’s will, not mine. I wait patiently in the prayer. My life is most manageable when I don’t try and manage it all by myself. I am a bad driver of my life when left to my own devices and will. When I awake and get into the driver seat of my life right away, the day will be a wreck. So I wake up and make sure I spend some time in the passenger seat of my life. I gave up my self-will run driver’s license some time ago. Who is driving your life?
Tuesday, January 1, 2019
We are made human, become human, by relationship, not by work. Adam needed Eve, not to till the garden, but as a companion. Monks need community of the monastery. We do not become fully human in isolation. Jesus calls his followers friends. And then he says, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” The bread and wine of Catholic mass is meant to be relational. It is not meant to satisfy physical hunger. It is not breakfast. You can eat alone, but it won’t make you more human, more fully all that you are meant to be. Sharing life with someone over food can do this. That is why religions that have food in their worship, do it in a communal setting. It is important that senior citizens, the unemployed, the newcomer, not be left in isolation. They will die within before they die physically. I find that being around seniors helps me to be more human. Being around screaming, hyper children? That might be a stretch. But I can always grow! Happy New Year. A good year to love!