Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Serious But Funny

Have you ever found yourself laughing at something that is at the same time very serious?  I have and here is one of them.  A person goes to AA meetings to learn the 12 steps, as the way to safely go on drinking.  The 12 steps were for drinking safely, they thought.  Usually, these kind of statements come from the inexperience of being a newcomer.  I think that spirituality is that part of ourself that gets us to do the right thing even though our reasons are clouded, or wrong.  The Truly Real will take us from where we are, to the place where we truly need to be.  The solution is hidden behind a false start.  But it is a start in the right direction.  As someone said, "More will be revealed."   You might have married the right person, taken the right job, moved to the right place, but initially, for the wrong reasons.  God has your back.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

My Purpose?

Am I supposed to make a difference?  I remember asking myself this question more than once in my past.  Does my life have a purpose?  At those times I felt lonely, empty and disconnected, mostly from me.  I did not know who I was or am.  These are important questions because if the answers are not forthcoming, or negative, suicide seems like an option, either slowly or quickly.  Some people can have lots of seemingly outer success in job, clothes, family, things, yet feel insufficient meaning to their life.  Of course some people never even ask such questions.  Aristotle says the unexamined life is not worth living.  I am of that persuasion.  I have found that when I give meaning to another person  then my life does seem to matter.  Being of service is a wonderful way to get a positive life worth living answer.  There are two or three of you out there who rely on my blog coming out on a daily basis, I hope.  No?  Oh boy!  The darkness.

Monday, July 29, 2019


A new study says that a glass of wine changes the proteins "expressed" in the neurons and forms a craving for another glass.  But if you don't have a second glass for about an hour, the cravings go away.  I don't know any drunks who wait an hour after they begin the first drink.  But for normal people this info can remind you to pace yourself.  After a couple of drinks too quickly, the memory is affected.  For an alcoholic it means that they forget the horror of their last debacle.  This would also explain why people forget who they are.  Consider the drunk who gets irate that their self-importance is being ignored, and says, "Do you know who I am!"

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Tour De France

The Tour De France is the biggest, most prestigious bike race in the world, held each July mostly in France. A Frenchman has not won since 1985, but this year a Frenchman was leading with only two more days of racing. There are some twenty days of racing, really grueling.  The penultimate race was up into the mountains and down again.  The Frenchman is better going down than up, so his plan was to conserve energy going up and catch guys coming down to maintain his lead.  Mother Nature, the Racing Gods, Fate, or whatever did not cooperate with his plan.  It rained and there was an avalanche on the downhill part, so at the top of the mountain, the officials stopped the race.  The downhill was cancelled.  A Columbian had passed the Frenchman, who then lost the “Yellow Jersey” which goes to the leader.  The final race is a flat run into Paris. Piece of cake for all these guys.  The Frenchman lost the Tour De France.  So we can have our plans but don’t get all crazed about them not working out due to things beyond our control.  I try to live in the moment.  Do the best I can.  Have a plan, but live life on life’s terms.  I am ultimately but a small part of a bigger world.  Second place is OK if I did my best.  Finishing is OK if I do my best.  I am doing my best on these blogs.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Bleeding Wound

I just woke up.  I forgot to set my alarm and it is 6:27 AM instead of 3:25 AM when I post his blog, pray, heat pad on back, and go to Vigils at 4:30 AM like a good monk.  So I am a bad monk, but I don’t feel guilty.  I feel rested.  So I am a monk without a conscience.  But I know where to go to confess and there the people are all imperfect but loving.  And the coffee is good.  Then for a donut.  I mean treats are necessary. I heard they strengthen the conscience.  Anyhow, the blog follows...I am a faithful though tardy blogger.  Maybe you slept in too?
As much as some people don't like to hear about Jesus stuff, there are stories about him in the bible that make me think of recovery from addiction.  For instance, the woman who has a bleeding hemorrhage.   She has tried for 12 years to get relief from doctors.  Don't addicts use medicine, and psychology to get relief or cure from their addiction?  Next she admits she is powerless to get relief on her own.  This is step one.  Her life is unmanageable.  She decides that Jesus has power to relieve her.  Step two.  So she decides to cast all caution to the wind and give herself over to him, her life and will, to get relief.  Step three.  She takes action and goes to touch but the hem of his garment.  How many tip toe into their first meeting with hope for help?  Keeping with the comparison, now that she is healed, by her faith in the power not her own, what will she do?  Physically healed, what about the rest of her? Will she do a step four, a moral inventory of shortcomings and then go on to step five?  Well, that is beyond the bible story.  So believe what you want.  I know where to go when I have wounds.

Friday, July 26, 2019


One of the reasons that we do not want to apologize for an incident is because we would rather be right.  We feel that someone else offended us.  It was not our doing.  They should shape up and say they were wrong.  Then the relationship can improve.  But they say nothing and we punish them with silence or ignore them and their wants in some other way.  The relationship is tense.  Friction.  Moody.  So we maintain that we are right, but the relationship is becoming a mess.  So what do we apologize for?  For our response, our attempt to punish them, since we are the judge giving sentence. This apology can open up to conversation, to clarification as to the why and what of whatever happened.  Sometimes we find out stuff we did not know that affected the way they acted in the first place.  So apologize.  Unless you would rather be right.

Thursday, July 25, 2019


Growing up, I remember my grandmother sitting in the living room darning socks. What is darning?  When you have a hole in your sock, you do not discard the damaged sock as useless, but rather sow, needle and thread, new material over the hole to fill it in.  Sock is patched but good to go.  Today, we just toss the damaged sock into the garbage and get a new pair.  I think we are like damaged socks. Our lives get messed up.  We have holes.  We are no longer new and perfect.  We age.  We break down.   Some people would just be rid of us and get someone new. This is the trophy partner.  But let us not be rid of ourselves, which would be suicide, slow or fast. We may be damaged goods from life but we are worth saving. God patches me up.  Some power can patch you up too.  And that person you think of ignoring or dropping?  They are like you, a damaged sock.  Love patches them up as it does each one of us.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The Wet

As someone reminded me, the spiritual part of your life is like the wet of the ocean.  Without wet, no ocean.  Without spirituality, a very dry and empty life.  It is not all about prayer, as if you must be praying all the time or have some specific belief.  So how does spirituality pervade your whole life?  I suggest that gratitude is a good start.  Gratitude can be part of your waking hours.  This means you have to have an ongoing awareness of to good things, the gifts that are all about you.  On the other hand you could have a very dry day being resentful at not getting what you want, your plans not working out, people ignoring you, and so on.  Your day is not going so well? Pour a little gratitude on it.  Like gravy on seemingly dry and tasteless food, it makes everything better.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Finding Temper

Most of us have to work on not losing our temper.  But some people have to learn to find their temper.  They have trouble getting angry because they do not love themselves enough.  They tend to think that whatever happened to them they deserved because they are bad or stupid or just a mess.  They cannot forgive anyone, or have much of a resentment, given this condition.  They have to first learn to love themselves enough to see that they were wronged and it was not their fault, or at least not all their fault.  Then they can get angry and then work on forgiveness.  For some of us, anger is a dangerous emotion.  But it might be better than not loving ourselves at all.  I may be a mess, but I am a lovable mess.  I have lovable, messy friends too.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Tethered To The Past

Do you really feel better when you mutter or criticize someone?  I don't think so.  I don't.  We really don't get much relief taking the inventory of another person.  If I want to change myself, this won't do.  I will remain tethered to the old me who wants things to be a certain way, for people to act as I say they should. I want control and I want what I want when I want it.  Well, that is surely the old me and that old me will stay pretty young and  current if I go around muttering about how others are acting.  Changing them I leave to another power that is not me.  I have enough just dealing with my own shortcomings.  

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Don't Go It Alone

When I was a child I heard my church teaching, "Outside the church there is no salvation."  I was told this meant that outside my Catholic Church their was no salvation.  My protestant friends had no chance, but I had a step up on getting to heaven.  But this is not the true meaning of that saying.  What it means is that outside of the group, the tribe, the fellowship, you just won't become all you are meant to be, which is salvation.  God made everyone with great potential, but it must be developed, fostered, nurtured by and in a group.  You don't practice much virtue alone and you don't learn much virtue alone.  How can you love if there is no one around to love?  To care for those in need if there are no such?  Church represents group that knows one another and relates to one another.  The fellowship of Recovery Programs is the way that addicts recover.  They don't do it by themselves.  Alone, at best, you will be dry, not injecting your substance, but probably full of anger, restless, resentful and irritated by the world around you.  I cannot go it alone.  I need a "We." Where you find your “we” you have found your church.

Saturday, July 20, 2019


A good prayer for someone is when it is a “Runway To God.”  The prayer takes off from where we are and brings us to a connect with God.  So, following a strict method on a daily basis may not be a runway type prayer.  It does not begin where we are, but where we think we want to be to enjoy God.  This prayer is all about feeling good.  It is all about the person who is praying.  I wonder if it is prayer at all.  So where do I start?  I start with some words from my heart.  These words need only to be honest.  Or I start with reading some psalm or short reflection that might help me to get in touch with what sentiment, words, desires I might have at the moment. Maybe I want forgiveness, or to give praise, or just to say hello.  Sometimes I might say I don’t really want to pray now.  After some words or reading, I might just want to sit quietly and be.  Listen.  Be even more present to the present moment.  The 11th Step of recovery programs says, “Prayer and meditation.”  The prayer part is my honest words.  The meditation part is the quiet resting in the stillness.  “Help me God!  My life is a mess,” is a very honest prayer to start one on the runway.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Happy Birthday Dead Person

Facebook type internet activities having a growing problem, or we who use it do.  Everyday I get a notice of some “friend” who has a birthday.  As time goes on, more of these birthday notices refer to someone who is dead.  Maybe a new job for the executor or the funeral business is to find a way to let the account on FB know that this person is dead.  It might not even be possible.  I think someone could make a lot of money if they could code such a way to eliminate dead people from birthday notices.  Maybe a R.I.P. or keep them in memory?  I wonder now if my dead relatives are still getting ad notices from various places.  It seems pretty hard to drop AOL when you are alive, much less to have someone try and drop your account after you die.  I guess when your email account gets all filled up, it just stays filled up.  When I stop blogging, I will be dead or in a remote hermitage.  Can you get off an email account if you plead dementia?

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Bacon And Eggs

I am kind of a bacon and eggs guy, not that I eat it on any regular basis, but that I am nothing special, yet I can be nourishing, food for others in my life.  It is fine not to stand out, "be special" because that can be all about vainglory.  Is is important to be nourishing in a relationship, to be a giver and not always a taker.  In a breakfast restaurant, bacon and eggs on the menu is nothing exotic or special.  And if you are a vegan or veggie person, such fare is ignored.  So I am not for everybody.  Some people think that I am not for their spiritual diet.  I am too unorthodox, too "different" from what they would find acceptable.  Actually, I am more for the outlier.  But that does not make me special.  I am just a guy in the background doing my bit.  And my blog can be nourishing as breakfast fare.  Breakfast is your most important meal, you know.  Oh! Maybe I am special.  But try to fit in today with the world as it shows up, and you will nourish someone.  Even if you are an outlier.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Sports Loving Match

If you love sports, either to play, but also to watch, I think you would prefer to marry someone who shares your enthusiasm.  Why would you marry someone who at best tolerates your interest?  Or thinks it to be a mindless waste of time?  My friend Sue went to a Rockies baseball game and sat in the rain till 10:30 at night.  OK, that might be a bit over the top of enthusiasm.  Plus the Rockies are a mediocre team losing about as many as they win.  The Rockies are a professional baseball team in Denver for those who are clueless.  Now Sue would be my kind of woman.  If the Pope ever changes his mind about celibacy I hope to find a woman who loves sports.  And old guys too.  I am on the way out.  Hurry up Pope.

Subjects And Objects

A person becomes an object when their purpose is to satisfy the selfish agenda of another.  Someone may say they love you, but these are only words.  Watch how they act toward you.  They may say they are doing things that are loving you, but in fact, you get the sense they are more about themselves, their needs and wants.  This may do for a child, but growing up means that people become subjects and not objects.  When you are a subject, you are part of the other person.  Why?  Because they make you the subject of their selfless love.  A parent might know this in relation to their child.  They feel a bonding with the child to the extent that the parent acts selflessly in the relationship.  When you are the subject, the "I" of the other person and your "I" are one.  Objects, from my English classes, are acted upon for the sake of the subject who does the acting.  Love knows no objects.  All are one.  If you don't get this, it might be that you are only an object of the people around you.  They have you in their life to get something they want.  When you stop fulfilling their agenda, they drift off.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019


In my church there are seven sacraments, signs of God at work, if you will.  But I think there are eight and the eighth is one that everyone can have, but few partake.  It is “The Sacrament of the Present Moment.”  The seemingly ordinary present moment can be so sacred, but we miss it.  We see the people in it as getting in the way, or not cooperating, or an energy drain.  We see only trash and not the beauty of nature, the architecture of buildings, interesting faces.  These are moments that can reveal to us the depth of life, the odd but arresting scene, the sounds of birds and animals.  But if I am all about my sore back, late for a meeting, resentful at something that did not go my way, and the traffic, both walkers and riders, I am all into myself.  I live in a cave of darkness at these moments and all I have to do is awaken to the light. Some days or moments, not so easy to do.

Monday, July 15, 2019


JULY 14, 2019

When a person walks into an AA meeting for the first time, that person is rather naked with their truth, “I am an alcoholic.”  Some of them have lost quite a bit too, including family, job, home, money and self-respect.  No one seems to want to be with them.  Their previous social status, their present ethnicity, sexual orientation, skin color, makes no difference.  Everyone in the room is the same, alcoholic.  This new person is welcomed by the people in the room.  The AAs not only accept and welcome you but they want to help you with your wounds.  Their attention and no questions asked attitude is like the Samaritan with his healing oil and wine.  AA meetings are filled with good samaritan type people.  The Good Samaritan in the Gospel binds up the naked victim’s wounds and cares for him.  The two coins the Samaritan gives the innkeeper are the 12 steps and the 12 traditions.  Once the alcoholic, like the robbed victim, recovers enough, he has the chance to review his life and see how he ended up in a ditch.  Did he have any part in this happening to him?  

So many of us often present ourselves as hidden behind our wardrobe, career, job, home, car, stuff.  When someone asks, “How are you?” we respond, “I’m OK,” when in fact we are not.  All of us want someone to love us, care about us, listen to us, when we are our naked self with no outer disguise.  Think of the bride who stands naked before her spouse and wonders if she will be loved as her naked self, not only physically, but in gradually revealing her secrets/raw feelings to her spouse.  

Will the robbery victim in the Gospel recover and make changes in his life so this does not happen again?  Who knows.  The Samaritan is not  responsible for the results.  He is responsible for his non-judgmental act of compassion and mercy.  God may be invisible, but we are not allowed to be invisible to one another.  We are a society of individuals, whereas AA is tribal.  In the tribe, misery attracts mercy.  Perfection comes through weakness.  When you know you need help you are on the right path.  We can each be that help to someone.  Be the Good Samaritan.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Sunday, July 14, 2019


If you think that you are doing something that is bad for you, but you cannot stop, then think of yourself as a prize fighter who is losing the fight.  The fighter gets knocked down, but gets up again and continues to fight and get beaten up and knocked down again.  Each time down the fighter looks and feels worse.  But in their mind, they think that they can get up again and have different results.  They think that they can win the fight.  Up and down, worse and worse.  Now, you would think such a fighter to be really stupid.  How dumb can you be, you think.  Well, that is addiction.  You continue to do something that is beating you up, but you think next time you will win.  You never win.  It always gets worse.  On a daily basis, I try to stay out of the ring.  Cease fighting.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Take My Advice

Here is something clever I heard.  The spiritual guide tells the follower, "Take my advice.  I am not using it!"  Oh how I have done that.  I tell people some things they can do for their spiritual journey, but I am not doing them myself.  I am a hypocrite. I don't tell them I am not doing something.  I would lose my status, right?  But the good news is that after I tell them and they walk away with a plan to improve, I have to sit with myself and ask why I am not doing what I just said to do.  It is wake up call for me, lest I end up in a mess too.  You tell someone to exercise, but you have been sloughing off.  You tell them to eat a certain diet, but you have not lately been doing so.  You tell them to pray, but you have no time for that now.  You tell them to floss, do yoga, a diary, and so on.  Many of us have solutions.  But we don't listen to ourselves or have learned to quiet our best self.  When all else fails, I try to be helpful to another.  It is my wakeup call.

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Many Images

Some people tell me that they don't believe in a god.  So I say to them, "Well, why don't you get a God you can believe in,  Get your own God."  Use your imagination.  So many of us picture God, if we believe, as someone who looks human.  Their image varies in age, skin color, facial look and clothing.  But still human.  Why have a human God if it does not suit you?  Even the Bible came up with non-human images.  Look at Genesis 15: 17-18.  God comes into view for Abram as a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch.  No human characteristics to compare or critique.  The imagination is the key to your God-comfort, not your mind.  God as a pot!  Why not.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Fruit Of The Tree

There is a wisdom saying, "A good tree bears good fruit and a rotten tree bears bad fruit."  Jesus used this saying.  You will know people by the fruits of their life.  It does not matter so much how people look, but what are the results of their actions.  Some people nourish others by their life and some bring bitterness and a bad taste.  So we might ask ourselves how much time do I spend on my appearance, how I present myself, and how much time do I spend on making sure my shortcomings don't add bitterness to the world around me?  Appearances and manner are the exterior parts of our life,  We need also to work on the interior parts.  Anything rotting, besides our aging bodies?  Accept the aging, but don't whine about it, or use it as an excuse to be helpless.  I hope most of my blogs are good fruit.  Some of them must be rotten given the pacity of responses I might get any one day.  My big Sister, Maureen, told me I was a rotten kid.  The past is past.  Work on today's fruit.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Stage

Some people think that prayer is like a stage manager who is putting on a play.  The manager makes space on the stage in which to do the production.  Then the manager writes the play, directs the production, the lighting, the sound, and hopes that all this work will make for a successful play.  This is the idea that prayer is all about what we do and how well we do it.  Success depends on us if we want to get anything out of the prayer production.  In fact, prayer is more about simply having an empty stage, free of clutter.  God does the production, and it is never the same play or prayer from one day to another.  So first we make the time to find the place for our prayer and then we let go of the clutter in our mind and heart, such as resentments.  Centering Prayer is one way of doing this.  My mind is always putting on plays.  I am the hero.  The spotlight is on me.  All others are supporting cast.  But this is never prayer.  No humility in my plays.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019


I am what someone called a professional forgetter.  That is, I am really good at it.  That is why when I say to myself that I will pray later I always seem to forget to pray at all that day.  "Just do it," is a better attitude no matter how I might feel at the moment.  I tend to postpone something because I think I will be in a better "space" later, or will feel more like doing later whatever I am not going to do now.  If you must, think of your God or Power as a car.  Cars don't want you to wait until later to change the oil or fill up the tank, or replace the oil filter.  Only bad things happen to the car if you wait until you are "ready."  God does not much care for you to wait and certainly your spirit does not do well with your waiting. The spiritual life needs daily maintenance.  It is not the quality of the prayer, but the doing of it.  And who are we to judge the quality of any prayer we do? The proof will be in how we live a saner day.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Honest Starting Point

Though I speak about meditation it is not a steady practice, one day to the next picking up where we left off.  Some people begin meditation with the attitude of getting back to the good feeling they had in yesterday’s meditation.  This is an unrealistic goal.  We need to begin our prayer from where we are.  Honesty is key.  Today is not yesterday.  Yesterday everything might have been going my way and I was at peace and serene.  Today I am feeling resentful, angry and envious all at the same time.  Some incident or person cropped up in my life and this is what I take to my prayer.  It is the starting off point.  I don’t have to wallow in it, but begin with expressing my emotions honestly and openly to God.  Be yourself which at this moment means all these emotions, feelings and judgments.  Sit with them in the Presence of Love.  Let the mediation come rather than jump into your method or posture. We can only become transformed from where we truly are each day.  “Lord, help me!”  Not a bad way to begin.  We are not perfect so don’t try for whatever you think is perfect prayer.  Usually it is getting what you want.  Not much intimacy there.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Petitionary Prayer

We tend to weigh the possibilities of something happening before we ask God for it.  We shy from committing to a request until we think it can actually happen.  It is as if we doubt God, and we do.  There is a bible quote that counters this: “If you say to this mountain be lifted up and cast into the sea, and do not judge in your heart but believe that what you say will happen, so it will be for you.”  So ask boldly, without discernment or judgment.  Stop weighing the odds. Think of the alcoholic who hits bottom, their life in ruins and they cry out, “ God help me!”  If you were to pause and judge the situation, you might say, “No way God can help.”  Why? Because you weigh the persons life, or they weigh their own addicted past and the odds are against them changing.  Yet, they cry out boldly for help.  And many have come into recovery after this prayer.  I pray that I will become holy, though my past and present show no tendency in that direction.  I trust in God and put it out there.  Maybe you need a bigger God.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Life Worth Living

Sobriety is more than not doing your addiction.  It is more than "NOT" doing something.  It is about getting a life worth being sober for.  I think this holds for anyone who thinks about a spiritual practice.  Some people get into some practice because they don't like the misery of the life they are living.  Whatever the practice, they begin to put move away from problematic situations such as a person, a job, unhealthy practices, drugs and alcohol.  But they do not work at putting something more life-giving into this vacated space, so that they will have a fuller, happier life.  So at the end of my day, when I examine the day, I say thank you for not doing bad stuff, like drinking.  But then I have to ask myself what did I do to add to the fullness of my life.  Am I making my life worth living?  Usually some service, some connection to others in a helpful fashion is part of the fuller life.  But some days it is taking a walk in the sun or reading a good book for the pleasure of it.  Is your life worth living for you?

Friday, July 5, 2019

More Human

I hear people say to me, “I want to become more spiritual.”  What is that?  I think they are trying to say that by praying more or doing more devotional spiritual things they will become better people, closer to some inner tug.  I see this journey as becoming “more human.”  That is, we become more the human being we were made to be.  We release our potential.  Our humanity has the potential to be kind, compassionate, forgiving, selfless, generous, and such.  It is built into us but it is all bottled up by trying to live a life self-propelled by lesser energies usually generated by fear.  My contemplative practice is not so much to make me more spiritual, whatever that is, but to make me more human, that is, all I am meant to be.  Ah, time is running out. Yikes!

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy 4th

Happy 4th of July!  You have some special plans for today?  If so, you probably have to drop some things that you might normally do on a Thursday.  You don’t make time for a holiday celebration.  There is no extra time to make.  You rather find time by giving up one thing for another.  You won’t work at your job today, or do some other daily task.  It is the same with persuing a spiritual life of some intensity.  People tell me, “I will have to find time for spiritual practice, or meditation.”  No, you cannot find more time.  You only have the 24 hours.  So you make time by dropping something.  It is all about priorities.  Sometimes you give up some sleep, or some TV for instance.  When you want it badly enough, the desire is strong enough, you will make time.  I have found it so.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Paradise Of Isolation

The bathroom can be good and practical for several things.  I remember when I got my own bathroom.  I was 26 and a bachelor living in my own apartment in San Francisco.  All mine!  But one thing I have found out about the bathroom when you share it is that it can become a paradise of isolation.  It is the one place you can go to get away from everyone, but yourself.  You still have the mirror.  It can give you various opinions of yourself when you look into it.  If you are coming off of some very recent bad behavior, selfish, self-destructive, resentful striking out, or just being on the pity pot, you won't like much what is looking back at you.  You are in your paradise of isolation and feeling like hell.  So the next time you find yourself running away to the bathroom, if for no other reason than to escape, you might ask yourself, "How much of this is my problem, and what needs changing in me?" We can only work on the person looking at us in the mirror.  No one else can make that person whole again.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Paulist Vocation

Fr. Jim and I both "graduated" in the Spring of 1967, he with ordination and me with my MBA.  We both moved to Chicago for our first full time jobs.  I first encountered him at a weekday mass at Old St. Mary's in downtown Chicago.  His brief homilies would speak to some unattended parts of me, or some unsolved issues.  Well into my second year in Chicago I asked to meet with him.  We sat on park bench, so it was during Chicago's all too brief summer.  I said, "What is the meaning of my life? What is my purpose?"  I had asked this question of fellow employees at Standard Oil of Indiana and they felt their life as worker, husband, parent was plenty for them.  They were full.  I was not.  Fr. Jim took my question seriously.  He did not play the answer man like so many young priests tend to do nowadays.  In fact he asked the question of himself as well.  What was the purpose of his life as a priest?  I got two things out of this about the Paulist Fathers.  One, they can connect well to the laity.  They can be where we are, entering into our world though they are priests.  The second thing is that within their vocation, they search for their unique work.  Though priests of a corporate church they are individuals. Within two years, Fr. Jim was transferred to Boston where he began work with divorced and separated Catholics which was cutting edge and not very acceptable in main line church circles at that time.  His work became the "North American Conference of Separated and Divorced Catholics."  Eventually it became ecumenical.  A Paulist priest: connects with the laity in their world and looks for what needs doing while still being a sacramental priest.  Still ravaged by my shortcomings, these are my goals.

Monday, July 1, 2019

A Signal

I hear people say that they are not addicted to something.  But I have found that this is often an excuse to injest or do that very thing!  "Oh, I am not addicted to shopping, so I  can go shopping now and not spend a lot of money on useless or self-aggrandizing stuff," is one example.  This is a pretty good signal that they are hooked on shopping but don't want to admit it.  It would make them feel powerless or weak-willed.  A person in a restaurant says to her friend who is an alcoholic in recovery, "Oh, I am not an alcoholic so I can have a drink now."  Why would you mention it at all?  Giveaway. I can say I am not addicted to vainglory, and then go and do something that puts me in the spotlight to get lots of praise and feed my blotted, damaged ego.  Usually we say such things because we want to quiet a hidden fear that just maybe we might be a little too attached to something that controls us.  Eventually, if we live long enough, don't go broke, or ruin our health, we come to accept our addiction and move on, to a better, freer life.  If I don't honestly face the reality of me each day, mediation will reveal me to myself and then the struggle is on.  If humility wins, I am the better for it.