Sunday, February 15, 2015

Rights...To...Choose...Will...We???

Job must have been having a real bad day when he said the following,
Is not man’s life on earth drudgery?
Are not his days those of a hireling?
He is a slave who longs for the shade,
A hireling who waits for his wages.

“So I have been assigned months of misery, and troubled nights have been allotted to me. If in bed….I am filled with restlessness until the dawn. My days are swifter that the weaver’s shuttle; they come to and end without hope. Remember that my life is like the wind; I shall not see happiness again.” Job 7: 1-4, 6-7.

In expressing his frustration with his life, we are provided with a great opportunity to reflect on the frustrations of our daily living. We, however, have something that Job  DID NOT have, that is the insights that are ours because of the life, suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord, and Savior, Jesus The Christ. Because of the gift of faith in our Baptism, we are gifted with a different set of lenses. We are, by grace, able to go beyond the seemingly hopelessness of any given moment in life to that which lies beyond. The spiritual life is ever and always seeing with “the x-ray eye of faith.” Because of this great gift we are able, if however, we so choose, we are empowered to the see beyond the seen, the unseen. In this Great Unseen, lies the great hope we are all so desperately needing.


We, however, must make a choice. We must get into action so that God can join us in that reality, and become the source of power in our powerlessness. There is a great temptation when we are immersed in the sufferings of life to get into the attitude of, “poor me.” We take up our position on the “pity pot” of toxic shame. It takes real grace, real effort to arise from being mired in shame, to the live life and live it to the fullest. As you know, toxic shame takes away your five rights. These rights are essential for a happy, joy-full, empowering life. When we have been shamed, we lose first of all, the right to love. We lose the right to be the beloved. Being the beloved is ours because of our God’s love for us, not our love for God. It is the one gift we have to claim again, and again, in each and every moment we are given to live. If we do not have the lens of being the beloved, we will of necessity end up just like Job. That is the choice you and I get to make. This choice is NOT made once a day, a week, or a lifetime. No, this choice is made, following the advice of Henri Nouwen, every moment of every day. This is in direct opposition of what another has shockingly written when he writes: “We abort our souls a THOUSAND times a day.” We shudder when we are faced with that reality, yet it is the unfortunate truth. A truth we must have, if we are to have a healthy spirit life. There is nothing more essential claiming you are the beloved. You do NOT, and cannot earn this blessing. We cannot do anything to deserve this priceless gift. It is a great blow to our egos when we accept the fact that we cannot qualify for this inestimable gift. It is free. It is grace.

The other gift we have to claim, because it has been taken away from us, is our right to belong. When we are on the “pity pot”, in toxic shame, we isolate. We cut ourselves off. It takes real effort to claim we all belong to an imperfect human family. The fact we are human, is a fact we grow in acceptance with, and in time, become reconciled with. This is a long, long process. This requires a source of unconditional, unlimited, and unrestricted love. Without this source we cannot, by ourselves, live the life of the beloved. We are social animals. We are, of our essential nature orientated to social living. The Creator Father, lives The Son, and Holy Spirit within the community, we name The Holy Trinity. The original Holy Family. God does live in community so are we are called to community, social living as well. In Them, we live and move and have our being. As it was, so it is, and ever shall be.


The next right that must be reclaimed is your right to worthwhileness. I love that commercial that says, “It is expensive, but I am worth it.” When we are shamed we seldom, if ever, place ourselves as the priority when it come to healthy love and healthy living. Boy, I wish I had a penny, yes just a penny, for all the times I have had to remind those I have journeyed with of the Commandment that the rabbi Jesus taught His followers: “You shall love your neighbor, as yourself.” So very few, when they approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation, examine themselves on that basic commandment. The present Bishop from Green Bay has said that “a healthy love of God, and a healthy love of another, BEGINS with a healthy love of self.” We will never be healthy spiritually until we live our lives in the reality of a love that is “patient and kind.” A love that takes no offense, and is not resent-full.” That is the lens through which our Gracious Prodigal God sees us. Any distortion, and there has been so much distortion that vision must of necessity be fought. There are consequences to fighting this distortion. Look at how much flak Pope Francis is taking from some “good” people within the church. We must always remember that it was “the good people” of Jesus’ time that conspired to kill Him. History has a way of repeating itself. In so far as, we are seeing ourselves through the lens of God’s love will we live lives free of toxic shame. We will be able to live in the reality of being, perfectly imperfect, human beings. We will spend our whole lives wrestling with that reality. We do, however, have The Sacrament of Reconciliation to strengthen us for the struggle. A Sacrament that is so misused, because it is so misunderstood. It is the Sacrament of Reconciliation, not, obliteration. To make the spiritual journey even more challenging, reconciliation is a process that takes place under grace. My mother taught me a long time ago, “the mills of God grind very slow, but they grind ever true.” That slow working of God’s grace does not, and never has sat well with this Irishman. When we claim our God given worthwhileness we will live out our daily lives as survivors, and not as victims. We, then, remove all those who do not respect, and reverence us. We are to set boundaries with those who would use and abuse us. That is why; we have been endowed by our Creator God, with the gift of anger, so that our boundaries will be defended, from the constant attack from those who have no boundaries. This is the battle that must be fought on a regular basis. As long as we live within the bonds of family life healthy boundaries will ALWAYS be tested.


The last right to be claimed is the right to have fun. “St.Irenaeus,” The glory of God is the human person fully alive.” There must be some place where the joy of living must be experienced. The Pope has come out against “sour pusses.” Followers of The Good News must let all know that we have a God with a sense of humor, a living God that is reflected in the joy of fun we are having. We are not called to live the life of Job; we are called, chosen to be sacraments of the risen life. A life that comes to us, through slow transformation of our pain.               

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

2014 Christmas Letter


Dear Friends,

 

            With this letter comes my most heartfelt greetings for a Season filled with mystery, awe, and wonder. As we are drawn, again, into a newer and deeper understanding of The Mystery of The incarnation may Its reality lead you into a deeper reverence for the mystery of who you are, who you have been called to be, and Who IS doing this calling. This call is announced to us through the sacrament, that is, everyday living. That is why I hope and pray this greeting finds you celebrating life in the place you are at, in what you are doing, and most of all in the mystery of your becoming. In this way of living, The Mystery of The Incarnation is ever new. In the newness of your living, God becomes ever new. So through the words, work, and wonder of your life may the gifts of peace, joy and love come to a world that is aching for those gifts. These gifts can and do become real through the reality of our Incarnational living.


           This is the reason why we are in the midst of a season that is filled with a sense of preparation and expectation. We are making ready of gifts and blessings, which in reality are symbols of The Gift coming to us in each and every sacramental moment we are given to celebrate. Some gifts are recognized right away. For other gifts, time is required for us to come to and understanding and the acceptance of their hidden giftedness. “By reason of creation, and still more by reason of The Incarnation, there is nothing profane for her/him who knows how to see” (Chardin).  So we are given the Season of Advent to awaken anew our sense of the sacredness of all of creation. The Season of Advent is just a stepping stone to the main event. The main event we are being directed toward is The Feast of The Epiphany. Pope Francis is an epiphany man. He is asking us to leave behind our narrow focus so we can embrace and be embraced by that which is so great it is The Infinite. The message of The Epiphany, is God has come for all people, not those whom we think are the favored few. That is why when we stop at Christmas we never get to the essence of the message. We are so much the poorer, and as a consequence all of creation suffers. Sad to say I did not have that understanding leaving the seminary, or in my early years of ministry. Over the years there has been an evolution. This has come from a deepening of faith, which comes to one through the mystery of suffering. I now believe what St. Augustine said so many years ago, “Faith leads to understanding,” not understanding leads to faith. That journey of faith is like driving along that awe-full Oregon coast line. I love to drive from Brookings to Myers Beach. The views are breathtaking, but not always, some days you have coastal fog. Then you will drive from one fog bank to another, and then to another. In between there can be bright sunshine. As you drive in the sunshine you think you are free of the fog, when almost immediately here comes another fog bank. That sums up the faith journey in a nut shell. There is no certainty, only the uncertainty of the dark night which leads to constant change. The older I get the more I fight change. (One never wins that battle. There is however a slow surrender.) Yet change is now the only certainty. It is only through lots, and lots of grace the eyes the heart, and the door of the soul are opened and an ever new reality is revealed. This revelation takes place over time. I am not and never have been too accepting of this slow process. I am Irish, duh!!!. We are not a patient people. I want everything and I want it yesterday. I have what you may call a microwave mentality. Even the microwave is not fast enough. It bugs me that I have to wait 3-4 minutes for my egg beaters to cook in the morning. I am now more accepting of the word of Metz, “We are born human and spend our whole life discovering what human means.”


                             I was forced to journey deeper into what it means to be powerless. This summer I had five visits to the hospital. Two were to the emergency room. What an experience. One visit was on a Friday night. I now have an even deeper appreciation for all those who work in the medical field, and I mean all. No wonder there are the great promises in Matt 25. I almost lost my voice. It was down to a whisper. The blessing that has come from that is no more long sermons. The voice will not hold up. I had a number of health challenges which kept me grounded until the end of July. For this reason my travels were not as long as usual. I spent all my time in the High Rockies. It was there I began to breathe right again, and my voice returned. Not to where it was, but good enough. I am able to hike in South Mountain again, and am building up my endurance. The long hikes are a thing of the past as well.


                As I look back I am so very, very grateful for your presence in my life. Some of the old friends have passed on leaving an emptiness, but feelings of gratitude bubble up. There are so many that have shown love and acceptance which has enabled me to embrace a God of love, mercy, and acceptance. Continue that wonder-full, awe-full ministry. Always remember wherever you are, there is God, and His Church. So many are no longer coming to church. Then you bring the church to them. You do not preach, but let your actions be your gospel for all to see and read. That great saying “Preach the Gospel where ever you go, and when NECESSARY use words.” Our Pope Francis has spoken volumes not by what he has said , but, by his actions. What a great model The Holy Spirit has blessed us with. He sure has rattled a few cages, and has let the captives go free. Let us never try to re-cage those who have been freed to be who they really are in God's love. My parting gift, paraphrasing Robbie Burns: “Would that God the gift to give you, to yourself as God sees you.”


                                   Blessings then for a continuous discovery of the birthing that is ever and always an essential part of an authentic human life. A life has the divine perfectly hidden within, and at the same time perfectly reveals Him whose divinity dwells in the depths of each and every human being. May The Mystery of The Incarnation vivify your life, so you become more and more the living sacrament of Him Who came to dwell in us through us and among us. Reverence the mystery of who you are. In this way you will have life and have it to the fullest.  
                                                                                                                                                

Blessings to and on all,
                                                                                                                                                
Grandpa Joe

 

P.S. 
You will all be remembered at the 9:00am and 11:00am Masses on Christmas Day.  I will have the privilege of celebrating with the community of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Tempe.      

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The... challenge......for ...new.... lenses.....


Advent 2014, never before, never again, is coming to us, here and now, with an eternal newness. A newness that always challenges us to put on a new set of lenses so we will have the faith and courage to let go of the certainty and the security of the past. For what purpose? So we can free ourselves to be lost in The Mystery that is "ever ancient and ever new." A mystery we are celebrating, anew, this Advent season, but the question has to be asked are we ready for the newness? There is an eternal newness to our living God. As we participate in this newness there must be a newness that is revealed in us and through us, for others. What we are given is never for ourselves. (St. Paul)This newness is presented in the every ordinary, yet, ever new moment, we are given to live. It is in the living of each moment that the living God, of Jesus the Christ comes to us and through us to all of creation. This is The Great Advent which is forever happening, in the sacrament of eternal now. The coming, this advent of God which is a moment to moment reality, is the mystery we spend four weeks reflecting on each and every year. The purpose of this reflective time is to a deeper our faith in the newness of our God. Because of the newness of our God there must be a newness within each one of us, since in Him/Her "we live and move and have our being." How exciting, how challenging that reality is??? Are we ready to embrace the challenge, of leaving behind comfort and certainty so as to journey into the great unknown of faith?


“We are driven blindly along a path we have never seen or heard of, unable to venture any other. Divine action never follows the same course; it always traces out new paths. Those whom it leads NEVER know where they are going; they will not find the way through or by their own searching. Divine action for ever opens the way which we are compelled to take." J-P De Caussade. My ego wants no part of this insecurity and uncertainty. My ego wants the security of certainty, and when that certainty disappears, which it will; there is serious fear-filled panic. On the other hand, my spirit wants to fly free into the unknown. To be blown this way and that way by the breath of The Creative Spirit of Love. The Holy Spirit is the creative power of our God, creating and recreating us ever anew. The Creator God is forever molding us and shaping us into the person we are meant to be, not the person we want, or wish to be. The Model we are modeled after is coming to dwell among us. He is coming to be enfleshed within our flesh, which is The Mystery of the Incarnation. Through this mystery we are provided with a living, and so an ever evolving model to follow. We cannot enter a newness of life being modeled after some dead inanimate object. When we make this error we pay a terrible price. Our Eternal, Living God comes to live among us so as to lead us to live lives way beyond anything our imagination could ever imagine. Lives that are only possible through the action of Grace. Grace, we know, is the love of God in action. That action is always within the reality of the here and now. Once we go outside the reality of the here and now God cannot reach us. We are not disposing ourselves for the only encounter that really matters. For that we are responsible, the gift of free will can be such a blessing, but it also can be such a curse. All gifts follow the same pattern.


This Spirit, then, blows where It wills, and in the way of its own choosing. Darn it. This Spirit cannot be programmed to fit our little narrow agenda. This requires of us a constant state of awareness and alertness to the battle that, of necessity, will, and does, ensue. It is happening right now in the depths of who we are. It is a moment to moment struggle which results in the old passes away, to give way to the birthing of the new. This too, in time, will lead to a newness which we must make room for. So, in every life is sown the seeds of death, in every death there is in potency, the reality of new life. This new life will be nourished into the fullness of life through the miracle of grace, not by anything we may say or do. I am beginning to appreciate more and more the words of St. John of The Cross, “We journey to Him we do not know, a path we do not know.” Our journey, in faith, is then a journey into the darkness of insecurity, and uncertainty. A journey that somehow is guided and guarded by a power beyond our understanding and comprehension. A book, I find both challenging, and unsettling, is 'The Sacrament of the Present Moment" by Jean-Pierre De Caussade. Writing about this journey into the darkness of faith he has this to say “Those who find themselves this way are often afraid, like the prophet, to follow it afraid of running into danger when walking through that darkness. Have no fear faithful souls! That is where your path lies, the way along which your God is guiding you. THERE IS NOTHING SAFER OR SURER THAN THE DARK NIGHT OF FAITH. Following in any way when faith is so obscure and darkness obliterates everything and the path can no longer be discerned, for a path cannot be lost which does not exist. But the soul cries out: "Every moment I seem to be falling down a precipice. I know I am surrendering myself to God that I can achieve nothing unless I cease to act on the strength of my own virtue.....I cannot see that it is guiding me in the right direction, but I cannot prevent myself from believing that it is"...The state of pure faith is the state of pure suffering. All is dark, all is pain.... The more pitfalls there are, the more darkness, danger, mortification, dryness, fear, privation, trouble, anguish, despair, persecution, suffering, and desolation there is on our way, the more our faith and trust will be strengthened...We will forget the way and all its twists and turns, we will forget ourselves and totally surrender to the wisdom, the mercy, and the power of our guide.


This Guide is coming to us, disguised as a helpless, vulnerable baby. We are on an endless searching journey. A mysterious journey that will take us beyond that which is seen into the realm of mystery and the unseen. This Advent let us look beyond the familiar so as to get in touch with the great unseen. This unseen is our deepest and most sacred reality. Let us take the familiar characters of the Gospel story, and see where each makes a dwelling place within us. As you place the figures of your crib scene, search your inner space for the place where they are now dwelling. They are patiently waiting, and have been waiting in your depths, so as to be discovered and become living realities. In this way you as individual, couples, families, will have the lived experience of what it means to be, the living continuation of The Mystery of The Incarnation.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

" NOT... in... clock...time...."



"Look not backward in anger, forward in fear, but around in awareness," is something I read many years ago. As we approach the end of the Liturgical Year it is good, no necessary, to keep these words front and center. Why? Well as we listen to the scriptures, about the end of time, we can lose focus on "the here and now." When we lose touch with "the here and now," we lose touch with reality, and so with The Real. All we will ever have is "the here and now," and is here, in the right now, our Gracious God is reaching out to us. We, for our part, must be ready for the gifts that  are offered to us, in each and every moment. There is no moment that we are not being offered that which we need for a healthy, and whole (holy), life. These gifts come to us disguised as, "everyday living," which unfortunately we can, and do take for granted. We begin to see them as a right, rather than as a gift. A gift that is not intended for ourselves, but for others. Thank God, we are challenged to see beyond our little agendas, to a vision of the greater picture, the coming of The Kingdom. This kingdom is where we will encounter, and also be the place of other encounters, with that which is essential for healthy, human dwelling.  I speak here of peace, justice and love. These are the three  essentials we need for  lives of peace and harmony with ourselves, and as a consequence with others. Let us remind ourselves that the state of the individual soul, decides the state of a family's reality, and by extension, the state of the nation and world. There are times then when the peace of the world is in serious danger, because of the war within our depths.

           I guess that is why our Pope is placing so much emphasis on healthy spirituality. A healthy spirituality is concerned with making us aware of the fact that our God is encountering us where we are, not where we would like to be, or where we are supposed to be, or expected to be. That covers an awe-full amount of space. We cannot live a healthy spiritual life in the illusion of expectation. That is not living in reality, the place where The Real, has its dwelling place. Reality is all about the here and now, and this is the place of our encounter with our Prodigal Father/Mother God. This is always a new experience, because we are ever new in our becoming. Through the action of grace we are always in the process of becoming that which our God has intended us to be. We are to be the living and active presence of His Son, Jesus Christ, who is in turn, the revelation of The Living God. Each one is a sacrament of God, a dignity that must ever be cherished, and celebrated. As we read the many encounters between The Prophet Jesus and those in need we become more aware of the readiness of Jesus to meet the person or persons in the reality of their situation. There was never a question of qualifying for the gift that was to be offered. Jesus was able to see the essential goodness of His creation standing, or lying in His presence. He was able to see beyond the narrow vision of religious law, to the all embracing acceptance of The Prodigal God, He came to reveal to us through His life and ministry. He came to model, for those who were called to be His followers, how life was to be led. Thank God, we have begun a return to an ever deepening understanding of the Gospel's good news, and how it applies to our "here and now."


As it was in the '60s so it is today, we face a battle, a struggle between the forces of rigidity and compassion.  As it was, so it is, and unfortunately will be until the end of time. Through all of the struggles, we have to have that confidence that the Holy Spirit is making all things work together for the good of all. History just keeps on repeating itself. It will take a real change in consciousness to change that pattern. From what I have read there seems to be a new consciousness emerging from the present struggles of a broken humanity ever emerging into a wholeness, a oneness.  There is a new creation on its way.  Let us then be instruments of healthy change, reflected in us being spirituality healthy.  We can do this by adopting the following way of living the life given to us to live. Let us "leave our yesterday to the mercy of God, tomorrow to the providence of God, so we can line in and enjoy the love of God today." Easy to write, easy to say but so difficult to do. There is such a difference between the "saying" and the "doing."  I guess that is why we do not think our way into a new way of acting, we must act our way into a new way of thinking.  Right??  I have to learn that lesson, over and over, and over again.

             This leads us to have to face the harsh reality which comes with us being spiritual beings immersed in the human condition (Chardin). We are always coming up short.  No one has it wired.  That is why the parable of the wheat and the weeds is so essential for a gentle understanding of self and others.  Spiritual living, that is healthy spiritual living, will eventually challenge us to admit the following, what we thought was a strength, was actually a weakness, and what was seen as a weakness is now the place where the transforming power of grace is encountered. Because of this encounter a newer and a deeper understanding of what it means to be loved, as the beloved is revealed.  This is a slow process.  It is done in Kairos time, in other words, in God's time.  God's time cannot be measured.  I guess heaven, like Las Vegas, has no clocks.



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Trust…In…The…Wonder

At the end of the last blog there was an effort made to encourage the slow reflective reading of the quote from Henri Nouwen. Why? Because within those words there is contained so much of what we seek, and yearn for. They convey to both you and me, who we are in the love of our Gracious, Prodigal and always surprising God. Pope Francis recently reminded us that our God Is a God Who surprises. Our God breaks into our lives, as scripture warns us, “at a time we least expect.” I think you will agree that our God not only comes when we least expect, but in disguises that blow us away. God is the God of uncertainty, not certainty. What we all must accept is that we cannot box God into a neat package. A package that we construct with our finite minds. A lot of pride there. The Indefinable we decide to define. There is a warning that comes to us from Africa, “To define something, is to KILL it” Have we not borne the brunt of pain brought about by the narrowing of the understanding of The Incomprehensible. When efforts are made, as our Pope is doing, to broaden the horizons, there is war. We see that played out every day now. The Pope is slowly guiding us to a newer and a more inclusive understanding of God’s love for all of His/Her creation. This means we have to change our old ideas, let them go so that a newer and a fuller understanding may be ours. The Rabbi Jesus had real difficulty with the rigorists of His day, just as Pope Francis has today. The only way we can be the church Pope Francis envisions, is for us to embrace his vision. This vision of a church of mercy, a church of welcome, and hospitality for all, begins within the human heart of each one of us. The same human heart that beats within the breast of The God-man, beats within you and me. Jesus did not have one model of heart, and us a lesser model, a more vulnerable one. If that were so then, The Incarnation was a waste of time. The Prophet Jesus did not allow Himself to be boxed in, and fit into the expectations of others. Just in the same way our God, The God of Jesus Christ, refuses to be boxed in. Therein, lies the challenge of the spiritual journey. “We journey to Him we do not know, by a path we do not know.”(St. John of The Cross.) Our journey is a journey into uncertainty, and into the certainty of God’s unconditioned, unlimited, and unrestricted love as our Good Shepherd.
That is why we need to connect ever and always with the fact that we are the beloved. Every day we are given 86,400 seconds to listen to The Voice that says to me “You are my beloved.” Fr. Nouwen goes on to say: “Every time you listen with great attentiveness to the voice that calls you the Beloved, you will discover within yourself a desire to hear the voice longer and more deeply. It is like discovering a well in the desert. Once you have touched wet ground, you want to dig deeper. I have been doing a lot of digging lately and I know that I am beginning to see a little stream bubbling up through the dry sand. I have to keep digging because that little stream comes from a huge reservoir beneath the desert of my life. The word “digging” might not be the best word, since it suggests hard and painful work that finally leads me to the place where I can quench my thirst. Perhaps all we need to do is to remove the dry sand that covers the well. There may be quite a pile of sand in our lives, but The One who desires to quench our thirst will help to remove it. All we really need is a great desire to find the water and drink from it.”
There goes that word “desire” again. According to the spiritual writers, to have the desire is all we need.” We become what we desire. Remember what Thomas Merton wrote that if we have the desire to do what is right, and just, God’s will, we will be led on the right road, though we may know nothing about it at the time. As long as God knows we do not have to worry, just trust in His love for us, not our love for Him. But we, at least, I do not trust easily. Where there has been abuse, and betrayal in our life experience, trust is a hard commodity to come by. There has to be, and has been, a great refrain, “I believe Lord help my disbelief/unbelief” “out of the depths I cry to You O Lord, Lord hear my cry.” “O God come to my assistance. God, make haste to help me.” The response is not always immediate. The response will come. Many times the response just reinforces we have a God of surprises, and a weird sense of humor.
While I was on my Summer trip, I received calls from some friends wanting to hear my voice. They had heard that I had died, and wanted assurance that the news of my death was over exaggerated. It was one of those Ah! Ah! moments. I had time in the High Rockies to reflect on “what if it were true?” What has been left unsaid? (This did not matter as my voice was only a whisper). What are the things that must be said so the others do not have to go through without some warning, and a source of hope. One person has written “write like you are dying,” and what a challenge that is. We are all on the road to death, and the return to Eternal Love from which we all have sprung. That Source of our existence is so easily forgotten, and so our life is a hellish journey. We must, moment to moment, call to consciousness the following; In His love we are one, ever and always. There is no moment that we are not present to His creative love. It is Not as we love ourselves, or the world loves us that we are loved in the depth of our being. We are all held in His compassionate love. Compassionate Love has been incarnated, revealed to us in His Son, Jesus Christ. He came to “suffer with us.” To be compassion. Let us make compassionate living our great goal, the great defining desire of our lives. Then we will be led to the reality of the “law of graduality.” It is only gradually, we are led to discover the reality hidden and revealed within each step of each hike. There is revealed The God of surprises Who is to be discovered as we make our hike through the mountains and the valleys of life. We now appreciate in a new and different way the fresh water we drink from from the trickling streams, and hidden wells. The life giving properties of that water corresponds to the life giving water that springs up from within us. This fountain, Is The Fountain, the source of Eternal life. That has been my experience, and the experience of others with who I have accompanied. Make this law of graduality the lens through which you always look at life. God Is loving you. This I do not want you even to think, or question. His creative love is molding you, forming you, ever so slowly, darn it, but ever so gently. Ever so slowly and ever so gently the living presence of the Risen Christ is revealed, in you and through you, always for others. The historical Jesus did not become the Risen Christ without first having to endure what you are suffering right now. So???