Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas...

“What is Christmas?” I wanted to share with you this wonderful quotation. This quotation is from where else? The Web. Now that I am a full-fledged techno-geek, I have TWO computers, I find all sorts of fascinating ideas. “It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup overflow with blessings rich and eternal and that every path leads to peace.” (Agnes Paho) That is my wish for you and your loved ones as we all journey through a season that is supposed to be filled with Peace, Joy and Love. I know that is the reality for some of you, how blessed you are. For more of you, my dear friends, that is not to be your reality this year. For you, this is a journey into the Paschal death of the man, Jesus, who birth others are celebrating. Let us all be encouraged by this fact of faith. Whatever the journey it will all lead to a deeper appreciation of God’s Life, Light, and Love. Our faith gives us the knowledge that leads to the wisdom. Out of all the struggles of this life, whatever the pain may be, we will be led through grace to an even newer and a more transformed a way of living. How I wish many times on a daily basis, there was another and an easier way of doing this, there is not. That is a fact of the spiritual life that is so difficult to accept. Thank God, we do not have to like it, only accept it. Acceptance is a process, not an event.

I rejoice and celebrate with those of you, who are able to embrace this time as a season of celebration. I join with the others of you, who have to embrace this time as your Gethsemane time. So then, wherever we are, in whatever place we may find ourselves to be in , let us embrace that reality. Let us enclose it, wrap it up in whatever type of prayer we can muster. It is out of that place and in that reality we pray., O Come O Come Emmanuel and He does. Let me say that again HE DOES. Not in the way we expect, but in the way we need to experience His enfleshment. We then have to be alert, be awake to the Mystery. Why? There is another fact of the spiritual life, which I do not like. It is at a the most inconvenient times, in the most unexpected place, through the most unusual people. The Mystery of the Incarnation is continually being revealed to you and me. What a sense of humor our God has. Some of my friends call it a very sick one.

I am now in my third year of my new way of living. I cannot call it retirement. This past year was a least different. I cannot decide the reason why. Is it the fact that I turned 70? Although I am telling people I am now doing 35 for the third time. The first two times around were not very good actually it was painful. Life is demanding that I adopt and adapt to a new way of living. This is turn is leading to a new way of thinking. I am having some and real great encounters on my long hikes. Conversations, in which I have never dreamed of, are taking place. Yes, “things they are a changing”. Just today, I was told, on two separate occasions I was being “silly”. Me, at my age, being silly, now there is someone with which I can grow old. So you could say I am growing into and slowly accepting a new way of living. This in turn is leading to a still newer and more vital way of living.

Last Saturday I hiked Telegraphy Pass, and beyond for four hours. On Sunday, it was another part of the same park for three and a half hours.

My Summer trip was not as long this year. I was able to drive 8,300 miles and hike about 350-400 miles. I was able to spend 26 days in Yellowstone Park, what a gift.

I am now on Facebook (FB), and have placed some of the photos on my FB page. There is also a link for my blog on the same page. I started the blog last Lent. The address is http://AislingOnEarth.Blogspot.com and my email is PapaJH@mac.com .
The profile photo on FB is the picture of an elk. (Good Hunting)

You will be remembered in my three Masses on Christmas. I hope and pray, you and your loved ones will be blessed with peace of mind, leading to good health, all leading to being able to live life and live it to the fullest. May every day be, at least in part, be a celebration of your chosen-ness, to be the living Presence of Him, whose birth in time is celebrated in the here and now. May the New Year lead you further into the mystery of who you are. My prayer is that you not only have reverence, but also truly celebrate all the aspects of the quest.

God Bless,

Fr. Joe
(aka on FB, Papa J.)