Friday, May 10, 2024

 Death questions the authenticity of our existence, is a thought worth carrying over, for some further reflection. Over my sixty plus years in ministry I have never encountered death without being aware, nothing is the same. Growing up in Ireland there were no funeral parlors. The person was waked from their own home. I remember visiting the homes and going into the room where the corpse lay. I used to say a few prayers. After the prayers being offered I did kissed the dead person on the forehead. Then went out.  At St. Andrew The Apostle, we were blessed to have a hospice home in pretty near the rectory. Over 20 plus years I made numerous calls to that home to supply comfort to the dying person, an to their families. Driving back to an empty home now see how many mini retreats The Holy Spirit blessed me with. The lenses through which I was seeing life, were constantly refined by The Great Optometrist. I found I was preaching from a different place. One got to the meat, there was fluffy language used. I had to catch myself, many is the time, from using some of the common language of those brought up in Ireland. We cannot hide from life in all of its nakedness. We must be real. The blessings of being real, you are in touch with The Real, another name for The Divine, for God.

            The life, sufferings, death, burial, Resurrection,  Ascension, and descent of The Holy Spirit are the lenses, through which we are challenged to see the realities of our daily living. That is why we have Christmas, Lent, and Easter every year, because on visit is not enough. The Easter egg is not dipped just once, but again, and again, and again, and..... So we as Christians, and those who face the challenges of injustices, bigotry, exploitation, dehumanization, and trafficking, will find strength in reflecting, meditating on the unvarnished events of The Prophet Jesus's three short years of ministry. In speaking , and above all living The New Truths Jesus was faced with the stern, awe-full reality of what happens when truth is forcefully spoken to power. Virginia, and all mothers of special needs, special human beings, have first hand knowledge of the hoops to jump through to make sure their child receives all that it is entitled to. It is not about extras, it is about basics. When are these mothers, along with The Veronicas, and Simons of Cyrene who minister to the Jesus Christs on a moment to moment basis be recognized as the true evangelists sent to witness today's harsh and uncaring world. I had friend Barbara who was an advocate for patients in a mental institution, her stories shattered me. How can human beings be so callously treated, by so called, fellow human beings. Suffering ,we are to be taught over a long period of time, is a mystery into which we are dipped, moment to moment on our journey following in the footsteps of Jesus, Who became The Christ through His Paschal-Easter Mysteries. Where He has gone , we ARE TO FOLLOW, when we assume the mantle of being The Ministering Christ to todays suffering Christs.

                     Some are blessed with a great sensitivity for the suffering Christs who inhabit our world. What are the fears to be faced in order for us to be authentic, contemporary healers of our wounded sisters and brothers? In the transformative mysterious encounter of care giving, wounded  wounders  become wounded healers.  Warning !!! An earthquake will occur, and "your life will be turned, upside, RIGHT" (G.K. Chesterton) The Risen Cosmic Christ arises from the tabernacle of our depths, "and it is wonder-full to behold ".May your hearts and backs  be strengthened by grace so you will enjoy the life you were chosen to lead, and live at a price. That is why so many of the mystics encourage us "to gaze, look at The Cross." I will not apologize for the results.  May that road ever rise before you. May The Spirit Wind be always at your back. Until we meet again, may  love of The Gracious Mother/Father cuddle you, in safety. May Love prayers and blessings reach you wherever you may be. Great Grandpa Joe.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

 Well my sister Virginia has been taken off meds, and is now receiving only medications to keep her comfortable. Waiting for the phone to ring, or a message posted on FB, which will tell me Virginia's life's battle is over. She has been a fighter all her life. Her fight now is to let go of her special needs son Gearoid , who just turned 47. She gave him a great blowout party. Great photos on FB. He was a Special Olympics, Great Britain swimming champion, on a number of occasions. He is so proud of his gold medals. He is not able to comprehend fully what is happening. Virginia will fight like hell, to hang on. Only grace  will be to empower her to let go. Her death will not be sudden. Please pray for her to be able to let go. Please pray for Gearoid that the comforting care of His Mother/Father be a real driving force in his daily battle with loss. We do not like loss, powerlessness, letting go, liminal space, tomb time, I have had some great, long desert hikes, walks these last number of days and Mother Nature is sure great in what is revealed for hope and consolation. I have been saying for years now, "Got a problem take a hike." A deep woods bath would be awe-full. A wood bath sure soothes the troubled soul, and a new provides all that is necessary to continue the slog of, " being spiritual beings immersed in the human condition". Virginia will return to the  Infinite  Loving womb  that first gave her existence and life. There she will be reunited with The Loving Power  which  first loved her. Virginia was so loved that she was given human existence. She was sent, as all are sent, to continue the work of creating and perfecting. Yes the world has become a better place because the decision was made to bless all of creation with her presence. Would Tha all of us could have this written about us when our days as co-creators and co-perfectors of all of creation. 

      Quantum thought is breaking into our consciousness and revealing the immense  power of healthy thoughts in the ongoing creation of our mysterious creation. The health of each human mind is essential for a healthy creation to not  just to exist in but to grasp life, and live it to its fullest. Then the purpose of The Cosmic Christ will be fulfilled in each one of us. " I have come that you may have life, and have it to the fullest", " My joy may be yours, and your joy complete." Go for the gusto, and do not settle for less. " It is expensive, but I am worth it."

                Some random thoughts are all I have for you. I have been taking the journey of  the wounded wanderer. So all I have to share are the scattered thought of this moment. Some of you who have been reading my efforts can vouch for Joe, as one scattered individual. If you ever heard my homilies, you would be taken for quite a ride. One though, one train of thought did not last too long. I never had anything written so The Gracious Spirit took all on a mysterious ride. We got to reach some places, from which we were never given the path home. The sermons were meant to challenge further thought, not to provide  canned and easy answers. It is same with this wandering effort. I do not have the power to answer your questions fully. That's the job of The Gracious Spirit. 

      My job is to get you fired up, so you will never take my for anything. You will see this as pointing you in the direction The Creative Spirit desires for you. I will never be privy to The Gospel that is being written and will continue to be written. May The Holy Spirit be your true guide as you contribute to the magesterium of the people". There is an inner authority in your depths. Foster a deep relationship with That Reality. You will then be a prophetic presence in the place you are planted. The powers that be, may not like the gospel you share. It is not for them to like it.  They are responsible to have a listening ear, and an open welcoming mind. Pope Francis is the model to follow. It is so sad to see that those who need to follow him the most are so actively opposing his every effort to make our Catholic Christian Faith into what is laid out in the Gospels. Then prophets are never welcomed. They are opposed by those uniquely challenged, and are fear-filled when it comes to change. Being a prophet guarantees you one thing, you will be killed. Death is a friend that takes you to places you otherwise not dare visit. Death always questions the authenticity of our own existence. That has been my experience. May it never cease its complacent  shattering questioning. The answers are meant for.......

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Happy Mysterious Easter to you all. Yes, the Season of Easter is still with us. Time gifted to you and I so we can grow in our understanding of all that is "perfectly hidden and revealed " in the life beyond the life we say or think is, life. We are challenged not to take life as we see it but to look at life through the lens of a lively faith. An adventurous faith that is always seeking the unseen, so the sen life becomes more of a mystery to us with each passing moment. The time we life in is ever and always Kairos time. Time through which The Gracious Spirit is revealing our origin and our destiny. We have come from the Womb of Infinite Love, and that is our first memory, Infinite  Love. We will be, to quote St.Augustine, "be restless' until we find the time and place where The Infinite is encountered in our croons time, watch time, calendar time. Which will control us unless we take steps to look beyond and seek beyond the so called realities of life. Realities which when given the power will control us and our lives and we will lives of unreality. Then we will ask " "Where is God,The Divine, The Gracious Spirit, The Power of love, etc." ?

                 It is very difficult to gaze on the cross and come to terms with this stark reality, THIS IS THE FULLNESS OF THE REVELATION OF OUR CREATOR, AND CREATING FORCE OF LOVE. That   Human Being, a being, that has been stripped naked, His ravaged body, racked with pain, is further dehumanized and exposed to the "vulgar gaze of the crude, rude, and mocking crowd". A crowd that He wished to be transformed and transfigured so the Infinite Within then may be exposed, and then there where will be the revelation of "new heavens and new earths".  It did not happen during His lifetime, so t now rests with you and I to assume the challenge and do what is possible for us. Not the impossible, but the possible, we are called to do our best, not the best. Then The Paschal-Easter Mysteries reveal that through our great failure, our heart wrenching losses, we are Brough to a wisdom which all the richnesses of the world cannot impart on us. We again go deep to seek out and search out our unique understanding and we with  all the events of  daily lives write a contemporary gospel. A gospel that MAY be written, but not necessarily so." Wherever you go preach the Gospel, and when necessary use words." St Francis.

I love the definition of love Scott Peck gifts us with," Love, is the willingness to extend oneself for the spiritual growth of oneself, or,  another human being". In the economy of today we are challenged to add, "the cosmos, all of creation." In His second appearance in, the room, The Risen One extends Himself so that rejecting Thomas may be brought to faith. Christ's attitude, o'k  "Thomas, so you do you not to believe, that is going to be your loss. Look around you at those who do believe why cannot you believe these you friends that I Am Risen. No that is not the attitude of the Risen Christ. He shows Thomas His wounds, hands and side. He further invites Thomas to place his hand, fingers into His wounds. Thomas comes to believe that Resurrection and new way of existing is possible. That was then, how about now ?  On  my hike to day I was privileged to have, not a meeting but an encounter with another trail person and what I am to share was crystallized in those minutes of encounter. Strange events occur on desert trails. I pray you have the transforming experience.

              His vocation, is to journey with those who choose the created over the uncreated. The apparent good, is chosen not, The Good. The challenge of all recovery is to face the reality that recovery is grounded in the acceptance of, 'Of the powerlessness of power and the power of powerlessness." That must be revealed, communicated by someone who has walked the road that lead to "absolute powerlessness". In that hell of failure, rejection and complete nakedness a little light broke through the darkness. That little light came in the form of wound sharing. "The room"of the gospel is recreated in that place, and the encounter between Christ and Thomas is recreated, ever anew. The suffering, desperate addict must hear the  hope filled good news, there is a way out. The recovering addict share with the sufferer, his/her's "experience, strength and hope' that has come from the acceptance of "absolute powerlessness" over their addiction. I each and every " 12 step" it is in the telling of the slog from where they were at, to the freedom experienced in a new way of acting and a new way of seeing. In each "room' where the twelve step journey is radically shared wounds are again shared. In that honest sharing something very mysterious happens. In the simple telling, retelling, The Mysterious Power of Grace, uses those word as a channel of hope leading to another metaman, metahuman, being touched and the process of restoration has begun. Recovery is a process, not an event. Those who "walk the walk, not talk the talk' continue their slog. A slog that is NEVER taken alone. There is not the confidence in a new Higher Power, and embraces our powerlessness and leads us to new horizons. There are no boundaries in the spiritual journey, only horizons to be travelled to, by a path "we do not know". Faith journeys are not about certainties but the hope-filled acceptance of this fact, the step I am taking right now is the pinnacle of my life. I am as safe as as I can be right here right now. We do not know where this "strength and hope comes from". It is none of our business. Our Gracious Spirit, Higher Power, Great Spirit ...... knows, and in that knowing we are known. THAT IS ENOUGH. ( I am dealing here with Absolute Mystery. Some word may have to be reread, and reread. When this has happened please rejoice, celebrate, in what slowly bubbles up from your innermost depths. This well awaits your  visit, and revisitation is encouraged. The refreshing Water of Life always tastes sweet.

           My sister Virginia has reached the end of her encounter with The Paschal Mystery. She has drunk fully of the chalice of suffering, resulting in her being the source of transforming strength for, others. May her transition to The Resurrected life be one of peace and joy. Her special needs son, Gearoid, will also be in need of encounters with today's Simon and Veronica.  A journey into new awarenesses of powerlessness, and loneliness awaits. We all need your prayers, and, hope-filled thoughts.  Great Grandpa Joe. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Easter Season 2024 !!!!!.    We continue or reflection of this Easter Season so we are able to view the present life events with fresh lenses that reveal the great mysteries that are present in the present, in the here and now moment. It is always about where I find my  grounded two feet. The ground we tread on is sacred ground. Every step is a sacramental step. Mystery permeates our reality. As a consequence all must be reverenced, as it is holy. There is nothing, no moment lived,, no person encountered, that does not have  "perfectly hidden, and perfectly revealed " (Rohr) within their depths  The Paschal Mystery. So then it stands to reason that our Paschal experience, and understanding of said Mystery is always caught up in encounter. The richness of the gift, like buried treasure, is revealed as the digging is done. No digging, no encounter with what is hidden in the depths will reveal to us nothing. Then instead of the sacramental experience of the moment, there is a meaningless existence. This is turn will be fodder for the false self to lead us ' far off lands " where me will meet the rebellious son living within us. We are aching to journey home to the warm, unconditional  loving embrace of The Prodigal Father. This is always ours, right now.  It is always right now for you and I. We have been generated by The Eternal Mother/Father creator in eternity's our our origin, and destiny is eternal. I pray this encourages you to claim all that you are, and all that is being given to you. 

      The desert always is the source of new perspectives and as a consequence, new understandings. I think St.Augustine famous words " O Beauty, ever ancient, ever new" can be applied to the sacramentality of the desert experience. What is ancient, and what is new, we are led to discover, over a long period of time. The Jesus, The Good Shepherd was in the desert for forty days. Ours, on the other hand, is a life long journey. A tough slog. We slowly surrender to the process of surrendering. The egocentric ego does not surrender without a life long fight. That battle rages every moment in our depths. The results are revealed to us in the events of our daily living. In this way ,The Resurrection becomes a lived  reality. Christ has died, Christ is risen,  Christ comes and reveals His Risen Presence in each and every  encounter with loss, abandonment and death.

    We left poor St. Thomas in his rejection of the reality of The Resurrection. All that was going to change when The Risen Christ reappeared in the room, again without notice. As The Good Shepherd he reaches out to Thomas, and to the place of  rejection. He approaches Thomas as he is, and offers to him His wounded hands and side to be penetrated. At what cost ? From his encounter with the sacred wounds of The Good Shepherd, Thomas leaves his rejection stance and surrenders to faith.  A simple account in the Resurrection narrative, but in simplicity is always  hidden,  and as yet unknown, untold riches.  So it is with us, and our  personal experiences of The Paschal-Easter Mystery.. When we bring our woundedness to prayer, they through grace, mysteriously "become  our sacred wounds" as Fr. Rohr so wisely councils us. The fruits of these wounds are not for ourselves, for our own grandoisement. As we encounter,  come face to face, with a contemporary suffer we must first be able to, somehow, in some way encounter them with compassion. Not empathy, compassion. We must let the wounded one we are conscious of their pain, Why ? Because we too were in the place of  guilt, shame, anger,  abandonment, despair, powerlessness, and hopelessness. Our guts were hanging out. Peace  and serenity were words written somewhere  in some book. We too were experiencing, hell on earth. That was not the end for us,  rather that was the beginning. The beginning of a way of acting, which in turn led to a new way of thinking. This happened over a period of time.The gift of perseverance must be prayed for. We must be honest the journey is not easy, anything but. ( This is to be continued. Ran out of gas at 10:20 p.m.) Sleepy, mistake prone, Grandpa Joe.

Friday, April 19, 2024

An awe-full Easter Season, is my wish for you. Yes, I am going to be able offer this wish for a few more weeks. The  Easter-Paschal has so many, many layers of deep spiritual meaning it would take a lifetime of these efforts to really do justice to all of its, depth meaning. We explore, or better still we are led into the exploration of a Mystery whose meaning can never be exhausted. Each generation will be lead to its unique understanding, while begging the question,"Why was not The Paschal Mystery understood this way before now ?" The Gracious Creative Spirit leads to to what we need NOT what we want, or think what is best for us. In the last post I shared the deep meaning of mercy, which has come to me over a number of years now. Today, The Spirit Willing, we will look a little deeper into  greeting the Risen Christ offered to His fear filled , shattered apostles, cowering in the room with locked doors. Those locked doors could not keep The Risen One locked out. The Risen Christ we must remember is now beyond the restraints of time, and space. In all our spiritual considerations we are NEVER bound by time and space.

           Well ! let us make an effort to create the  imagined atmosphere created by those worried souls.  Was there a conversation taking place among those traumatized persons ? We they discussing  the events that  Rabbi Jesus foretold were going to happen, and sure enough they did. In the events of The Tridium the apostles were shown to be lacking in real courage. " The Shepherd was struck, and the sheep scattered". What were the thoughts of ST. Peter, who promised so much and in the end was a  very vocal denier of his Master. He was brave enough ,however, to face his fears, and cowardice. St. Peter was moved to tears, and that was his salvation. He showed all of us, what happens when we own our truth no matter how horrendous it may be. The truth will always set us free. Free to move from the darkness of fear, into the sun-light that shines on all beloved daughters, and sons. Again, a reminder, once you are the beloved, that gift, that dignity cannot be lost no matter what may occur in our lives. Let us continue and be exposed to the dynamic that occurred when The Risen Christ suddenly appears in the midst of His Apostles.

                     First and foremost the was no shaming the vulnerable one. There was no condemning. There were no condemnations for what they did not do, when He was shamed, and  traumatized . There was no challenge to Peter, " I say Peter were you not the one who promised me so much ? What happened ?" The Risen Christ offered to one and all 'Shalom". Now get a drink because we are going deep in the meaning of the Hebrew word, "shalom". We all know that it means peace,  the absence of war, right ? Wrong. Peace has, like mercy, layers and layers of meaning. It also means completeness, soundness, safety, soundness in body, prosperity, tranquility, contentment, peace especially with The Divine One in covenant relationship, lastly freedom from war. Peace, then is more than a feeling. Shalom is the power that breaks the authority that comes with chaos. That is what The Risen Christ offered to those frightened ones that surrounded Him. There was one missing, Thomas the denier, not the doubter. He deserves special treatment. So guess what is going to be the topic of our next visit ????