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 and my email is .
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.)

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Christmas music has the great ability to touch us at a depth, that the music of other seasons never seems to reach. At least, that is my experience. The soaring music of Handels Messiah leaves one breathless, lost in silent wonder. A definite religious experience. We are taken to a place of awe, and mystery. You know you are in the presence, of the sacred . Not too many radio stations broadcast that music, on a regular basis. Thank God a few do. What reaches our ears is the more homey, down to earth music, which speaks to us, of our everyday needs, and wants. It is that which speaks to us of the journey of the human heart. This reaches us as well, and brings us in touch with the everyday living, of the everyday person. It too, is sacrament, in the broad understanding of the word.

One of my favorite Christmas songs is, “I'll be home for Christmas”. It speaks of the deep cry of the human heart, for the hearth where one is warm, safe, cozy, and above all , loved. That song, I read recently, is second only to “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”. I have not been home for Christmas in 47 years, yet when I hear that song something awakens within. To go home for Christmas is a physical impossibility, for me, as there is no home to go to, or is there? Hold on to that.

Someone has written "Home is a magical word. Within that mystical circle are comforts and warmth never found outside it". That is why the other song I like is “There is No Place Like Home for the Holidays". Christmas and home go together like, milk and cookies, pie and ice cream. The memories home and Christmas engender are thoughts, feelings, and emotions, which seen to ease the ache within the human heart. To know one is going to a home is great. When that home is your own, that is even better. When one is AT home, in the place one calls home, that is the ultimate destination. That is, “the Pearl of Great Price”.

We all seek, and search to have the sanctuary of a home, where we can experience safety, warmth and security. Now it seems, as never before, humankind is in search of that place, where the homeless part, can rest safe and secure. This can only come from within. Home is deep within each one of us. We cannot buy it. It cannot be paid for. It is Free, yes, Free.

When we think of home, and of homecoming, we are enlivened by the thought of being welcomed and cared for. There is that wonder-full feeling you can now rest, and relax. Everything is going to be okay. As a matter of fact as I write this, I am reminded of what it was like to go home, when both my Dad and Mom were alive. They would pick me up at Shannon airport. When I got to Castlemartyr, there was that famous Irish breakfast waiting for me, comprised of bangers [sausages], rashers [bacon], eggs, fried tomatoes, and brown bread and strong tea. After the meal,
Then it was off to bed! I can still recall the feeling of being at peace, warm and secure in that bed. What a luxuary to be in bed and enjoying a hot water bottle, in June.!!!! I would not be home for Christmas, so I experienced Christmas in June or so I thought at that time. The reality was I was able to experience some of the aspects of The Season. A fuller and more complete understanding was to come in time, and at a price.

My journey to my Bethlehem has been through the valley of darkness. Through the valley of pain, loss, abuse, abandonment, depression, alienation, loneliness. As you journey through all of that, you are emptied out of any ability to do anything. The only thing you can do is fall on your knees, literally or figuratively, and cry out from the depths, the words of the psalm,
"My God, my God, why have you abandoned me" and “Out of the depths I cry to you o Lord, Lord hear my voice". That is repeated again and again. Then in time, there is a little break in the darkness. A little light breaks through. A very small, oh so very small ray of hope , enters to tell you it will be okay, not easy but okay. It is true, that no matter how long the night, or how dark at night, dawn always breaks! Life begins to happen again. The light becomes clearer, to reveal that Bethlehem has been visited and a Savior has been welcomed. There is the home one never leaves. There is home that is always there to visit, a home never to be destroyed. It cannot be destroyed by wars, whatever the forces the physical or spiritual can throw against it. There is a home of safety, security, warmth, and tenderness. There the gentle, but firm grasp of the Child will take hold of you and never will let go. "O Holy Night... When Christ was Born."

So then, Advent is all about, the humility, to honestly bring who we really are, just as we are, to prayer. We offer our broken selves, to be doers of God’s will, and be prepared to pay the price. We welcome the transforming, and transfiguring power of God, into our own personal darkness. We welcome AGAIN and AGAIN a PERSONAL Savior into your own place of powerlessness. It is there, you will experience the death of the ego, the excruciating pain you experience, is in reality, the BIRTHING pains of your true self, The CHRIST CHILD within you. Mary is now your reality.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


"We need a renaissance of wonder. We need to renew, in our hearts and in our souls, the deathless dream, the eternal poetry, the perennial sense that life is miracle and magic."
These are these are the words of E.Merill Root. I would like to add to his words, the word, “mystery”. A mystery that is to be lived, never solved or exhausted.

This year, more than ever we need to exercise, and celebrate our wonder-full, God given gift of wonder. Thomas Caryle said that "wonder is the basis of worship". It is not surprising then that wonder is one of the manifestations of the presence of The Holy Spirit. I am so grateful to my Dad, for awakening in me , at a very early age, the possibility there is so much more to life than that which is before your eyes. There is the beyond. There is, the around the corner. There is the person behind the person you see. Now the words of scripture make sense, " what is seen is transitory, what is unseen lasts

For a number of years now, I have been reading that each person in the scriptures is actually a part of me. It is consoling to look for an encounter with Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wisemen, all the good guys. I also have to make sure that Harrod and his cohorts are also alive and well within me. After a period of time, I have accepted the fact that both groups are alive and well and do exist within me.

John The Baptist, a wild looking man, and a desert dweller. When you are in the desert you can feel safe that not too many people
can track you down. Then, the Lord is not just any person. The Word of the Lord came and reached John in his desert dwelling. He was not
hanging out at the Ritz with the power brokers. He was not properly dressed for cocktail hour. What he had to say was not for the faint of heart, or for the self-righteous . His was a message of repentance, and reform. A very deadly mixture. He of course paid the ultimate price, but this was the price that every prophet paid. When he received the call to be a prophet, he offered his life to, and for, God's plan. Because he said 'yes', the way was prepared for the coming of the Full revelation of God in human form.

We see that whatever happened to John, the same thing happened to his cousin Jesus. Jesus was to bring to a fuller understanding what John first taught. He was not the Light, but was preparing the world for Light that was to come. John was opposed, so too, The light would be opposed. Death could not overcome the Light. In this time of darkness it is so very important for us to remember that salient fact. Evil, darkness, death, is NOT the final word. The final word is LIFE. Our choice. We can say yes to life, or say yes, to the enemies of life. We will be the presence of John the Baptist, in this world, when we proclaim the truth and live its challenge knowing that we too, like John, will suffer persecution. We, too like John will have people in our lives conspiring to eliminate us.

John, announced the coming of The Word. Mary, on the other hand, by her "yes", her fiat, gave FLESH to the word of God. Who was Mary? Mary was a 16 year old, living the life of a teenager in a little village. She had to be excited, and the whole village with her. She was engaged to Joseph, the local carpenter. Their wedding was going to be a great community celebration. Then came a radical change, for Mary and Joseph. Life as they knew it came to a screeching halt. Mary had to journey through FEAR, and questioning to that place where she was able to say to God's messenger “I, am the servant of the Lord, let it be done to me as he wills”. With that "YES" the relationship between the human and the divine was forever changed. "Earth was united with Heaven'. The Infinite love of GOD became Enfleshed. “Love became a Man.” This continues today through our "yes", to what is right, just, and life giving. We continue Mary’s life-giving work.

What a simple that word YES is. Yet so powerful. Wonder of wonders we by our “yes” can continue the work of Mary. We, by grace, allow the Incarnation to take root in us in every moment of every day. We become the "contemporary Christ" in the place our God has placed us in. We have the God given gift to say no as well as to say yes.

As dreamer's journey continues...

Saturday, December 5, 2009


“Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime;
therefore we must be saved by hope.
Nothing that is true or beautiful or good
makes complete sense in any immediate context of history;
therefore we must be saved by Faith.
Nothing we do, however virtuous,
can be accomplished alone;
therefore we must be saved by Love.”

Those lines are given to us, by the same author who gave us the Serenity Prayer, Reinhold Niebuhr. They reveal to us one person’s understanding of what it means to be human, to be limited. Yet this limited humanity was not something our God shied away from. After all, this was the result of a creation that lost its’ way. This was a part of the creation He saw, not only as good, rather He saw it, as very good. He ,you can say, had a dream [Aisling], and the dream turned out to be a nightmare. Like a good parent, or conscientious creator, that was no reason for Him to abandon the design just because it did the original did not work out.. The design was GOOD, what messed it up was the human person in particular, the gift of free-will. God, then in wisdom, decided to enter into the reality of the mess, to reveal , again what His dream was . Not only to reveal the dream, but to bring to it an even newer and a more personal reality.

“Christ Jesus… did not count the quality with Godas thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in your human form, He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on the cross.” PHIL. 2:5-8

Human beings were found to be wanting, so God decided to enter into that same humanity. He entered into our humanity so we would see Him not speaking to us from a distance, but actually to be a god who is present in the here and now. God in the person of The Second Person of The Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ. He became enfleshed in our frayed, and weakened humanity, to SHOW you and I how to live the life He always intended us to have. He came and said by His mission and ministry, I am not here to talk the walk, I am here to walk the talk, so that each and every person will have a living example to follow. The dream can again be within the reach of each human being, by living the life of an authentic human being. The historical person of Jesus spent much time in prayer, reaching out to that Supportive Reality in His life which He called, ABBA. Honest, gut honest, prayer, is the essence of humility. When we pray is to accept the fact that we are human, and that God is God. That is a healthy spirituality.

We are most human when we embrace that which our God emptied Himself to embrace. Is it not ironic that which we want to abandon, run away from, is the VERY SAME humanity Jesus assumed, in all of its poverty, to reveal, ever anew the original dream, but now in a new and more personal way. In a way that reaches us just as we are, and in the place we find ourselves to be, that is the here and now. To be present to all that the here and now says is exactly what God IS going to use to reveal his Infinite Presence. It is in that encounter the mystery of the Incarnation is again, and again being revealed to the world. The Christ Child is once again been given birth to. What a wonder-full way of living our God has gifted us with that in our everyday living we again give birth to His son. It has been said, unless we give birth to the Christ Child within our hearts, then Mary gave birth in vain. We have been given the power to make God’s dream for us and the world become more and more a reality. So, this Advent season, be faithful who you are in God’s plan, in His Aisling, for you. You and I by living faithfully that reality, will be in need of nothing from the outside. The answer to our needs is found on the inside.

Hospitality towards our humanity, in honest prayer,
saying, YES, again and again,
to the Creative Love, The Holy Spirit,
gives birth to an ever newer, ????????? (what is your answer)

Let the wonder-full, wondering continue.........

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Christ has come,
Christ will come,
Christ IS coming,
Again, Again, and Again.....
Hidden and yet revealed

In each and every moment of, We call, THE ETERNAL NOW.

This is, to my present way of thinking, is a good lens through which to look at, and contemplate, the days and weeks ahead. I find it difficult to believe this will be my 70th Advent Season, and my 47th season, as a priest. This year, like every other year, the question will arise, what can be said this year, that was said so many times before? What are the new thoughts on eternal themes, breaking through, to throw new light on familiar stories? Where will this Season of Advent/Christmas/ Epiphany lead me to? Will I be led to places I have never visited, meet people I have met, but never encountered? To be faithful to the journey, all of this will be my lot, always leading to more.

Looking at Advent/Christmas/Epiphany as ONE celebration is a great beginning.

During Advent time we have , feelings of expectation, anticipation, longing,
and preparation.
During Christmas time, we have the celebration of the Mystery,
During Epiphany time, we will lead us ever deeper, in the why of the

This season is all about watching, listening, "being alert", to what is happening all around us. By keeping ourselves focused on this time, we may come to the realization, surprise, surprise, this CAN be my experience, because it IS my experience each and every moment of every day. There is that song which asks the question, Why can’t every day be like Christmas Day?, the answer is plainly, every day IS Christmas day. (Every day is Thanksgiving, as it is also Good Friday, Easter Sunday etc.....) Whether it is Christmas Day or not will rely solely on how we see, look, view, the reality of the life we are given that day, to live. Advent/Christmas/Epiphany Season is a reality we encounter each and every day. It is only at this time do we place it under a microscope, so we can be again be amazed and transformed. It is a season of great waves on the west coast, a paradigm for the waves of grace tumbling and crashing on the shores of our souls.

For this to happen we must have , to my way of thinking, a certain attitude towards this time, and extended season. We must develop the HOW.

H..........humility and humanity
O..........openness to offering

I hope and pray that this season will be a season of peace, joy, and love. We need to pray for one another that we have the honesty to be greeters of all that we really are, and so make the Incarnation, not a word on a page, but a lived experience. Look closely at the scriptures and there you will see our God, accomplishing wonder results with the most unlikely people, in hopeless situations.

"How can I keep from singing" "Do not despise the day of small things." Zech 4:10.

The wondering wanderer.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Beauty...

I find there are certain books, I begin to read, and there is no difficulty in the reading. On the other hand, there are other books which I find, in the beginning, I do not connect with. So, I have the practice of putting them away. Sometimes it is for a short time, some books are on the shelf for a greater length of time. (My record for one book? How about 20 years!) I have begun to read John O'Donoghue's book, Beauty, Again. I am so very glad I did. Following up on the theme of the last few weeks I came across the following.

"The beauty that emerges from woundedness is a beauty infused with feeling: a beauty different from the beauty of landscape and the cold beauty of perfect form.
This is a beauty that has suffered its way THROUGH the ache of desolation until the words or music emerge TO EQUAL the hunger and desperation of the human heart......
Where woundedness can be refined into beauty a wonderful transfiguration takes place........For instance , compassion is one of the most beautiful presences a person can bring to the world and most compassion is born from one's woundedness...
The beauty of compassion continues to shelter and save our world. BEAUTY.”

The journey through the above process, is not an easy one. I hate to say, but it is the truth, like everything else in the spiritual journey, it is not a once and forever event. We will enter into the emptying process again, again and again. Neither is it a quick, fast, or sudden journey. It is a slow, an oh so slow process. We intellectually can give our assent to the process, while all the time running away emotionally from it. (Rupp) In our journey from weakness, to strength, to compassion we will need to spend a good deal of time coming to grips with our emptiness, and powerlessness. Embracing our emptiness and powerlessness, we enter into the Kingdom of God.

You will remember a few weeks ago, what Jesus said, "How blest are the poor in spirit, theirs in the Kingdom". Many times I ask this question, how many poeple would like to enter into the Kingdom of God? A great many hands shoot up! Then I ask, how many of us are prepared to let go of our kingdoms, based on power, property and prestige so as to embrace the poverty necessary for entrance into God's Kingdom? Not many hands are in the air at that time!

God's Kingdom as we are told, is not an earthly Kingdom, but a spiritual Kingdom of peace, justice and love. A Kingdom not the creation of human hands, or the result of human effort, but the result of the compassionate power of God. A power encountered in the everyday events of our authentic human journey. In this way, we again come to a newer, and an ever deeper understanding , of the mysterious workings of GRACE [Amazing Grace]. We can never, or must not ever, underestimate the power of the words of scripture "with God all things are possible”, “of ourselves we can do nothing, we can do all things in Him who strengthens us", and then the nasty one "it is only when I am weak, it is then, that I am strong". As we approach Thanksgiving, how many will be offering thanks for weakness? Maybe this year, we can say thank you for the strengthening presence that has come to us through our weaknesses and brokenness.

There is the foundation of our faith, a foundation that leads to hope.

“Prayer is the supreme way we lift our limited selves toward the light, and ask it to shine into us.” (O’Donoghue)

A wondering wanderer’s journey continues….

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Cocktail...

"An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day "
" We must walk like a camel, which is said to be the only beast which ruminates while walking" Henry David Thoreau.

Last Sunday, I had no morning Mass. I got up and went for a hike , in the wonder-full , early silence of a Sunday morning. There is just something different about the silence of Sunday that speaks to me in a way other mornings fail to do so. Is that your experience? I hiked up Telegraph Pass. I got to the road, took a left, and continued on the National Trail. That trail is like the mercy of God, or Fr. Joe's sermons, it goes on and on and on. When I got into the rhythm of the hike, I began to think about what this blog was going to be about.

In the beginning, as often is the case, there was a blank. Then the thought of Henry David Thoreau became a reality, [thank God] "ME thinks, the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow."
So I started to think about the last number of weeks, and what has bubbling up on the inside.

Well as you know, I have been reflecting on an incident on a hike in Steamboat Springs. It was a very difficult hike for me. I was lucky enough to be able to experience a very refreshing, restorative rest on a rock. That reflection was followed with some thoughts on what it means to be authentically human and what it takes to be at home, in our as yet, not fully redeemed humanity. Then, the thought struck me 'since these are the realities of the spiritual life, then they must be connected, right?’ All that is real, is interconnected. So, how about making a cocktail of the past weeks and see what happens?

So here goes the cocktail. Warning, this may be dangerous to some pre-conceived ideas , in which we have, up to now, found security. Really a false security, which when lost, leads us to unnecessary pain and turmoil. Thank God this so called, 'Losing', is in reality the beginning of a NEWER, deeper, and a more life giving relationship with the Living God.

Pain-full ? YES

Lonely ? YES
Shattering? YES
Discouraging? YES
Wonder-full and Liberating? YES

All leading to a NEW way of acting. which in turn, leads to NEW way of thinking. These gifts are not for ourselves, they are given to be shared. It is ONLY in the honest sharing do we come to realize what has been gifted to us. This experience somehow lessens the previous pain, as we now realize that suffering was not in vain. A new wisdom has somehow has been gifted to us. This wisdom as it comes to us from the application of our faith to our everyday living, to our everyday life. Wisdom is not the same as knowledge. Wisdom comes with the experience of living in a reality, that is grounded in a God, in whom, "we live and move and have our being.

We go from wandering wanderers, to wondering wanderers. We, through the miracle of grace , are led from being wounded wounders, to the miracle of being wounded healers. Truly amazing grace, which allows us to see the connection between all that is. We, slowly come to the realization that the poverty, we are so in dread of, is in reality the rock on which we rest and find peace. Not only that, surprise, surprise, it is a net into which we can safely fall into. There to embraced by our loving father-God.

John Halifax,
"Our weaknesses become our strengths,
the source of our compassion for others
and the basis of our awakened nature."

Now that is strong drink. It is deadly for the ego. It is encouraging, and nourishing for the real, true Self.

Drink Up.

A dreamer’s journey continues….

Saturday, November 7, 2009


As I have said before, it is wonderful to go to Mass and there find that the Liturgy speaks to where you are at, to where you thoughts are at that time. Last week was such an occasion. The Gospel was, indeed, Good News, as it spoke of "how blest are the poor in spirit, for theirs IS the kingdom of Heaven”. The emphasis is on IS, that means the here and now. The Kingdom of Heaven is not just something that is going to happen at some time in the future, no, it is happening for the poor in spirit, right now. What a wonder-full statement that is. To put it simply, all I have to do is embrace my poverty of spirit and I will be lead into the Kingdom of God. With everything else that is simple, it is also so difficult. We have all heard "do what you are doing", "be where you are at", easily said, but this so very difficult to do.

Coming to grips with our poverty of spirit is a life long journey. Metz says, "we are born human and spend our whole life discovering what human means”. The world in which we live in, and which Madison Avenue rules, does not allow for too much poverty or weakness, unless it is going to enable them to sell us something. If there is a product to be sold, our human condition will be exploited, not for our benefit, but for their gain. But at whose expense? Ours, of course. The Madison Avenue world, is not about being, it is about doing. We must somehow tinker with who we are, rather than listen to St. Paul, "By the grace of God I am who I am". So in God’s time, which is Kairos, we are in the best place as far as God is concerned, why not leave well alone? We are always struggling with loving ourselves as we are, so we can encounter God’s presence. Where there is love, there is God. Where there is no love, there is no God. Metz also warns us of the fact that sinful flight from God begins with sinful flight from self. We will always struggle with loving ourselves as God loves us.

Thomas Merton has written the following, “True love and prayer are really learned in the hour when prayer becomes impossible and your heart turns to stone”.
It is in the hour of our greatest darkest that we discover that we are never alone”- Joyce Rupp

We have with God, after all, only what we have in our human experience. In some cases, because the reality of unconditioned love was not modeled for us and we end up as human doers, rather than human beings, seeking perfection. We buy into the lie, “I am what I do”, rather than believe I Am Loved As I AM., without condition, restriction, or reservation. Jesus in the Gospel warns us, “I give you peace not the way the world gives it to you”. We are in the constant need of deepening our belief in those word of Jesus. When we live out our daily lives within this reality, we will live a Kingdom based life, of peace, joy, and love. This is the AISLING of our God. The dream of our God, for you, and I.

Why then do we not live out that dream, why do we do our best to screw it up? We, as human beings are more inclined to listen to this lie, that happiness comes to us though power, property and prestige. When we follow this line of reasoning, we end up with the father of lies, the devil, and in Hell. We need to accept that we are the creators of our own hell. Those are tough words "our self created hell" We make the choice every moment of the day, to choose the life of an authentic human being, or choose to live a lie which only brings hatred, violence and death. When we embrace our poverty, when we embrace a humanity of which is perfectly imperfect. To my mind, this is what Jesus means when He says, “If you are going to be my disciple, you are going to take up your cross each day and follow me”. Each morning, we take up our cross, which is an action and follow in the footsteps of the One Perfect Human Being. We are making an act of faith in the fact that we are in the PROCESS of being perfected. This process will not however be completed in this life. The perfection which we so seek in this life, will only come to us after our death, in the RESURRECTION.

“What we need to remember is that we are carried in God’s womb, in God’s divine heart, even when we don’t know it, even when God seems far away.” – Sue Monk Kidd

A dreamer’s journey continues….

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Refuge...

I live on my own. I travel on my own. I pretty much hike on my own. This affords me a great opportunity to think and to reflect. You may say “that is good, is it not”?Well I have learned over the years that "every blessing is a curse and every curse is a blessing”. [I never heard that one in school.] Being on one’s own is both a blessing and a challenge. This can be further exacerbated, when you add in, getting old. As you get older you find yourself reflecting more and more on what has happened on your life’s journey. As you look back you get caught up in appreciation, thanksgiving and of course guilt and regret. Because of God's grace you are able to allow an attitude of gratitude to develop. You develop an attitude of gratitude for what has been given over the years. In time, surprise, surprise, you become grateful for what has been lost and taken away. The feelings of guilt and regret lead to a deeper understanding of God's unconditioned love. This unconditioned love enables one to grow in reconciliation with who we really are, not who we would like to be, or who we are expected to be. All of this is one great process that cannot be hurried. God sure moves slowly but who can question the results. My mother taught me a long time ago “the mills of God grind very slow, but they grind very true”.
This process also leads one to slowly, accept and in time appreciate, one powerlessness. The truth of what Fr. Rohr says about “the powerlessness of power and the power of powerlessness” becomes an every deepening reality. This leads to a greater freedom.
This ever-so-slow process of acceptance leads to a startling revelation, of always being this powerless all along and never really realized it or accepted it. You end up with the realization that nothing good has ever happened because of one’s efforts. It was always was, and will ever be, the result of Grace. What a kick in the head that is.

On closer inspection what St. Paul said is true in every case, “Of ourselves we can do nothing, but we can do all things in Him that strengthens us.”
In Psalm 18, we pray the words, “Who but God is the rock.”.
In Psalm 127, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the labor in vain who builds”.
In 2 Samuel 22:32, “for who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock save our God?”.

There are many, many other references to the wonderful connection between what physical rock reveals to us, and the reality of who our God, the living God, really is. In reflecting on the episode of the rock, I remember I did not want to sit on the ground or on a log, I sat on the rock. Sitting on that rock gave me a great sense of security and stability. This was so important when I had exhausted my resources, and I needed a boost from outside of myself. We are also told in the scriptures that our God “is our refuge” and The source of our strength. Further, because of this encounter, I began to understand more clearly the meaning of the scripture that our God “is our refuge” and The source of our strength.

Reflecting on the miracle of grace is a never-ending process.

The dreamer’s journey continues….

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Rock...

I was visiting Steamboat Springs. I went to the Visitor Information Center to get some information on some good hiking spots. I asked about a trail I had become aware of during a previous visit. On that occasion, I was visiting the waterfall which you see on every Coors can. While I was there, I noticed a trail on the left to another fall. A posted sign the trail climbed 2,400 feet in a matter of 2 miles. At the Visitor Center, I asked the young person about the difficulty of that climb. I was told the first 1,800 feet was a pretty straight climb, with no switchbacks. Then it would level off, and the rest of the climb was not too difficult.

So, I began my hike on that trail. It was, understandably, not too too bad in the beginning. Then, it got a little tougher, and then, a little tougher. Eventually, I found myself on a very steep climb. At this point, I noticed myself taking small baby steps. Those baby steps got me up that trail as well as the long strides did at the beginning. Then it came to mind, when things are going well for us, we can saunter along with not a care in the world. When the going gets tough, then we have to slow down and measure each step as we move along. We appreciate each step that is made, and we take no one step for granted. Each little step makes that next step possible. In this mode, we move slowly on and on. Up and up we go. [That is a great paradigm for the spiritual journey.]

Well as I went up and up, needless to say I was really suffering. At this point my lungs were hurting, Steamboat Springs in not what you would call at sea level, it is far from it. Then the questions began to enter my mind “how much longer can I keep this up?”, “How much more effort is there in me?”. I looked up and higher up the trail and I saw a really big rock, right in the middle of the trail. I said, “if I can get to that rock then I can rest and have a chance to catch my breath”. I did get to that rock. It had a nice flat surface upon which I could rest. It was worth the effort to get there. The rest was great.

As I was enjoying my Honey and Oats bar chased by wonderful cool water, I began to look around. I turned from looking down the trail to looking up the trail. I was more than delighted to see that the trail only went up a very short distance before it got lost over the brow. I then remembered the person at the visitor center and being told “the trail levels off”. That was the good news I needed at that time. To say the least, I was thrilled!

This gave me a much needed burst of energy and enthusiasm. I was able to get up and carry on and up that trail. Yes, it did level off indeed. I was able to reach my intended destination.
Was it worth it?
Yes, it was.

This is an experience I have thought about a lot since that hike. What I have said in the past about looking at something long enough and receiving a deeper insight has come through. Over the next few weeks we will take a look at the ways and places we encounter “huge rocks” in our trek we call our spiritual journey. Here is a little taste…..

I have read that in Hebrew the word for rock carries with it the added meaning of….stability….firmness…faithfulness.

A dreamer’s journey continues….

Saturday, October 17, 2009


“Open our eyes to see your hand at work in the splendor of creation, in the beauty of human life. Touched by your hand our world is holy. Help us to cherish the gifts that surround us, to share your blessings with our sisters and our brothers and experience the joy of life in your presence.”

Having spent a week walking, hiking and driving through God’s awesome, mysterious creation. This was the opening prayer of the Mass I attended that weekend. Wow, that prayer really said something to me. It spoke to me exactly where I was at. It brought to mind, again, the wonder-full, awe-full moments of my week’s journey. It did, as liturgy is supposed to do, connect deeply with my week’s experience. As I joined in the celebration, I was bringing that experience into the gathering of the community. Prayer is sometimes described as “the outward expression of inward faith”. In the above prayer, I found I was given, I was presented with, a summary of my ever new evolving belief in the wonder-fullness and the awe-fullness that is to be found in the cathedral of the great outdoors. My attendance at liturgy that weekend intensified my experience of what was my daily living.

With the community I prayed “open our eyes to see your hand at work in the splendor of creation”. To me it is expressing the belief that right now God is at work at this moment in all of creation. We can see that our world has been created but do we always accept the fact that it is also being created? Our world has been shaped and is being shaped. We too, as human beings, are created but in each moment of every day we are being recreated anew. Humanity and creation are in the process of being perfected. We have a long way to go, obviously, but the process is in place and will not be derailed or denied.
Frustrated, yes.
Opposed, yes.
Denied, yes.
Prevented, no.
That is the great source of hope for us as we face these troubled times.

Chardin in his wonderful essay entitled, The Mass on the World, has this wonderful prayer:
“I pray, lay on us those your hands-powerful, considerate, omnipresent,
those hands which do not [like our human hands]
Touch now here, there.
But, which plunge into the depths of the totality, present and past, of things so as to reach us simultaneously through all that is most immense and most inward within us and around us.”

The creative spirit of God is at work in our world. We have been invited to be “co-creators and co-perfectors of His universe”. A universe which we have been invited to be stewards of. It is not our business to possess. We will not take any of it’s materials with us. As Billy Graham once said, “there is no Uhaul behind a hearse”. Each one of us is here for a time to add our own unique shade, and color to the tapestry of creation. The more we in tune with the Creator, the more effective we are going to be as co-creators with Him. The more we appreciate our God-given talents as gifts to be gifted in the concrete circumstances in which we find ourselves, always in the here and now. We have been gifted with a great responsibility of being good stewards of all the Creators gifts.

I am so impressed at how Native Americans see themselves as stewards of all the gifts of creation, keeping in mind those who are to follow. There is one tribe when it makes a decision it asks the question, “how will this effect five generations from now”. The wonderful reverence they show for all of creation and not some of creation is awe inspiring. On the other hand, it is so heart-breaking to see how far we have come from the ideal, what a price we are paying. I still carry with me the image of the Native American looking at all the garbage strewn about and a tear comes to his eye. We are being awakened to the reality that we cannot continue to treat nature the way we have been and not have to suffer the consequences. How glibly we can say, when someone gets cancer, a baby is born deformed, a minor has a black lung, “it is God’s will”. We are making God the great scapegoat. It is not His will. It is just ignoring what His will for His creation is . It is not “God’s will” to pollute streams, rivers, underground water supply with toxins that bring disease, suffering, pain, tragedy and torment. The god that was responsible for all of this we got rid of a long time ago [The God I Don’t Believe in Anymore]. It is on the other hand, good business to keep him around and well. Having that god and keeping him around sure adds to the bottom line of companies, while all the time, so many innocent men, women and children find their lives have bottomed out in the prison of powerlessness. God’s hand is at work in our world and has has called each one of us, from all of eternity, to be His hands, His arms, His eyes, His legs, His ears, He has called us to be His galvanizing presence to stop the destruction and start the reconstruction. To forge a newer and better understanding of all of what His creation means. To deepen our understanding of His plan, not the plans of those whose self interest is greed, profit, and gain. And, to heck with the consequences.

I would like to end this with these quotations from John Muir,
“Climb the mountains and get there good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.”
It is also good to remember the famous words of Henry David Thoreau,
“In wilderness is the preservation of the world”.

A dreamer’s journey continues….

Monday, October 5, 2009


The human spirit is somehow enhanced, transformed, liberated, excited, as it experiences the mystery and the majesty to be encountered in the cathedral of the great outdoors. Like all great cathedrals it has many chapels. In large cathedrals people go from chapel to chapel and end at the place where they feel a special connection with a presence greater than themselves. The cathedral of the great outdoors offers us many chapels. Some enjoy the mountains, lakes, rivers and streams. Others prefer the desert [this is a great gift if you live in Arizona]. God seems to have a preference for the desert. We see in the story of God and His chosen people in the Old Testament how in the desert they were courted and purified. We see in the New Testament how the men who watched the stars came to the knowledge of an evening that changed world. God had decided to join His creation.

In the wilderness we are spoken to in the silence. We are brought to awe and wonder as we gaze at what is offered to us. Wherever there is wonder and awe, a spiritual response has been awakened within us. Where the spirital response has been awakened within us, we have been gifted with the knowledge there is a Presence here greater than ourselves. This place has become a holy place for us. These places in Celtic spirituality are called "thin places". That is why it has been a great discussion between those who say, “it is only in nature I can meet God” and those who say “it is only in church I meet my God”. Why cannot it be both/and rather than either/or? When we get into the either/or we are looking for a winner and a loser. That is religiosity. When we are prepared to live in attention of the both/and then we are taking up residence in the realm of the spiritual. The spiritual journey is all about the both/and.

My pre-Christian ancestors had a great belief “that the design pervaded every aspect of life and that spirits everywhere in ancient trees and sacred groves, mountain tops and rock formations, rivers, streams and holy wells. The Celts living close to the bodies of water with their dream-like fogs and mists also developed a respect for the mystical. They came to associate water with mystery and personal communal transformations.“ wrote Ed Selner. We are all familiar with the following words,

“Oh Lord my God, when I am in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughtout the earth displayed.

Then sings my soul, my
Savior God, to Thee,
How great thou art, how
great thou art,

When through the woods,
and forest glades I wander,
and hear the birds sing
sweetly in the trees.

When I look down, from
lofty mountain grandeur
and see the brook, and feel
the gentle breeze

Then sings my soul….”

These words celebrate in our religious experience what has been our experience in the great outdoors. Our liturgy becomes a liturgy with soul because it connects with our everyday experience.

A dreamer's journey continues....

Friday, September 25, 2009

Gifts continue

We each pray in our own unique way. No two of us pray in the same way. Why? Because none of us have the same relationship with God. Each one of us, we pray from the way God has taught us and is teaching us at this moment. Some pray with words, others with voices, others with body, others with work and the list goes on and on.

Over the years I have come across people who compare their prayer life to others. This results in one of two things: Either they get disappointed in themselves because they cannot pray the way someone else prays or else they get into hubris and wish the other person to be on their so-called "good level" of prayer and relationship with God. We must each have reverence for the other person's holy place because God is reaching each person in the place where they are at, there is no place and I really mean NO place that a person can find themselves in that our God cannot reach. The very fact that we exist means we are present to God even though, at the time we may not realize it or be aware of it. We can each learn and be taught from the prayer life of the people we share the secrets of our hearts with, which is the essence of prayer. There must be no judgement, no criticism, only a reverence for the presence of God in the place the person is standing in IS HOLY Ground.

One evening I was watching the sunset in San Diego and noticed a musical group standing on the bluff, facing the sun and playing their musical instruments. In those last dying moments of a setting sun, a new creation of music took place. I would love to have listened to a CD of that music, that is if there was one. Maybe those musicians choose to create a one of a kind music for a one of a kind moment. Music for a moment that never was before and never will be again. They made music for the here and now. We all need to ask ourselves the question, what is the music our lives are creating for ourselves and for others right now? What is the music that you are invited to dance to right now? In this dance there are no right steps or wrong steps. That is a great consolation for those of us who don’t dance too well. Do say we cannot dance because we cannot dance too well, is an excuse not a reason to join in the dance of life. Our steps will be guided by the truths within each one of us. The dance, our outwardly expressing right now are the thoughts, feelings, emotions of our present human condition. Our dance of life is a very unique form of prayer.

Recently, I have become more aware of the writings and the work of a Celt from Scotland by the name of John Muir. He was known for his passionate and eloquent descriptions of nature. This is something that he wrote many years ago, but it seems to be so pertinent for our day and age. There are no longer thousands of people entering into the wildness of the wilderness, it is now up to the millions.

He wrote the following,

“the tendency now days to wander in wilderness is delightful to see. Thousands of tired, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home: that wildness is a necessity: and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, fountains of life.”

“Climb the mountains to get the good tidings. Natures peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.”

I am happy to say I have been blessed with this experience and I wish the same for each one of you. That is why I write this blog. I see in nature a great revelation of God's dream for you and me. We together allow God to realize His dream for us and for all of His creation.

A dreamer's journey continues....

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Nature's Gift

There is a great peace, a great quiet, in nature, in the wilderness. You do not meet too many couples fighting or having arguments as they hike along [the only fight sometimes is between me and myself]. There is a great healing gift offered to us by nature. I remember a number of years ago starting out on my vacation, I was not doing too well. I was not in a good place. My entire vacation was spent with nature. I was in the woods, lakes, mountains and of course on the seashore. That vacation was not an easy one to endure. I was not looking forward to returning to the challenges of everyday living. When I returned from my vacation I was surprised, even shocked, to find out that there was a new attitude, a new energy, a new enthusiasm for life and for work. When was this gift given? I do not know. All I know is when I returned there was a difference. Later, I read in a John O’Donohue “nature heals you by itself”. Nature brings out, but only over time, that essential goodness deep within each one of us. This essential goodness is just waiting to be experienced and so be released to enhance the goodness of all of creation.

I further noticed over the years, I noticed the following: when on my vacation I to face difficulties and challenges with myself, the better I was able to handle the challenges when I returned to that life we call "normal". I have never how this happens, but I have also met other people who have had the same experience.

Ever watch couples, families, groups being caught up in the viewing of an ocean sunset? As the sun slowly slides beneath the horizon of our world and our vision it is telling us another day is ending. When people are in the presence of an ending, whatever it may be, somehow they move a little closer. Arms are extended. Couples are joined and children huddle a little closer to their parents. Arms entwined, people encircled in a very reverential silence. Each one is somehow left alone to be with who they really are at that moment. There is a special moment. A moment of silent awe, a moment of silent wonder. Hence, it is indeed a moment of grace. We are praying?

A dreamer's journey continues....

Saturday, September 12, 2009


“The trees, the animals, the streams, the flowers, preserved as much as possible in their natural state of beauty, will in turn help preserve our most precious resource—the human spirit.”
Laurance S. Rockefeller, June 12, 1955.

Those on hikes will greet you from where they are at and meet you where you are at. I was on one of my favorite hikes in the Tetons when I noticed a mature couple coming towards me. They walked slowly, together, in obviously harmony. They exuded a comfort with themselves and where they were at. Mature couples have that. They were dressed like they belonged to the front cover of a hiking magazine. I saluted them with my usual greeting “How are you doing?”. Back came the answer in a very peaceful, rich, calm voice “uniquely”. What a great answer? I was so taken back by the answer I was stuck for words to say.

Uniquely is the way we all go through life. We tell our own unique story in the unique living of every moment, of every day, of the life we are given to live. The unique part of God’s story is incarnated in our unique story, to be revealed in the place and space each one of us is placed in. When we fail to get in touch with our uniqueness, we betray our special giftedness, we are then unable to fulfill our God-given destiny. The result is a deep awareness of our emptiness, our loneliness, and a great sense of being disconnected. To be other than who we truly are, is a denial of the wisdom of God and a disbelief in His creativity. God does not make copies. God does not duplicate. We copy, we desire to be other than who we really are, because we either do not know, who we are, or we do not want to know, or in some cases, we are afraid to know. We must always keep in mind that we are created from God’s love through his freedom.

We are always on a journey of discovery. A journey into our unique selves. There is a certain aloneness, loneliness in being unique. We have no one to truly connect with except He who is the source of our uniqueness, God. He who is Alone. It is in the discovery of the God who is alone, we find our home. It is here we find rest and peace. When we are immersed in solitude, in a hike in the wilderness, we are forced to face ourselves in a way we would prefer not to. Fr. Rohr points out, “When you are in solitude, any place of solitude, you have to face your issues of addiction, negativity, fear, and control”. Out in the wilderness you have none of the everyday medicators to distract you from your disturbing feelings. They arise again, and again. They apparently have a will of their own. Like all feelings, in order to deal with them, we have to process them. We have to experience them, express them, let go of them, and then most importantly, welcome God into the emptiness, of the letting go. With the letting go there is now a vacuum, a void which if God does not fill up with his love, then evil will have that space all to itself. We are told that neither the physical or the spiritual can tolerate a vacuum. It is always our choice to make, time and time again, to choose God’s presence, God’s grace, His love, to fill the void, empty space. We will each respond to this uniquely, in our own special way, as we respond to God’s grace. God gives us a special grace so we can slowly, and sometimes painfully become the “me” God knows and loves. We are always responding to life out of His creative love, the Holy Spirit. If not, then we are responding out of our ego, leading to destructive living.

I was just thinking, if our response to that question, “How are you doing?” was always, “uniquely”, what a difference it would make in our own world and in the world of the people we encounter. It would really make people stop and really take notice of who we are and where we are coming from. When we answer “uniquely” we are not being the person they think we ought to be, or who they expect us to be. We are not who they wants us to be. There in the answer, we are expressing our uniqueness and recognizing they too are unique. Hence, because they are not us, they have a different unique being, so they will never understand completely what we think, say or do. What they can do is respect, and reverence our uniqueness, because this is, God’s way. We did not choose to be unique, it is God’s special gift to each one of us. The more that I am who I really am in God’s mind, I am contributing to God’s unique special plan for all of creation. God has chosen you, me, from all of eternity to hike our own special trail. The awe-full, lonely, difficult trail of uniqueness.

A dreamer's journey continues...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Life Hike continues...

“The Eternal silence of these boundless places strikes awe in my soul.” -- Pascal

When you are on a trail, you know it’s just you and the trail. The trail welcomes you with no judgment, no conditions, no restrictions. It opens before you all the possibilities. You will only walk the trail once. Every hike is unique, one of a kind. I have hiked some trails many times. Each time I begin the hike I bring what has happened to me, making this hike a new encounter between the person on the last hike and all that has happened since. There is a possibility of experiencing a new me as I place one foot in front of the other.

The trail will be shared at times, and then intersect with the trail of others. This is good, necessary, and helpful. One day I was on a hike in the mountains outside of Estes Park. It was a trail I had never hiked before. I had no idea how difficult it was. The trail kept getting steeper and steeper. I was beginning to move slower and slower. I notice when I get into a situation such as this, I don’t take long strides, but revert to baby steps. With those baby steps I can make my way higher and higher. I met a fellow hiker – he was on the way down the trail. He looked at me, then with a big, warm, encouraging, welcoming smile [must have been Irish] offered these words of encouragement, “it is not far now and it is worth it.” Those words somehow picked me up. I got a little strength back in my step. I completed the hike. Yes, it was worth it.

As you have been given, so you want to give back. I was on Logan’s Pass in Glacier National Park. I was on the way up, on the path to the lake. I noticed a hiker ahead who had stopped and was leaning against a rock. It was obvious she was finding the hike difficult. As I approached, she said, “I cannot keep up the pace of the others.” I found myself saying, “You are going to get there in your own time and at your own pace, not the way your friends are going to get there.” I moved on.

Later, in my car driving “the road to the sun,” I was stopped in a long line of traffic. We were going nowhere. I got out to enjoy the fantastic scenery. Then I heard somebody say, “There is my encourager.” It was the lady from the hike and her friend united. That began a wonderful conversation, as we say in Ireland “the craic was mighty.” After a time, the traffic moved on and we moved on never to meet again, yet from that encounter the gift that was given was given and received. These moments we call moments of grace.

How often do we find ourselves in similar situations in our everyday life -- which is really our spiritual life? How often when we need encouragement, some kindness, do we receive it? People we meet will not only pass you by, but blow by you. They blow by you as if you were invisible and even if you are a reality, they want no part of you. They are so enclosed, wrapped up, in their own agenda, the wonder of others and of all creation is sadly missed by them. They are focusing on the little picture of their narrow, losing out on the wonder-full exciting picture that is all creation.

On the other hand, on the hike, you receive greetings and smiles. You hear “hi, how are you,” “great day,” “wow this is wonderful,” “have a good one,” “joy.” This summer on South Mountain, there was the constant comment, “I cannot believe this is June.” You respond with a comment and there is many times a response. You are recognized even for a moment. Some people you meet on the hike, really listen and pay attention. Strange as it may be, when you meet them again, there is a welcome and recognition. It is this atmosphere of hospitality that makes a hike a wonder-full, warm, freeing experience. In this you receive encouragement to move on and on and on.

The dreamer’s journey continues…

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Life Hike

“Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.”Henry David Thoreau

I love to hike. Each is different yet familiar. However, I believe that whatever you look at long enough, a message breaks through beyond the obvious. Often it’s because things are familiar, we really never get to know them. There exists a deeper reality beyond the reality we see. He who is unseen enables us to connect with a deeper reality on an ever-deepening level and ultimately with all that is, with all creation.

“Generally, the familiar, precisely because it is familiar, it is unknown,” Hagel writes. I felt a certain sadness when I first read that quotation. How often do we take what is familiar for granted? When we take something for granted we do not show it much respect, reverence. It appears to have no value for us.

This taken-for-granted attitude deprives us of the wonder-fullness of all that is, in our everyday life. I believe what St. Francis says, “there is nothing profane for him/her who knows how to see.” Gerald Manley Hopkins expresses this so well when he tells us that all of creation is charged with the grandeur of God. More than 60 million people hike in America. This multitude immerse themselves in the grandeur of the cathedral we call the great outdoors. With what result?

Speaking for myself, there have been very few times I have come off a hike without being in some way changed. When I encounter another part of creation, something is different. Creation meets creation in this encounter. The presence of the Creator dwelling within each of us reaches out and connects in a mysterious way. This encounter always leaves us aware there is something more in us and we want to connect with it. This “something more,” this Other, cannot be explained, defined or communicated with through the medium of words. Words are limited. What we want to communicate is our encounter with mystery. We can never understand or explain mystery neither can we ever exhaust its meaning. All we can do is have reverence. In the reverencing, we allow mystery to speak to us. It speaks, speaks, speaks and never exhausts itself.

With no offense to M. Scott Peck, life is not a road to be travelled, rather it is a hike to be taken. With each part of a hike completed, I become more aware of the deep connection between what I have just experienced and my ongoing understanding of the spiritual life. When you hike a trail, it offers many twists and turns. It will have ups and downs. On the trail, you will meet all sorts of stones. Some are little, some are big – we call those rocks. Some are flat and a comfort to your feet. Others are sharp and pointy, they threaten the comfort of your feet. These latter ones awaken you to the need to be more careful, more particular about where you step. Some of the larger rocks must be navigated either up or over or around with care. You are always making a decision about which is the right way to go. Which is the way that is not too risky or too dangerous? A decision is made with each step we take. Which is the way that is healthy and good for us? A spiritual life is ever and always about the present. It does not matter what has happened in the past. It is over. What does matter is how we attend to now. That is why there is that great similarity between hiking and a spiritual life. In both, all we have is this moment, this step. There is no other way to make progress along the trail, except through taking this one step. In the spiritual journey, all we have is the here and now. There is NO other way of meeting God, of encountering the mystery, except by our attention to the right now.

The dreamer’s journey continues…

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Our Choice...

Unfortunately, our lives are populated with people who spread the noisy and distracting voice of the trash-talker. They have become immersed -- without question -- to the sound. They blare into our lives the disquieting messages that life is about power, property and prestige. Value is the result of your ability to control, to win. Unless you live out of their concept of property, then you are immersed in poverty. If you do not reflect a life of prestige, then you are a nobody only taking up space in their world.

We are so lucky to be offered the voice of the Truth Seeker. He tells us by His words and through His deeds, there is another way of looking at reality. We are encouraged to look to the reality beyond the perceived. The Truth Seeker gives us, imparts to us where we are to look for real power, real property, real prestige. We will find all of these in places the trash-talker would be afraid to venture to. The Truth Seeker reveals to us that true power will come to us in our powerlessness. The Truth Seeker came to us with no property, except a broken humanity He inherited – our humanity. His prestige lay in the fact that He was a child of the local carpenter and his wife.

So the battle rages in our souls. Our well-being, our destiny, our salvation is the prize. Yes, there are two powers, two forces at war, but the forces are not equal. God’s power is all power. This is the source of our great hope. It affords us the hope we need to face the forces that want us dead, and our lives destroyed. We make the choice, life or death, hope or despair, fear or freedom. May the spirit of love, compassion, consolation, lead you to the freedom of being beloved sons and beloved daughters.

In order for the saboteur to be successful, he must be devious, a distorter, a detractor, devoid of mercy, a master of disguise, and most of all – a deceiver. The destructive force for evil in our lives is all of the above. Its language is “cunning, baffling, powerful, insidious and patient.” That is quite an enemy we have. The Scriptures warn that “the angels of darkness do appear as angels of light.” We are also reminded that every vice is a virtue taken to extremes.

God will never allow us to be tested beyond our strength. What is our strength? Only the active presence of the love of the infinite God. Our God who is always there for us, with us, and within us. We must ask for the faith to believe that whatever the saboteur does through all of his disguises, that it will never, and I mean never, have the power to overcome or overpower us. We are on God’s team, strengthened with His spirit, and we shall overcome whatever the obstacles living life may place before us. Yes, God and I can. We can, not I can. It is a We job!

The dreamer’s journey continues…

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Truth Speaker

We have the choice to turn out the trash-talker and tune into the voice that is always there to remind, to reassure us of our essential, and eternal goodness, our eternal value. That quiet voice -- if and when we listen – tells us we are loved for what we are, not for what we did or did not do. It is a straightforward voice, with no conditions or restrictions, no reservations or limitations. It says, “I love you.” It is the voice that reminds us that we are precious.

This gentle voice is neither devious nor deceptive. It is a voice whose source is Life. It consequently wants us to live life in a healthy, meaningful way. Not a life lived in deception, discouragement, or despair. The trash-talker wants us dead. The voice of Real Truth wants us to live. This is the voice The Truth Speaker. The Truth Speaker as opposed to the trash-talker speaks to the truth of who we are, who we have been called to be, and always reminds us of who has done the calling. The Truth Speaker speaks to our essential goodness and to the Eternal truth that lies within each one of us. The trash-talker wants nothing of that!

We then have a choice:

• be in dialog with the Truth Speaker who is God reminding us of our essential goodness as His beloved son/daughter
• listen to the trash-talker who wishes to denigrate us into a life of Hell.

The dreamer’s journey continues…

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The saboteur continued...

The saboteur attacks us under many disguises. We need to rely, always, on the x-ray eye of faith to identify the lies, the deceits, the falsehoods. The x-ray eye of faith will reveal our deepest truths, in spite of all the efforts of the father of lies, Satan. Our deepest truth -- that we are beloved sons/daughters -- will set us free to enjoy life to the fullest. The saboteur will do all in his power to prevent this from happening. His goal is to bring us to the point where we share his experience, which is Hell. Hell is that place where there is no love. Hell is a place we choose to dwell. God does not send us to Hell, we choose to go and dwell in that place of isolation and torment through the exercise of our own free will. We make a choice every moment of every day. “It is Heaven all the way to Heaven and it is Hell all the way to Hell.”

I learned to play golf in Ireland. My dad was my teacher, and a good one he was. Before I stopped playing, my handicap was in the single digits. (It is not a good sign when a priest is playing in single figures. It may mean the parish could be suffering.) I learned early that all golfers were not as polite on the course as my dad. [I played a lot with my friends who loved to bustle a lot.] When I came to America, that expression “bustle” I have found out could be translated into the expression “trash-talker.” How hard it is to play and concentrate on a game with a trash-talker. That is precisely their ambition. The trash-talker’s goal is to throw you off your game by distracting you from focusing on what you wish to accomplish. To distract you from the here and now. It is meant to antagonize you, discourage you, distract you from where you are and from what you are doing.

One of the many disguises of the saboteur is that of the trash-talker. The devil is THE trash-talker. He is always scheming, plotting to undermine our true value, our true self-worth, our true foundation, so he can substitute for what is rocky within. His goal is to substitute that which is really real with what is illusion and unreal. This will lead to our being disconnected from reality. When we are disconnected from reality we are ultimately disconnected from God. We must always be reminded that God is Reality. In all of our reality, whatever it may be – God is present. He is not present in the trinity of illusions which is could, should, would and all of their minions.

The trash-talker repeats over and over and over again words meant to denigrate you, your family and all that is near and dear to you. The trash-talker loves to bring up past mistakes, past failures to challenge your confidence in what you are doing right now. The trash-talker is out to sow seeds of fear in your ability. He needs the challenge of the present moment. The trash-talker shows no mercy until we are broken-down, beaten-down and destroyed. What the trash-talker has in mind, the trash-talker’s goal, is to make each of us a victim and remain in our victim-hood. But, we have a choice to make.

The dreamer’s journey continues…

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Introducing the saboteur

Many years ago, a popular poster showed a little boy, fully dressed, standing on a junk heap. The caption read: "God made me, and God makes no junk". Do we believe that? The harder question, if God doesn't make junk, why on earth do we treat ourselves or allow others to treat us as if we are junk? It is because we are listing to the wrong voice. There are dueling voices within us. One voice invites us to live in a world that is sometimes unbelievable. It is a world beyond our imagination, where we are living in freedom and the presence of our living God. Then there is the other voice, the voice of the saboteur, which does not want us to enjoy this wonder-full gift that is freely given.

The saboteur wants to destroy the goodness that is ours. It wants to destroy by every means imaginable, all that is healthy, all that is fullness, all that is Holy. The saboteur has the power to make this happen, make no mistake about that. But he does not have all the power. The All Powerful One is God. He is on our side and at our side, no matter what happens. He tells us fear not, "I am with you".

The saboteur, like all saboteurs, can seem to have some wisdom but lacks all wisdom. All wisdom belongs to the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. There is a GPS system that is God's Persistent Safety-net. The saboteur knows some of the truth, but he does not know all of the truth. All Truth is his enemy but our friend. We are defended by this Truth as adopted children, chosen children.

As chosen children, we are given the strengthening spirit as our inheritance. It is our inheritance we are to enjoy in the here and now. When we do not, what has happened? The voice of the saboteur dominates the airwaves of of our hearts, souls and minds. It is a noise that wants to drown out the voice of Truth that reminds us "we are the Beloved. We are precious...the apple of our God's eyes."

The dreamer's journey continues.....

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Great Question continued...

What is really amazing to me, when I first read this, was that the author believes that our God DELIBERATELY chooses those of us have been habitual sinners for special attention rather than the "goody-two-shoes". That word deliberately really blew me away. It does not make sense. Of God's way of acting and behaving, we cannot make any sense of because it says in the scriptures, "His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts" [and I thank God for that].

Over the years I have observed, in families, how the mischievous child, the one who is always in and out of trouble, will forever claim a special place in a corner his/her mother's heart. The world may give up, the family may give up, society may give up on us, a church may give up, but a mother's love, which is just a manifestation, an incarnation, of God's love - NEVER gives up. Yes, the scriptures tell us, even if it were possible for a mother to forget the child of her womb, God cannot and will not ever forget. With His persistent safety-net, God is always recalculating what we need, not what we want, in the place where we both find ourselves. Wherever we go, wherever we stand, wherever we may be, we will always stand on Holy ground. The reality of the GPS is that His grace is always there for us. Reaching out and offering us the right and healthy way. We must continue to fine tune, the ears of our hearts, so that we can hear the oh so gentle voice guiding us safely home. Are we willing to stay there?

In the parable Jesus does not tell us whether the rebellious son ever stayed or not. We are never told whether he grew up to be like his prodigal father. We never learned whether the resentful son ever went into the celebration for his brother's return. We never learned whether the two sons ever became reconciled. [That reconciliation is a process that takes place which is taking place within each one of us right now.] Jesus, the wonderful teacher, rabbi, leaves us then with more questions than answers. That is why the spiritual life is always about the question not about the answer. Why? The answer leads to a new and deeper question. This process goes on and on and on....

Sometimes our regular gps systems cannot find a satellite connection and so we are stranded without any source of good direction. Because of the GPS system He provides, which is super-charged, the source of our “good orderly direction” always lies deep inside of us. It never fails, goes to sleep, loses power or ceases to function. It has, you could say, "a life guarantee". Our GPS not only provides us with good direction, but also provides us with life, light and strength for the journey. [On top of all of that, I am now sounding like a TV salesman, “It is free!".] No subscription to run out, no renewal notices in the mail, no late charges. It is all gift - paid for in advance. All we have to do is love ourselves enough to enjoy it. Being spiritual beings having a human experience, we will not always be either aware of or be prepared to listen to what our GPS is offering to us. That is why we need to remember that the power of the toxic trinity (guilt, fear & shame) is always determined to sabotage the GPS system. When the saboteur is effective in disrupting The System, we get into fear, isolation, loneliness, discouragement and the list goes on and on and on. It is so reassuring to know the recalculating love of our God is always there for us. There is great consolation in the words of the Hymn Hosea "Come back to me with all your heart, do not let fear keep us apart".

To bring about this return and reconciliation, the ever-present love of God, who is prodigal in His love, is offered to us so we can "live deeply our new life". This new life goes deeper and deeper and deeper. With each departure and the return of the rebellious son/daughter something wonder-ful happens. Through the mystery of grace, which is beyond our understanding, what the author of The Cloud of Unknowing has said above is happening and will continue to happen. The grace for the return will always be there. The persistent voice calling us precious, calling us beloved, calling us the apple of His eye, will always be operative within us. We can, unfortunately, harden or be hardened to the voice, but that does not change the commitment of the voice. It is up to you and I to open our hands, souls and minds to receive the gift.

"In religion there lurks the fear that we invented the story of God's love." Sabastian Moore

A Dreamer's Journey continues......

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Great Question

Some weeks back, this questions was posted, "I wonder how many times is the Prodigal allowed to return?".

This is a great question, “Why?”. Because it allows us to focus, not on our understanding of mercy and compassion but on God's infinite mercy and compassion. The simple answer is- there is no limit to the mercy, acceptance, empathy, generosity of our Prodigal Father. I like to take my cue from Henry Nowen’s book, "The Return of the Prodigal Son" [that book radically changed my understanding of the sacrament of reconciliation and my own understanding of what it means to be the beloved]. In his book, Nowen points out it is the love of the Father which is prodigal. You and I are the rebellious son and the resentful son as well [this is also read as rebellious daughter and resentful daughter]. Both are living and at war within each one of us every day. So also is the presence of the Prodigal Father. All three are dwelling within the cave of our souls. In our rebellion, we leave the home where we are loved with a reckless love. We move off to a far off land. In that far off land, seeking what we have left behind. We can rent, at a price, but can never find a home to be at home in. Yet it is in that far off place away from the comfort of home, in a moment of clarity, which always comes to us in pain, we are reminded of who we are, where we are and what we have left behind. So, we make a u-ee and head back knowing we will be received as the rebellious son was, with a reception beyond our imagination and expectation.

The rebellious son just wanted to return. He wanted to become one of the hired hands, with no relationship to the family. The father wanted none of that. He placed him right back into his inheritance. I am sure to the consternation of the resentful son. Being returned to his rightful place came responsibility. The rebellious son will one day have to be as his father, is. This is going to take a great deal of hard work, patience and perseverance. His plan was to practice "the spirituality of evasion". Evasion does not bring out the best in us. And so, the father said "no". He wanted the best for his son and so he would not allow him, as the son wished. He not only wants everything that is good for his beloved son, but what is BEST for his beloved.

The Prodigal Father is the incarnation of Paul's words on love, "Love is patient, love is kind, love takes no offense and is not resentful". These qualities of love defined what the father of the parable is. He is patient with his rebellious son. When he returns, there are no questions like, "Why did you do this to me? Look, I gave you a lot, what more could I have done?" "So you could not wait for me to die, so you could get your share and waste it." The love of the father is not resentful, only accepting. Down the road, what a wonderful gift the son has to share with those who will need a love that is patient, kind, and takes no offense.

Here is what the anonymous author of "The Cloud of Unknowing" wrote many centuries ago,

"I believe...that our Lord deliberately chooses to work in those that have been habitual sinners rather than in those who, by comparison, have never grieved Him at all. Yes, He seems to do this very often. For I think He wants us to realize that He is all merciful and all mighty and He is perfectly free to work as He pleases, where He pleases and when He pleases."

I have read that passage over and over so as to get the full brunt of the meaning. It is always like a splash of cold water in the July Arizona heat. It cleans, refreshes and encourages. It strengthens, it vivifies, it frees up something inside. This will provide a new strength, and a new hope. We will have a new strength for a new phase of the journey we are on. We will have the strength to carry on.

A dreamer's journey continues...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Continuous Persistence

God shows no partiality in His love for us or where He meets us and greets us. We, however, are partial to how we allow God to meet, greet and love us. Many times in the course of our life, our options are taken away. No! That is wrong, many times we surrender our options, and give God only one choice as to where He is to meet and greet us.

Free will is such an awe-full gift. It is full of awe and is full of wonder, full of mystery. Free will, like all gifts, carries with it great responsibility. I will always have to keep before me, "Will what I am doing challenge God to re-calculate?”

From all of this, I feel we can now use GPS as shorthand for God’s-Persistent-Safety net. How comforting that is to know. There is a persistent safety net that is always there to catch us when we fall. There is a persistent safety net there to catch us when our ego-driven decisions cause us to stray and stumble. God’s-Persistent-Safety net is called GRACE. It is the prodigal love of a Prodigal Father God who is always ready and never tired of “re-calculating.”

God's love for us is personal, passionate and persistent. It is always offered to us, not where would like to be, where we think we ought to be, but is offered where we are now and in the moment we can be reached. God’s-Persistent-Safety net reaches each one of us in all of the circumstances of our human journey -- in relationships with other human beings in an imperfect world.

Do not be hopeless. Be hope-full. The world IS being transformed. As Mama Cass Elliott sang so many years ago, "There is a new world coming, coming in peace, coming in joy, coming in love."

This new creation is coming, it is happening right now. And, our faith tells us we are part of the creation of this new world. We are co-creators with God of a new world, a new creation which is guaranteed by the resurrection. What we have to do is use our x-ray eye of faith, the optimistic eye of faith, to see beyond the obvious to the hidden goodness. In other words, to the God hidden, revealed and always ready to re-calculate. This is the God of the Good News we must proclaim!

We must take on the responsibility, especially now, of reminding ourselves and others of the inherent good that is all creation. The seen and unseen. As it has been said before, we do not need so much to be informed as to be reminded again and again of who we are and who it is that is on our side.

"If God is for us, then who can be against us?"
"With God all things are possible."

We must remember our Good Shepherd will lead from dark valleys. We must be people of memory, constantly reminding ourselves of the fact we are linked forever, and without cost to us, to God's-Persistent-Safety net. We need this reminder so we can be assured and reassured in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. We must be a people of hope, proclaiming not only by our words but our actions, what we have experienced. We must be a people who by our very demeanor are choosing to live life and live it to the fullest.

"The glory of God is a human person fully alive." [St. Irenaeus]

Alive and responding to all that is. Alive and responding to all that is calling for -- no demanding -- a response. A response born of faith stronger than fear, breaking through the darkness. Proclaiming for all to hear, "Lord, it is good for us to be here --right now."

A dreamer's journey continues…

Friday, July 3, 2009

God's, Persistent, Safety-net...

As you know, I travel a great deal. Over 10,000 miles last summer. Not bad for a fellow who has no sense of direction! I tell people, "I can get lost in a bathtub." When I want to know how to make a left turn, I bless myself with my right hand and then go in the opposite direction. When friends express concern about my long journeys alone, I reveal the fact that I do have a GPS system.

I believe that whatever is real, and if you look at it long enough, there is a sermon right there before your eyes. So, how about a GPS system? As you move along, a GPS system provides the right direction in which to travel. Since I have a little trouble knowing which is left or right, I do not always take the right turn (no pun intended). Then when I take a right rather than a left turn, or more likely miss the turn completely, I will hear the word -- "Re-calculate." I go on a distance, going in what I think is the right direction, only to hear "Re-calculate." No other comment, like, "Bad move, what is wrong with you, can't you follow directions?” “Are you asleep?” “Don't you understand?” Nothing but just, "Re-calculate."

Just so with God. God in His mysterious love has given us free will. He has also given us the spirit of truth, which when listened to will give us good orderly directions. As a matter of fact, G-O-D can be broken down to Good-Orderly-Directions. When we take the wrong turn, decide to go another route than the right route, God says to you and me, "I am now re-calculating. I am now re-calculating the new grace you now need for this new situation in your life." We are always forcing God, by our self-will, to re-calculate. I have been asked, "How about U-turns?". As a matter of fact, our spiritual journey is all about U-ees! That is exactly what conversion is, turning around and going in the opposite direction. Our self-will leads in one direction, God's will turns us around to go into the direction of His will. That is always the challenge that goes on between the ego and the true self. The less ego, the less self-centeredness, the less selfishness, the less God has to re-calculate.

The Prodigal Father had hopes for his two sons. One is rebellious, the other is angry and resentful. Both sons changed their father's plans. He had to re-calculate. We see at the end of the story the father did not change his generosity or his faithfulness toward either son. Surprisingly it is the outward "good son" who is inwardly angry and rebellious that the the father has the most difficulty with. We have both within each one of us. The first part of life we have to deal with the rebellious son/daughter. In the second half of life we have to deal with the angry and resentful son/daughter. The spiritual journey involves becoming reconciled with both realities within us and showing prodigal, reckless, extravagant love to both.

Wherever we place ourselves, God is there right beside us not saying, "Another fine mess you have gotten us into,” rather He says "I love you, right here, right now. I will give you whatever you need to get back on the right path. I will give you whatever you need so we can restore our right relationship. Let’s get it done, together."

The parable, of what we used to call The Parable of the Prodigal Son, I think we need to rename it, "God’s Re-calculation."

A dreamer's journey continues…

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Breath....The Invitation

We have been offered and accepted a new spirit for the new life that is now ours. One person told me she lost a husband and a son. Her prayer is for the spirit she needs to be a woman of her age, who has lost a husband and a son. Her prayer is not the prayer of a woman who is blessed with a husband and a son, and maybe grandchildren.

The prayer of a newly married couple is a prayer for the spirit they need to face the challenges of the first years of married life. They have to struggle through the process "form, storm, norm and perform". They will have to accept the fact that their relationship is always part of an ongoing process. The spirit requested by a couple that are five years together is not that of a couple who have been married for 15, 20 or more years.

The prayer of a couple who has lost a child or children is not the prayer of a couple who has a child or children. The prayer of a widow or widower is for a unique spirit for their unique lifestyle. The prayer of a blended family is also a unique prayer as they pray for the spirit to strengthen them. To strengthen them as they have to struggle with the ongoing process of "form, storm, norm and perform". This struggle is always going to be at an everdeepening level.

God gives us His particular grace in each of our unique situations. The different stages of the single life also demand a unique prayer for a unique spiritual experience. The emptiness, the aloneness of the single life must be recognized and owned. When this does not happen, we can so easily lose our way and end up in places we would prefer to avoid.

God's love for us is particular, passionate and persistent. His love is always being offered, we must welcome that Creative Love into the place of our woundedness, into the place of our brokenness, into our aloneness. We have been given the power to invite and allow God to transform what is in the painful place of loneliness into the consoling presence of solitude.

Thomas Merton had the following to say, "Surrender your poverty and acknowledge your nothingness to the Lord. Whether you understand it or not, God loves you, His presence in you, lives in you, dwells in you, calls you, saves you and offers you an understanding and compassion which are like nothing you have ever found in a book or heard in a sermon."

What we also have to remind ourselves that we have been given the power, the free-will, to deny ourselves hope and consolation. What a double-edged sword freedom is! We must remind ourselves again and again that we have to make a choice between life and death, hope and despair, fear and faith. The choice is an every moment choice, it is here and now.

All this leads us to the opening prayer of Easter Sunday liturgy when we prayed, "Send Your Spirit, into our lives with the power of a mighty wind, by the flame of Your wisdom open the horizons of our minds. Loosen our tongues to sing Your praise beyond the farthest reach, for without Your Spirit humankind could never raise its voice in words of peace or announce the truth that Jesus is Lord."

The prayer of Pentecost is asking the Spirit to be sent into our lives. It is an invitation. Because God, out of love, respects our free-will. He, like the great lover He is, awaits our invitation. We must know who is it that we are inviting. Why the invitation is being offered. What we are inviting Him to do. He is God, all-powerfull, all-knowing and all-loving. These are just some of His qualities. One saint encourages and paraphrasing here, when we pray to God, we pray for big stuff so as not to insult His dignity.

We then ask Him for help in the places we are helpless. We ask Him to come and reveal love in the places we ourselves can find no love and are powerless to love. We ask for His loving compassionate wisdom to understand how it is He can make all things work together. He makes all things work together, so we who believe, can be brought to joy and hope. We are asking for a new way of acting so we can be strengthened to commit ourselves to a new way of thinking. We pray that we may be strengthened to see that our lives are reflecting all that happened to Jesus Christ as He was, so we are. We are now His living presence. A living presence that comes to us only when we too have surrendered, died and allowed a new spirit to live within us. This then is a new creation, that is happening and will continue to evolve because we are graced. It will continue as long as we allow ourselves to be loved. The transformation will continue until one day, we too can say with St. Paul, "I live, no not I, it is Christ who lives within me". The dream of The Dreamer IS being realized. We are everdeepening our participation in that dream, but there is a choice to be made. The choice is being made right now.

The following prayer is from The Liturgy of the Hours,

Breath on me, breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love the things you love,
and do what you would do.

Breath on me, breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with you I have one will,
To live and to endure.

Breath on me, breath of God,
My soul with grace refined,
Until this earthly part of me,
Glows with your fire devine.

Breath on me, breath of God,
So I shall never die,
But live with you the perfect life,
In Your eternity.

The dreamer’s journey continues…

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Here are three questions that help define this new spirit in our lives so we can experience an ever-new creation within us:

1) Who is it that we are inviting?
2) Why are we inviting this Spirit?
3) What are we inviting this Spirit to do?

Who is it that we are inviting? We must be consciously aware that we are inviting the power of love into our lives. It is a love that, like all healthy love, and of it's essence created. It is, a Creative Love, bringing a oneness into a world of chaos, disunity and disharmony. It is a Creative Love that makes all things work together for good. And, I mean here, ALL THINGS, not just the things we are comfortable with! Like healthy love, it transforms us, ever so slowly, ever so gently into an ever-renewing creation. This is the love that we are invited to sow in the place where we see no love right now.

The result is what? Where before there was anger toward oneself, now there is compassion. Where before, there was fear, now there is freedom of living life as a beloved son/daughter. Where there were hatred and violence, there is slowly growing a shy, quiet flower of peace. Where there was death, new life has appeared. A life full of energy, enthusiasm and hope. A life that is now able to cry out in a very loud, exalted, big voice -- "YES."

Our lenses are now being changed and refined. We are now able to see life and all of creation through the lens of love. I like the following from Anam Cara:

"To the loving eye, everything is real. This art of love is neither sentimental nor naive. Such love it is the greatest criterion of truth, celebration, and reality. Kathleen Raine, Scottish poet, says that unless you see a thing in the light of love, you do not see it at all. Love is the light in which we see light. Love is the light in which we see each thing in its true origin, nature, and destiny. If we could look at the world in a loving way, then the world would rise up before us full of invitation, possibility, and depth.

“The loving eye can even coax pain, hurt, and violence toward transfiguration and renewal. The loving eye is bright because it is autonomous and free. You can look lovingly upon anything. The loving vision does not become entangled in the agenda of Power, Seduction, Opposition, or Complicity. Such vision is creative and subversive. It rises above the pathetic arithmetic of blame and judgment and engages experience at the level of its origin, structure, and destiny. The loving eye sees through and beyond image and effects the deepest change. Vision is central to your presence and creativity. To recognize how you see things can bring you self knowledge and enable you to glimpse the wonderful treasures your life secretly holds."

Why are we inviting this Spirit? Why are we inviting this power of strength and transformation? We have come to realize from our personal encounter with the power of death and destruction in all its forms that left to ourselves, we are powerless. We need a power, a spirit, greater than we are, so we will not be suckered into fatalism, lack of confidence and despair. We have come to accept what the scripture says and what has become so true for us, "Of ourselves we can do nothing, but we can do all things in Him who strengthens us."

Yes, we need a Savior. We can no longer survive as an “I,” it must be a “We.” Lately, I have been telling people, including myself, that unless we make it, a “we“ effort, then we will “wee-wee” on ourselves and blame God and others!

What are we inviting this Spirit to do? To open our eyes, so we can see life where seemingly there is none. To open our eyes to the new life that is now emerging, where outwardly we see only loss and death. To strengthen our faith that in this place of loss and death, a new and deeper connection is evolving within ourselves, with others, with humanity, and all of creation. The preface of the funeral Mass stands as a reminder of our evolution -- "Death is not an end, death is a beginning."

All of our new understanding we now carry into ordinary time. Maybe it is wise to come up with something to usher us into mystery-laden time, which is not really ordinary.

The dreamer’s journey continues…