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…


  1. I wonder how many times the prodigal is allowed to return.

  2. Fr. Joe! I like this one! yayness for God's re-calculation! Thanks for the post!

    ps, you're not alone in getting lost. I don't know my right from left either. But on the positive side, you get to see more sights and have a little adventure when you miss a turn!

  3. As I also travel extensivley, I remember the good direction I have had from you, Fr. Joe, for many years. I just heard about your blog and I am glad to have found it. I also heard you are now on Twitter? What is your Twitter name? I no longer have facebook, but I look forward to reading from your wisdom, at least on the blog. Lets get together when we are both back in Arizona! - Danny Friedman (

  4. Amen...To "God's"Safety net Fr. Joe...Its been along time, sounds like your doing well. I'am along way from Arizona, my job has taken me to Hong Kong, hope to be back in the U.S.soon. Your message is clear...I still read Anam Cara, and the more I read it the better I understand GOD nd the Irish culture...Bless you always

    Joe Hennessey

  5. Fr. Joe

    Safety Net is what I need, I'm far from Arizona, my job has taken me to Hong Kong, the people are fantastic, and they hunger for the catholic church and its teachings.....Bless you for your work.
    I still read Anam Cara, and the more I read it the better I understand GOD and the Irish culture.