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….