Saturday, July 27, 2013


I have been asked this question more than once, "Are you going back to Ireland for your Golden Jubilee?" The answer is, a reluctant "no." That does not mean I will not be connected with land of my ancestors, The Celts.  My Celtic heritage, and all the gifts it bestows, has become more and more of a presence over these last number of years. A presence that was absent, sad to say, for many of the previous years.  I now have to admit, confession is good for the soul, that the lack of my understanding of Celtic Spirituality, resulted in unnecessary pain, and sorrow.  My pain and sorrow was of necessity, felt by others as well.  For that I am heartily sorry.  Everything, at that time, was either black or white. There was no willingness to understand the baggage of personal journey, with all that it brought to each person. The imperative to see each person, as a person to be listened to, not some impersonal object to be judged, was a gift that was coming.  Thank God, the new Spirit which came with the Second Vatican Council was The Spirit of kindness, understanding, and compassion.  The reforms brought us back to a new, and a more vibrant, life giving, understanding of The Mystery.  The Mystery revealed in the life, and ministry of Jesus, who became The Christ, was none other than, The Living Father-God of the same Jesus Christ.  We were introduced to the historical en-fleshed, oh so human Jesus.  In this human Jesus, it was revealed the fullness of The Divine One.  If I was to know The Unknown, and Unknowable, all I had to do was to immerse myself in the reality of The Carpenter Shepherd from Nazareth. That was 50 years ago, and it is only now I am becoming more and more aware of what was being offered at that time.  The proclamation of that Good News has continued over years, but not without opposition.  The Gospel proclaimed in its purity, always finds opposition.  The Gospel it appears, only thrives in opposition.  The persecuted church is the spiritual healthy church.  Look at history and see when the church has been most vibrant.  A vibrant faith flowers in persecution. That is so true for our individual faith journey as well.


         I got a little sidetracked, so back to what has happened and unfortunately is happening right now in our church.  The Second Vatican Council did happen, even though there are well meaning members of the hierarchy and laity that act as if it never was a reality.  Like all councils, called by the Pope in session, it had the guidance of The Holy Spirit.  What happened was under the guidance of The Holy Spirit, no matter which way we may want to cut it.  For those who deny, or actively work against those reforms, and the evolving theology are not "Building up The Body of Christ. They are, to put it bluntly, warring AGAINST the workings of The Holy Spirit.  The fear-full actions of those who wish to "reform" the previous reforms are adding nothing to the well being of our church, The Mystical Body of Christ.  They are, despite their good intentions, making the growth of The Body more difficult in a world that is so diametrically opposed to all that of the authentic teaching of the Gospel.  The demands of the Gospel are such, we are always coming up short.  We have to face our own limitations on a daily basis.  Despite our best intentions we have to face the fact, The Real Gospel imperatives are too, too much.  This is where the miracle of grace comes in.  Thank God, our Gracious Father-God sees into our hearts, and at least sees our willingness to become, even though at present we are not, the best bearers of the Good News.  This willingness is enough for God.  Once we show our willingness, grace takes over, and we are in for the ride of a lifetime.  We become what we desire, so be WARNED.  We are setting ourselves up for hard, demanding, tough work.  A work which by ourselves we cannot accomplish. On top of that we have to face the outside enemies, who are conspiring, with all likeminded forces, to oppose by any means necessary the coming of The Kingdom.  With the coming of The Kingdom, their kingdoms of "power, property and prestige" will have to go, but not without a fight.


         There will not be just a fight, there will be a war.  A war that is being waged within the souls of each one of us, as well as in the world we are traveling through.  So then, we are all caught up in a death struggle.  We are not the first to experience such a death struggle, the death struggle of Jesus, through which He became The Christ Of God, carries with it this great hope.  In the long run death will never be the victor.  In His victory over death, The Christ has brought to you and I a new level of hope-full seeing. We now see that all death is, is the threshold over which we must all pass into a reality that words cannot describe.  In our little every day death-resurrection experiences we

get a glimpse, just a taste of that "which eye as not seen, or ear heard, or it has not even dawned on us what is waiting for us in the fullness of life.  We have the option to life in the freedom that The Resurrection brings us, or cower in fear.  When we live out of fear we leave ourselves open to becoming fully fledged members of spite-full, fear-filled opposition.  There are those who are actively opposing the workings of The Holy Spirit. We must remember, even if they do not, they are STILL being called each and every moment, and Who is doing this calling?  The very same Holy Spirit, Whose works they are opposing, is STILL calling each one of us to be the living, life enhancing, presence of The Prodigal, Compassionate Father-God.  A Lover Who is persistent.  The Shepherd God Who is ALWAYS seeking out and searching for, the lost sheep which is you and I.


       This was The  Presence I was seeking.  A Presence, I have come to believe that finds a dwelling place, not outside of me, but within the depths of my being, keeping me in being.  It is within This Presence, "I live and move and have my being," I cannot exist apart, no one can.  Like St. Augustine, I was looking outside, where it could not be found.  Like Augustine, I was looking "in all the wrong places," for  that which was dwelling in the depths of my being, keeping me in being.  That reality I was able to give

lip service to, and that was all.  I had not suffered enough.  Now I see That Presence was there, all the time, calling in a gentle, tender, whisper.  Why did I not hear The Call? For me and for so many more that gentle whisper drowned out by the cacophony of noises alien to Its will, and purposes. The ears of my heart, and soul, were deafened.  It has taken a long time for the healing of my hearing to take place.  This healing, like all regular healing, has been for me a very slow process.  Yes it has taken a long time for my eyes to be truly opened so that the real "seeing," may take place. That "seeing" has gone hand in hand with the rediscovery of the richness, and gentleness of Celtic Spirituality.  It is only now, after many, many years of wandering, and wondering, I seem to have found a home.  A place where I can dwell in some peace and harmony.  I get every now and then, a brief insight into what the dream, The Aisling of God, does have for each living person.  His dream for all of us is that "We would have life and have it to

the fullest."  To live life, and live it to the fullest fullness, is a great challenge for us who are "spiritual beings immersed in the human experience."

       Will be continued, hopefully, in the next posting.



Sunday, July 14, 2013


                Bede Griffiths has written the following: "In South India there is a pilgrimage to a place called Sabarimala.  It is a pilgrimage to the forest and hundreds of thousands of people go there every year. The deep meaning of this, is that people need to go back from time to time, to the forest, to the wilds, where they were before they belonged to settled civilization with a home and city.  We need to recall the freedom of the forest.  Some time each year, at least, we should go from our fixed abode, leaving our possessions, and everything to which we are attached, and become free to wander or to settle in some very quiet place, to be free for some time...."

                We are encouraged to take that time to be apart, alone and unencumbered.  Some will go so far as to state this action is essential for healthy living.  Is this easy?  No it is anything but.  Why?  What makes this healthy action such a challenge?  Simply put, it is our egocentric egos, the source of all our disease, which makes it so very difficult, for you and for me.  The bigger our egos the more intense the struggle will be.  For some, it is  almost impossible to leave behind all that SEEMS to satisfy our deep seated need, to be seen as needed and having value.  We now know, or, growing in awareness of, that when our worthwhileness is dependent on these outside forces, we are in serious trouble.  That word "SEEMS" is important.  When we are looking outside, of our true selves, for that which is already deep within, we are on "a fool's errand."  We will wander, and wander and never find a place we can truly call home.  We will be out there, as it were, "looking for love in all the wrong places," and some places we find ourselves in, are really "wrong."  We will look and look and never see.  For that which is sought is already present within us.  We have to let go, become unattached to the trappings that feed the false self, and embrace The Unseen, The Unknown.  On vacation, how often now do you see families lost to the personhood of each other as they are lost, attending to an impersonal, unfleshed electronic device?  Are we really losing the rich, comforting, challenging sounds of human voices, which have for so long been a source of our connectedness with real reality?  Our spirit can never be touched with an inanimate object, no matter how fancy it may look. 

                 We must, in order to be spiritually and physically healthy, take that time away.  Answer that call which is calling us to be alone, so The Alone can speak to our hearts.  William Butler Yeats, the great Irish poet, has penned these wonder-full, awe-full, challenging words:

 "Come way, O human child!

to the waters and the wild

 With a Faerie, hand in hand,

For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

                 Let us human children connect again with our ancestral heritage by returning to the forests, the glimmering lakes, and to the  mountains with their gentle flowing streams.  Let us return to the ocean shores and become lost in the symphonic sounds of the surf.  We will not have to have a Faerie, "hand in hand," because we will be in The Hand Presence, of that Reality which the word, "Faerie" was meant to communicate. This journey of ours is a journey of our spirit to a place where there will be real food, real nourishment.  We will journey to a place where we will find rest for our restlessness.  Because of the hospitality of nature we will be able to be at home, at peace, and at rest. The great sacrament that nature is, is ever new and ever old.  Just as we will never visit a place twice, so too, we are never the same from moment to moment.  The Creative Spirit is bringing all of creation into a oneness. An emerging creation, with all of its newness, is right here before our eyes. When are we going to stop, and in reverent awe, be caught up in that which is greater than anything we will ever be.  When that happens the only thing left to do is...pray.


Thursday, July 4, 2013


I was really enjoying reading this afternoon. As a matter of fact, I was reading in my car, as sheets of rain gave it a well deserved wash. Outside it was 66 degrees. What a great feeling that was, having endured, no survived, the 118 degrees in The Valley of The Dry Heat. When the rain stopped, thank God, to start again later, it was a little bit of heaven to step outside and enjoy the cooling down of one's body. Not only that but what a blessing, what a delight it was to be able to breathe deeply the rain freshened mountain air. That does something for the mind, body, and soul. One gets the feeling of something springing up from the depths within. It is a feeling, which in reality, words are unable to convey. How impoverished we are when it comes to communicate that which springs from our essence. We search, and search for that elusive word which never appears to materialize.

Yet we continue on with that search. We become searchers. Becoming searchers, we continue that which was begun, by our ancestors, long before recorded history. We are led by, The Unknown, to seek out and search out a way to communicate, The Unknowable. An endless search we all share, but each one in his/her own very unique way. I was pretty contented, no, really contented with myself until I read the following quote from from Annie Dillard. "Write like you are dying." Wow! Wow! Wow! I was not ready for that. A dying person's confession is sacrosanct. Look at how the law takes into account a dying person's confession. It is not questioned. It is taken for granted that the dying person would not lie. Then this thought hit me between the two eyes, Joe, you are dying. From the moment of birth, we are dying. This is a fact, a very uncomfortable reality. A reality I much prefer to deny, or at least ignore. I can get away with being an amnesiac, but only for a short period of time. As I face this stage of my life, those periods of denial, and forgetfulness are becoming shorter and shorter, darn it. So I am to write like I am dying? This means I have to tell that truth. That is so, so easy to type, but the ramifications of truth telling are something else!!! "The truth will set you free, but first it will tee off a lot of people," is one of my favorite sayings. "Good news must become bad news for the ego, before it can again, become good news." Those are two sayings that I repeat over and over, and over again. To be honest, remember that "dying thing," I repeat it why? Simply because I need to hear those words. Actions have consequences, and truth telling? Well take a look at the cross and see what humanity did to The Revelation of Truth!!! The Prophet Jesus lived the truth. Both in his mission and ministry, He was the personification, The Enfleshment of The Truth. There then emerged a conspiracy to stifle, The Voice of Truth. A conspiracy that continues to this present moment. Jesus lived a life of freedom. This freedom came from His belief in He being, The Beloved Son, of a Gracious Father from whose womb of infinite love, all life has emerged. That is our origin and our destiny. We forget this awe-filled reality. As one author writes: We have to face the fact that we have forgotten, that we have forgotten." That is a very sad reality, isn't ? I was brought up to "never forget where you came from." That was in regards to my history, and heritage. My spiritual heritage was not emphasized in the same way. Actually I was exposed at a very early age to, "the toxic trinity," namely guilt, fear, and shame. Even though I was politically free, I was so un-free, when it came to living the life that really mattered. The journey into spiritual freedom, my destiny, has been like the Irish struggle for freedom, a long tear-full, and pain-full one. Would I want to change anything? I was thinking about that on a hike. The conclusion? As I reflect on my life now, I am becoming more aware of the work of my Compassionate, Creative God, through the power of The Spirit of Wholeness. I, every now and then, have glimpses of unity, peace, and harmony. Through the workings of grace, from the chaos has emerged, a little serenity, tranquility, and some peace of mind. The weaknesses of my youth have become a source of strength. My so-called strengths have been gradually exposed for what they really were, mere illusions of grandeur. The source of these damaging illusions was a false sense, a false understanding of my humanity, and healthy spiritual realities. The real truth, has ever so slowly emerged, as I have had to face failure, rejection, weakness, and brokenness, in other words, entered into the fullness of The Paschal mystery. Over the years I have experienced a deepening belief, there can be no new life, without first experiencing, death. This awe-full, pain- pain-full reality is a place we have to journey into, over and over. In these latter years the words: "Death is not an end, it is a beginning" have been a great source of consolation, and encouragement. As it has been for me, and countless others, so may it be for you. Wow this writing, knowing that you are dying, is tough stuff. "Every blessing is a curse and every curse is a blessing." Now how long is this going to last???