Monday, March 31, 2014

Lent...... Journey.......To.... Reconciliation......&....Renewal

"What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas," is a catch phrase we are all now familiar with. It is not the whole truth, however. For the last couple of years, I've enjoyed putting this twist on it. It goes as follows:  "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, until it shows up in Reconciliation (Confession), to be dealt with." We now know nothing that has ever happened to us has actually disappeared into thin air…The effects of each and every word that has been spoken to us, whether life affirming, or death dealing, is carried deep within us. Everything that has happened to us, for good or for ill, has left a residue in the depths of our souls. We have to keep before us this very challenging reality, "what our mind has forgotten, our souls remember." Those memories will have to be dealt with. We can, and do deny, the uncomfortable realities, what is sometimes called the shadow self, namely "the past, the primitive, and the inferior." We will be able to continue in our denial, but only for so long, until one day in some way we will be forced to confront those fear-full, frightening realities, as they are acted out in some destructive act or actions. That which we deny, suppress, sublimate will take a terrific toll on our psychic energy. It takes twice the energy to keep all this "garbage" bottled up, than to engage in the process of confession, reconciliation, and transformation. We must always keep before us that what we have been led into, by grace, is a long progress of reconciliation. This reconciliation process is the journey of whole life long. For us to be spiritually healthy we must accept, not like, this reality. The more we recoil from the honesty required, the greater the price we will have to pay. The choice is ours. Only we, as individuals, can accept, or refuse the priceless gift of liberation which is bestowed upon those who accept the invitation to the ongoing process of confession, reconciliation, and transformation. During these days of Lent there are more opportunities for the celebration of this  Sacrament  which gifts us with peace, and liberation. We are all in desperate need of both.
                          Years ago, I was lucky to be blessed with pearl of wisdom from Fr. Rohr, "it is the Sacrament of Reconciliation, not the Sacrament of obliteration." What a difference that makes as we reflect on the realities of our lives. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation nothing is destroyed, only transformed. This transformation is a new creation of grace. Mercy is at work in the depths of our being, bringing about a new reality. This is a good time to remember the Scripture saying,"behold I make all things new," and we must take the time to reflect on how in the mercy of our Prodigal, Mercy-full, Prodigal father what once was death dealing, is now life giving. We see that "new creation" of which the Scriptures are about, as now part of our reality. We do not know how or when this miracle of grace  happened. All we need to know is that it has happened, the rest, is none of our business. To make it our business is to engage on an ego trip. The more we give into the ego's demands, the deeper we will have to experience purgation. Purgation, the emptying out process of our egos, is never pleasant. It is downright pain-full. It is our lived experience of Calvary, and the Crucifixion. It is our journey, a journey we make again and again, to that place where we cry out: " My God, my God, why have you abandoned and forsaken me." These word of Jesus were the last He spoke, before He experienced the process of resurrection, As it was with Jesus so it has to be with us. That is, if we so choose to be a real disciple, a true follower, our destiny. This is a great place to stop, and reflect on that wonder-full prayer-hymn "Jerusalem my Destiny." (When I first heard "Jerusalem My Destiny" prayed, I fell in love with it. To the chagrin of some I wanted to have it prayed all the time!!! Obviously I am not a liturgist!  A reality that has triggered some real creative conflicts in my years of ministry. I am delighted to say the adventure continues!!!
           Nothing, absolutely nothing, in our lives is outside the realm of God's judgment and mercy. By hiding parts of our story, not only from our own consciousness, but also from God's eye, we claim a divine role for ourselves; we become the judges of our own past and LIMIT MERCY TO OUR FEARS. We disconnect ourselves not only from our own suffering, but also from God's suffering for us. By lifting our pain-full memories out of  the egocentric, individualistic, private sphere, Jesus Christ heals our pain. We connect them with the pain of all humanity, a pain He took upon Himself and transformed. To heal, then, does not primarily mean to take pains away but to reveal that our pains are a part of a greater pain, that our sorrows are part of a greater sorrow, that our experience is part of a greater experience of Him, Whom has said, "But was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into the glory of God." ( Henri Nouwen) As it was with Jesus, Who became The Christ so it will be for us, so we can become the sacrament of the Risen Christ. This is what it means to be Baptized. In this Sacrament we are anointed, twice, as an outward sign of the inner reality of our consecration. Our being called, our being and set apart by The Living God to to be the living presence, the living reality of His Son. In this becoming, we are slowly becoming, the reality chosen for us from the beginning of time. It will be insofar as we embrace life, and live it to the fullest in a healthy manner, will we live a life of creative love. We will be "life givers" not "death dealers."
                        The Sacrament of Reconciliation is our ongoing encounter with The Enfleshment of Mercy, The God-man Jesus Christ. Encounter is  of the essence of the seven ritual sacraments. I like to think of a ritual sacrament in the following way. A ritual Sacrament is, an encounter with the living person of Jesus Christ, the result of which change takes place in my life, and that change is brought about by the power of The Holy Spirit. That word encounter seems to be a favorite of Pope Francis, and it must also become a word we are becoming more aware of. In the celebration of Reconciliation we encounter "the living Person of Jesus Christ." There is so much to be reflected on in these five words. Who is this "living Person" you are encountering. How would you describe Jesus as a person, in whose personhood is revealed the Unknown, and the Unknowable? In order to have an encounter there, first of all, must be a living person. That is we have to construct, create a living, walking, talking, laughing, crying, angry, hungry, beaten, broken, betrayed etc. etc., human being. A human being who was "like unto us in every way except sin, and oh how He sought out and loved the sinner. We must keep before us that  the human qualities we attribute to The Historical Jesus, will be the same qualities we will attribute to Our Heavenly father? If we see our God only as an absent God, a transcendent reality, it is incumbent on us to bring about a change in how we see, accept and relate to the human attributes of His Revelation. The words of Anthony Padavono from the 60's ring even truer today "we must make Jesus human, and make ourselves as human as He was.' This of course will take time, and work. A lot of time, and an equal amount of hard work. But, on the other hand, with each Sacramental encounter comes with it this guarantee. Each Sacramental encounter  graces us with necessary grace  needed at that time to be Who we are called to be. We will get all that is needed to be, and be Who we are called to be. We need creative wisdom so as to develop an ever new  understanding of Jesus'  humanity. With this evolving understanding there will appear an ever new, and refreshing relationship not only with our own humanity, but with all of humanity. We will be drawn ever deeper into The Paschal Mystery, and the mystery of our life that is ever and always emerging from our encounter with death. In Reconciliation our ego dies, a pain-full death, when we express our powerlessness over so many aspects of our lives. In that expression of our powerlessness the way is prepared of Him, who is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. The stones of the toxic trinity, guilt, fear, shame, are rolled back so that the fullness of The Resurrection and it's new life may be ours.                

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Lent and "the desert journey" are synonymous.  There is a mystery revealed to us, ever new, as we trudge the days, and the weeks of Lent.  This is a mystery that has been hidden from some, but revealed to those who have been blessed with the courage to leave comfort behind,  and take the risk of entering upon  a desert hike/journey.   As the result of each lived moment we are new.  The grace encountered in each now moment  continues to perfect creation.  We are  all essential parts of this perfecting, while remaining always perfectly, imperfect creation.   With our belief in this process of an ever new creation there comes a great challenge.   We are challenged to leave behind the old.   In more frightening words,  we are challenged to let go, be emptied,  of all that we are certain of, of all that we are secure in, so as to journey into the unknown.   This is a great paradigm for our journey into The Unknown,  and the Unknowable.   All of this newness carries with it a tacit  demand for  a newness within us as well as we enter into, reflect on,  and participate in The Paschal Mystery.   Our Lent 2014 must result in a new way of seeing, that This Mystery we have been Baptized into is not only relevant  but vitalizing, life giving source as we live out, "the here and now."  We will have to reflect on, chew on, become familiar within a new way,  "Now is the acceptable time, now is the time of salvation."   Salvation comes to us as we allow the present moment to be all that it is, nothing more, nothing less.  It is what it is, and it's essential is-ness is hidden and revealed in The Source of all reality.   A moment then, is a sacrament in and through which  all the necessary  grace,  all the strengthening love needed, is channeled into our being.  On our part, we have to develop the trust and faith that IS happening, even though we do not have a clue as to how.   Here is a good place for; " I believe Lord, help my unbelief/disbelief." 

Why then are we invited, not compelled,  by Mother Church to make this yearly journey in faith?   Why is it that once is not enough?   Well, we do not go to school for a day, and then decide not to return anymore.   We have to return again and again so we can GROW in our understanding.   This "growing" is a process, and as such, can be very boring, and uninviting, to say the least.  How many children fight school, and all that it demands of them?   We cannot see the future, so we, as children,  have to trust that what we are asked to do will be beneficial to us in the long run.   Over these many years I have developed a trust in what is taught in The School of Lent.   I have not enjoyed that which I had to go through, but the end result is beyond what one could hope for.   The School  of Lent is situated in the desert.   Not a very inviting place to live in.   Hike in for a limited time, oh! yes, but to live in no.   It is so dry desolate, harsh,  and unforgiving of mistakes.  At the beginning of desert trails, there are a number of warnings posted to draw attention to the dangers that may be encountered.  Yet, how many are drawn to hike, again and again into a place that at first, seems to have nothing to offer?   As a result of constant journeys, hikes, something happens.   The reality behind the desert seems to reach out and embrace us in a very mysterious way.   There is no way to explain it.   Poets, artists, composers,  photographers, have all made attempts, to capture and to convey the essence of the mystery of the desert.   All of necessity have come up short.   I suppose that is why we will continue to read poems, read books, listen to music, take photographs in the vain hope that in some way the mystery of the desert will be at last revealed.   Part of me knows this will never happen.  Yet there is another part that will never stop the seeking and the searching for that which I cannot here describe.   I will, God willing, return again and again to the desert, so as to become more comfortable with the desert within me.   A desert I just do not visit every now and then, but a desert in which "I live and move and have my being,"  My yearly Lenten desert experience somehow offers me that certain something which gives me the courage to journey ever deeper into the all that The Prophet Jesus, was sent to teach.  As I look back on the many, many,  desert journeys again, I shudder, as I have previously shuddered and recoiled from depths of nothingness one is brought to.   

 There is the great consolation knowing that in the desert we are not alone.   In the desert we are NEVER alone.   We read in the scriptures  that Jesus was led, driven, into the desert by the Spirit.  The desert awaited Him to be His place in which He will be tempted.   In the desert, Jesus was tempted to deny His humanity.  In overcoming temptation, Jesus reaffirmed His enfleshment in our humanity.   Our humanity and the humanity of Jesus was the same broken, unredeemed humanity you and I take up each day.  Our Gracious Creator God did not have one humanity for us, but a better and more improved one for His Beloved Son.   We all share a oneness in  having the same humanity.   "Jesus is like unto us in everything, except sin,  and He died because of His love for us sinners.   Jesus was to use His humanity to full fill His appointed mission.   Jesus said that He was to preach good news to the poor.  He was to proclaim liberty to the captives.  He was to proclaim recovery of sight, to the blind.  He was to proclaim, let the captives go free.  He was to proclaim an acceptable year to the Lord."  (Luke 4.  ) All of what He came  to proclaim, and not only to proclaim but to actually physically do,  I need.   That need drives me out to the desert so I can with the mind, heart, and soul of my present being, hear for the first time, that which is from old, and speaks to me in the right now. 

 This Lent I must bring my new found poverty,  which has been revealed through daily living, to Him who embraced all poverty.  To make the necessary room for our poverty The Eternal Word emptied Himself of His Divinity so as to become incarnate in our broken humanity.   He knew from His human experience what it meant to be hungry, to be betrayed, to be beaten, to lose so much as to be existentially broken, and abandoned.   He was so grieved with the loss ofHis friend Lazarus, that He cried.  Jesus also cried over Jerusalem, because of her rejection of Him.   So go out to encounter anew, He Who is the bearer of good and Is The Good News.  I come not to tell Him anything new, but in the owning, and in the telling I receive a new understanding.   In the owning and revelation of my broken, wounded, hardened heart, which feels  like a death, something mysterious happens.  A new understanding will, in time be given.  This gift in time, leads to a new heart.   It will lead to a less hardened heart.  A less judgmental heart.   A more compassionate heart becomes more of a reality from the encounter with Compassion Itself.  The old fears of not being "good enough," of not being worthy of love, slowly give way to a new and a more, healthy, freeing love relationship.  The reality of being the beloved slowly brightens the horizon bring with it the promise of greater joy.   Not happiness, joy is now a choice. 

 When I prepare to go on a desert hike, I have to make sure I have all that is necessary for physical survival.   Water, food,  sunscreen, proper clothing, map, telephone, hat,  good boots,  etc.  are essential for safety.   For the inner desert journey there must be a different mindset.   I am going to encounter The Desert Shepherd, Who IS my only source of real food, and real drink.   He is a living stream that I just do not visit, but I come to understand is the source of life giving water that springs eternal,  deep within.  I come so ashamed of my nakedness, only to be clothed with the dignity of being a fellow beloved son/daughter.  I can now walk unashamed into a freedom hard to understand or explain.   It can only be lived. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Lent.....WHY......AGAIN.....&......AGAIN ....?????

"One and done" applies to some things in our everyday life, but not to our spiritual life. "We never do anything in the spiritual life, once forever" are words written by Fr. Rohr.  Words I read a number of years ago, and their truth has become a pain-full reality. The spiritual life is all about going deeper. We do not dig a hole with one shovel of earth, it takes many, many shovels to get really deep. As this is hard work, so is the spiritual hike/journey a great challenge.  It does not get any easier.  It now appears to me the older I get; the harder I have to work. "one and done" has no place in the process we call the spiritual life. It is all about practice, practice, and then practice some more.


Here we have Spring training. The Season of Lent is seen by many as our Spring training. Whether one is a rookie, or a veteran you end up in Spring training, that is if you want to keep your job. Lent, our Spring training is not about keeping one's job, but seeing how one grows into one's calling, one's vocation. Baseball fundamentals are about hitting, fielding, and catching. Lent introduces us to the triple play of prayer, fasting, and works of charity.  There will be time when the baseball player will not return to Spring training, we will never be able to avoid the training process of Lent. Spring training is the preparation necessary for a successful baseball season.  Lent is essential for us to have "life, and have it to the fullest."  The fullness of life however, will come to us through our successes, through our looking good. On the contrary, growth seems to take only through loss, some death, some failure, some great pain.  This is why we must return, again, and again, to and ever deepening understanding of The Paschal Mystery.  The mystery we have been baptized into, but spend our whole lifetime coming to grips with what it means for us as we life our earthly existence. The Latin word for earth is "hummus," so our earthly existence, is our human existence. Not just any human existence. For we are spiritual beings immersed in this human, fleshy, existence.  Lent then, is a process by which we are lead into an ever fuller understanding of who we are, who we have been called to be, and who does the calling.


              "We are born human and we spend our whole lifetime coming to understand what, human, means."  This is, as you may well know by now, one of my favorite quotations from Metz's classic "Poverty of Spirit."  I have come to a slow understanding that it is in and the journey through Lent, and the subsequent celebration of The Paschal (Easter) Mystery that the mystery lying deep within is revealed.  This revelation, for me, has not been accompanied with the appearance of angels, warm fuzzy feelings, wonder-full emotional experience, the very opposite has been the case. This journey is a trudge, into uncertainty. "We journey to Him we do not know, by a path we do not know," has been a source of great encouragement on the trudge.  Merton's prayer, "God I have no idea where I am going..." (Google for the rest), is a constant source consolation and courage. It seems that the fuller growth has to be proceeded by an emptying out. This required "emptying out" has been modeled for us by Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He emptied Himself of His divinity so as to be enfleshed in our unredeemed humanity. We are asked to surrender our humanity, and a broken one at that, so as to be filled with the Divine life, The Fullness of life. What a swap?  As usual God comes out at the short end of the exchange. Jesus surrendered everything so as to take on our nothingness.  We are asked to surrender our nothingness so as to be transfigured and transformed into the very presence of God.  What is required of us is that we be willing to allow this miracle of grace to happen. If we are not willing, all we have to do is pray that we become willing to be willing.  This is so simple that it appears to be profound!!! The workings of grace will always take place in such a way that we have no idea of what is happening, or when it happens. It is none of our business.  All we have to do is allow it to happen. Will our egos allow that to happen?  Of course not. The ego wants to know what is happening, how it happens, how LONG it is going to take. The ego wants to confine this miracle of birthing to a reality that can be measured, quantified.  This is NOT going to happen.  We get what we need, when we need it, and at a time that is best for us. It is The Wisdom of God, The Caring Mother, who directs all things in accord with the universal plan of The Creator. A plan that has been hidden, but has also been revealed. Our lives, each one is an essential play, an essential part in this great revealing.  This is the inherent dignity that lies within and revealed through healthy spiritual living. Of ourselves, we are incapable of healthy spiritual living, this gift is bestowed on those who are prepared to pay the price.  We are reminded, again and again, each and every year prayer, fasting, and works of charity take us out of our narrow, ego driven world into the broad, and so wonder-full creation. A creation we have been called to be co-creators of, by The Creator-God. If we are to be creative creators with The Real Creator God, the false gods of our creation must be destroyed. These gods of our ego creation do NOT die easily, so we have been given the Lenten triple play.


              "We fast to unite ourselves with the poor-to taste their empty lives, to weep over their sad and hungry children, to feel their helplessness. By fasting and giving alms, by sharing our bread and sheltering the oppressed, we stop "turning our backs on our own." Fasting then unites us with our true family.  We the orphan find our way home. Home is God's family of the entire human race where the MAJORITY GO TO BED HUNGRY.  Along this way the poor, the hungry and the oppressed lift a yoke from our back.  We have been weighed down with the yoke of pride, self-assurance, security and excessive needs. We have been hounded by diets and wasted foods and yet, we are never satisfied.  We carry the yoke of never of always wanting more and needing more....Fasting, by uniting us in the family of the poor teaches us the true value of home life. To be united with the poor is far superior to the most advanced education and certainly to the most elegant entertainment.  Trough fasting the poor lift these yokes of false values off our shoulders...As the poor share with us their sorrow…the poor lead us home mysteriously enough to Jesus. In the desire of Jesus, a new love is born, and love always unites and begets new life. "Biblical Meditation Foe Lent" by Carroll Stuhlmueller.  These are challenging words. Gospel spirituality cuts right to the core of things. That is why we must again and again return to the scriptures of Lent so as to reclaim our original dignity. That dignity as beloved daughter/son may be and is lost to our sight. But NOT from the sight of our Gracious Beloved Prodigal Father.  We are invited to "Come back to Me with all your not let fear draw us apart...we will live DEEPLY our new life"  A selfish, self serving fear, the opposite of faith, can and does keep us from an ever new, and ever evolving relationship with our Beloved.  We need lent to challenge us to be honest. To face up to the times where we have given into the temptation to follow, and worship at altars of false gods. The creation of our selfish, and self-centered egos are confronted with The Truth revealed in the scriptures. We have so many false gods that we could not confront them all just in one Lent. So we journey again, and again, not alone, never alone into our deserts. We journey to meet our Desert Shepherd who awaits. He awaits us to guide, guard, nourish, and strengthen us as we journey WITH Him to the dark valleys.


Saturday, March 1, 2014


Dawn carries with it a great sense of excitement. An excitement stemming from the coming, promised , guaranteed encounter  with the mystery of The Unknown, and The Unknowable. This encounter will take place in each and every moment we are allowed to draw breath. This will take place in the familiar, and the unfamiliar. We will not be able to schedule this encounter with Mystery. Mystery is revealed in "a time " that is beyond our ability to control. Oh how we as human beings want so desperately to be in control. We want to know the when, the where, and the how. The sad thing is if God does not choose, and God never chooses to fulfill our limited expectations, then we come to the conclusion there must be no God. The God of our narrow understanding, restricted, imprisoned is an idol. Idols cannot can have existence, and do not, nor cannot give life. To believe otherwise is a lie. How many unfortunately do believe in that lie, and as a consequence live lifeless lives. The idols we construct cannot enhance life, they only have the power to destroy life. Idols of our ego's construct do not possess the power to transfigure or transform. Worshiping at their altars always end in destruction and annihilation. This wisdom comes to us the hard way. This  wisdom comes after we foolishly spend many, many, years of seeking The Mystery in the places under our control and direction. Our desire for  control and The Freedom, that Is Mystery are mutually exclusive.  


In our 30's we are confronted with a side of ourselves that we much prefer to deny, or at least to ignore. The limitations of our broken humanity become a very stark, naked, reality. So much of what was once hidden, denied, buried now  appears front and center and does not want to go away.  Hence our shadow self, becomes a deeper reality. When we deny our shadow side we endanger  healthy spiritual  growth. The healthier practice is to bring all that we are ashamed of, feel guilty about, to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Within the celebration we ask for the gift of honesty so there can be an unveiling of all that is so disconcerting, troublesome, and even frightening. We are all "perfectly imperfect" and we will never become perfect in the acceptance of said reality, of said human condition. Eventually we have to accept the truth as enunciated by Fr.Rohr when he points out that in our 30s we have to face the the fact that "all our plans have come up short." He goes on to say, we find, and consequently have to accept that we not the best at anything. We  are not the best wife, husband, son, daughter, employer, employee.  You may now add to this list the shortcomings you much prefer to hide, to deny...That list can be very long???  It will get longer as we grow in honesty with who we are. Our deepest reality, being spiritual beings immersed, enfleshed in the human condition will provide endless additions to our disturbing lists.


However, there is good news. The Mercy of our Gracious Father became incarnate in the flesh of The God-Man, Jesus Christ. We were recently reminded that He emptied Himself of His Divinity so to take on our broken humanity and all its sinfulness. He, by The mystery of The Incarnation, entered into our alienation from His and our Father. He came to reveal the wonder-full, mysterious mercy-full love, grace that is being offered to us in each, and every moment we are in existence.  Our existence speaks to us of God's dwelling within us.  It guarantees us of our presence in the mind of Presence Itself.  Were it possible, and it is not, for God to forget us we would go poof and disappear. The fact that He lives and moves within our being, guarantees us existence, not life. We are responsible  for the quality of life we live. The quality of that life is not decided for us, we are responsible for that ourselves. Of late when a person says to me as I leave their presence, "Have A good day" I now say thank you, and if "I do not it will be my own fault" Almost 100% of the time we have a great laugh. However, this is NO laughing  matter. This is serious stuff.


I have found out I am not the only one who has struggled and still struggles with the whole issue of taking responsibility for my own happiness. I cannot transfer that responsibility on to anyone, or anything else.  I have done it, and have learned, and am still learning this hard fact, IT DOES NOT WORK.  Being codependent is an every moment challenge of looking deep within, not without, for the source of happiness.  Will I be ever cured?  Of course not. I have wounds that will never cured, they must be cared for.(Moore)  So we will always be susceptible to shame attacks. Those attacks can lead to one looking outside for validation, rather than believing in his own innate goodness. Once we have been abused, whether, physical, spiritual, sexual or psychological there is a propensity to look outside rather than inside for the source of joy and happiness. For those of us who have been abused the inner journey is tough. The last place we want to look for that which will make the journey less of a trudge, is the last place we visit.


Those of us who have been victims of abuse are toxically shamed. That is we have lost, our "right to love, to be loved, (to be the beloved).  This right to be the beloved which is an essential foundation for  all healthy relationships. Once a victim always a victim until one make the decision to become a survivor. That is NOT a decision  one makes once forever . This commitment to oneself has to be repeated over and over, many times a day.  Remember one does not think one's way into a new way of acting, we act our way into a new way of thinking. This is a very slow and pain-full process. However, being faithful to a healthy way of living change does happen, but Not according to our expectations.  (Now where have you heard that before ???)  We cannot plan out what our recovery will look like.  In broad strokes there "will be a new happiness, and a new freedom. " Our understanding of happiness and freedom come from The Infinite one so the change will be endless. I can honestly share with you that it can and does happen. You can, as Baretta used say, "take that to the bank."  All this change  happens in the darkness of the inner journey, in the darkened depths of who we are. Since we are wounded in the depths of our being, it is there the healing must begin.  It is from those depths the healing waves of grace bubble up.  A Light will shine to slowly illuminate that inner darkness, and reveal secret treasures. Will this be an easy ride?  Of course not. Anything that comes easy is no good. All that has come to us that has lasting Value is the result of serious and pain-full struggle.  There will be interruptions, and distractions.  There will be the temptation to quit when we are faced with serious difficulties. These difficulties out of necessity have to happen before we move on to new freedoms and new happinesses. For this new creation of grace to appear the old must disappear.  What turmoil that triggers within the depths of who we are.  We will have to face the fear of losing everything that is most dear to us. We face death. We feel like we are losing all control, and we are. We are led by grace to surrender, as we have never surrendered before, to this new life that has mysteriously become a new way of living.  This will happen through the action of grace, through the mysterious, unseen, incomprehensible, action of grace.  Through these experiences we will come to know what; The Dark night of the Soul, and what the Dark night of the Senses is all about. As this too, is the workings of grace.  It is not for us to know how this works, that is ego, it is enough for us to know that it does work.


  I am then responsible for my own happiness, and the recognition of Joy in my life.  (One is about having; the other is about being.)  I am confronted with this hard fact, I cannot, as much as I want to, delegate That  responsibility  to somebody else, or to something else. That was not easy to accept. I still on a very regular basis, have to shake Joe up and remind him that no person, whatever their status may be, has the power, unless I surrender said power, to decide for me who I am as beloved son of a Gracious, Ever Prodigal, Father God.  I am growing in awareness, and acceptance that one has to know the hell of the prisons of guilt, fear and shame in order to relish the freedom that comes with choosing to live and not just exist."  The glory of God is the human person fully alive."    (St. Irenaeus)  My happiness, serenity, peace of mind depends on how I honestly answer this question, "Am I a victim or am I a survivor?" In each and every moment we are gifted to live the quality of my life which will depend on my lived answer. For that I am responsible.