Thursday, October 31, 2019

Home, part 3

I went on a hike and took a struggle with me.  I have found out over the years, that when I have a challenge to face, Joe better take a hike.  On these particular hikes, I seem to get what I need to know not necessarily what I want to know.  Some of the truths that are placed before me, I would much prefer that they had never appeared."  The truth will set you free, but first it will tee you off."  In retrospect, I wish I had not started to reflect again on that opening quote, "Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home."  Out of the blue the following questions popped into my head, Have I found a home on this life's journey?  Am I at home to all that the journey, I prefer hike, has brought, and is bringing to my consciousness?  Am I fully at one, at peace with the reality of the Joe I am constantly discovering?  If I am not at one, at peace, and so at home why not?  

My Gracious Creator would have this wish for me.  That I may have life, and have it to the fullest, but this is not my reality.  After all the years of struggle, I still am not completely at home with who I really am.  I have to keep reminding myself of the fact I will never find real rest, real lasting peace on this journey. ("You have made us for Yourself O Lord, and we will NEVER rest until we rest in YOU.")  I will have temporary glimpses into what it means to be "at rest."  Because of "the changing moods of the human ear," they do not last.  In this struggle to be "at home," I have had to learn the hard way that "home-coming" to who one really is, is a process and not an event.  We are told "Home is where the heart is," and this begs the questions where your heart is, and what really is in your heart?  There is a reality that we are challenged to face, but only on a moment to moment basis.  Thank you God for never deserting me in those moments when I do not feel Your presence, Your gift of faith reveals that a feeling of Your Presence is not necessary for Your actual Presence.  I have been given a human heart with which to deal with my deepest, mysterious reality, "A spiritual being immersed in the human condition."How fickle human nature is, and what mystery lies within the human heart! We are challenged to find our home within this mysterious place we call the human heart."  Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.  Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love, belonging, and joy --the experiences that make us the most vulnerable.  Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the power of our light." Brene Brown.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Home, part 2

To be healthy, we will have to face that which we prefer not to face, given a choice.  To be spiritually healthy we have to face our own fears, and journey into our own darkness.  It is then we are strong enough to face the familiar challenge.  The challenge that comes with belonging to a human, frail, finite family of origin. In so far as we allow ourselves to allow the process to happen within ourselves will we be bearer of the solution?  As opposed to being contributors to the ongoing, and ever so developing dysfunction.  Family life is messy, but as the messy-full-ness is dealt with the wonder-full and surprising gifts are bestowed on those who have the courage to dare face what is called "the family secret." "The secret," can be hidden, denied, medicated, but only for so long.  It will eventually, and not in a very acceptable way, come into the light of day.  That is a guarantee. "Whatever is whispered in darkness, will be shouted from the rooftops."  I cannot count the number of times I have seen this dynamic become part of oh so many, many families' reality.  Over these many, many, many years in ministry, I have come to accept, not understand, that the "holidays" seem to bring out the best, and the worst in individuals and families!!!  

That saying:  "Every blessing is a curse, and every curse is a blessing" is so very mysteriously true when it comes to family.  Every family has "the family secret." Each individual's unhappinesses and difficulties can be traced in so many instances to their participation in the covering up and so denial of the secret which must be protected no matter what the cost.  Many, many, oh so many sacrifice themselves to death rather than divulge that which is known, but never admitted.  Kudos to all who are brave enough to speak the unspoken secret.  In speaking your truth, you are being a force for good in the ongoing creation of this world.  As you speak your truth, you must also accept that this is not you speaking, but The Spirit of Truth, God, within you. Whenever we are dealing with real truth there within lies The Divine Presence.  As you speak the truth, you are never alone.

Sunday, October 27, 2019


"Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home." M. Basho. Home is a word that will crop up in conversation a great deal over the next many days, and weeks. Time that, hopefully, we will live in, and not just, exist in. We will be asked the question, "Are you going home for Thanksgiving, for Christmas, for the New Year, am I/ are we? We will hear the excitement in the voices of those who are blessed with the opportunity to experience this very spiritual event.  Like all that is really real, and so an essential part of this spiritual journey there are two realities to face. The positive side has been expressed in the above questions. Yet when we are honest, we have to also deal with this sad commentary, on that same reality, "I/we have to go home this year, and I/we, do not want to."  One reality two, two responses.  Some journey home with a mixture of both.  There is the excitement, tinged with fear and trepidation.  There is the excitement of reunion, but reunions carry the challenges of having to face unresolved issues. Issues that are part of our family story, hence an essential part of our own story. That is a reality we have to face whether we like it or not.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Two Shoes, Part 2

As St. Augustine wrote "the first book written was creation."  The second Bible written was with words. The creation, writing of that first book has taken billions of years and it is still being written to day.  If we were told that there was a person chosen to continue to write the bible, we all would want to rush and observe the writing.  Why do we not have reverence and respect for our participation in the ongoing work of being co-creators of today's creation?  This is our sacred mission in life for which we have been chosen from all of eternity.  One of Christ’s "two shoes" is evolving into reality right where can go and be caught in the miracle of birthing.  In every second the miracle of creation is right there before us.  From what I am told the birthing of a baby is an awe-full, mysterious, spiritual experience.  I have not had the privilege of being present at that precious sacramental event, but I am privileged to witness the ongoing birthing of creation.  A reality I not only observe, but am challenged to be a participant in the act of creation.  As I hike a trail even though this trail is easy to follow, by my traveling that part of creation, I add something else to that which is already present.  My footsteps add a clearer dimension to that present reality.  There is no footstep that is trodden that does not leave an imprint.  So we follow the the shoe that are there before us.  They do not lead to that which is ordinary, these footprints lead us to an ever deepening understanding, vision of The Infinite Creator.  This Infinite Creator is both our origin and our destiny. "Humanity, take a good look at yourself. Inside, you have got heaven and earth, and all of creation. You are a world."  What an insight from one who has gone before. A footprint…???

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Two Shoes

I was hiking in The Tetons. As I found my way on the trail I looked up. Coming towards me at a very slow rate was a mature couple.  Their appearance was eye popping.  They appeared to have come from a photo shoot for a catalogue company.  They were really dressed for the occasion as they sauntered through the cathedral of the great outdoors.  As we would say in Ireland, "there was no rush in them!!!" They were special.  So I greeted them with my usual greeting, "how are you doing today?"  Back came this awe-full reply, in such a wonder-full tone of voice, "UNIQUELY."  Along with "uniquely" came  a gracious smile. They passed on and I?  I was caught up in a strange reality, I am still after all the years, working to figure out. That moment in time has left a lifetime of nourishment.  I wrote about that sacramental event  in "Soul Searching".  Many years later I was listening to a person speak, and lo and behold they referenced that event in their conversation.  I am becoming more convinced that the simplest is the most profound.

Christ wears "two shoes" in the world: nature and scripture. Both are necessary to understand the Lord, and at no stage can creation be seen as a separation of things from God.  We do not know Who God is."  Blessed John Scotus. (We Irish claim him as one of our own). "Every visible and invisible creature is an appearance of God."

 Two great quotes to help us in the continuing reflection on the sacredness of all creation, it’s sacramentality.  That is to say all creation is a place where we can encounter The Creator of all creation.  When we respond to the call of the mountains, seas, rivers, streams, woods, beaches, we have a desire, maybe not expressed to seek and be touched with a reality we have no words to describe, but we somehow know we need.  We are all called to return to our roots.  We all seem to have a deep desire to return to the womb.  Since that is impossible, we settle for the immersion into the womb of nature.