Saturday, September 26, 2020

Desire is enough

There is a prayer from The Old Sacramentary that still echoes in my feeble mind. "The desire to pray is in its self a prayer." We do not have that great burning desire to pray. The remotest, infinite, fear-full, wish to connect somehow with That Great Power, The Great Spirit, that we have a suspicion exists, is enough. I am at a loss for the right words to express how little it takes for a connection to be realized and allowed to both happen and blossom. I was going to say "for prayer to happen" but that would throw a great number of us off.  I was so thrilled to read a number of years ago that to seek a Higher Power is to know That Great Spirit, The Holy Spirit has Already has found us. There will be a new experience of love, this will be awe-full, full of wonder leading to a never before awakening. It is, as it were, "a quiet voice calling us to explore deeper." (TS Elliott)


Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Risk, part 2

In the pain-full struggle, where the limitations of being a human being is faced, wonder-full gifts slowly emerge, as a flower emerges from the depths, that are darkness.  So it is with both you and me. We are in this struggle together, never alone.  There is the voice of The Liar, The Deceiver, that wants to tell me otherwise hoping we are foolish enough to believe the inherent lie. Today that reality is called the false self.  This false self has no existence apart from the energy we provide.  The energy we provide to satisfy the insatiable appetite of the false self takes away from the life that our Gracious intended for us.  (There is so much licked away in those last words, please, do not skip over them lightly. Go back and read them slowly, reflectively and let them speak to your truth.)  I have been doing a lot of research on the true self versus the false self and the result is an emerging freedom.  A freedom to embrace all that I am, warts, weaknesses, brokenness and so begin to live life as I really am. There is a risk here.  Then life is all about taking risks.  I had to risk taking a flight from Shannon to Arizona.  Actually we landed, after a very hard landing in Tucson.  That was scary.  The plane hit hard and began to swerve.  Not good!!! That was my second little jolt on the trip. As we approached the American coast the plane took a drop.  I thought this is it.  At least I got very close to my then destiny. There is one risk that is really worth taking, in spite of all the fears of the false self, that is to face who we really are as the place where our Beloved meets us in our belovedness. Loved without condition, restriction, or reservation. Is it not a real tragedy we so easily forget who we really are and in Whose love we constantly dwell?  This happens all apart from our efforts. It takes real effort, however, to stop and own, the treasure, the blessings in our midst. May you be blessed to have the courage to accept the call of the true self. That call ALWAYS leads to new freedoms and a deepening happiness. Take the risk. Answer the call of your true self. Best of Irish luck.


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The Risk

"How's she going?" is how we in County Cork, used to greet one another.  It was the start of a conversation that could go on, and on, and on.  That was how I would start the beginning of all my homilies.  Yes !!! they went on and on…….Enough of the bad memories.  We are into good news here or at least that is the plan.  I sincerely hope it is working for you.  The thought behind this effort??? is to connect with each one where they are at, and who they are at the moment.  Our understanding and acceptance of who we and where we are is essential for a healthy spiritual life.  That is my concern.  You see I have spent so much time in being who people wanted me to be, who they expected me to be, the person I thought I had to be, I lived a pain-full life.  I do not want you to go through that form of hell on earth.  There is a better way.  A way I have been led to after years and years of struggle.  The struggle continues until today.  If it did not then there would be nothing to write about. This is a chance for me to share my experience of the struggle I have had, and do have in the living of life on life's terms.  A reflective way of living reveals truths that are beyond the view of a non reflective life.  Thank The Gracious Lover we have reawakened to the treasures inherent in meditation and contemplation.  Not that I am an expert in any of them, but most days, I am enjoying the struggle.  Doesn't that tee you off, everything worthwhile in this life does not come without a struggle??? In the struggle, so I am told is the growth.  I have an expression for that which I cannot share here. Come on a hike and we can really "have a chat."


Friday, September 18, 2020

Understanding the Hardened Heart, Part 4

Was not my last blog a real tough read?  We feel we want to read it really fast, to get through it. Now ask this question, Am I prepared to read it again!!!  Be prepared It can awaken feelings of shame and rage. Honest feelings that are be embraced, and eventually.  They are to be embraced as our reality and accepted, slowly, through grace. We come to the acceptance of the depth of lasting damage to our soul and personhood.  Not a jail one wants, or has to be imprisoned in.  There is a way out of this jail of the toxic trinity.  First of all this is not who we really are.  The abuse can never penetrate our inner core when our Higher Power, Great Spirit, Creative and Creating One, make Its dwelling place.  That place always shines like a sparking diamond in our deepest selves. (Merton) To just survive, and eventually come to live life we must journey through layer after layer of serious poopey garbage.  WE must be always aware what we are encountering has no lasting life within it.  It is a "paper tiger" (Johnson).   If it has power it is because we provide that power.  Recovery, the journey into serenity and peace, cuts off that toxic power.  (My favorite "God I don't want to think like that anymore.)  When confronted, and, released into the transforming power of a Mercy-full and Soothingy-full, Power greater than ourselves, the miracle begins to happen.  We slowly let go of all  the crap. We begin to embrace the solution and live in the solution not in the problem.  Is this easy?  Holy #*## no.  The power of toxic shame is not broken very easily.  That is why perseverance in prayer is not just necessary, it is essential.  Without the gut wrenching prayer of powerlessness  there is no recovery.  On the other hand, when we are led to that point of  desire  for healing and recovery The Higher Power leads the way. "Even though I walk in the dark valley, I shall have no fear" because I now have a friend Who walks by my side and lives deep within me. "Your eyes are watchful,  Your ears are listening,  Your lips are speaking, Friend at my side."That reality is a constant.  When we pray away from that awareness we are in a shame attack.  Use "I release shame, I release shame" as many times necessary for the attack to slowly cease. It does, how do I know that? personal experience.  This has been my struggle over many, many decades.  Do the attacks ever cease? I am sorry to say no.  A great friend used to talk about, "eternal vigilance." We can NEVER get cocky, and think we can handle all of this on our own. "On our own we can do nothing, but we can do all things in Him who strengthens us."  It is all about us just getting out of the way and "let God, be God."  This process just described is one way of speaking about the spiritual journey.  We are all on this journey,  whether we know it or nor.  Whether we accept it or not. The choice is both yours and mine." Out of the depths I cry unto you o Lord. Lord hear my cry…


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Understanding the Hardened Heart, Part 3

Warning !!!!  This is difficult, but essential wisdom for understanding and healing.

When you read the following, and have an honest reflection, (dangerous territory) ask this question where have I encountered hearts that have been hardened?   Where, and unto whom, is my heart hardened? That is nasty.  Well until we get real nasty and get down and dirty with our selves, first nothing really happens.  We all have, and frequently use, I will pray for you.  Prayer is essential to life but it s no excuse for concrete action.  We can have empathy or sympathy. When our actions really portray a saving sympathy we get down into the mess and get ourselves dirty.  Pope Francis encourages us to get "to get the smell of the sheep on us." Sheep can and do smell.  Before that we must get in touch with the smell of our own humanness.  If we lead sterile lives we shall fail to obey the commandment in the daily readings." you SHALL love your neighbor, as you love yourself.  Let us be honest,  some days the way we treat ourselves, our neighbor is really, screwed.  We have to face the hard fact that our understanding of God is screwed as well.  Across the page, from my last quote from John, this god has eyes everywhere O'Donohue's in "Eternal Echoes" these challenging words van be found, page 114. 

"When the image of The Divine we inherit is negative, it can do untold damage. When your god is a harsh judge, he forces your life to become a watchful, and haunted hunt for salvation.  Like a sinister Argus this god has eyes everywhere. He sees everything an forgets nothing.  Such images of the Divine cripple us.  If salvation and healing do not come to us lyrically as gifts, they are nothing.  Belief should liberate your life.  Anything that turns belief into torment hardly merits the term "salvation."  The reduction of the wild eternity of your life into a harsh divine project is a blasphemy against the all of your soul.  People who inhabit the tormented prison of negative deity have awful lives.  Tragically, they are partly responsible for keeping themselves locked in there; religion supplied the building material and they took up the task of self-incarceration.  The spirit of a person is as intimate as his or hers sexuality.  When a person is theologically or spiritually abused, the pain can shadow the whole life.  Spiritual abuse sticks like tar in the core of the mind.  When you stay in the inner jail of harsh deity, all the fun, humor, and irony go out of your life.  Such a god has a fierce grip: he awakens everything fearful and negative in you and he whispers that this is who you really are.  Your presence becomes atrophied. Your face turns into a brittle, mask-like surface. We become a prisoner and warden in one."