Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Thoughts on Playing the Back Nine...Part 5


The Triduum Celebration being restored brought a new awareness to the meaning of The Paschal Mystery and how we are to approach it’s celebration.  It has taken me a long, long time to make the personal connection between what was celebrated in The Triduum and my everyday life.  This process of connecting the two began when we had the Friday stations of the cross in Seaton Catholic chapel. (Seaton Catholic High School was such a blessing to the community of St. Andrew The Apostle in those early days.)  I came across a Stations of The Cross booklet that lead to the beginning of a more personal understanding, a deepening connection between what was and what is.  There is no time and space in the spiritual realm, the spiritual reality.  I read “if you want to know your future read the Gospels.”  There is my life’s journey laid out in black and white.  What was more exciting was when I read that every person of the Gospels is to be found within myself.  Now, that was something it took me a long time to wrap my mind around and make the essential connection.  I cannot describe what this insight has brought to me.  But then, why am I surprised? Is not this all about mystery, and mystery is never completely understood.  Each time we are lead into mystery we come out with a newer and a more vital understanding than what we had.  Each journey into mystery is ever new and always unique.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Thoughts on Playing the Back Nine...Part 4


We are born as the result of an unique action of The Creative Spirit.  Think about that for a while.  Before you were given life you were an unique thought in the imagination of The Gracious Creative Spirit, The Holy Spirit.  Each person begins as a loving thought in the mind-womb of The Creator.  Having fallen in love with that reality The Holy Spirit then weaves that into the master plan for go all of creation.  Hence, we find life, and our first love. So we come to be incarnated as the expression of that unique thought in the mind of The Creator.  Wow!!! It has been a real long winding trail that has led to my present way of thinking.  

The thought revolution began, where else, but in the 60’s and the explosion that was triggered by the Second Vatican Council.  We are still struggling to come to terms with where The Holy Spirit wishes to lead us. Let’s be blunt there was a war waged before the Council began, and it continues to the present day, with no end in sight.  Pope Francis has reignited the flame of Vatican 11 and some are standing by with their fire extinguishers hoping to put out the fire.  They may succeed for a time but one cannot oppose the workings of The Spirit forever. (Pope John the 23rd shared in the opening of the Council in which many of his staff opposed what he had intended to do.  Those opposition forces are still wanting to build a wall to keep the tide at bay.  It will be a continuous struggle.  We must be informed, determined participants in that struggle.  Changes challenges us to let go of the familiar and journey into the unfamiliar.  Hence, we are to embrace that “Faith is a journey into uncertainty, NOT certainty.  How I have wished that was not so.  Wishing does not change reality.  I have been in the process of accepting this over these many years, decades. The Second Vatican challenged the core of clericalism.  Pope Francis has made clericalism one of the challenges facing our church today.  Has he not encouraged the shepherds to go out and get the smell of the sheep on them !!! The heroic Fr. Albert Braun O.F.M. who survived The Bataan death march proposed that all the rectories be blown up and the priests be forced to live among the people.  He was a revered presence in the diocese when I came to Arizona in 1963.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Thoughts on Playing the Back Nine...Part 3


We sure have had real tough times to journey through.  Some of our sisters and brothers did not make it.  So there is a great void in our families and familial life. There is that old saying “Whatever does not kill you makes you stronger.”  It is rather trite when one is hanging on by ones fingernails.  I (we) must have something more to help boost our self-confidence, and strengthen our resolve.  This is where the trudging of the spiritual trail reveals a hidden strength that was up to now, hidden. Is not there a great feeling after having survived a storm or in some cases a typhoon, we are somehow lead to rest in  the comfort of the coming of the guaranteed, eventual peace and calm.

Again this is so relatively easy to write about, in hindsight, but when the wind is howling and our foundations are threatened, our thoughts are about the coming peace, but how to survive the obvious threat.  In my 81+ years I have been, like every old person, been challenged to meet this challenge which is part of life.  What has helped me reach these so-called “Golden Years,” has been an ever deeper understanding of The Easter and beyond narrative.  I was reading a John O’Shea book and came across these life changing words, ”Jesus’s story IS our story today.  ”Yes I was challenged not just to read, but to accept that reality.  The story I am writing today by my moment to moment actions is the continuation of the Gospel narrative.  We are the living, breathing, incarnated “contemporary” Christ for the contemporary world we are both chosen and called to live in. We have been chosen from all of eternity to be who we exactly are at this moment.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Thoughts on Playing the Back Nine...Part 2


To begin with, my Summer journeys into the Western States, away from the Arizona crucible, were not always ideal or idyllic.  There was always those first number of weeks where I was in deep struggles with myself. I was lucky enough to have read, and reread, Fr.Rohr’s book, “Everything Belongs.” In it he writes that when we enter into solitude we will be challenged to face our issues with addiction, negativity, fear, and control.  I was able to somewhat relax and enjoy the daily experience of solitude, and ever evolving creation.  Looking back I have often shared that because of my personal struggles, ”If I was married to me I would have come home divorced.” People laughed at that.  I was not amused by their laughter.  I was sharing what was a real tough transformational experience which was no laughing matter.  It was only through the gracious and compassion laden power of Grace I was challenged to “grow up.”  A man in his 50’s and 60’s does not like to be told to grow up and embrace the radical workings of grace.  Workings that are mysterious, and a “wonder to behold”, but never really understood.  This is the opening salvo.  Where it will lead to I do not have a clue.  Like all great hikes, and journeys they happen one step at a time, moment at a time.  Prayers are needed, please. So this will happen one letter at a time.