Monday, December 25, 2023

                                     Christmas Greetings for 2023.
I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a continuing mysterious understanding of The Mystery we are in the process of celebrating. The mystery of The Incarnation is intimately bound up with the mystery of who we are. To deepen our understanding of The Incarnation, leads to an ongoing deepening  reverence for who we are, and a consequence a deepening reverence for all the  dynamic community of sisters and brothers. As we evolve as human beings our, sacred dignity is ever so slowly revealed us. We take a long time to be grown in the understanding of the sacred, the spiritual that is both hidden and revealed in us and in each sacramental moment we are privileged to live. We are always challenged to live life to the fullest, not just eke out a mere existence. Because of "the changing movements of the human heart" the challenge to live life and life it to the fullest is the challenge to be met, and through mercy-full grace, we find we are up to the challenge. As St.Paul writes "we are never tested beyond our strength". Many times I have to share with The Gracious One, maybe a deeper analysis of my strength is required before the next test is met. 
         This Christmas of 2023 we find that Bethlehem City is, a disaster area. Much of it is in rubble. Visitors are not encouraged. So what are we to do ? Well we journey within and visit with fresh insights the disastrous rubble that is our Bethlehem, a challenging reality within each one of our depths. It will always be, in the rubble caused by our weaknesses and brokennesses. This is where The Savior, the revelation of mercy-full love is always encountered. From this encounter between grace and our human condition something new is slowly revealed to us. We get just little glimpses of the possibility that is our destiny. These little glimpses are enough to strengthen our resolve not to give up the quest, but to journey ever deeper in the unknown. From this faith-filled journey a deeper encounter with The Unknown is gifted to us. " This, pearl pf great price" when we discover it, is, not for ourselves but for those who will be placed on our paths. 
                         We must always remember that it was the shepherds, the outcasts of society, that the Good news was revealed to. Those shepherds of the Gospel are to be found within ourselves. That part we do not readily accept must be bathed with the unconditioned, consoling mercy-full grace, love The Infant has come to reveal. This mercy-all love is so awe-full that many of us find it really difficult to accept. We are afraid of the unknown which will occur. We want certainty, each step ion the way.  This Mysterious Gift is always being offered to us, so we need to be challenged, to be awakened. Let this Christmas season be the start, even be the fear-filled first step into a "new freedom and a new happiness". What is found in the rubble is what is used to build a new reality. A reality that is so mysterious we will be at the end of our days, and have yet to understand The Gift that came from the rubble. Reverence your rubble. Reverence the shepherds within. Seek to awaken daily to the new and vitalizing strength that is mysterious seeping into you lived life.
                      May 2024 be a year of new horizons. Break free of the restrictions preventing you from realizing your full potential true sacred dignity. May this new reality lead you to an ever deeper understanding of The Reality. Please keep this senior senior citizen in your prayers. Love prayers and blessings. Great grandpa Joe. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

 WOW !!! WOW !!!! What an exciting and challenging  time we have been  chosen  to live in. We are not here by accident. We have been chosen, so that, the great mystery, that is creation, may be continually penetrated by us, and new and vitalizing gifts be conveyed, bestowed on all of creation. We are all traveling towards a horizon. A place of  continual NEWNESS. A Place where, " new heavens and new earths " will be revealed, and a new ways of thinking and a new ways of responding to life will come to be. " O Beauty, ever ancient, ever new" you have again blessed us with the message of mercy-full love, essential for the continued journeying of ALL your children. We are all "a chosen race", blessed broken and given. It is through our brokenness we are graced, and the mystery continues. "My being proclaims the goodness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices."

          What a fitting scriptures we were gifted with last Sunday. The were to prepare us all for transforming, and prophetic Message from Pope Francis. What we have hoped and dreamed to happen did happen. We are witnessing one of the most  transformative moments in the history of our Catholic Church. We have been made to face that the church as one, holy,Catholic, and Apostolic is in the process of becoming all of these. We are not there yet, we are "on the way". We are now empowered to bless the  loving union of gay and lesbian couples. We can now bless the loving unions of divorced and remarried couples. We are now empowered to celebrate The Divine Presence already present in the love of all. "Where Love is, there God is." are no longer just words written in a book, they have jumped off the page are are now breaking even into the consciousness of all who share this most human of all trails.

We have to heed the warning in Thessalonian's " Do NOT quench the Spirit.Do not despise prophetic utterances.Test everything; retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil." Already the nay sayers have hit the news wires in opposition to our prophetic Pope. we put put on the 'Armour of truth" and speak loud and strong in support of Francis, and all of our sisters and brothers who will become more aware of The Sacred and Mysterious Divine inherent in the essential goodness of their deepest reality. WE cannot stand on the side lines and just observe. We must become active participants in the recognitions and celebrations that are about to happen. A systemic event  has occurred  in the ongoing evolution of our Catholic Faith. The Spirit is ever guiding us beyond our present horizons into the new, the unknown, where The Unknown is encountered in mysterious life, "that is lived to the fullest".

         May the coming celebration of the Mystery of Incarnation deepen our understanding of the sacramental diamention of all of creation. A new chapter, is to be written. May your loving actions contribute to its creation. The Christ Child Whose coming is to be celebrated, is NOW present in  all the realities of your life. May your moment to moment encounters lead to "the new heavens and new earths' where all are empowered to live a life of freedom. May The Spirit enlighten you, so the path you trudge may be the one already chosen for you. Mary for her to fulfill her destiny she had to utter " Be it done to me according to Your will".  We are the Marys of the gospel that is in its actualization. Let us pray for the courage to utter with trembling lips " Your Will be done",  not the will of fear-filled me.


Saturday, December 16, 2023

" Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your, God. Speak tenderly..." thus the scriptures speak to us. Comforting another person, demands  both a silent  presence, and  the ability to listen patiently, with no judgments. To comfort another we need to show real empathy. To be able to enter another's pain and accept  the powerlessness over being able to change the reality of  another's suffering. We humans will run away from pain as far as we can. There are all sorts of medicators available to us. Some are healthy, while others are destructive. We are easily tempted to take the easier softer way, rather than, face what is the healthy solution to the pain we are enduring. We need persons of experience who can walk, talk, and  also be a listening compassionate listening presence. We need a Presence, that has the power to transform the pain of our wounds into being a compassionate place of comfort for others. That Presence has come, is journeying within, so we can continue the hard work of  making "the rugged" roads the other are destined to to face, a smooth, safe  path. Who He was, we have been chosen, to be.

                 The historical Jesus entered a troubled world. He was not born in a palace, but in a stable. He, though the revelation of The Divine power, was destined to learn and earn  like the rest of the human race. His historical human journey was so real it held up to us as, The Way, to live. Not only to live, but have the "fullness of life". Anthony Padavano gave us these word in the 1960's " We have to make Jesus human, and to make ourselves as human as He was." I wonder what the words of John O'Shea means for you and I today,"Jesus's story is our story today". Do we, or can face the challenge of journeying each Advent  into a new and a more vital understand of the life's journey of the vulnerable Babe of Bethlehem ?. An understanding that will result in concrete change in the way we respond to the call to be the living  human presence of The Divine Presence ? The Mystery of The Incarnation is well from which we will draw life enhancing water, grace. This water will refresh us, strengthen us, empower us, to be Well,The Tabernacle, for all who need a safe refuge from the storms.The Historical Rabbi Jesus stilled the storm that threatened the boat He and His Apostles were in, how do we use His Presence today to help still the existential raging storms all humans have to face? These storms are to be becalmed within ourselves first. The we can be the carriers, the bearers, be evangelizers like the shepherds, of the good news, the Savior of the world has been, and He is within all human beings. All have the a unique  part of, the message. We will tell it in honesty, and truth. When creation ceases to exist then will the final chapter be completed.Until then, The Story, continues It's revelation.

               The Divine, is, The Mystery. We are, because of creation, mystery too. Mystery will never be solved. All we can do is respond  the call to go ever deeper into darkness of faith. From that journey a new and a brighter light will shine upon all creation. A light that is to be the comfort and consolation most needed by all who journey into dark valleys. That light will lead to mountaintops, where we all will enjoy the freedom of being surrounded by endless horizons, not boundaries. Prayers for the courage to let go of certainty, so we are free to be led into, The Unknown ,and Unknowable Whose Incarnation is within our unknown depths. 


Tuesday, December 5, 2023

      Advent 2023 must be, what the liturgical has been created to be, a time of attention, wonder , and awe.These must not be words on a page but must be action words that are validated by this Advent Season. Many of todays commentators bemoan the inhuman conditions so many of our sisters, brothers and their children are forced to live in, no ,no, rather they are forced to live in. We are all in danger of taking out an existence rather than live the life The Babe of Bethlehem envisioned. "He emptied  Himself of His Godhead", why did he take such a radical step, He entered into all that it means to be human,"so that we may have life and have it to the fullest". Was that a pipe dream ? So  this wish dose  not become just  become an idea, giving no life, but instead must the vitalizing force that will re-enchant, re-reenergize ,re-vitalize our bruised and battered human condition. He has come for all the broken-hearted. The lost sheep He will lovingly seek out. These "beloved" lost sheep will be rescued and from their place of distress. Those not able to make it on their own will be carried on His broad shoulders. The Prophet Jesus did not come to establish an ideology, He came to offer a new way of living, a new way of being.

               The Christmas lights are begging to penetrate the darkness of these cold nights. The Christmas gifts, and trees are being sought out, and, hopefully purchased. The crib scenes are prepared, and the ornaments are being carefully unwrapped, after surviving another wrapped up adventure. Now we have to face tis reality, "unless we find all the above within our hearts, first, then Christmas trees, gifts, lights, and gatherings will do nothing but further deepen all those thoughts and feelings that are the lot of the alone and abandoned. To the least of our brothers and sisters we are commissioned to go to " feed the hungry, clothe the naked, offer refreshing water to the thirsty. The sick we must visit ,as well as those in prisons." all this must be on our agendas to make sure The Infant did not make His journey in vain.

         Wonder and amazement are both required of us to make the mission of The Infant a life giving reality. We must as the Gospel says " be alert, be watch-full, be on guard". For what ? For that which will re-enchant, re-vitalize, re-energize, us first, and then the creation we have been destined to inhabit since the beginning of time. For this most challenging mission we have, within our depths, all that is necessary . We must pay attention, be alert to the challenges presented and go deep to tap into all the strength we need. Yes,all you need is within you. ". All is sacred, all is holy, which gives meaning to "life is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived". "By reason of creation, and still more by reason of the Incarnation, there is nothing  profane for those who know how to see." Out of the depths of my poverty I  cry out,"Lord that I too may see" 


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

 Today is Wednesday. In some ares it is called "hump day",to show my respect for the sacredness of all time I am going to call this "Hump Day". the day between The Solemnity Of Christ The King,and The First Sunday in Advent. What a seriously mysterious day this is. It can also be confusing ? When we reflect backwards we have Christ presented a King, and Lord of all. Looking we are preparing to encounter Him as the Little Child of Bethlehem. A Child born in a stable, because there was no room for them where other travelers dwelt. A great paradox ???

         We have on the one hand we have The Enthroned King,  richly dressed. While on the other hand we have The Son of a poor young couple wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a cold stone manger. The only heath would come from the stabled animals. Of course a certain oder came from those creatures as they were privileged to keep company with their Creator. The revelation in human flesh of Him "Who keeps all things in being" Nothing can subsist except through His creative and creating power. Before we acknowledge The Child as The King  again, there are many many roads to be discover and trod, as we journey with the gift of blind faith into the mystery of Kairos time. Divine centered time, which is hidden and revealed in croons time, watch and clock time. So time is not either or one of these two realities, it is both. 

      The spiritual journey is not then about the either?or, it is always about the both/and. I was lucky to be introduced to the reality of paradox when my mother taught me, "There is much good in the worst of us, and as much bad in the best of us. I am as good as you are, as bad as I am". I was well into my 50's, before I was able to reflect on and accept that great spiritual reality. Since then I have been confronted with the great paradoxes of life, and they have become such a blessings. They do not appear as the source of  blessings, in the beginning, but through the mysterious workings of grace wonder-full truths  surface from the depths. Theses truths are the source of great strength and encouragement.

Paradox always forces us to stretch. I am not a fan of stretching, never have been, never will. There is so much pain when one stretches. My old body tells me it is not happy to be treated in such an inhospitable way. Our egos are the same way. Our egos want the easier softer very comfortable apparent way. Forget those hidden messages. What I see before me is good enough for me.What will all those mysterious insights add to the bottle line ?.  Nare a thing.  Rather it may result in the bottom line shrinking as the paradoxical truths bear fruit and a the challenges presented to us are responded to. The true self will be so at peace, while the false self will wage war with it's, "what if" and "if only". That war will beg fought to our dying breath. We must always be thank-full we are blessed with the gift of The New Advocate,The Holy Spirit, to be our faith-full guide, and enlightening Presence. I will, in their company, journey through  dark and perilous valleys, on my way to exhilarating transformative mountain tops. It has been and will continue to be a challenging , mysterious journey. Always faced with the both/and not the either/or. Hold on to your hats we are in for the ride of our lives, or we are in for the ride into life.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

 " Life's not a problem to be solved, it is a mystery to be lived." I just cannot express my gratitude for being the recipient of this piece of mysterious knowledge,that I am always  seeking, searching to understand.  Of course that will never happen, all I can expect is being drawn into an ever deeper seeing and understanding. I am like the blind man, Bartimaeus, expressing the wish."Lord, that I may see". The sight that is given is not necessarily the insight I was looking for. It has been eons since the importance of Matthew 25, and, The Beatitudes was placed before my eyes. It has been a long journey to grow in an ever deepening understanding of all that is contained within those Sacred Scriptures. I will never come to a full understanding of the depth of knowledge hidden and revealed in those paragraphs of The Written Word. All I can do is have the desire to be led into the mystery of The Word, there to experience, encounter. There is an ever new encounter between the always evolving Joe, and the infinite depth of meaning to all that is hidden and revealed. I must have the desire to be opened up, to be penetrated,  so that what is essential for my  spiritual healing and daily living may be laid out. Here the inner eye of faith is our friend leading us to places the false self just does not want to go to. That battle, between the true self and the false self has been joined. It will never end in this life. "Courage" I hear The Rabbi Jesus say,"I have overcome the world." As He was, so, are we, today. "I believe, Lord, help my unbelief/disbelief". " Come O Holy Spirit, come, enliven and enlighten these tired eyes of my heart and soul.

     In the last posting I hinted at The Eucharistic celebration that is slated for this coming Thursday. Here are new lenses with which to view that which is ancient, but will be ever new this Thursday. It will not be something trite you are forced to travel through.It will before it CAN be a real spiritual renewing action for all who participate. Will you envision the table, as an altar around which are gathered a community. A community of different shades of understanding and belief. As they are responding to your invitation they know that you are a person of faith. You have your unique, one of a kind relationship, with The Gracious One, which is playing a part in the celebration. This can be hidden or overt. It is a reality. A reality that gives meaning to all you say and do.

Thanksgiving meals are a time of prayer. Make sure your prayer extends to way beyond the confines of the home. May it extend to the millions of our brothers and sisters who will be hungry and homeless, with no hope that  their crucifixion will end any time soon. Prayer is not enough. What will be the action that will follow as a consequence of this celebration. "To whom much is given, much is expected" the words coming from The Giver of all good gifts. '' let those who have ears, let them hear". Be sensitive to the homeless one within yourself so you may be able to offer some hospitality to the homeless one who will visit your, "little church of the home." I pray that the presider over the celebration is properly prepared and disposed to make the meal what it cam really be a nourishing spiritual experience.

Communion is a gift that can be an essential part of the eucharistic celebration. Here is a suggestion.At some time during the meal, before there has been too much wine consumed, take your plate and turn the the people next to you.Offer them a morsel from you plate with the words " I  the body of Christ, nourish you the body of Christ."You exchange morsels withers many a seems fit. If there are non Christians maybe  words like " My being, nourishes your being, as your being nourishes me". 

        Sad to say all the military resources ofAmerica are deployed. How many empty chairs, and places will occupy a space around the altars this year. This is not the time to take for granted  what is now before us. Let us this year make our Thanksgiving Celebration a more vital and vivifying experience for all who are invited to share the eucharistic gifts.   Love peace and joy is my wish for all. Great Grandpa Joe.


Friday, November 10, 2023

 We have two great feast days in the back mirror. Another super feast is awaiting. We are gifted with the present, to be used to reflect on what has been given by those who have trudged, travelled the road of faith we are chosen to follow today. Some were our companions, other are in our consciousness because of the oral or written word. Before I go any further, here is a spiritual gem that I am afraid of forgettin : "Most saints are there, for our admiration, NOT, for our imitation". I have met many ,any people who were disappointed with themselves because they were unable to imitate some practice of some saint they read about. It is just common sense that they intentions were admirable, but they forgot one very important reality, they are NOT THE SAINT they read about, and can never be. Each person is a saint when they are expressing ,The DESIRE  to be the best person they have been uniquely created to become. The Creator Spirit has only one version of each created being. The Creator does not make doubles. Creation calls for originals. Fakes are casualties destined to fall by the wayside.  Look at how many cows are run the world, each nose pattern is different. How about finger prints ?

       "Each person is a saint, until they realize ,or, think, they are a saint" wise words from way back. Back in seminary Fr.Gerry Kinsealla R.I.P. challenged one very prayerful student,"Mister, are you

 a saint?  Do you know saints are very hard people to live with". ( I never heard those words directed towards,  Mr. Hennessy as a matter of fact he addressed this question to me, Mr.Hennessy how come I never catch you breaking any of the serious rules ? I did not know about the fifth, so I had to answer "You were not just around father") Plastic saints can be so difficult to live with, or be in any kind of communication or relationship with. The are our present day Pharisees. The Pharisees were good people, but  the Rabbi Jesus had real trouble with them. They are real trouble with sinners, breakers of the law, and the poor. Who were The Rabbis "people'?  Who were those chosen to be  the object of His compassionate ministry? They were the marginalized, the outcasts, the very vulnerable, all those rejected by those in power. Jesus said that Pharisees were to be obeyed, but not imitated".  This real compassionate  pastoral view was. what ultimately brought about His, Paschal death .Who then was to be imitated The One sent to be the Incarnation of Our Prodigal, Compassionate, Father, God. 

    In my 60 years as a pastoral minister I always seemed to be in some kind of trouble. If I was not in trouble with my inner self, I was facing the reality that there were some person or persons who were not very happy with me. I never got a Christmas card or an invitation to a meal. I was not just plain not accepted. I have journeyed through the reforms of The Second Vatican Council which meant conflict. As Pope Francis is implementing those same reforms today, take a look at how is being treated by fellow catholics ? My heart is full of great joy, but there is great sadness as well. The voice of Compassionate Good Shepherd must be heard, and through grace accepted.In the mean time we as saints and sinners are bound together by The Holy Spirit as One Body,The contemporary Body of Christ.  

We must  all face the Pharisee within. Do not give in to harsh self judgement and self criticism . Remember, "Love, is is kind. Love takes no offense, and is not resentful".The way you apply these qualities of transformative love towards yourself will be will be the qualities of the Divine God you obey and worship. Love is also freeing. May you work diligently at fostering to qualities of The Living God,Incarnate in Our Brother Jesus The Christ and so live a life of freedom, being the best saint you can be today. You will be remember as the good and faithful servant who did not always get it right but operated out the vision seen by A Prodigal Father/Mother God. A  God, Who is able to see into the depths of our heart and Who rejoices in  seeing The Living Presence, of other members of The Holy Trinity.

     Prayers are needed. Hope you are not worrying, too much, about ,The Eucharistic Celebration, to be celebrated in your little church of the home, a few Thursdays from now. Those on the guest list will be a reflection of how you are viewing the chosen of The Historical Jesus whom you are encountering in your present day to day real living. Hope I pricked your comfort zone ????   Love, prayers, and blessings to you all as you trudge the trail chosen for you. Sometimes it takes a long time to find that one. Great grandpa. ( If you view this as a real mess, press the delete button.)

Monday, October 30, 2023

 Last blog I encouraged all to sing a new song. It is to be a love song. Love songs are also agony songs. Songs that describe the person's struggle with their weaknesses, but the struggle is worth is as a new understanding of what it means to be human is revealed. Such songs demand gut HONESTLY  as we reflect on our deepest feelings. Not the feelings we want to share, but the feelings we need to share. Is that easy ? Of course not. How many of us have been programmed "to be always, nice"? The number to answer "Yes" I am certain it would be an  overwhelming "Yes".Today, thanks to The Gracious Spirit of Truth we were never taught that perfectionism is a "DISEASE",not something you want to admire or flaunt. My mother reading this would gasp in horror, as do so many in  to days world. I am delighted that the younger generation is being taught that perfectionism Is a disease. Todays healthy spirituality emphasize we are all,"perfectly imperfect". Working on the acceptance of our imperfections is, just speaking for myself, an extremely difficult, arduous every moment work of healthy self love. Would you agree with me on that? We are all in the same boat, hoping it is not The Titanic !!!!

      Last Sunday we were provided with such rich food, as always, laid out for us on The Table Of The Word, and The Table of the Eucharist. I see now, in some churches the Word and Eucharist are presented to all as being on the same level in the architecture of the church. What an eye opener that must be? We are commanded to love The Divine with our whole being. Not partially, with the stuff we are happy and comfortable without with all of our being. That great prayer alcoholics offer each day is a great source of courage " My Lord God,I offer myself to You, good and bad." what a great grace filled moment that is. To offer our whole being to the Divine Healing love, and allowing the chips to fall where they may. It is none of our business how the process works, all we have to do, is GROW in the  patient acceptance of the hidden action of The Great Creative Spirit. As it is happening with you and mess it is happening to all.

   The action of grace, that is Love in action,  is often compared to the workings of yeast. I am told yeast works slowly, secretly, and silently, and she can never deny its  effects. Yeast like Mercy-filled Love changes everything it touches. Grace transfigures and transforms us. Slowly and ever so gently. So gentle we are not aware of ITs action until we are surprised with a change we do not have a clue where it came from. For me the greatest action of Divine Mercy is the slow, oh so slow, acceptance of my faults, failings, weaknesses, defects etc. etc. St.Paul is a great help here,"By the grace of God,I am who I am." I have come to learn, again slowly, that I do not have to change anything because Mercy-full  love the me that I am right now. " This is, my beloved son, in whom, I am well  pleased". Our Prodigal Father has unconditioned love for us, but it takes a great number of conversions to develop  a deep belief in that mystical love. Yet that  love is essential for both a healthy physical and spiritual love. This love is foundational. " A healthy love of God, and a healthy love of another person begins with a healthy love of self" a Canadian Bishop once wrote. 

             Now that we have an ever evolving understanding of  how essential the love of self is, we can move up and reflect as honestly as we are able to the challenges presented to us in the first reading. In the mean time be gentle with yourself. As for the help, grace, to continue to struggle with The Gentle Lover that is always reaching out to embrace us in an everlasting loving hug.May there be some person in your life that can offer that special gift, a loving hug. To all, you contemporary saints, out there in the Cloud World there is more to come. Love prayers and blessings. Great grandpa Joe. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

 It has been awhile.So Would love to meet this new person you are NOW. Life, and all of its realities  has  brought a change, for better or for worse.There in no in-between. Eric Fromm says " each day we spend  our time, building ourselves up, or tearing ourselves down." That is why we are encouraged by the scriptures to "Be alert." We must be alert to all our thoughts, and feelings. It does not matter what they are they are relaying messages of how the realities of life are meeting us, and how present we are to that encounter. Some encounters we wish we could avoid, but then the spiritual journey is all about reality, and how present we are to each life changing encounter. The more we are present to our realities the more The Real, becomes an ever deepening reality for both you and I. It is said the spiritual journey is not for the faint of heart. Healthy spirituality leads us to face life on life's terms. 

                 In the responsorial psalm of last Sunday we were  encouraged, "To sing a new song". To sing the song that best reflects our encounters with the moment to moment happenings. Each moment is a new ending and a new beginning. It has never existed before and will never repeat its self. It is the new that becomes the old in the blink of an eye. Our Prodigal Mother/Father just wants to hear from us, and be with us. To be able to meet us exactly as we are, so we can be embraced as we are. That is the hug of mercy-full love. A hug that brings with its healing, soothing, comforting, strengthening, protection, trans figurative , and transforming power.  We are never the same after this loving hug. Our Prodigal Lover always is seeking us out, ever searching for us,The Hound of Heaven never sleeps. So we ask for the courage to be honest.Honest about how we really feel, without sugar coating it. "We are known" better than we ourselves know ourselves. So why fight and put off the inevitable surrender,TO love.

St.Paul showed great admiration for the early Thessalonians. He admired their "work of faith, labor of love and their  endurance". How important is that word endurance for us as we encounter the mighty and not so mighty challenges that are part and parcel of the human journey for all of  us who area of our essence, spiritual beings. Our new song must reveal our desire for endurance in the midst of struggle and danger. The desire is ALL we need. Express that desire in any language you choose, The Creative Spirit has worked with all human expressions. "Be not afraid of your in-depth feelings, they are given to us all so we can express our individual realities. We do not repeat the words of the song of our companions we encounter along the way.We can listen to their song, and then commits to words the truth of the song that best reflects who you are right now. Love prayers and blessings.Great grandpa Joe.

Monday, October 16, 2023

 As I look out, from a very safe vantage point, I see a frightening array of wars and armed struggles. I was going through the news on my computer when I had to stop and give up. It was too much for me. I had to look within myself and as the hard question where are the wars being fought, within myself. I once read that the line between war and peace goes straight through the center of the human heart. There is the war between the ideal and the real. I am not the first one to be forced to confront that struggle. St. Paul had that great struggle between doing " not doing the things he was supposed to do, and doing the things he was not supposed to". He called it the struggle between, "the new man, and, the old man".  Today we name to battles as the battle  between "the true self, and, the false self". Each one of our souls it the battleground of that death struggle. We must keep ourselves radically informed of those actions that define us "as life givers or, death dealers". We must not be lured into accepting that which appears to be life giving but actually is an instrument of death. Which one of us do not want our egos bolstered by power, property and prestige. We are human, and our broken collective humanity is so easily lured into thinking these are the keys of the kingdom. Once we possess these we will never have another  bad day. Power has led to the imposition of so much rigidity that any human person can be broken by, its wonton use.

Over the years I have been appraised of this wonton action by so many angry persons. It is very difficult to write the following, those angry persons had every right to be angry. They were not exposed to the radical love of The Historical Jesus and the price He had to pay for not wavering from His radical stand. The Prophet Jesus related to persons in His living, the radical love which was the essence of His being, from, the beginning of time. His love is an eternal love, an infinite love beyond " condition, restriction, or reservation". This infinite eternal love cannot be earned, deserved, and there are no conditions that have to be met before "the pearl of great price" is entrusted to our care. This is why the love offered is a prodigal love. It is reckless, in the eyes of merciless, and self righteous, but, they are not at fault it is outside there lived experience.  It is extravagant, to the mean spirited persons who have no real experience of the awe-full reality of unconditioned generosity. They too are not at fault until, the truth of the unimaginable  is placed before their eyes, and they freely choose not accept the gift offered.

                 With the coming of the papacy of Pope Francis we are now ,and have been living in a time of radical change. Yes, there has been a radical change in the way the human person is to be viewed and accepted. "God loves us all AS WE ARE" so says Our Prophetic Pope. We do not have to change for our Prodigal Mother/Father to love us. ( by whose power are we going to change ourselves, we are  of powerless". "There is One Who has all power may you find Her/him now." The Creative Love of The Prodigal One changes us. It is a slow process, not intended for the goal orientated.  All we have to be is receptive to the gift offered. Please,just say, YES  and again Yes.The there is, however, a catch.This will be very difficult for those those who are not in the habit of give unconditional gifts.  Now we have been given the gift, we cannot keep it. It is given to us to pass it on. In that way we are fulfilling our vocation to "be co-creators and co-perfectors" of all of creation. Pope Francis has spent ten years working to make the Catholic Church not "a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners." In his recent remarks to those attending the Synod, he emphasized again the fact they are NOT to impose heavy burdens on the people. Any such action would contradict the reality that we are gazed upon with a loving, mercy-full gaze. Free of all conditions.  Many times the gaze of a mother on her child and the child's questioning returning gaze is used to convey that which is mysterious, and the essence of, Being.

 There is a new day dawning.I will not be around for its, evening and beyond. You are going to be part of the living revelation of a new way of thinking and acting. All will be guided by The Loving Creative, and Creating Spirit Who has made your depths, a mysterious dwelling place. Had a visit with The Visitor within, lately? You do make an, awe-full, team. A team designed, created from the beginning of time, to challenge the darkness of ignorance and oppression, so, so very rampant that it is the reality in which we are challenged to live. Blessed ye, you are to make our Church, the living authentic incarnation of  the real, and  the true  gospel The Prophet Jesus lived and died.  Some may go as to say there must be a radical commitment guided by, Radical Grace. (Can you guess I had a great, long, hike this morning ? ) As always love, prayers and blessings. Great Great grandpa Joe.

Monday, October 9, 2023

 " Have no anxiety at all" was the directive from,The Liturgy of The Word, this week. Well excuse me if Joe cannot obey that command. The reality is I do have anxiety. I do have fear.Sometimes, raw naked fear. This goes along with the reality of being a human person, not a machine, not a robot. I have anxiety about writing this blog. ( It happens each and every time. Just like it was when delivering a homily.) I just had a mammogram, to say I did not have anxiety and fear would be a first class ,lie. That word mammogram struck real fear into yours truly. Then I made an effort to face the facts. This fear has to be faced. Fear is sometimes seen by some, as," Facts not in evidence, appearing as reality". Healthy humans face their fears, hence sage advice, " Walk through your fears."" The opposite of fear, is, faith". The what is faith only, a, "journey into uncertainty." A healthy faith reassures me I never "walk alone". I have within my depths The  Dwelling of The Holy Trinity. That is why each day, as early as I can, pray that old Celtic prayer, "I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation, of The Holy Trinity". This is going to be recited as early as 1-2-3 o'clock in the morning. Now I see my bathroom awakenings, as a blessing not a curse. I cannot get plugged into my spiritual Power Battery early enough. Again,every blessing is a curse, every curse is a blessing.

I am now armed, at this late stage of my life, with spiritual bromides to alleviate, I am sad to say, temporarily this challenge to my emotional sobriety. " I believe, Lord, help my unbelief/disbelief",is repeated to meet the reality of what I am facing in, the here and now. Now has triggered this bromide," Now is the acceptable time, now is the time of salvation".( 2Cor). In this now moment I am RECEIVING all that I need,not want, to live life, on "life's terms." The challenge for me is for Joe, a real human being, to be actually present to the strengthening gifts being offered. How often have we heard the value of "presence"? well, we are going to hear it, yet again. If I'm not present to all that is being offered,, grace, the outpouring, or is it in-pouring, of The Holy Spirit I am going to miss out to the present of the moment.  Belief in the presence of Presence, changes the reality of each moment. Each moment is a sacrament. Each place we stand is ,therefore, a holy place. You are always in, on, the holy land. We are safe on this holy land. We do not have to move a step to be on holy ground.

Mostly all of us have read, heard, or at least The Serenity prayer." God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.The courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference'. The ONLY thing I can change is my attitude towards ,myself. I am powerless over all peoples events and situations. How is this change brought about ? Well the next two lines aims to teach us,"living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time". What is this," moment" we are to live,, it is this simple and yet so mysteriously profound,NOW moment. ( As you can now see I have stopped, or else, this effort could go on, and on, and on, just like the mercy-full love in the here and now.)

   Warning ,I never got around to what I actually, in my mind, going to write. So,I shall return.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

                                        BATTEN THE HATCHES,BUCKLE YOUR SEAT BETLTS, HANG ON TO ?? 

The Catholic Church as you and I have known it has ,JUST CHANGED.  The old way of doing business has ended.As a matter of fact it has ended for some time now. Did you know that? If you did not  know, then, I beg you to ,PLEASE,With the opening of The synod  put on your thinking caps because you are in for great challenges to your thought-full thinking, process.. Even before the opening of the Synod,where the voices of ALL THE Faithful will be heard, there was earth shattering, game changing news, from Vatican City.

Some time ago some of there were questions addressed to Pope Francis from avowed opponents to changes that are taking place under the leadership of our our  Spirit guided, validly elected, Pope. Our prophetic Pope has begun to address some of the hot button issues, questions, that has been causing a tremendous response fro both sides of the issues. Well now with what was released from The Vatican in Rome the questions are no longer safely tucked away on the back burner, they are now front and center.There are now staring us in the face. Do not turn your back on this challenge.This means all who read this effort will have to make decisions, many, many decisions. Each time we are asked to act in any way it must be from an, INFORMED CONSCIOUS.An informed conscious based on hard facts, not on pure emotion, or what is popularly accepted. There must be a sincere effort to inform your conscious, and not act  out of ignorance or prejudice. How sad it is for us to be exposed to the results of ignorance. 

           With the Second Vatican Council,way back in the 1960s, a new day dawned for our Catholic Church. That lasted under Saint John XX111 rd. With his death things began to change. There is not enough space to delineate all the efforts to undo what Vatican two initiated. I have been witness to, and effected by those efforts. Now is not the time to bemoan the past, the present is way more exciting. If you are not ready for it you made be blindsided by the battles yet to be fought. Those who oppose the changes of Vatican 2, and This Synod, are well funded and have great support from some media outlets. There are commentators who are listened to who are challenging the workings of the Holy Spirit. This is a hard fact, had I not had a sincere belief in the workings of The Holy Spirit, and It's dynamic Power for change I would not have stuck to pastoral ministry.The challenges to the implementation of the reforms ,as I witnessed and suffered,was great, and  it is even greater in these present moments. 

A headline from The National Catholic Reporter,"Pope signals openness  to blessings for gay couples,Study of women's ordination." Goggle National Catholic Reporter and read the rest of what will be seen as a watershed moment in our journey of faith. Please be informed of this momentous outreach to the marginalized of our sisters and brothers Too too long neglected.How happy I am to have lived to see and experience all that is happening and will happen. Please be informed of the real facts.Love,prayers. prayers 

Sunday, October 1, 2023

                                          October 1st 2023.

This is my birthday weekend.When one turns 84, one day's celebration is not enough.Thank The Gracious Giver I had a whole week end in which to reflect, enjoy and then had the privilege of concelebrating The Eucharistic Celebration. This celebration is the act of thanksgiving. Ever thin that as you are preparing to attend the gathering of the community you are preparing for Thanksgiving. I used love to teach the kids in school to ask on Thanksgiving Day, when is our eucharist ? That sets  the family and friends aback, but is asking the right essential question.( Plans for next Thanksgiving ???)

          Birthdays are a time of reflection, before the celebrations can happen.I was blessed to share the wonders of The Warpaint Trail with a kid from way back. She is now enjoying a great career in the Army.We were able to reflect on the realities of life as never before, and deepen our awe at the workings of grace. I had an other great hike with a friend from Ireland.The Warpaint trails are wonder-full channels of that which is essential. So this morning it was REALLY tough to get up. Luckily I was awake before, the alarm (another gift) so I had time to face the struggles of getting my feet on the ground. I was thinking about some of the events of my past when out of the blue came the words "Paschal Death".

Paschal death is  supposed to be the food for thought only, during Holy Week. Then what is Holy Week?only time set aside to really reflect all of The Paschal Story as our story today.Every day lived, is our reliving the story of  Easter. All we do in Holy Week is place under a microscope our every day lived experience, and discover, always anew this startling truth "Jesus's story is our story today" ( John O'Shea). In our individual and community reflections we have to make the connection that connection or else what we attend are meaningless and irrelevant. We must see all those suffering, we are asked to face, do not bring about terminal death, although it feels like it, it is a Paschal death. When The Suffering Servant died,He did not stay dead but rose again, TO NEW LIFE, and so set up the pattern we are to follow being His disciples. This is a source of great consolation and hope,"death is not an end it was beginning" of a new life emerging from the death we have endured. There is only one terminal death, but too many to count are our experiences of Paschal death.

               In your preparations for religious celebrations how important is it to connect our experience of Paschal death with celebration where we say,"Christ has died,Christ is risen,Christ will come again" and again and again as an ever new revelation.  An awe-full revelation, given to each to light the darkness with  the supernatural gift of, end-less hope. In the Psalm were these wonder-full words, " Remember Your mercies,Lord.  Remember that Your compassion..and love are from of old. The sins of my youth and my frailties, remember not." Each time we are forced to face our limitations, we die to our selfishness and self-centeredness,are are forced to accept help from a Power outside of ourselves. That I read is the definition of "an authentic human being". It is a death, not terminal, but a death that reveals a new and wonder-full truths which now bestows on us gifts way beyond our imagination. However, this is the kicker, these gifts are NOT for ourselves, but are for the building up of those who we are destined to meet. Yes. It has taken many encounters with Paschal Death to be able to write what has just been written. Let us then face whatever deaths, losses life brings to us, on a moment to moment basis knowing that ,with tomb time, new life leading to to  way  of seeing and living is amazingly ours. 

If the above makes no sense to youths is my limited effort to delve into, The Mystery of our Faith. I have come up short so there is room for your unique understanding. Love prayers and blessings, great grandpa.

Monday, September 25, 2023

 I cannot count the times this has happened to me. On one of my trips I have been set on getting to a destination when the following happened. I would be going along, making good time, sorry to say not the legal time, when I would be startled by some wayside scenic beauty. I would be forced to stop, get out my camera and shoot away. This cost me time but I had a lasting memory tucked away. A sacramental moment to be be enjoyed again and again. The revelation of beauty is always sacramental.We encounter, The Holy, in theses sacred moments leading to us to an ever deepening appreciation of, Life, as The Source of Life,is revealed to us in so many places, people, actions, and events.

               I sure beat around the bush a lot !!!!! That can help explain my lengthy chats, in all their many forms. Well the point I want to make is this, I was privileged to concelebrate the 9 o'clock mass at st.Andrew the Apostle on Sunday. When you concelebrate you just hang out and enjoy the whole celebration. I was sitting in my chair, neatly looked away in a corner when the Lector approached The Table of The Word to proclaim the scriptures for the community of faith. I must have heard these Scriptures proclaimed hundreds, if not thousands of time love these many years. Then I heard "Seek the Lord while He may be found, call Him while He is near..... For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are my ways your ways, says The lord. As high as the heavens are above the earth's high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts." Is 55;6-9.

          In the Old Testament The Divine was so often seen as being outside, in the without, and had to be  somehow captured. In The New Testament we have The Trinity  making It dwelling within each of us. We DO NOT HAVE TO SEEK THE LORD, The Lord dwells in our depths. The fact we have the desire to seek The Divine,means we have ALREADY been found by The Divine God. We are seeking then a deeper awareness of A Reality that which is already present.Boy you cannot imagine. the relief I felt when I was first exposed to that truth. Then I became more aware of this prayer, "Our desire to prays  ITSELF a prayer."How about them apples ??? So I do not have to "seek The Lord I am already the beloved of The Beloved. I am loved with a love I cannot earn, deserve ,or qualify for" What the am I asked to do, simple say ,YES. That is it. Yes to the love I am being offered in this moment that is necessary for a healthy spiritual journey back to our original source of origin. We leave the womb of Infinite Love, to journey, and in that journey to reveal to all that Original Love that lies in our depths.

              WE must be ever, and always aware of this seminal fact of reality, Beloved's ways are not our ways,nor are our ways Her/His ways. Yet take a real hard look at what serious damage is done when we apply our thoughts, our ways to how The Infinite works as if were the truth, the real reality which all must abide by. This application of our thoughts, way of  judging, way of rewarding and punishing etc to God is called anthropomorphism.( I looked it up so as to have the right spelling. By the way thank you for the kindness you show by not highlighting my many mistakes.) This has been and always will be a source of pain for all who look for The Truth not the apparent truth. The so called truth emanating from a closed ill-informed mind .A Mind which refuses to be formed so that the thoughts though are originating from The Spirit of Truth given to us ,why ? " to lead us to all truth" so spoke The Rabbi Jesus. The best of Irish luck as you journey into a new way of understanding, leading to a new way of acting. All this will lead to what and where, Calvary,and "my God,My God why have You, abandoned me ?" Your fellow companion on the Calvary trudge, which ALWAYS leads to.......

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

 Here is a very important question ? How do as an individuals, as couples, as family, as a family of families, prepare for the Eucharistic Liturgy, celebration. What are the actual steps been taken so as  to be prepared for the  coming encounter with The Divine Being. This Mysterious One  is going to be encountered in  the mysterious proclamation  of word, and conscious participation in The  Sacrifice and Sacrament? What has happen, and unfortunately is happening in the existential, the reality of your daily living that you want to have connected with the Sacred Liturgy? As you prepare is there a connection between you believe in your priesthood and the action of of the priestly Eucharistic people ? At St.Andrew's there is a stained glass window, reming all of what Peter says " YOU, however, are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy national people set apart " 1Peter 2 :9. ( Bookmark that quote, and refer to it each time you question innate dignity, and worthwhileness, which is how often ? ) We sing that prayer "We are called, we are chosen, we are Christ for one another" As those words are sung how does you're depths respond to that reality? We are called to be Christ to one another but how do we recognize and connect with The Christ Presence within our selves? How connected are we with" The Prisoner of Our Finiteness" ( Rahner),being a living presence within the tabernacle of our bodies ? Where Christ is, so also are The Father and Holy Spirit, They are having an awe-full, celebration in our depths. Our goal is always not only to be aware of The Celebration, but to free ourselves to join in. (What the indwelling of The Trinity means is way outside my capabilities. I do not to be a heretic.)

               What are the gifts you are going to bring ? Well I have consulted my wallet, or made sure the envelope is in the possession of some family member. There may a disagreement as to who shall place it in the collection basket. May The Gracious Spirit of Wisdom guide you, as the discussion takes place as to who that little person will be? I have observed some little wars break out in the pews. Being Solomon to your family is a special calling. Actually I am not referring to the financial gift, here. I am, rather, referring to what you as Lupita, Sean, Manuel, Francis etc. and what is  actually carried within the depths of your soul, the reality you personal struggles. Those secret, and not so secret  difficulties that are the lot of all who claim to be human. 

   When the minister pours the water into the chalice what are you going to let go of that is crippling your ability to relate in a healthy manner, with  all those who have been entrusted to you and now share your life? What are the pains we have to endure that are chronic ? Who are those with whom you share life that are in need of constant assistance ? This cry for help sometimes when we ourselves are the point of desperation? This is when you connect with the inner Simon of Cyrene who was pressed into service, and forced to carry the cross of The Suffering One. Into the chalice will go our powerlessness to control every one and every thing. Powerlessness can trigger real angers, angers that are grist for The Divine Mill that grinds so slowly but so true. We have to grow in the acceptance of our hated powerlessness.NEVER, on our own. We are getting up close with" The One Who has all power and is getting ready to provide us with whatever we are in need of to survive, those personal and communal challenges. 

    We have to emptied out so we can receive that which is going to be offered. You cannot put anything into a full glass.There must be an emptying out, to make room for that particular grace which we are so desperately in need of. Our EXACT need with be with that special grace,The Divine's Love in  real action, meet a real need. Now, dwell on this, you are the ONLY ONE to receive this particular expression of The Gracious Creator's love. You and you alone are the beloved, of The Beloved. Love prayers and blessing tilde meet again,D.V. Great grandpa Joe.

Friday, September 15, 2023

We are moving really slow through that quote from James Finley. Now we are going to stop and take a  real good look at that word, LITURGY. Sacred  Liturgy is essential for us as social human beings, as well as individuals. We cannot journey alone, we are in desperate need of each other for companionship, and the building up of community.We as human beings of our essence are social animals. From the beginning this was a, given :"It is not good for the man to be alone",was the thought of The Creator God as He gazed at the what had been created from the earth, the humus. The necessary bedrock of a healthy society and Church is that relationship between The Creator and the creatures then created.  History informs us of the lived  need  our ancestors of both individual, as well as social worship.  After journeying into the mists of time we have made great discoveries as to what that led to.Sad to say it was not always just or healthy.

             Liturgy is, THE WORK OF THE PEOPLE , as they gather to honor and worship God in Word,Sacrament, and Sacrifice,  both as individuals and as a a community. Liturgy is real, sometimes even  difficult work. It is definitely not a spectator sport. We do not go to a liturgical celebration to be be entertained. We go to work, and we must go, PREPARED. Preparation is an essential element for any liturgical celebration. "No deposit, no return." RIGHT ??? Then there is that great quote from ST.Thomas, "Grace builds on, nature." The Holy Spirit,The Creative Spirit works with what we bring.

    The preparation for the liturgy begins for, when we leave the last celebration.  All your life events are grist for the spiritual mill. That is why liturgy is all about life, and, living. If not it is not effective. There is the root of all our frustrations with current liturgical practice. There was a great classic in the 60's " Good Old Plastic Jesus". There is on quote from that book that has lodged itself in my deep unconscious, "I want to live, not just exist". That cry comes from my depths to challenge me in the place I my feet are planted, right now. Again to reiterate what I harp on all the time there must be a concerted effort to connect the moment to moment living and the liturgical celebrate we are present in. Now that is loaded, "the liturgical celebration we are  to be present in." How really "present' are we. Let's be honest not very and we all must work on bringing ourselves as we really aren't the way are supposed to be, aught to be, expected to be. The Spirit works with our realities, not, our fantasies. THE LATTER CAN BE ENTERTAINING,BUT ARE REDUNDANT TO A REAL, SUBSTANTIAL ,LONG LASTING CELEBRATION. 

       I hope this triggers some change,  a little conversion shall we say, as you are preparing for the Sacred Liturgies you are being drawn to by, The Gracious Creative Spirit. The impulse of grace can be so subtle we must be sensitive to the way(s) in which invitations are offered. A gentle breeze does not rustle too many leaves, but it sure can make a difference in the place we are at. Enjoy the sacramentality of each moment. Next step, bring that joy to your liturgy. We will see, not very soon I am afraid, what needs to be done, what frame of mind ,and actions to take place in order to make the liturgical celebration both relevant, meaning-full, vitalizing and transformative. This is our responsibility. Love,payers,blessings.


Sunday, September 10, 2023

 We are moving kinda slow through the above quote, and this make sense because in the reading we are responding to "the reader's humble desire for God". This is a reality we must keep before us all the time. All the time we are in one way or another searching for The Unknown, ,and The Unknowable Divine reality.That is an innate desire we as human being are endowed with. The part, wanting to be reunited with the Whole, the creature with its Creator. Human beings, of their essence are religious.From the study of the human journey there always has been a relationship between the created and The Creator.That relationship, we are now discovering, goes back  further than we ever imagined. Thank to the patient research of the scientists we are being bombarded with ever new research. There is a great book written by Diarmuid O"Murachu,"Ancestral Grace".In it you journey through the evolution of the human being's response to The Ineffable Divine Being.

      We are by nature religious. I read the following which has always been at the back of my mind through all the years of ministry and even as I write this effort: "You do not put religion into a person,you make it possible for that person to encounter and reveal what is hidden in it's depths. In other words religion must be, RELEASED fro within."That is why the whole atmosphere  in which the "religious event" happens is so very important.There must be an invitation, no matter how couched, to facilitate the expression of that which is for the most part cannot be fully expressed. Each religious celebration is an encounter with  The Great Mystery, and as a result change happens.The change can be subtle and not very apparent until time passes and we notice something different.We will not know how, or when ,it appeared in our life ,but it is there.

       That is why Pope Francis is demanding that homilies  be 10 minutes long. (Confession is good for the soul,I am sad to say I have failed miserable with that ten minute rule for most of my priesthood.It was at the end I had a timer.In one parish the kept count of the length of my homily and posted it on the wall behind me.The community could keep track as the minutes,hopefull,slipped away.)The homilymust connect the worshipper's  lived experience with the worshipping event. The Sunday, and daily Liturgical celebration must connect The Liturgy with the lived moment to moment experience of those making up the community of faith that is present for the celebrations. Are we doing a good job ? For me, here at the end of my days, it hurts to write, We Are Not. We must be honest. Honesty about where we are at, is the first step on the journey of conversion. The conversion journey is essential for a vibrant, and relevant  church.Liturgy is always about reality, and hospitality. (All Eucharistic celebrations presupposes hospitality) So then then, let's GET REAL. Let us get real, or loose whatever  relevancy still remains. Our goal must be to focus on getting all involved in the Liturgical connected with each other  first, and then all are brought into to celebrate. We then must be connectors. Connectors of the the liturgy and with the individuals everyday individual and communal living.That is the one choice we have left. We must all be part of the solution ,or,  the insidious problem remains to choke the life, the vibrancy, out of that which is to be our source of life and vitality.


Wednesday, September 6, 2023

"Who do you say that,I am ?" Mark 8:27, " Who do the crows say that, I am ?" Lk 9:18.

"We must make Jesus human, and make ourselves as human as He was."( Anthony Padavano)

A question and an exhortation, always relevant for our growth, as we "trudge the road of happy destiny"",also called the spiritual journey. Those two questions "Who do YOU, say, that I am?' who do the crowds of the present age say that The Historical,Rabbi Jesus is. We have our individual understanding and  then the social, the human collective understanding of He Who came to reveal The Creator Father God  through His mission and ministry. A mission and a ministry we are called to carry out as Contemporary Christs. We do not meet this awe-full,wonderous challenge alone. Him Whom we are called to be,is both with and within us,Emmanuel, as we face dark valleys, and celebrate high mountain tops. As He was encountered on the highways and byways of a land so far away from us He is however, encountered  in His living fullness in the place are feet are planted. Being aware, being alert, being alive are essential for you and I to be in order to receive the  priceless gift Infinite love offered to us. We must have a personal response to the above questions, and be prepared for an encounter beyond all other encounters. These encounters with the reality of The Historical  Jesus, The Christ of God, are celebrated in  The Seven Liturgical Sacraments. That is Sacrament with a big "S".

     My first understanding of a Sacrament,hammered into my unconscious in grade school, was an outward sign instituted by Christ, to give grace." I have taught Sacramental Theology for these many years and now have this understanding of capital "S" Sacrament.

 " A Liturgical Sacrament is an ENCOUNTER with The Living Human Person of Jesus Christ,the result of which change is brought about in my life and that change is the result of the mysterious workings of The Holy Spirit"

 It is an encounter, a conscious meeting with, the living Person of Jesus Christ,The Jesus we come to first meet, and, then encounter in ,The four Gospels. That word "living" is so so important if we are going to have an in-depth meeting, encounter, with the living walking talking, festival loving, betrayed and crucified Jesus. As those who encountered Jesus in Palestine were changed so too all of our Sacramental encounters can lead, to ,change.Change not chosen by me, but chosen through the power and instrumentality of The Gracious Creative Spirit. As The Creative Spirit,The Holy Spirit encounters us in the depths of our reality that encounter leads to our immersion into the the ongoing story of "new heavens and new earths". All of who I am, all my creative effort are not accidental to, but essential to the ongoing evolution of our cosmos and universe. Pope Francis uses that word encounter again and again. He never seems to tire of reminding us



Saturday, September 2, 2023

 My soul is thirsting for you, my living God.Where can I find you ? Look no further than where you stand at any moment on the trail.Be still and know that I am with you.I am Emmanuel !!!!!!!

        The Liturgy of The Word provides choice food for the hunger and challenges, we must meet, face, and feed. This will lead to a transformation in a way we  are unable to plan for ourselves. MYSTERY !!!!!! St.Paul is right "of ourselves we can do nothing,but we can do all things in The Gracious Power that strengthens us." That Power leading to transformation is offered to us in each and every moment of living.That Gracious Power of Infinite love comes to us in "each and every person, place,event,acion" which makes each of the above sacramental. Let us pray for the sight For this to happen we are challenged to led go of that which has caused us to conform to the acceptable norms.We must strike out in a new direction, by turning around and going in the opposite direction.(Conversion).

      We must meet,face, "the road less traveled' in search of The Living God ,Whom my soul aches, and thirsts for. Only The Living God will satisfy this thirst.We must not settle for the idols, readily offered so seductively along the wayside.Idols are dead objects the worship of which leads only to death, and to our  personally created hells. Hell for me is where, Love is not present. Living our lives in that awful frightening reality,cannot provide, the living water, necessary for a healthy spiritual journey.This life leads to  bothyou and I having "life and having it to the fullest". This is what has been promised by The Prophet Jesus,Who became The Christ of God, through His suffering death BURIAL and Resurrection. Where He had gone we are destined to follow. This is a reality we cannot duck,or avoid if the" fullness  of life" is our goal, because it is our destiny.

         Maybe this will throw some light on the Gospel reading where it Jesus,The Christ, is saying,"He who looses his life... will save it." Another one of those paradoxes that can, and will baffles us, at first reading.This baffling will continue in the many many readings to follow. You have been called to life "a life of fullness," we must not settle for less. The lesser way is easier, more attractive, but turns to dust in our mouths.The "way is long, with many a winding turn'( Nial Diamond) but we have wings to shelter under, and be at peace. It can get better still,in the shadows we" will shout  for joy',not happiness. Happiness, is about what we have, joy, is about who we are. We are, the sacrament of The Living God,The Fountain of Living water, a resting place where many weary travelers will find  safety rest, and refreshment. Let us allow transformation to happen, no matter what the cost to our false selves. Warning !!!!! be prepared for a battle. We have however,Him "who has overcome  the world" in the depths of our being.A strengthening Presence that because of His faithfulness  cannot  desert us. Love prayers and blessings be with you all. Maybe a little prayer, a remembrance, please.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

 The following is a quote, long I must warn you, that has been a very significant influence on my way os thinking and seeing. It is so long ago I have forgotten when this was first read. I am reading from a new edition which is intended to commemorate the first edition 40 years ago. It is taken from James Finley's book, "Merton's Palace of Nowhere." He as being formed, at one time, under the spiritual guidance of Thomas Merton.

       " Spiritual reading has the potential of becoming itself a prayers kind of event in which a true transformation of consciousness takes place.At times like these the reading takes on a sacramental force that transforms the silence of a room, the winds flower, the ticking of a clock into sudden,subtle and unexpected manifestations of God,silently calling us from the midst of things to "be still and know that I am God." ( Can we add to that the gentle or pounding sounds surf, high mountains, placid lakes, in other words all that The Creative Spirit offers us in creation ? Fr.Joe)

  " In the reader's simple, humble desire for God the words are empowered to unveil a fleeting glimpse of life's most secret meaning.One's own innermost,unspoken insights and desires are suddenly encountered on the printed page.The response is a deepening of those desires and a renewed courage to set out for deeper waters."

     To unpack all that is contained in those couple of paragraphs will take each of us a lifetime. Let us set aside these moments of our given time, to take a closer, deeper look at what has just been afforded us. Please do not get scared,Grandpa Joe is learning a lesson that you have wished on him for many years now, keep it short. This means we are going to have the above word kept before us for, how long ? Read on. We are journeying into the unknown where the Unknown,The Ineffable is encountered. 

        The first important words for us to consider, reflect on, are those which teaches us that spiritual reading, has, "the potential' to be, sacramental, and hence can lead to a" transformation of consciousness "What is the meaning of this word sacramental ? First take note that this word is spelled with a small "s".This is opposed to the reality that when we speak of The Seven Ritual Sacraments we us the capital "S". It took me quite some time to get this sorted out in my own mind. That did not happen suddenly, in a flash of spiritual understanding,rather it took years of studying and reflection. I have always been a slow learner !!!!! This has not changed and I am afraid  now, will never change,so? "keep on keeping on".

          There are  the two understandings of of the word sacrament. For our purpose here, let us look at what sacrament with that small "s "means. Well for me now ; it is each and every person place event action, seen and unseen, that brings us in contact with the deeper realities of life, and ultimately with Reality Itself. That, Reality, we call  God." We have these power-full words of deChardin." By reason of creation, and still more by reason of The Incarnation,there is nothing profane for the person whop knows how to see.' "All of creation is charged with the glory  of God""Hopkins. Enough to chew on ?

Sunday, August 13, 2023

 Sunday August 13th 2023. CONVERSION-METANOIA.

 The answer to so many of the challenges of life lies in our ability to make the journey of metanoia.It is the slow process of changing how we see, view, our reality, and our reality, as we see, in those who share our journey. Conversion is another word to describe that which is essential and unfortunately, unavoidable on our way to a healthy understanding of and embracing of our spiritual journey. A journey we make NOT as" human beings having a human experience, but as spiritual beings immersed in the human condition"(deChardin). 

        Conversion is also seen as "turning around, and start walking in the,opposite direction" Conversion a gradual change in how we see, and act our way into a new way of being. Conversion challenges us to let go of the familiar and journey into the darkness, the uncertainty of the faith journey. I was ordained in 1963 when the changes of The Second Vatican Council began to filter down. Leaving the certainty of the seminary,I was jettisoned into a new country, and, an evolving new church. (This evolution has not stopped despite the best efforts of those who have been called to lead.This is a sadness I have to deal with in my own personal journey. Now,however,  I can now honestly share that, "I'm thankful for my struggle because without it I wouldn't have stumbled across my strengths".Thank you Gracious Spirit for the gifts of Pope Francis and Bishop John.) 

   It is the same Catholic Faith but oh so different  in how we believe,belong to and are active in.We are challenged to journey ever deeper into having  "to walk by faith not by sight", I cannot become Whom I am called to be by remaining, who I am. St.Theresa of Avila,warns us that we have to blasted out of our that to which we have become accustomed to and familiar with. Change does not come easily.It demands hard work."The spiritual life is not for the faint of heart"it forces us to be, become  warriors. We do not become transformed under our own power, but this transformation occurs under the tender guidance of The Gracious Creative Spirit. We are challenged by metanoia  to move beyond the ramparts of ego in order to be lead into "new Heavens and new earths". Yes the old world is passing away and in its place is a new creation  is revealed where justice, love, and peace, reigns supreme. This will happen when I stop trying to think my way of acting, it will only happen when act my way into a new way of thinking.

    Then we can honestly say, a new song has been placed in my mouth,Psalm 40. Let us take the advise of Dial Diamond, and"sing it loud, sing it strong".You have a new song of Hope  to sing force-fully and joy-fully in each moment of your living.Do to let anyone or anybody silence that prophetic cry so desperately needed, in these  ever anxious and darkening times. Everything we need for a healthy cosmos and life lies in our depths. Set it free and slowly bring about that new creation which we wait for so impatiently.So, do not be discouraged, Have faith in The One Who has called you into being, from the existence of time." I believe help my disbelief/unbelief". May The Spirit of Truth guide you into all truth, and provide the courage necessary to be "The Contemporary Christ." Love prayers and blessings.Great Grandpa Joe. 


Tuesday, August 8, 2023

The Feast of The Transfiguration 2023.    

Looking back, I am want to do these days, there were just two Sundays where the homily was going to be short. (Snide comments are more than welcome !!!) One was The of The Most Holy Trinity and the other was todays feast. over time, after a great deal of reading,they got longer.from all my reading I always come back to the quote from a letter Thomas Merton wrote to Henri Noun.

       At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and illusions point of pure faiths point or mark which belongs entirely to God.... this  little.... point is the pure glory of God it is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of is in everybody"

    Wow !!! how challenging are those four last words: " it is in EVERYBODY'. You,me,that relative you cannot be around, that homeless person we avoid, the slow grocery clerk, the illegals that are so demonized but can work wonders with our front and back yards. I challenge you to those are judged so very harshly in our society, because they not conformant will not be boxed in.This list can be endless. We  gradually become aware of those who carry who are on our list, of  the non qualified.It will grow within us, in direct proportion to how narrow-minded and self-centered we are, and are becoming. What is the answer ? Conversion. Love prayers and blessings to you all who journey into your awe-full-ness. Great grand Joe. 

Sunday, July 30, 2023

 What am I going to write about in this effort ? I honestly do not know.There are some ideas rattling around in my head awaiting expression.Just because they are there does not mean they will ever see the light of day.I have often had some ideas for a homily all worked out, ready to go. Did they  ever weave their way into the homily,NO. Now looking back, I knew as much as you knew, about what was going to be said.I can hear you saying, yes,great grandpa Joe,  that is what we were exposed to and what challenged to make sense of. I really did, and do believe in the power of the Holy Spirit,so why not put that Power to work ? The Spirit thrives on chaos, and screwed-up-ness. The spiritual journey is to, gradually grow in  the ability to surrender, to entrust, our messiness,our powerlessness to the workings of Infinite Creative Love,Who is our hidden strength.  Then there is an awakening. We  are gently lead the awareness, we are on the way to discover the "treasured" hidden in the darkness of our,earthiness. We always need the Gentle Light to light our way into the darkness of the unknown, and Unknowable.

 There are three words which stand out, that is to my way unique way of seeing, in the Responsorial Psalm. They are kindness, compassion and wonder. Many years ago my great friend Fr.Tot,gave me this piece of advice,"Joe,be gentle with yourself. This came at a crucial time in my journey into the real realities of my troubled life.Was I successful ? all I can share is this reality is ,like all reality's work in progress. For this journeys  "the pearl of great price' is offered to us, and that is compassion. We are all on the road that will lead to us being wounded ,and broken. We will all need "that stranger" who will pour the oil of compassion to soothe the great pain.A pain that at the time seems overwhelming.  In each "one moment, one step at a time" we will exit the "dark valley",and be lead to the mount of Transfigurement. Our true dignity, our essential goodness, is now blossoming in a harvest beyond our imagination, or understanding. That is why the third word,  WONDER.Wonder,fits in so neatly into this conversation. Wonder,awe,leads us to pray. Now that we are coming to believe in our essential goodness we are free to communicate from that place of honesty which up to now had eluded us. The journey from"illusion to prayer"(Nouwen) is one of the three steps essential to a healthy spirituality. The other two steps, 'We journey from , loneliness  into solitude, hostility to hospitality" I am certain these steps will be encountered again and again. 

          The you are not likely to be a victim of "gaslighting. Neither will you be the victim of 'shadow throwing". Deepening your belief in you essential goodness is a work in progress. We are guided along the path of unknowing into that place where the "new and the old" are meshed together into a, oneness." The reality of The Kingdom is now slowly emerging.This gift is NOT for ourselves,  not for our own ego  boosting,but, is to be shared as a gift. Sharing from our place of radical honesty is the " hidden treasure'  we have been entrusted with.

                    Now what is the heading, you HONESTLY feel, would best express your honest  thought(s). 



Sunday, July 23, 2023

The hidden qualities of ,the OIL of mercy.

 Im am so excited to be back and again connected with you.I love your comments.Keeps me going !!! Some people really read what is written so very attentively. It was brought to my attention that I started the last blog as grandpa and ended as great grandpa ???? You see that was how much effort went into the blog.The effort made an older man of me.I am now looked on as SENIOR SENIOR citizen. I am in deep gratitude that anybody is reading these efforts.My gratitude list is getting longer each day. Remember that old song "Let the good times roll"? Would love to have it as background music for this effort.

    Bask in the mid '60s there was a book written by Eugene Kennedy, "Comfort My people".  That has a serious effect on my approach to ministry.I have not, you all  too well know, always been successful.My sincerest apologies to who have suffered from my woundedness. There has been some gradual healing over the many years.There is still a way to go. Patience patience !!!! Screw patience, I want recovery right now.Then on the other hand, anything that is instant is usually no good. Have you ever eaten, instant mash potatoes.Whoever invented them was definitely not an Irishman.

WOW !! it has sure taken Great grandpa Joe, a long  time to get to what he wants to address this evening. Some saying fastidiously,just like his sermons. It has been a few years now since I listened to Fr.Rohr reflect on this gospel.His reflection changed my perspective on the spiritual.An understanding I have made a conscious effort to pass on to those who have been placed in my path. I am not going to quote the whole gospel hermit is sufficient for this effort to just use those very strange words "let them grow together until harvest time'. 

The them are darnel and wheat. When they break out of the ground ,the young darnel and wheat look somewhat similar.So when the servants indicated they wanted to unroot the darnel, the master was not in agreement.The wise man offered the advice let them grow together until harvest time. Harvest  time is toward the end of the year, Autumn. That is a long time to wait. How impatient those servants  must have become.Who likes to wait on nature. Ask any expectant mother how she feels toward the end of her pregnancy.? Do not expect a very polite answer.Especially after a sleepless night. Duck !!!!We reap our harvest at the of our lives.In the Autumn of our lives and looking carefully at the harvest we are reaping.Around 35 things begin to change.Our spiritual perspective slowly changes.We are faced with the limitations of our wounded humanity.We are not the best at anything.Not the best husband wife son daughter employer or employee.We come up short all the way around. What is now needed compassionate understanding and mercy-full love.

I have written on my new understanding of mercy. The kind of mercy Pope Francis is so anxious for us to embrace and apply to our wounds.Wounds the appear to bleed all the time.The healing has not you remember the parable of the Good Samaritan? How he poured oil into the wounds of his sworn enemy, the Jew.Now think back to the chanting of The Lord Have Mercy, the Kyrie Eleison. The Greek word for oil is to be found in Eleison. So we are actually praying that the oil of mercy may be poured down on us. What does oil dot it, heals,sooths,comforts,strengthens,and because it is, Gods Love in action, it transfigures and transforms us. The Prodigal's Father's Mercy then is so so much more that just about the forgiveness of our transgressions. ( This is long enough, so I will have mercy on you all.)

         So may the blessings of mercy-full  be yours, as you face the challenge of being not "a human being having a spiritual experience, but a spiritual being, immersed, in the human condition".Word written be deChardin many many moons ago. Our collective human reality is sure taking a hammering, and where are the proactive efforts to advert, the sixth annihilation? Great great great grandpa Joe.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

A new post I hope !!!!

This is the beginning of a new adventure. I have not been able to get a blog posted for some time,so here goes the effort of a now 83 year old Grandpa Joe.This Grandpa has recently his Diamond Jubilee of Ordination. June 8th.1963 30 of strong your Irish lads,plus on Scot were laid hands on by the Bishop Keogh. Thank God 17 are still alive and kicking.Not too gingerly, but ,kicking. Health concerns prevented me from returning to  St.Patrick's College in Carlow City for the reunion.There was however an awe-full,wondrous  celebration that was hosted by the pastoral staff of St.Andrew The Apostle, in Chandler Az.I was so honored to be it's founding pastor in June of 1986. It was so great to see some of those founding members at the Jubilee celebration.Definitely a night to remember. Gracias a Dios,agus,go raibh maith agat. A little Gaelic still left.

  Well what have I been up to since my last posting ,and, what am I up to now ? I can share only what is allowed me within the bounds of decency. Well I am a little more retired. My get up and go, has got up and gone, for starters.Before this,visit from hell,I was able to walk and hike just a little. I have had three epidurals, and sad to say no baby. I do however get to move around and get some of my chores done. Very light on the, housekeeping. Years ago I used to say, to the chagrin of many, "A clean house is the sign of a sick mind".Some did not return the following week-end !!!! My great friend Fr.Tot O'Dea,R.I.P. used to remind me "clean the pond Joe and the lilies die". What a compassionate presence he was in my life. We had some great chats over breakfast/lunch.They kept me kinda sane, for the  years following The Second Vatican Council. We sure miss his down to earth understanding of healthy spirituality and pastoral practice. Our new Bishop John Dolan ,could surely use his droll insights. Tot how I miss you. You always kept me grounded in the reality of the present moment. Reality, in its acceptance leads to a healthy spirituality. That act of accepting demand a great deal of time and effort.A healthy spirituality come at a steep price. We are to face  our immersion in the moment to moment  battlefield of the soul.The ongoing struggle to the death, between the true self and the false self. On the outcome of that struggle rests so much. We will journey into what means for us in whatever time my weakened body will allow. Your prayers will be deeply appreciated. For now,slainte,and have a good sleep. Great grandpa Joe.