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.