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.