Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Those of you who have been keeping close tabs on the author will be well aware of the fact GRBAGE was never completed. There was anxiety, greed and anger still not having been addressed. ( This fact triggers some anxiety in Joe.) So we need to go back and continue our journey, deal withe the three remaining boulders. That is the tough part. This struggle is essential so we may see what  transformation has been brought about by the power of The Resurrection. Yes !!! it is always true,  out of death, always, comes new life. "Those who sew in tears, will reap rejoicing".When we share in the Suffering Servants Death , we will assuredly have a share in the cosmic results of The Resurrection. The same Power that brought about The Resurrection of The Historical Jesus, is that same Power Who is dwelling in our depths. This Creative Spirit of Love, when surrendered too, brings about transformations and transfigurations way beyond our spacial thinking. The Resurrected One is not bound by the laws of time and space. The Resurrection is one of the supernatural mysteries of faith. So when you see that I am struggling with the order of words, Joe has hit a dark, blind  spot and still awaits the revelation that will further his advance along his, Via Dolorosa. Each Via Dolorosa is unique to the traveller as he takes  her/his unique steps, " to where, who  knows ". Each asks our own unique questions, and are lead by, The Spirit, into our unique answers. "Ask the question, and, live into, the answer' (Nouwen).

                    I have read, and listened to a great deal of what has been  said and written about anxiety, I have likewise have invested a serious amount of time seeking insights into the mysterious realm of acceptance and serenity. This is my lot in life, and have been real serious about it for many decades. I DO NOT have any answers for you. You will have to do your own work, because I do not have the answers for you.  Please ask for the help, grace, courage  to honestly delve into your deepest reality. It is there  lies your  unique, Truth is lying in your depths, waiting to be freed. In the freeing will  come with a unique message that WILL ever so slowly come to  your consciousness.  You are now in the process of contributing to the perfection of all of creation. The lasting messages will have their origins, not in your successes, but in your failures. " Not as the world gives, do I give" 

Please believe in your inner Authority. Never allow that to be compromised. It is so precious, and must be defended. Now become familiar with the role of the prophet. We, by our Baptism are given a share in the prophetic mission of Christ. Make friends with the fact that the prophet is allows opposed. Opposed by so called,  "good people'. Jesus was crucified as the result of the conspiracy between the religious, and civil leaders of His time. Will we ever come to the real, honest figure of how many have been martyred in South America because they strove for justice and equality. I personally knew Sr. Dorothy Stern. She is recognized as one of the great leaders of the people. So great was her influence, she was assassinated. I have a photo of her dead body stretched facing down on a deserted forrest trail.  

 Each one has a unique message, gift that will enhance the perfection of creation. For this you were chosen, from all of eternity. There is no magic formula to trigger this migration from your depths. AGAIN I am going to repeat, " No deposit,no return ". As it was true for the pop bottle in the  decades long passed through, so it will be true of your efforts as you " trudge the road of happy destiny. Fear, anxiety, and their "friends" will be a constant presence. Paul in Phillipians has this counsel for us : " Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Peter " Cast all your anxiety on Him Who cares for you". As a reminder, all are the beloved of our Prodigal Father Whose love is everlasting, and cannot be escaped from. " The Hound of Heaven " by Francis Thompson. " I fled Him, down the nights and down the days; I fled Him, down the arches of the years ...." and did it work, Home Work !!!!!!! Love prayers and blessings .Great Gramps.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

 My brothers and sisters, as Neil Diamond sang, " the road is long, with many a winding turn, that leads us to who knows where, who knows where." I first heard those words many years ago and for some reason they struck home, like so many of the lyrics Neil has gifted us with. these following words have haunted me for years; "Be as a page ,that aches for words, which speaks on a theme that's timeless" are more mysterious words that have never left my unconscious. These words surface, pop into my head, at time when I am facing the unknown. A "winding turn", around which, I cannot see. Then I am faced with this truth "we walk by faith not by sight". Is not this journey, into the darkness of faith, a journey we are called to make, bye some inner voice ? A Gentle Voice, which needs real deep silence to be heard. We do not surrender to that space very easily, but by some 'winding roads" we are lead to this place of peace, and rest. It is," a buried treasure".  Like anything buried,  this "treasure lies in darkness, but we have been gifted with the light of The Spirit, Who will lead us to All Truth, and the freedom that is ours being the beloved daughters/sons of our Gracious Creator.

             St.Paul tells us that this Spirit is The Spirit of freedom, not the spirit of fear, leading us back into slavery. This is The Spirit which enables us to cry out, Daddy, to The power Who created all, out of love, for love. We are  called then, to be a people of freedom, not cowering slaves, bound by the chains of guilt, fear, and shame. This toxic trinity we do not have to face alone, as beloved daughters/sons, we have an inner strength to strengthen us for the moment to moment battles , of daily living. The community of The Holy Trinity dwells within. Do not we spend our whole lives in the discovery of the  mysterious meaning  being ,tabernacles of this Holy  Trinity, and the power that is always bubbling up from our depths ?  

           Richard Rohr has written the following:" The Spirit is always a gratuitous gift. It  is always an unmerited gift. It's always pure grace. like wind it cannot be seen. like smoke it cannot be controlled. The spirit is elusive, blowing where It wills. yet like fire, The spirit can be felt. The Spirit  is experienced as the warmth of God's love. Like blood it is experienced as an inner vitality. The Spirit is supremely intimate, yet supremely transcendent."  Love prayers and blessings to and on all. Great grandpa Joe.

Monday, May 20, 2024

 It has been awhile ?  They say " absence makes the heart grow fonder." Then one day, a teen of my acquaintance, added this bit of reality, " absence, makes the heart wander !!!!!" Now I live in the reality that, it is not about either/or, it is always about the both/and.' We are challenged to live out our given bodily existence living in the BOTH/AND. The Generous Spirit strengthens us to live in our reality, whatever it may be. The spiritual journey is always a challenge, it is hard work, but we have been chosen for the journey, and we never , "walk alone." ( This will have deep significance for Liverpool F.C. fans). That was a great , 'send off", they gave their present coach. That was a deep spiritual experience for many, many fans. This has been born out of their pain. How, awe-full, and wonder-full, it is to see and hear. 'Heart speaks to heart amidst the roar of the waves".

                   There is a very special person who reads this effort. Luke has created a very special creation, and has named it Lucinda. A creation that has touched the deep recesses of his heart. He now wonders whether this will be in his reality, in the Resurrection of the dead ? Luke, many years ago I heard a famous preacher say, about dogs, " if you need a dog to be blissfully happy in your Resurrected life then you will have it." So consequently if your Resurrection experience is not complete without your Lucinda, you will have it. Luke congratulations on using your talents to add to the beauty of creation. When you draw, paint, you are adding your unique contribution to the perfection of creation. For this you were born and in the continuation of your art Luke you will be fulfilling the purpose for which you have been created. You have been part of The Creator Father's plan from the beginning of time. When you were born, you came from The Infinite Loving Womb, and in your birthing the eternal met time. You have been living as " an eternal spiritual being, who lives now immersed in the human condition." When you paint you are allowing the Creative Spirit, The Holy Spirit to work through you for the betterment of ALL CREATION. I pray you will allow The Spirit of Pentecost to work freely through you. All your art work is sacramental for those who are privileged to view it. That means when you and others view that piece of art, as it is with all art, you are drawn out of yourself and into the realm of The Spirit. Luke continue your sacramental presence, and may The Gracious Creative Spirit inspire you to continue your unique contribution to the perfection of our creation. Luke you will be fulfilling what The Second Vatican Council's vision for you, " To be a co-creator an a co-perfector of ALL of creation. Spaceship earth is blessed with your unique presence. Luke you pray for old grandpa Joe. You are blessed with a special connection to The Power of Love Who moves both "heaven and earth." You are the beloved. Live your life as such. 

                The Season of Eater ended with the celebration of Pentecost Sunday. The day that is called " The Birthday Of the Church." On Pentecost The Spirit became united to the body, and we then had The Church, the living, contemporary reality of, The Risen Christ. What was, up to The Manifestation Of The Spirit, a bunch of frightened individuals, has been transformed into a living reality, offering eternal life to those who were open to their message. Those that preached on That First Pentecost, in many cases, did not know what they were saying.All they were able to do was share that which what was in their depths, and was bubbling up to consciousness. Without fear they spoke their truth, too hearts and ears aching for life giving words. The light of The Flames shone through, and a new creation came into existence. That is an essential part of our heritage, our story. In our story we continue the work of evangelization. Carrying the eternal, life giving message to a world that is facing the horrific death resulting residue,  of war. " We are individually chosen to be life givers, not death dealers". Every moment we make that choice, either consciously, or unconsciously. We never exist outside that reality. Our present cosmos desperately  needs those who will allow the power of " love, joy,peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control " which they have been blessed with to surface and explode on the world as we know it. Then there will be a transformation of this exhausted cosmos into a reality through which The Risen Christ, The Cosmic Christ can be the life giving, life enhancing source of a Power that also transfigures.

              I was privileged to be the main celebrant of The Funeral Liturgies of my mom and dad. this time it is different. I am unable to travel. So I am facing a different  set of circumstances. This reality is new to me, and I do not have any road map to follow. So it is one step at a time, enable to be able to live one moment at a time. That moment is called the sacramental now. " Now, is the acceptable time, now is the time of salvation." This moment is as full of the help of our Gracious Prodigal Creator as I need. My needs are always met. It is my unending greed that messes everything up. Love prayers and blessing from this wounded, wandering, wanderer. He is, and ever will be  a " spiritual being, who is so immersed in the human condition " while navigating the uncertain seas. " I believe, help my disbelief", " I can't, we must."

          

Friday, May 10, 2024

 Death questions the authenticity of our existence, is a thought worth carrying over, for some further reflection. Over my sixty plus years in ministry I have never encountered death without being aware, nothing is the same. Growing up in Ireland there were no funeral parlors. The person was waked from their own home. I remember visiting the homes and going into the room where the corpse lay. I used to say a few prayers. After the prayers being offered I did kissed the dead person on the forehead. Then went out.  At St. Andrew The Apostle, we were blessed to have a hospice home in pretty near the rectory. Over 20 plus years I made numerous calls to that home to supply comfort to the dying person, an to their families. Driving back to an empty home now see how many mini retreats The Holy Spirit blessed me with. The lenses through which I was seeing life, were constantly refined by The Great Optometrist. I found I was preaching from a different place. One got to the meat, there was fluffy language used. I had to catch myself, many is the time, from using some of the common language of those brought up in Ireland. We cannot hide from life in all of its nakedness. We must be real. The blessings of being real, you are in touch with The Real, another name for The Divine, for God.

            The life, sufferings, death, burial, Resurrection,  Ascension, and descent of The Holy Spirit are the lenses, through which we are challenged to see the realities of our daily living. That is why we have Christmas, Lent, and Easter every year, because on visit is not enough. The Easter egg is not dipped just once, but again, and again, and again, and..... So we as Christians, and those who face the challenges of injustices, bigotry, exploitation, dehumanization, and trafficking, will find strength in reflecting, meditating on the unvarnished events of The Prophet Jesus's three short years of ministry. In speaking , and above all living The New Truths Jesus was faced with the stern, awe-full reality of what happens when truth is forcefully spoken to power. Virginia, and all mothers of special needs, special human beings, have first hand knowledge of the hoops to jump through to make sure their child receives all that it is entitled to. It is not about extras, it is about basics. When are these mothers, along with The Veronicas, and Simons of Cyrene who minister to the Jesus Christs on a moment to moment basis be recognized as the true evangelists sent to witness today's harsh and uncaring world. I had friend Barbara who was an advocate for patients in a mental institution, her stories shattered me. How can human beings be so callously treated, by so called, fellow human beings. Suffering ,we are to be taught over a long period of time, is a mystery into which we are dipped, moment to moment on our journey following in the footsteps of Jesus, Who became The Christ through His Paschal-Easter Mysteries. Where He has gone , we ARE TO FOLLOW, when we assume the mantle of being The Ministering Christ to todays suffering Christs.

                     Some are blessed with a great sensitivity for the suffering Christs who inhabit our world. What are the fears to be faced in order for us to be authentic, contemporary healers of our wounded sisters and brothers? In the transformative mysterious encounter of care giving, wounded  wounders  become wounded healers.  Warning !!! An earthquake will occur, and "your life will be turned, upside, RIGHT" (G.K. Chesterton) The Risen Cosmic Christ arises from the tabernacle of our depths, "and it is wonder-full to behold ".May your hearts and backs  be strengthened by grace so you will enjoy the life you were chosen to lead, and live at a price. That is why so many of the mystics encourage us "to gaze, look at The Cross." I will not apologize for the results.  May that road ever rise before you. May The Spirit Wind be always at your back. Until we meet again, may  love of The Gracious Mother/Father cuddle you, in safety. May Love prayers and blessings reach you wherever you may be. Great Grandpa Joe.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

 Well my sister Virginia has been taken off meds, and is now receiving only medications to keep her comfortable. Waiting for the phone to ring, or a message posted on FB, which will tell me Virginia's life's battle is over. She has been a fighter all her life. Her fight now is to let go of her special needs son Gearoid , who just turned 47. She gave him a great blowout party. Great photos on FB. He was a Special Olympics, Great Britain swimming champion, on a number of occasions. He is so proud of his gold medals. He is not able to comprehend fully what is happening. Virginia will fight like hell, to hang on. Only grace  will be to empower her to let go. Her death will not be sudden. Please pray for her to be able to let go. Please pray for Gearoid that the comforting care of His Mother/Father be a real driving force in his daily battle with loss. We do not like loss, powerlessness, letting go, liminal space, tomb time, I have had some great, long desert hikes, walks these last number of days and Mother Nature is sure great in what is revealed for hope and consolation. I have been saying for years now, "Got a problem take a hike." A deep woods bath would be awe-full. A wood bath sure soothes the troubled soul, and a new provides all that is necessary to continue the slog of, " being spiritual beings immersed in the human condition". Virginia will return to the  Infinite  Loving womb  that first gave her existence and life. There she will be reunited with The Loving Power  which  first loved her. Virginia was so loved that she was given human existence. She was sent, as all are sent, to continue the work of creating and perfecting. Yes the world has become a better place because the decision was made to bless all of creation with her presence. Would Tha all of us could have this written about us when our days as co-creators and co-perfectors of all of creation. 

      Quantum thought is breaking into our consciousness and revealing the immense  power of healthy thoughts in the ongoing creation of our mysterious creation. The health of each human mind is essential for a healthy creation to not  just to exist in but to grasp life, and live it to its fullest. Then the purpose of The Cosmic Christ will be fulfilled in each one of us. " I have come that you may have life, and have it to the fullest", " My joy may be yours, and your joy complete." Go for the gusto, and do not settle for less. " It is expensive, but I am worth it."

                Some random thoughts are all I have for you. I have been taking the journey of  the wounded wanderer. So all I have to share are the scattered thought of this moment. Some of you who have been reading my efforts can vouch for Joe, as one scattered individual. If you ever heard my homilies, you would be taken for quite a ride. One though, one train of thought did not last too long. I never had anything written so The Gracious Spirit took all on a mysterious ride. We got to reach some places, from which we were never given the path home. The sermons were meant to challenge further thought, not to provide  canned and easy answers. It is same with this wandering effort. I do not have the power to answer your questions fully. That's the job of The Gracious Spirit. 

      My job is to get you fired up, so you will never take my for anything. You will see this as pointing you in the direction The Creative Spirit desires for you. I will never be privy to The Gospel that is being written and will continue to be written. May The Holy Spirit be your true guide as you contribute to the magesterium of the people". There is an inner authority in your depths. Foster a deep relationship with That Reality. You will then be a prophetic presence in the place you are planted. The powers that be, may not like the gospel you share. It is not for them to like it.  They are responsible to have a listening ear, and an open welcoming mind. Pope Francis is the model to follow. It is so sad to see that those who need to follow him the most are so actively opposing his every effort to make our Catholic Christian Faith into what is laid out in the Gospels. Then prophets are never welcomed. They are opposed by those uniquely challenged, and are fear-filled when it comes to change. Being a prophet guarantees you one thing, you will be killed. Death is a friend that takes you to places you otherwise not dare visit. Death always questions the authenticity of our own existence. That has been my experience. May it never cease its complacent  shattering questioning. The answers are meant for.......


Sunday, April 28, 2024

Happy Mysterious Easter to you all. Yes, the Season of Easter is still with us. Time gifted to you and I so we can grow in our understanding of all that is "perfectly hidden and revealed " in the life beyond the life we say or think is, life. We are challenged not to take life as we see it but to look at life through the lens of a lively faith. An adventurous faith that is always seeking the unseen, so the sen life becomes more of a mystery to us with each passing moment. The time we life in is ever and always Kairos time. Time through which The Gracious Spirit is revealing our origin and our destiny. We have come from the Womb of Infinite Love, and that is our first memory, Infinite  Love. We will be, to quote St.Augustine, "be restless' until we find the time and place where The Infinite is encountered in our croons time, watch time, calendar time. Which will control us unless we take steps to look beyond and seek beyond the so called realities of life. Realities which when given the power will control us and our lives and we will lives of unreality. Then we will ask " "Where is God,The Divine, The Gracious Spirit, The Power of love, etc." ?

                 It is very difficult to gaze on the cross and come to terms with this stark reality, THIS IS THE FULLNESS OF THE REVELATION OF OUR CREATOR, AND CREATING FORCE OF LOVE. That   Human Being, a being, that has been stripped naked, His ravaged body, racked with pain, is further dehumanized and exposed to the "vulgar gaze of the crude, rude, and mocking crowd". A crowd that He wished to be transformed and transfigured so the Infinite Within then may be exposed, and then there where will be the revelation of "new heavens and new earths".  It did not happen during His lifetime, so t now rests with you and I to assume the challenge and do what is possible for us. Not the impossible, but the possible, we are called to do our best, not the best. Then The Paschal-Easter Mysteries reveal that through our great failure, our heart wrenching losses, we are Brough to a wisdom which all the richnesses of the world cannot impart on us. We again go deep to seek out and search out our unique understanding and we with  all the events of  daily lives write a contemporary gospel. A gospel that MAY be written, but not necessarily so." Wherever you go preach the Gospel, and when necessary use words." St Francis.

I love the definition of love Scott Peck gifts us with," Love, is the willingness to extend oneself for the spiritual growth of oneself, or,  another human being". In the economy of today we are challenged to add, "the cosmos, all of creation." In His second appearance in, the room, The Risen One extends Himself so that rejecting Thomas may be brought to faith. Christ's attitude, o'k  "Thomas, so you do you not to believe, that is going to be your loss. Look around you at those who do believe why cannot you believe these you friends that I Am Risen. No that is not the attitude of the Risen Christ. He shows Thomas His wounds, hands and side. He further invites Thomas to place his hand, fingers into His wounds. Thomas comes to believe that Resurrection and new way of existing is possible. That was then, how about now ?  On  my hike to day I was privileged to have, not a meeting but an encounter with another trail person and what I am to share was crystallized in those minutes of encounter. Strange events occur on desert trails. I pray you have the transforming experience.

              His vocation, is to journey with those who choose the created over the uncreated. The apparent good, is chosen not, The Good. The challenge of all recovery is to face the reality that recovery is grounded in the acceptance of, 'Of the powerlessness of power and the power of powerlessness." That must be revealed, communicated by someone who has walked the road that lead to "absolute powerlessness". In that hell of failure, rejection and complete nakedness a little light broke through the darkness. That little light came in the form of wound sharing. "The room"of the gospel is recreated in that place, and the encounter between Christ and Thomas is recreated, ever anew. The suffering, desperate addict must hear the  hope filled good news, there is a way out. The recovering addict share with the sufferer, his/her's "experience, strength and hope' that has come from the acceptance of "absolute powerlessness" over their addiction. I each and every " 12 step" it is in the telling of the slog from where they were at, to the freedom experienced in a new way of acting and a new way of seeing. In each "room' where the twelve step journey is radically shared wounds are again shared. In that honest sharing something very mysterious happens. In the simple telling, retelling, The Mysterious Power of Grace, uses those word as a channel of hope leading to another metaman, metahuman, being touched and the process of restoration has begun. Recovery is a process, not an event. Those who "walk the walk, not talk the talk' continue their slog. A slog that is NEVER taken alone. There is not the confidence in a new Higher Power, and embraces our powerlessness and leads us to new horizons. There are no boundaries in the spiritual journey, only horizons to be travelled to, by a path "we do not know". Faith journeys are not about certainties but the hope-filled acceptance of this fact, the step I am taking right now is the pinnacle of my life. I am as safe as as I can be right here right now. We do not know where this "strength and hope comes from". It is none of our business. Our Gracious Spirit, Higher Power, Great Spirit ...... knows, and in that knowing we are known. THAT IS ENOUGH. ( I am dealing here with Absolute Mystery. Some word may have to be reread, and reread. When this has happened please rejoice, celebrate, in what slowly bubbles up from your innermost depths. This well awaits your  visit, and revisitation is encouraged. The refreshing Water of Life always tastes sweet.

           My sister Virginia has reached the end of her encounter with The Paschal Mystery. She has drunk fully of the chalice of suffering, resulting in her being the source of transforming strength for, others. May her transition to The Resurrected life be one of peace and joy. Her special needs son, Gearoid, will also be in need of encounters with today's Simon and Veronica.  A journey into new awarenesses of powerlessness, and loneliness awaits. We all need your prayers, and, hope-filled thoughts.  Great Grandpa Joe. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Easter Season 2024 !!!!!.    We continue or reflection of this Easter Season so we are able to view the present life events with fresh lenses that reveal the great mysteries that are present in the present, in the here and now moment. It is always about where I find my  grounded two feet. The ground we tread on is sacred ground. Every step is a sacramental step. Mystery permeates our reality. As a consequence all must be reverenced, as it is holy. There is nothing, no moment lived,, no person encountered, that does not have  "perfectly hidden, and perfectly revealed " (Rohr) within their depths  The Paschal Mystery. So then it stands to reason that our Paschal experience, and understanding of said Mystery is always caught up in encounter. The richness of the gift, like buried treasure, is revealed as the digging is done. No digging, no encounter with what is hidden in the depths will reveal to us nothing. Then instead of the sacramental experience of the moment, there is a meaningless existence. This is turn will be fodder for the false self to lead us ' far off lands " where me will meet the rebellious son living within us. We are aching to journey home to the warm, unconditional  loving embrace of The Prodigal Father. This is always ours, right now.  It is always right now for you and I. We have been generated by The Eternal Mother/Father creator in eternity's our our origin, and destiny is eternal. I pray this encourages you to claim all that you are, and all that is being given to you. 

      The desert always is the source of new perspectives and as a consequence, new understandings. I think St.Augustine famous words " O Beauty, ever ancient, ever new" can be applied to the sacramentality of the desert experience. What is ancient, and what is new, we are led to discover, over a long period of time. The Jesus, The Good Shepherd was in the desert for forty days. Ours, on the other hand, is a life long journey. A tough slog. We slowly surrender to the process of surrendering. The egocentric ego does not surrender without a life long fight. That battle rages every moment in our depths. The results are revealed to us in the events of our daily living. In this way ,The Resurrection becomes a lived  reality. Christ has died, Christ is risen,  Christ comes and reveals His Risen Presence in each and every  encounter with loss, abandonment and death.

    We left poor St. Thomas in his rejection of the reality of The Resurrection. All that was going to change when The Risen Christ reappeared in the room, again without notice. As The Good Shepherd he reaches out to Thomas, and to the place of  rejection. He approaches Thomas as he is, and offers to him His wounded hands and side to be penetrated. At what cost ? From his encounter with the sacred wounds of The Good Shepherd, Thomas leaves his rejection stance and surrenders to faith.  A simple account in the Resurrection narrative, but in simplicity is always  hidden,  and as yet unknown, untold riches.  So it is with us, and our  personal experiences of The Paschal-Easter Mystery.. When we bring our woundedness to prayer, they through grace, mysteriously "become  our sacred wounds" as Fr. Rohr so wisely councils us. The fruits of these wounds are not for ourselves, for our own grandoisement. As we encounter,  come face to face, with a contemporary suffer we must first be able to, somehow, in some way encounter them with compassion. Not empathy, compassion. We must let the wounded one we are conscious of their pain, Why ? Because we too were in the place of  guilt, shame, anger,  abandonment, despair, powerlessness, and hopelessness. Our guts were hanging out. Peace  and serenity were words written somewhere  in some book. We too were experiencing, hell on earth. That was not the end for us,  rather that was the beginning. The beginning of a way of acting, which in turn led to a new way of thinking. This happened over a period of time.The gift of perseverance must be prayed for. We must be honest the journey is not easy, anything but. ( This is to be continued. Ran out of gas at 10:20 p.m.) Sleepy, mistake prone, Grandpa Joe.

Friday, April 19, 2024

An awe-full Easter Season, is my wish for you. Yes, I am going to be able offer this wish for a few more weeks. The  Easter-Paschal has so many, many layers of deep spiritual meaning it would take a lifetime of these efforts to really do justice to all of its, depth meaning. We explore, or better still we are led into the exploration of a Mystery whose meaning can never be exhausted. Each generation will be lead to its unique understanding, while begging the question,"Why was not The Paschal Mystery understood this way before now ?" The Gracious Creative Spirit leads to to what we need NOT what we want, or think what is best for us. In the last post I shared the deep meaning of mercy, which has come to me over a number of years now. Today, The Spirit Willing, we will look a little deeper into  greeting the Risen Christ offered to His fear filled , shattered apostles, cowering in the room with locked doors. Those locked doors could not keep The Risen One locked out. The Risen Christ we must remember is now beyond the restraints of time, and space. In all our spiritual considerations we are NEVER bound by time and space.

           Well ! let us make an effort to create the  imagined atmosphere created by those worried souls.  Was there a conversation taking place among those traumatized persons ? We they discussing  the events that  Rabbi Jesus foretold were going to happen, and sure enough they did. In the events of The Tridium the apostles were shown to be lacking in real courage. " The Shepherd was struck, and the sheep scattered". What were the thoughts of ST. Peter, who promised so much and in the end was a  very vocal denier of his Master. He was brave enough ,however, to face his fears, and cowardice. St. Peter was moved to tears, and that was his salvation. He showed all of us, what happens when we own our truth no matter how horrendous it may be. The truth will always set us free. Free to move from the darkness of fear, into the sun-light that shines on all beloved daughters, and sons. Again, a reminder, once you are the beloved, that gift, that dignity cannot be lost no matter what may occur in our lives. Let us continue and be exposed to the dynamic that occurred when The Risen Christ suddenly appears in the midst of His Apostles.

                     First and foremost the was no shaming the vulnerable one. There was no condemning. There were no condemnations for what they did not do, when He was shamed, and  traumatized . There was no challenge to Peter, " I say Peter were you not the one who promised me so much ? What happened ?" The Risen Christ offered to one and all 'Shalom". Now get a drink because we are going deep in the meaning of the Hebrew word, "shalom". We all know that it means peace,  the absence of war, right ? Wrong. Peace has, like mercy, layers and layers of meaning. It also means completeness, soundness, safety, soundness in body, prosperity, tranquility, contentment, peace especially with The Divine One in covenant relationship, lastly freedom from war. Peace, then is more than a feeling. Shalom is the power that breaks the authority that comes with chaos. That is what The Risen Christ offered to those frightened ones that surrounded Him. There was one missing, Thomas the denier, not the doubter. He deserves special treatment. So guess what is going to be the topic of our next visit ???? 

Thursday, April 11, 2024

  Mercy Sunday, 2024. I some time have this thought: "Now we have Pope Francis as our Shepherd of the shepherds, would it not be awe-full to be back in parish ministry again." The  reflecting on state of the economy, and the  fear-full challenge of the raising of funds make this retired guy, a very happy camper." Pope Francis and his great emphasis on mercy, sure has changed the attitude of The Catholic Church in its outreach to all those who are on the margins, and have not they been exposed to the fear relieving gift of todays understanding, of the mercy of God. For one raised in the ethos of "the toxic trinity", that is guilt, fear and shame, this  new emphasis, not on worthiness, but on our belovedness has really been a game changer for me. We were given a whole year to research, and reflect on radical nature of our Prodigal Father's  Love. That meant we had to let go of the familiar toxic trinity, and be lead into the freedom of being beloved daughters and sons.

          That word, beloved, I hope and earnestly pray will be front and center in the planning of your spiritual nourishment. Yes !!! it is a fear filled challenge to let go of the comfortable, the familiar, no how much main it causes, to step out into  Gospel, freedom. The Rabbi Jesus came to reveal, to God's chosen people, a new understanding of what it meant to be "the chosen'. The Historical Jesus is now seen as a reformer of religion and religious practice. He called out, those who hid behind practices that did not reach those on the margins, the rejected, the unclean, in other words all those outside the accepted laws of both religion and society. That is what got Him killed. The leaders of church and state conspired to have Him executed. But not in any humane way, He was condemned to suffer the death of a runaway slave. The ultimate indignity. He we have The Incarnation of The Father's love and mercy conspired against, and enough lies were told that He was lead away, to face, all alone, an excruciating public death.  

           Pope Francis may not be physically  crucified, but he is being  publicly ridiculed, conspired against, demonized, and painted as the antichrist. In his ten years plus he has sought the freedom of those who, up till now, were the subject of exploitation, dehumanization, public ridicule, and any degrading hell those who sees themselves as "the chosen, the gifted, the impeccable," can conjure up. "Awake O sleeper, and be awakened to the rank injustices perpetrated against the one chosen by the Holy Spirit to be our leader and guide. That is what is before each one of us as well, when we dare question the accepted way of doing things. How quickly does one get the shaft if the dishonest practices are questioned, or horrors of horrors, publicly revealed. Let us keep before our eyes today's martyrs who are dying anonymously rather that choose to live under exploitation, and tyranny. There are literally hundreds of martyrs who have died in the struggle for the dignity of all human beings, and a healthy environment  in which to live their lives. There are millions of " Anonymous Christians (Rahner) who are continuing the fight The Historical Jesus initiated. His struggle, His persecution, is as real  today as it was 2,000 years ago. That struggle must be seen as our sharing in The Cross of Jesus, Who became the Christ, through His Paschal-Easter Mystery. 

           We all have to face the same struggles, the same alienations, the same dehumanizations, in our struggle to be authentic Catholic Christians. We are going to fail, get up, and fail again. Did not Jesus fall at least three times on the way to His encounter with ignominy and death. Thank, The Good Giver of all Goodnesses, we have the lens of mercy through which the realities of our lives,  MUST be seen. We all want, desire a healthy spirituality. We then we will have to come to an ongoing,  evolutionary in depth understanding of mercy. I am in the habit of repeating myself, and for that I apologize. I am 84 years on, and a Diamond Jubilarian,  much to my surprise. One cannot underestimate the power of transforming mercy-full love. Why do you think I a making this effort ? To make sure the real authentic message of The Incarnation of This mercy-full Love is conveyed to all those, that is all of us, who seek the sense of belonging and freedom necessary for an authentic human life, and journey. 

         The oil of Mercy-full Love, heals us, soothes us, comforts us, protects us, transfigures us and transforms us. That is what is offered to us, at no cost to us. It is absolutely free. Mercy-full Love is freely given, but it must be freely accepted.  Let us who are innately poor,  hungry for  all that will make life a life worth living, come to , the Well of The Water of Life, to be immersed, refreshed, renewed, reinvigorated and after each fall find ourselves upright, and taking the journey, one step at a time. Let us always be soothed, comforted and strengthened in ways we will never completely understand, while dwelling in these mortal bodies of our. Mortal bodies in which we have been immersed in, coming from The Eternal Lover.

Friday, April 5, 2024

Octave of Easter 2024.  This has been a real tough week. After the challenges that go with The Easter Tridium, and The Easter Celebrations "My get up and go, has plain got up and gone." ( Boy have I reached way way back for that one.) So the energy is physic energy is slowly coming back, and I am endeavoring to start this effort, not knowing where it will go. " Man proposes, but The Gracious Spirit blows, when and where It wills." Like a butterfly, we are blown wherever the breezes can carry us."

                    The Eater Vigil begins not with the sign of The Cross, as we are in one whole celebration extending over three days, but with the blessing of The Easter Fire. From the fire a taper is lit. That taper lights the Paschal Candle. The deacon slowly carries the symbol of The Risen Christ into the darkened church. From that one light tapers disperse the light throughout the darkness, lightening up the candles of the faith community. ( Some still are impatient for the coming of the lights, so out come the lighters !!!!!) No matter how many tapers are lit from the Paschal Candle, and not matter how many candles are lit from the tapers the light of these is never diminished.  Whatever we give away never diminishes our worthwhileness, it only enhances it. " We do not possess anything, until, we give it away." Spiritual paradoxes are not solved in the head, their meaning is slowly revealed to us as we live, life. As Henri Nouwen  reminds us, "We ask the questions, but we live into the answer."  Immersing ourselves ever deeper, and anew into The Paschal-Easter celebrations results in the awakening of a light that leads us through our dark valleys, and the fear-full-ness that can accompany each step taken. The Light that illumines our journey, is to be shared with those placed in our path. The Light shared with us in Baptism is to be shared generously,  For this we were born, for this we live each moment.

                  Here in 2024, we have a very darkened world, and the light of truth is becoming dimmer and dimmer. The Easter Season will afford us the opportunity to renew our Baptism Vows again and again, as we face the challenge of carrying the light of truth into a world that much prefers the darkness, and the continuous dimming of the light. During Easter Vigil celebration the candidates for admission into The Catholic Faith, receive not only The Sacrament of Baptism, but Confirmation and Eucharist, ( The three Sacraments of Initiation),  as well. Becoming not only a Catholic Christian, but a Confirmed one as well, carries with it all the strength we will need to fulfill our intended vocation. That calling, is calling us to be the the living presence, of The Living Christ, no matter what the cost may be. Some seem to just sail through life, without much care, and the there are those who drink deeply of the chalice of suffering. the Tridium, The Easter Octave, and all the days following are our yearly retreat days. Minutes, hours, days that are a special Kairos Time, uniquely designed for the challenges we fade-in the here and now.

                 Life is tough. I beg you not to make it any tougher on yourself, and consequently with all those who are destined to share our Paschal Journey. Jesus at His baptism at the Jordan, heard Himself being called " My, The Voice from the heavens announces, Beloved Son". One would rightly expect the life of The Beloved  Son of The Divine Father to be treated with kid gloves. That brutalized Body hanging nailed to The Cross says otherwise. The Beloved Son was not spared the journey into the depths, of pain, suffering, and complete emptiness because He had to be "one like unto us in all things, except sin". All this had to happen so we would not question The Historical Jesus's journey into the fullness, of what it means to be human. If that pain-full, self emptying journey was not taken then we would not have an authentic model of what it means to be human. Rabbi Jesus took it to the limits go what it means to be human, and the went beyond those limitations. The Incarnate One can only be understood as existing beyond the limits of time and space. Yes !!! this stretches us. we are not destined to be confined within the limited norms that society wants to impose on us, we are called to discover a life beyond boundaries. the spiritual journey constantly carries us beyond boundaries unto the horizons of ........

              

Saturday, March 30, 2024

 Easter Tridium----Holy Saturday 2024.

         After the large stone was rolled to the entrance of the tomb, " Mary Magdalen, and the other Mary sat and watched.." So The Gospel of Matthew tells us. We are in watching time, and waiting time. One event in the life of The Historical Jesus is ended, and the next episode is still to happen. It is Not "wasted time", all time is full of the revelation of the mystery of life and living. The Gracious Creative Power is as present now as at any time during our tumultuous last three days. It is so challenging to watch and wait. The time spent between jobs can be so devastating for some. No knowing is tough. I like you want to know where I am going, how long the journey, and all other pertinent information to make my journey through liminal time being secure and safe, with the certitude of The Divine being my constant companion. Joe, dream on. The Unknown, The Ineffable , is present in liminal space as in all so called inhabited moments. We do not hear too many sermons on liminal space so it is incumbent on us to develop  a healthy theology of liminal space, so we are as certain of the working care and presence of Gracious Caring One as with the hectic and challenging moments of my life. Even though I walk in the  dark valley of darkened faith I will not fear for Your power full Presence, and the guidance of The Spirit of Truth are there to guide, me every step of the way. I never take a step on my own. The Good Shepherd is keep a watch-full caring eye on al my movements. " Your eyes are watchful, Your ears are listening Your lips are speaking,  Friend at my side " ( a favorite bromide for liminal space.). 

              Liminal space affords the opportunity to look back and embrace the lessons learned from the journey up to this point. As we watch and wait these last few days have afforded us a great opportunity to see, embrace, and be prepared to accept more readily the following. All my reality is imbued with the reality of The Paschal Mystery, a reality we will spend our whole life coming to terms with. The Scourging at The Pillar, is a decade of the rosary, but has not made it to the stations. How am I to personalize this  gospel reality ? We, this is hard to write, when we flog ourselves trough harsh judgements, and condemning mind we are in actual fact living out our personal, Scourging at The Pillar. We are however ,The One Who is scourged, and it is us who are doing the scourging. We are Body of Christ. Let us shift gears and made a resolution that when we face failure, rejection, disappointment, resentments we will get in touch with the Veronica within, and lean  heavily on Simon. We must not add, willingly, to the agonies of The Paschal Mystery. Compassion, understanding, forgiveness, etc. must be our first choices when meeting circumstances ,which appear to our wounded minds, to somehow deserve a flogging. " In God there is no condemnation", right ? Then what right have we ?

                     " Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing." As life ebbs out of The Crucified Jesus His concern is for the others. The soldiers were following the orders of their Roman superiors, who conspired with the religious leader to end the life, mission, and ministry of The Reformer Rabbi Jesus. The life He led, the people He touched, even when it made Himself  unclean, the teachings He espoused were antithetical to their way of seeing and thinking. Rabbi Jesus threatened their money making schemes, their envy and greed triggered jealous fears leading to the,  crucifixion of The One Who least deserved the death Tha was reserved for a runaway slave. Rabbi Jesus ended up in the place of cursedness, as He hung on the wood of the cross. "Cursed is he, who hangs upon the wood." What place of ridicule, dehumanization, bigotry, jealousy, was there left for The Human Manifestation of The Divine to visit, and fill up with His Presence. A Loving Presence  that is WAITING for you and I to be "our refuge and our strength". When we get to our place of abandonment, cursedness, alienation, disconnectedness, raw naked fear, we are mysteriously blessed. It is through our encounters with the above can we have a strengthening encounter with The One that can do for us what cannot do for ourselves. From his tape "Suffering", " It is only through our weaknesses and brokenness CAN we have an audience with a God, of faithfulness and compassion " Karl Steuhmiller. The Prodigal Father/Mother God who is waiting for us to plunge the depths of what it means to be loved, "without condition, restriction , or reservation" (Rohr). Let liminal space stretch the horizons of our understanding so we may live more freely, the life that has been chosen for us. Unfortunately we have free will. Let us bring the wounds of past trauma to 'The Spring of Living Water' where we can be bathed, soothed, and given the freedom of "beloved daughters and sons" to live life and have it to the fullest. That is the wish of The Human Incarnation of mercy and compassion. " Lord, help me to believe the truth about myself ,no matter how beautiful it is".  When your liminal time is over, for now, may you be awakened to the fullness of prodigal waiting in the tabernacle of your depths, to set free. Let  loving freedom be our fundamental option as we embrace The Resurrected Life.

           

   


Friday, March 29, 2024

 Paschal Tridium 2024.... Good Friday

Our encounters with The Good Fridays of our existence leads us to a new way of seeing, being and in the end a more authentic presence of The Living God, of Jesus Who became the Christ. I was cogitating on my own journey with the Stations Of The Cross. I was about nine when I started to do the Stations on my own. I went around and looked at the  individual Stations. Those stations from the church in Castletownroche are embedded in my memory. They are the standard by which all other stations are judged. As I have visited a number of churches with different artistic efforts I have come to realize each one has within their depths their own authentic journey with The Condemned One. Our lives are living stations of the cross, each moment is presented as our encounter with some moment of the journey of The Historical Jesus. This moment to moment encounter  is a sacramental moment, as with all sacraments life, and its living provides us with a walking tableau, for our visitation, reflection and spiritual renewal. 

                  The Historical Jesus of those early years sure has changed. He is now, the example, of sacrifice and pain as well as, the source, of encouragement for those who follow the challenging truths of The Gospels. I am now aware of the pain that came from His betrayal, scourging at the pillar, the mocking and dehumanizing moments He choose to endure. Choosing to be faith-full to the call of The Suffering Servant He walked the walk of His truth. We sometimes, like right now, talk the talk, but as regards walking the walk that will be a choice we make, under grace. As it is grace filled, whatever we have to face in being true to The Truth we will be provided with all necessary courage, and spirit of perseverance. From my encounters with my given Stations of The Cross two people have become a part of my living stations. Those two are, Simon of Cyrene and Veronica. I hope this will lead to your own personal reflections, that lead to  the reassurance to continue our  existential encounter with, our personal Via Dolorosa. Simon had NO CHOICE to carry the crossbeam, that was going to be used in The Crucifixion of The Just One. He was having a good day reflecting on his visit to his farm. Then within moments his life was changed, forever. He had to walk behind The Intended Victim all the ways to Calvary. Even though Simon helped Jesus fell two more times, on the way, to make it three falls in all. We on our journey fall, again and again. The important thing is to make the effort to get up. Sometimes are efforts are not enough then we are open to the help of Simon, and the ministering of Veronica. Many times it is the same person who is, depending on the occasion, Simon and Veronica for us.

 Here is what happened on a recent hike. I now have spinal stenosis in two places. (My back is not doing good.) I was was tired and my back needed a rest. So I sat down on this large stone and rested. When I was ready to get up, my legs would not cooperate. I tried different approaches to getting up. They did not work. I made some movement and I ended flat on my back, unable to move. Not looking good, would be a great way to sum up the situation. So I had to lie on my back, unable to move. I now hike/walk where there is traffic. So after lying there for a few minutes, a mountain biker came along. He heard my cry for, "Help", and responded quickly. He became my Simon, and after I was somewhat erect, he showed the concern of Veronica for the " suffering Christ". Right there slightly off the trail I experienced the physical help of a contemporary Simon. This Simon was a real human being and show real care and concern for this octogenarian. His "Veronica" broke through and I sure began to feel rescued and safe. Thank The Gracious  Giver of all that is good,I continued on for another 25 minutes.

                      For us, we fall many many times under the weight of our cross,  our wounded and broken humanity. A cross we are, to take up EACH DAY, and follow in the footsteps  Jesus,The Christ.  Where He had gone, we are to follow. It is essential then that we connect with the Simon and Veronica that are making their dwelling within our depths. We must minister to The Suffering One within, otherwise we are not going to be the best Simon and Veronica for others. "A healthy love of God, and a healthy love of another person begins with a healthy love of self".You cannot give what you have not got. My favorite penance to those beautiful,smiling, vivacious, smiling, but so  resent-full, young mothers was  take 20 minutes for themselves to chill and do nothing. Then my penance evolved to a hot bath, candles, music, and glass of wine provided there was no alcoholics in the family. It does not matter how close they were or are. Alcoholism, is alcoholism and that gene must be respected of all hell breaks loose. Now is/was that penance performed, in most cases NO, these "Simons" were not prepared to be the ministering presence of Veronica to themselves. I was not going to offer that, self neglect, needed to be part of their examination of conscience. They are/were carrying enough of "the cross', and there was no need to pile on.

      Oh ! Oh ! O ! I, the above reminds me that I have forgotten to reflect on, The Scourging at The Pillar. ( Here I am going to take a break, and will be back ..... )

        


Thursday, March 28, 2024

                                              The Tridium, 2024.  Holy Thursday.

I know from my inhabitation of the human condition ,education, and formation are essential for a healthy journey. A  journey that can only be taken one step at a time, lived, experienced one moment at a time. That now moment is my journeying, living both with, and within The Eternal. We are ,as DeChardin reminds us, " not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings immersed in the human condition". Wow !!! was the first reading of that quote an epiphany moment. My whole view of life and spirituality was " Turned upside, right." (Chesterton). Our unique personal, and communal  celebrations will be colored by our ability to journey into the depths of what it means to inhabit and journey with the human. 

   "We are born human, and we spend the rest of our lives coming to know what, human, means", as you know by now is one of my favorite quotes. I have not too much of an idea  of what that means, but I hope I am able to cooperate with The One Who is guiding me into an ever deepening understanding. A ever deepening understanding of The Paschal Mystery is the threshold over which I have to step. " O God help me to believe the truth about myself, no matter how, beautiful it is."

  The Gospel of Mark give a brief description of the happenings, as The Last Supper, The First Mass, was celebrated. The celebration did not end well, for a celebration The Holy One had looked forward to celebrate with His friends. As we journey from the Upper Room's celebration, to The Garden of Gethsemane, the atmosphere sure changes. Rabbi Jesus takes His best friends and goes forward alone to pray. Prayer is our journey from illusion to reality. Not a journey we are always ready for. Jesus knew of it's coming but when it arrived was not ready to face such reality. Jesus prays to His Father that the cup that he was destined to drink would pass him by. He got into a stage of such anxiety that He broke into a sweat of blood. I have asked this question so often over the years,"How many here can break into a sweat of blood ?" In the early years there was rarely a one. Who can claim to enter such  an anxiety  level ? ALL of us human beings can break into, a set of blood !!!! Look it up. The medical name for this is called hematidrosis . It is documented in history.Especially in the case of soldiers preparing to enter battle. There was no part of the human condition The Historical Jesus did not enter. If He neglected any, did His human journey would  not have been, authentic. His life would be a life we could ignore. 

  The events of these days reveal to us how deep was His drink, from the chalice of suffering. There was not a drop left. He drank it to the dregs. 

            Judas and Jesus !!!! Why did Jesus choose Judas to be an Apostle ? How did He feel to see Judas at the table for His Last Supper ? It was known Judas was not honest, how could Jesus have ignored that fact ? The Compassionate One had just another way of seeing. We are growing into the adjustment of our sight, so we too able to see as, The Fully Human one did. What changes are going to be a surprise to us ? It was not just Judas. Not too many hung around to see what was going to happen, up close. From a distance was safer. We all like safety, do we not ? It is one thing to pray to Jesus The Christ, it is something altogether to take up his cross and fully follow in His footsteps. How heavy can that cross be ? How can we ever take up our cross daily and walk in the footsteps go He Who has trudged the road to ignominy and death? He journeyed into the place of abandonment and cursedness. Why such sacrificial love ? The Great Teacher was to use His final hours on earth to reveal to  both you and I the depth of love that is offered to us The Beloved Daughters, and Beloved Sons. That is our inherent worth. That love  reveals a beauty, so awe-full, wonder-full we are not ready for its acceptance. With that acceptance comes the challenge to live a life that authentically reveals to all such eternal love. Our encounters with the Good Fridays of our existence leads us to ..........

            


Monday, March 25, 2024

                         Palm Sunday--- Holy Week 2024.

 " For five weeks of Lent we have been preparing, by works of charity, love, for the celebration of Our Lord's Paschal Mystery. Christ Jesus entered in triumph into His own city---to suffer , to die, and to rise again. Let us remember  with devotion this entry-- and follow him with a lively faith. United with Him on the cross, may we share His Resurrection and new life." Opening prayer for the Palm Sunday Liturgy.

                 As we journey with a sometimes dark faith into he days of Holy Week it will be only through the gift of real, radical honesty will we be led to this understanding. It will only be because I am honest about the events of the here and now, THIS moment, this day, this week, will I make the mind blowing realization, MY EVERY MOMENT, HOUR, DAY, WEEK are the events of Mystery. I do not lead an ordinary life, because of my lively faith, I am being led into a gradual understanding of this revelation,  my own sufferings, passion, deaths are not endings, but the stepping stones, thresholds, always leading to a new and a more vitalized life. With these new lenses we can begin to accept, "Life, is not a problem to be solved. It is a mystery to be lived." That mystery is always, some thorn from the crown of thorns, some splinter, from the wood on which The Historical Jesus, was crucified. Yes, " we are Jesus's story today" (O' Shea). Yes every moment a contemporary gospel is being written, by flesh, and bones human beings.

        The gospel ,you are in the process of writing, may be the ONLY bible some individuals will ever read. The more honest we are, in this honesty we are empowered, by Grace, to connect with the human journey of, the other. In this sacramental encounter The Wounded, Jesus The Christ in you, reaches out, and connects with The Wounded, Jesus The Christ right there in front of you. A story, a gospel story is shared and new life is channeled. It is a unique sharing in The Resurrected Life, that will come to consciousness, in "the fullness of time". A time which is not Chronos, measured, controlled,  but Kairos, wild uncontrollable time, un-measurable,  much to our chagrin of the false self and to the liberation of the true self. The deep paradoxes of the spiritual journey will be always front and center this week, in particular. Paradoxes, are sacramental, and so have to be reverenced.

          Another prayer from the present past, " May the changing moods of the human heart never blind us to the love, that is ,always offered." Being Irish we are blessed with serious mood changes. There was a chapter of a book I once read with this headline, "The black mood of the Irish." On Palm Sunday we have the crowds shouting, chanting their greetings of welcome, and recognition  to rabbi Jesus. Just a few days later, they will shout "Crucify Him, crucify Him". Peter was prepared to go and die with his Master, given the right challenging circumstances, Peter "cursing, and swearing" denied that he ever knew This Jesus of Nazareth. Let us remember became the first pope ?? "the ways of The Gracious Mysterious One are definitely not our ways." We are during this tumultuous week, be buffered by our thoughts of our changing moods and the resulting actions and consequences that are so hard to own, accept as part of our reality. Good Friday will be a tough slog. As it was for Jesus's , so it must be for you and I. We will encounter Simon and Veronica ,  an encounter which will lead to our awakening acceptance of the Simon, and, Veronica  who journey within our depths. Always ready to be called on, sometimes in the darkest of times. They are never too busy, to distracted to hear our pleas for help.

           Each day, is a new day in  the mysterious life which has crammed within it, ALL the events of Holy Weeks, and we can live it one moment at at time. "Now is the acceptable time " for us to pray for the grace that the new awakenings may bring to us a deepening of radical faith, hope and prodigal love. I cannot say when we will meet again, "The Spirit blows where it wills," not according, to my changing moods.   

                 

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

 I was thinking, if the spiritual world had Tsunami watches, the warning flags would be flying, and the warning sounds tested.  Spiritually speaking, a Tsunami is on the way. It is named Holy Week. We have been preparing for this encounter for almost 40 days, and there are now, only, a few days left. Theses days afford us the opportunity to refocus on the meaning of our Lenten Journey into the desert with our, Good Shepherd. The Historical Jesus was forced into the desert by the Holy Spirit. We are graciously led, each year, into 40 days during which our  moment to moment lived lives are placed under a spiritual microscope. When one looks at a so called static, outwardly static reality we can be  wonder-fully shocked at the life forms which the microscope reveals, for our education and edification . There is always a  hidden, mysterious life hidden in the reality of the seen. I have been shocked at what microbes really look like when exposed by a microscope. I have been equally shocked, by what has been, and is being revealed to me by the Holy Spirit, as I am guided along " the road less travelled" (Peck). This really is just a trail, and it wanders ever new through the desert wastelands of my lenten Journey. 

              Our Holy Week unique celebrations, will again draw us, anew,  and ever deeper into the celebration of  The Paschal Mystery . Our individual and faith community celebrations will begin on Psalm Sunday, and extend through the week bring   to us, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, The Tomb Time of Holy Saturday,  the awe-filled Easter Vigil. These latter celebrations must be seen as a single celebration of The Paschal Mystery,  NOT ,as four separate and distinct liturgical celebration. The celebrant blesses himself to begin mass on Holy Thursday, and does not bless himself again until the end of mass on Holy Saturday. The Paschal Mystery has its blowout celebration on Easter Sunday. This is NOT the end. We will continue the celebration of The Mystery of our faith until Pentecost Sunday.  Why such a long  reflective time ? As we live  anew, our moment to sacramental moment  life we must become to a deeper awareness of what is occurring in our depths. We must allow the workings of The Holy Spirit to come to consciousness. For the "Good News" to journey from, It's Tabernacle in our depths, through the layers of human brokenness , into the light of human consciousness, in other words, The Kairos time deep within Chronos time must aided by, reverence. "The Prisoner of our finiteness"(Rahner) is always making a mysterious journey. That journey is revealed through the events of daily living. This journey is always revealed through the lens of The Paschal Mystery, The Easter Mystery.

         As you face the reality of your moment to moment existential life what are the fears to be faced ? We are all "perfectly imperfect ," am I handling, with understanding and compassion the many manifestations  of my human frailties ? As I scourge myself , am I aware I am scourging The Body of Christ, and the events of history are being lived again ? We are BOTH the scourged and the scourger ? When life has left me, bruised, beaten, betrayed, abandoned,  disheartened, discouraged, disconnected, am I able to grasp, the hem of garment of The  Suffering Servant, my Brother ? That will be more than enough, for the true self. The false self is in the deep panic mode. The world of darkness is not the false self's world of choice. When the dark clouds of Calvary appear on the horizons of my life, am I prepared to shout out with the crucified Jesus, " My God, My God why have You abandoned me" knowing that will be enough ? The Crucified One offers His bloodied body, to be our place of rest, as he says to us " come rest in me". Can we look at The Abandoned One and with both fear filled and faith filled voices cry out " into Your Bloodied hands I commit my spirit ". 

            

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

    Tuesday March 12, 2024 ----- Boredom.

      " In order to live a free and happy life we must sacrifice boredom. It is not an easy sacrifice " " Running through things because you are familiar with them breeds routine" and with routine, boredom can become an, unwelcome presence. Fulghum " I fear the boredom that comes with not learning, and not taking chances." Refresh: there are two understanding of time. The one we are most familiar with, and at times controlled by it is, Kronos time that is watcher, clock, computer time that is measured. Then there is Kairos Time, The Creator God's time. This is eternal time os which we have been part of since the beginning of creation. This time is unseen, cannot be measured, it is the time behind the time we measure. Kairos time has no seconds,  hours etc. only the, eternal, now. We have been part of that eternal now, since it had existence in The Eternal.

            The Season of Lent is the great antidote to, boredom. It demands of us to each year to face the familiar, seek what is yet, unseen,  hidden in the orderliness , of routine . We are again challenged to come to know and accept our powerlessness  over what is revealed . This yearly journey into The Easter Mysteries awakens us to the reality of our moment to moment encounters with these same Mysteries. This happens in Kairos time, The Eternals  time.Kairos time is many times hidden behind the ordinary, the so-called mundane, seemingly boring time. Oh how wrong we are. We must make every effort not to life the lie, but to live in the truth. Every encounter with The Truth sets us on a new level of freedom.

     Each and every moment of the lived year is lived in the reality of suffering, death, burial, the  birth, emergence of new life, and a  growing attitude of gratitude for the grace-filled moments of rebirth. We are always in the process of being re-birthed. We are never the same from one moment to the next. How often do we ever stop and welcome the as yet unmet stranger emerging from our depths. This stranger, and The Paschal Mysteries are inextricably liked. How exciting, fear-filled, mysterious, and always enlivening this encounter is. These days of Lent challenges us ever anew to be prepared to embrace,  to live The Mystery Of Our faith. We are in the process of spending 40 days in preparation, four in celebration, and fifty to understand ever anew The Kairos Time, to be discovered in so called, ordinary, Kronos time.

          Does this encounter and revelation occur without effort. Again we must always keep before us ,this uncomfortable fact,THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY DEMANDS OF US HARD WORD. This hard word is always wrapped in the mysterious mantle of grace. Grace is another word for The Gracious Spirit Love ,in action. We never have to face the unknown on our own. It will be through moments of meditation, and contemplation we will be brought to an ever growing awareness of the seeds of transformation and transfiguration sewn within our depths. Seeds that require a nourishing care, and the freedom to grow and mature. All of this leads us to an acceptance of the fact,"life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived." We then are living mysteries, through whose lived experience The Easter,Paschal,Mysteries are revealed as light to brighten with hope, a darkened world. You are light. Light has different levels of intensity.  "This "little light of mine shine I got to to let it shine" and shine and shine. The results of its shining are none of my business. We must be able to concentrate, focus on the sacramental now where excitement and joy are gifted to us. There is no repetition, no doing-over, each moment is unique filled with the excitement of  a new birth........ ( This is long, but there is more. ???? Gramps)

                

 

             

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Warning, another blimp, this required an ambulance ride to the ER. We are behind schedule, so understanding please. How appropriate that the letter " R" For our purpose "R", stands for, resentment, and I am battling resentment,BIG TIME.

    Life plays some serious tricks on us ?. When we think, at least for me, we know something then we are confronted with real in-depth knowledge, and come to the realization we are really ignorant. Workin on a better understanding of resentment, I now question the value of what I have  previously written.( Time for my top "bromide', "I release, shame" then, "Gracious Spirit of Love, fill up the emptiness". ) Having accepted the limitations, well I have got to be honest, Joe has never have had real acceptance about anything, as acceptance is a process, consolation?  Let us, soldier on,  and see where ,The Spirit leads. It will be  led to, and through,  dark valleys, Son warmed mountain tops, harsh barren deserts, refreshing streams of revitalizing water, so !! after taking a deep breath, let's go !!!!

                  I am beginning to become more aware that resentment is  more than just one word, to describe one emotion, yet it has multiple  layers. Those layers are a mixture of disappointment, digest and anger. It is also considered a secondary emotion that can be elicited in the face of insult, or injury.  "Inherent  in resentment is a perception of unfairness." Robert C. Solomon " places resentment on the same continuum as anger and contempt, and he argues that the difference between the three are that resentment is anger directed towards a higher-status individual ; anger is directed toward an equal-status individual; contempt is directed toward a lower-status individual." Steven Stosny " Anger results in aggressive behavior ,used to avert or deal with a threat, while resentment occurs once the injury has been dealt and is not expressed as aggressively or as openly".  " Whatever is not transformed,  IS transferred" (Rohr)) I have had to learn that it takes twice the energy to keep anger in, than to let it out, openly expressed. Feel, experience, express, let go. When steps are not taken to express the resentment then all that can be expected is an ongoing war within ourselves, and those who share the journey with us, are the co- causalities of that war. 

                    There are all sorts of warning associated with resentment. Alcoholics are warned about the danger resentments are to recovery. I always used to warn couples preparing for marriage , "What kills a relationship is NOT what is on the table, but what lies under the table." I have this in front of me in the kitchen, " Expectations are, planned resentments." Does this mean I do not create expectations , I am after all, "A spiritual being, immersed, in the human condition. Not a human being having a spiritual experience" (De Chardin ) We then are immersed at creation, into the human experience, "but we will spend our whole lifetime discovering, what this immersion means."  How much has been discovered about what is experienced by each one of us during our journey in the depths, the darkness  of womb. There is an ongoing formation, using the adventures of coming to birth,  and being birthed. There is a great deal of pain, happiness and joy in the birthing process. We will return to the imagery of  the darkness of the womb,  again and again as we journey deeper into our personal understanding of The Paschal Mystery. We will be called to let go of preconceived idea and be led to experience the coming "of new Heavens and a new earth". From the  darkness of the  tomb new life appears. The tomb, in reality, is a womb !!!

 Our Prodigal Mother/Father  God has intervened in human history, and by association, our individual human histories to bequest the revelation of Infinite Love,Compassion, Forgiveness, Mercy. That revelation is revealed to us,EVER ANEW, particularly during, the six weeks of Lent. Can we say, using the quotation of Hildegard of Bingen that , that the mission and ministry of The Historical Jesus, reveals to us EVER ANEW how we are hugged, "encircled by the arms of the mystery of God"( Hildegard.) In each human The Divine Mystery can only ,usually, be experienced through the mystery of the human encounter. Gratitude for this gracious gift will keep us free of resentment. I read " One cannot have gratitude and resentment at the same time." The wounds that reveal a spiritual void, can only be healed with the healing oil of Mercy-full love. Mercy-full love, like oil heals us ,soothes us, comforts us, protects us, then transfigures and transforms us. " The place of the wound, becomes the place of the gift." (May). The greater our wounds the greater are our gifts. Gifts ,that are not ours, until, we give them away." The consolation that comes to each one will be as the result of each ones unique Lenten journey. May  rigorous honesty be our constant companion. May a renewed Faith, the dawning of new Hope, lead us a revitalized love, of all that, is. 

For your continued reflection, ''To the resentful eye everything is begrudged. People who allow the canker of resentment into their vision, can never enjoy who they are or what they have. They are always looking out towards others with resentment. Perhaps they are resent-full because they see others as more beautiful, more gifted, or richer than themselves. The resentful eye lives out of its poverty, and forgets its own inner harvest" John O'Donoghue. This blog has only one purpose, that is to always focus on The Gracious Creator's wish for us, to "happy, joyous, and free". We have the saboteur who works tirelessly within to screw  up this,Our lovers ,Aisling, dream, for us. This is a battle, the saboteur cannot win. " Where sin abounds, grace abounds even more"........ Love, prayers and blessings. As always, Great grandpa Joe.


Saturday, March 2, 2024

 Blown tire on freeway upset " Friday, snack" plans. Here goes "Saturday-- lights".

There is a certain incongruity about an Irishman writing about 'ANGER". I have to keep in mind this adage " We teach best what we need to learn most". That is me. The feelings of anger have a tremendous power. They are those feelings that impel those who fight injustice on all levels, and pay the price for doing what is right. There are those in positions of power, that act  with impunity, so as to  trigger righteous anger in those what are not prepared, disposed to be victims. I had to face this challenge all my adult life, "Am I going to be, become , a  victim, or a survivor ?" A healthy anger empowers one to live the life of freedom, not, wallow in victimhood, filled with un-dealth  anger". 

  I was taught the emotion that leads one to feel , empowers to to health action, F-eel, E-xperience, E-xpress, then let go. ' Whatever one does not feel, cannot be redeemed", "Whatever is not transformed, is transferred." both Fr. Richard Rohr jewels. " When I point my finger at someone, there are FOUR pointing right back at me." When I am angry at another person I am angry at that person within ME." I have to face that reality, and it is not very appetizing . In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, not The Sacrament of obliteration, we are challenged to face the real inner truths. Truths we much rather deny, and so allow resentment to flourish. When a penitent confesses that they are angry at X,Y, Z, I ask " And now who else are you angry at ?" They will dig further, come up with more, but very rarely will "I am angry at myself " be owned and expressed. When I celebrated The Sacrament with little one from Catholic School, or Re ligious Education programs, The question of "who else" ? is always asked.

       Kids who have a good day at school will seldom, trip a sibling, express anger at a parent, refuse to cooperate, be sulky, etc, etc,. When I work it around so as the penitent sees the existence of anger with oneself  then the following happens. This happens with pretty much all those I encounter in The Sacrament of Freedom. I ask, " Have you ever said " I love you to yourself ", so, so, many times I am sad to say I hear the answer "no". That is true of adults, of all ages, the words " I love you have never been directed inward, at themselves. When those word " I, love you is repeated', there are many tears shed. Some say, "But I do not mean it, I cannot repeat those word to myself" Then that old bromide comes into play, " You fake it, until, you make it." " Act as if you have it, and it will come to you." We have to come to see that it always comes down to desire. "We become ,that which we desire.' d long as we have the desire, no matter how faint,The Creative Mercy-full, Spirit does find a way. Not in an instant, but over time. Now the next question "Have you ever said I forgive you"? the universal answer, sadly. In "no". Crossing the broad chasm from self hatred  to self forgiveness takes real effort.Again, we fake it until we make it. I encourage penitents, and all I work with outside of the Reconciliation Room, to repeat those word 10x,20x,30x ..... times day. Some days those word are addressed to Joe many, many times. Forgiveness is an action that takes place in moments, reconciliation is a process, and takes time to accept and forgive oneself. My daily struggle to be able to be in the solution, NOT, in the problem. The false self will do everything in its power to keep us in victim servitude. we must never underestimate the power of Graceland the mysterious way it works ever so silently in our depths.

               There is so much more to be written I hope this gets you started in self-education, leading to  an ever greater freedoms to enjoy the life gifted to you. We are called to live in the freedom of beloved daughters/sons, not eeking out an existence in the prisons, of guilt, fear, and shame. The toxic trinity. The following words, with which, pretty much all members of AA are familiar with, and on whose acceptance their recovery is dependent on: " And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed it is because I find some person place, thing or situation, some-fact of my life-  un acceptable to me. I can find no serenity until I accept that person,place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake..... unless I accepted life on life's terms I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes." This cost $100 way backlit is yours for freewill there is a price to read all of this," The ONLY thing I can changes my attitude towards myself". Of myself I am powerless, but there is One Who has all power, and that Power is already present within you and I.  This Creative Power of Creative Love, is in our depths, waiting for us to surrender ego centered false self. We do NOT find The Divine, when we search for The Divine Presence, it means That Infinite Power of Love has ALREADY found us. Love,prayers and blessings. Great Grandpa Joe.        

 


Tuesday, February 27, 2024

 Second Sunday in Lent....The Transfiguration.  We have The Historical Rabbi Jesus choosing to take His "Three Amigos."....Peter, James, and John on a mountain trip. Those who have negotiated mountain climbs have to admit there is always a little change.From the struggle we are blessed with a gift. That is true also of the psychological mountains, valleys, and hills we have been chosen to climb. We must always keep in mind, we have been chosen, from all of eternity, to make these climbs. WE also have been prepared ahead of time for this adventure.What we are blessed with is not, as St.Paul writes, for ourselves, but for those chosen to make the journey with us. That is everybody we meet and sometimes encounter. 

            Rabbi Jesus has revealed to His Apostles the brutal reality of His coming journey where He will encounter  death.  So as not to leave them without hope, on the Mount Of Transfiguration, His deepest reality is revealed to the, now, further scared Apostles. The Historical Jesus wants to offer hope to those closest to Him. On the Mountain is revealed who Jesus is, a revelation coming from His depths. The Divinity shone through the human trappings, as it does with us as well. The same reality that shone through Jesus is the same reality resting, hidden away within our depths, to be revealed in and through the garments of human reality. Ever wish for an easier way ?.Then nothing worthwhile ever comes to us without pain . As Bonhoeffer said,"There is no cheap grace'. There is not One Spirit to dwell within the depths of The Revelation of Our Father's Mercy, and another spirit of lesser quality reserved for the rest of creation, that includes all human beings. The Creator God does not play favorites. We are all :the beloved Sons and daughters of our Prodigal Mother/Father.

             Lent is a time when we again make the desert journey into an even deepening honest relationship with ourselves, as "spiritual beings immersed in the human condition", with all of creation, and with The One Who has initiated the call. Our beginning is in  the realm of The Spirit, eternal. We are never going to understand the mystery of who we are, Who we have been called to be, and Who has done the calling. Lent is given to us for a sincere preparation for the revelation of The Paschal Mystery. We will spend 40 days and nights being lead into a new and deeper connection with The Paschal Mystery as it is revealed to and  through our honest, and deepest reality.  Then one author  has warned "Human beings can deal with so much reality." The after that .......

         We will come face to face with what has been hidden as it were we encounter, be with, our "wild beasts". Jesus had the ministering of angels to help him through. That means the strengthening reality of The Divine somehow  entered the reality of that sacramental desert journey of forty days, in initiation of those 40 Years of courtship and transformation. We must at the tough, rough spots on the desert trail keep before us that we are the beloved. We are loved right now, just as we are, we do not have to change a thing for the love of The Beloved for the beloved. It is an infinite, unconditioned, unlimited, and unrestricted love. A love way beyond the abilities of human words to communicate.What was  the answer ? The Eternal Word "emptied Himself of His Divinity' so as to enter into the deepest human reality, death . In and through His death is revealed the mercy-filled love when we all must be given to make This Desert Journey in 2024.

         I sincerely hope you will embrace the following words of another Celt,Irishman, Patrick Kavanagh  " When love awakens your lifeline the night of your heart, it is like the dawn awakening within you. Where before there was anonymity, now there is intimacy, where before there was fear now there is courage, where before there was awkwardness, now there is a rhythm of grace and gracefulness,; where before you were jagged, you are elegant and in rhythm with yourself. When love awakens in your life, it is a rebirth, a new beginning".

            That Love is always lays deep within each person. Your own personal experience of what happened on your unique  mountain top, allows The Spirit to burst through and ,The Christ within, shines like a light, for the  current darkness. There is however a blessing and a curse that must be faced, and that is ANGER......... (to be continued)

Friday, February 23, 2024

" Humankind is born freehand everywhere it is in chains".  So wrote Jean-Jacques Rousseau many centuries ago. Can we say the same thing about this generation, and of those past ? Unfortunately the answer is, a,  resounding "YES". Because we are offered, or given gifts that does not mean we will use them, and avail  ourselves of all that these gifts  offer us. In order to live in the freedom of The Prodigal Father's mercy we chooses often to live in chains, or the prisons of guilt, fear, and shame. Writing is a wonder-full avenue to the freedom that is ours, because we are the beloved daughters and sons of, Infinite mercy.Many do not forgive themselves for some action, or series of actions that have occurred in the past. We are have actions, of  in-action, avoidance of responsibility' lying, cheating, disrespect for authority, stealing, to add to these we may of occurrences of premarital sex, adultery, abortion etc. etc. The list is endless. Again,John O writes, " Every person has certain qualities in their hearts that are awkward ,disturbing, and negative.One of our SACRED duties is to exercise kindness toward them. In a sense we are called to be loving, (prodigal, me added) parent to our delinquent qualities. The guilt festering in our souls must not find a home there because of non-action on our part.

      Those who know, encourages us to get pencil and paper. We are going to write a letter of understanding to ourselves. We are going to work through the thought process that led to the action, or any-action. We are going to claim these were the best responses we were able to make in any given situation. We have ALWAYS done our best, not the best. Let that sink in. You have always done what was your best, not the best. That is why we spent many many classes, over four years studying moral theology. We were to take that understanding into offices, restaurants, and  Reconciliation Rooms where we encountered another human being deserving of the prodigal love of The Prodigal Father. In some situations I encouraged the penitent to write a letter of forgiveness, and understanding to themselves. In the letter we come to own this fact, that  was not my best effort at the time. We can only do what is best for us in any the existential situation. Three seconds, three hours, thirty days or years later that would not be our response. Now we are called to see that there is Higher Power of Infinite love offering us the gift of forgiveness and reconciliation. Now we have learned that the way we love and forgive ourselves is the exact same, way we allow, Our Gracious Source of Love  to ,love and forgive us. "My favorite quote of late, " The eyes through which we see God are the same eyes through which God sees us."  In that case, it is NOT  about Our Prodigal Father's love and forgiveness it is about how willing we are to accept such great gifts as forgiveness and reconciliation. In the case of abortion, the adult writes the letter of sorrow, and explanation with the right hand, left if that is your dominant hand. Then the letter of understanding and the acceptance of the apology is written, as if from the child, with the less dominant hand. From my years of experience, that letter from the unborn is a tough  one to write. This is your spiritual freedom at stake. It is also a deep act of faith in the prodigal, extravagant, unconditioned Love that is forever offered. " The greater the wound, the greater the gift." 

Here are the keys of freedom, my limited understanding taken into account : "I release shame , I release guilt, "..... I love you, .... I love you. We must learn the truth in what Fr.Rohr writes " Our deepest D.N.A. is Divine". Our Lenten journey takes us through the many desert trails where the personal truth of that statement is maybe, denied. If not consciously denied, at least questioned. "Mercy, is, too good", does it not have to be ? After all it is about The Infinite, without and within. God is NOT good,God is THE BEST

Monday, February 19, 2024

                                                                   First Sunday of Lent 2024.    Guilt.


Last week I set up what was presented to the faith community on their entrance to their home. A few years before a home was built, to house St. Andrew The Apostle Catholic Faith Community. Now on the right side of the sanctuary, that space reserved for Liturgical Art, was to be seen, a wall of large boulders, blocking the entrance of the cave that was used to reveal The Incarnation of The Prodigal Love of our Creator god. As I wrote G.A.R.B.A.GE was spelled out on the boulders.The First Sunday of Lent the large boulder Guilt was removed, and a reflection  on the word removed was woven throughout  the homily. So we started with G for GUILT.

          It is said that our Jewish brethren discovered guilt, but us Catholics perfected it. Sad to say there was a great assist from the Irish monks, beginning around the 7th Century. Guilt, along with fear and shame make up what I like to call,"the toxic trinity". Together and separately they are destructive for anybody seeking to journey towards a healthy spirituality.  The following is a quote from John O"Donoghue great book, Eternal echos." Sometimes we feel guilty about things in the past that should hold no guilt for us. Because we feel bad about something, we exaggerate our part in it and retrospectively ascribe more power and freedom than we actually had in the actual situation. When personal guilt in relation to a past event becomes a continuous cloud over our life, we are locked in a mental prison. We have become our own jailers. Although we must not erase your responsibility for the past, when we make our past our jailer we destroy our future."

                When I had to face the darkness in my life, my shadow side, and what I now know as my false self, I was taught the difference between guilt and  toxic shame Thank You Gracious Spirit. Healthy guilt enables me to say, "I made a mistake. I need to change.I am going in the wrong direction."  ( Shame on the other hand wants to tell me this lie, "I am a mistake". It will take many visits to your councilor to deal with toxic shame. There are many messages sent to our depths that in no way reflect our beloved-ness. With toxic shame we are forever making vain efforts to satisfy the insatiable hunger for praise , and approval. we become people pleasers to the detriment of our own health and well-being.) Then we are enabled, through grace, to turn around, and go in the opposite direction. That is what is called conversion, metanoia. We meet that word in The Gospel. The Rabbi Jesus clarion call was, metanoia, a complete change of heart. Easier said than done. Change is first of all very, pain-full. It takes a long time to change. Our true selves knows there must be change, but the false self will fight that change with all the power at its disposal.  There is an endless WAR to be fought, to the death.That is why we have Lent every year. Every year we are asked to face the false self and see what are the healthy spiritual practices, habits, we must be open to developing. One of those practices I have worked on, and you will find me  hard at work repeating this spiritual bromide every day", Joe I forgive, you ,Joe I forgive, you."  10, 20, 30.....  at a time. 

               There are very few times I have celebrated The Sacrament of Reconciliation, that some where I have not asked the penitent to say, " Mary,John,Jesus, Pat I forgive you." Many times there is serious struggle to be able to utter the words,"I forgive you.' That was me. When I told Mike, my psychologist, "I don't mean it'. He responded repeat those words many many time each day, and eventually their truth will start to become a reality. Then I remembered the following, " I will not think my way into a new way of acting,I will ACT my way into a new way of thinking." I am not blowing smoke when I write these words. I cannot word the words for you. Each person is responsible for their own healthy spiritual practices. Grace is a tsunami during lent, SO, RIDE THE WAVE of grace that is sweeping you up to the shores of dignity and freedom. I used to body surf so I know what it means to "catch a wave !!!"

 I now continue John's quote, to be slowly read and reflected upon: " It is such a moment of liberation when you learn to forgive yourself. ( Jesus has said   "I have come to bring freedom to the captives'. We are both the captive and the jailer !!!!) Let the burden past guilt go, and walk into a new path of promise and possibility. Self compassion is a wonder-full gift to give yourself. Never reduce the mystery and expanse of your presence to a haunted fixation with something you did or did not do. To learn the art of integrating your facts is to begin a journey of healing on which you will regain your poise, and find new creativity."( It is well named The Sacrament of Reconciliation NOT the Sacrament of obliteration. (Rohr).Know your soul is more immense than any one moment or event of your past.When you allow guilt to fester and reduce you, it has little to do with guilt. The guilt is only an uncomfortable but convenient excuse for your fear of growth."

              I was made aware of the following many years ago, and now I pass these word of freedom; " God's mercy is greater than our sins. There is an awareness of sin that does not lead to God but to self- preoccupation. Our temptation is to be so impressed by our sins and failures and so overwhelmed by our lack of generosity that we get stuck in a paralyzing guilt. ( Also called toxic shame.) It is the guilt that says  "I am too sinful to deserve God's mercy.' It is the guilt that leads to introspection instead of directing our eyes to God. It is the guilt that has become an idol, and therefore a form of pride. Lent is a time to break down this idol, and direct our attention to our Loving Lord' ( This is long but there is more to come in a few days after you have begun to digest this much. Mercy always heals us, soothes us, comforts us, strengthens us, protects us, then transfigures us and transforms us. RIDE THE WAVE OF Mercy......