Tuesday, January 23, 2024

 The seasons of Advent-Christmas-Epiphany are fading into the mist of time past. That is true if we are just judging according to cronos time, watch, calendar and internet time . Our reality, our deepest reality cannot be found in man made measurements. We  have to journey into Kairos time to live free and truly human life giving lives. The realities, the deepest realities of the above seasons are alive in all their mysterious transforming presences in every moment we live. Now are  you prepared to add The Paschal Mystery to the  hidden life being lived right now ?  That is too much mystery, too much of the unknown for our false selves. It is NOT too much for our true selves, because our journey into what we think is the unknown, is our trues destiny. Meister Echart has this challenging quote; "This is where we know You, in the wonder of unknowing, In the beauty of being, in the presence of becoming". " We journey to Him/Her we do not know  by a path we do not know" John of the Cross wrote that, and I added Her.

  Looking at, reflecting on the crib within we again meet The Christ child. How is alive to you, and speaking to you ? That is why He came to reveal the wonder of who each one of is,and who we are as a collective whole. Paul teaches us that we are the Body of Christ. That is both our innate sacred dignity ,and the underlying challenge that must be met, if we are to fulfill our call to be life givers, not death dealers, in imitation of the Christ Child. Here I am falling back on Henri Nouwen to speak in simple language what it mens to live a life energized,vitalized when this Vulnerable Baby as its center.

I think we have hardly thought trough the immense implications of the mystery of The Incarnation. Where is God ? God is where we are weak, vulnerable,small and dependent. god is where the poor are, the hungry, the handicapped, the mentally ill, the elderly, the powerless. How can we know God when our focus is elsewhere, on success, influence and power? I increasingly believe that our faithfulness will depend on our willingness to go where there is brokenness,loniness, and human need..... each on if us is very seriously searching to live and grow in this belief, and by friendship we can support each other . I realize that the only way for us to stay well in the midst of  the many "worlds" is to stay close to the small vulnerable Child that lives in our hearts and in every other human being. Often we do not know that the Christ Child is within us.

There is so much to be unwrapped in the above quote. We each have to make our won journeys of discovery. Beginning with the sacredness of your own sacramentality how challenging do I/we find this?The voice, voices from the crib are not in the past, but alive and well in the here and now. May The Gracious Spirit guide you to what is essential for you, and your call. The Creator God is now sharing His life through your authentic life. A life that is slowly being revealed to us, so others can look at you and now they can believe.  Love, prayers, and blessings. Great grandpa Joe.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

 "We live life looking forward, but we understand life looking backwards". Life as we know it is a mystery. A mystery not to be solved but to be lived, one now-moment, at a time.It in essential then that we embrace this moment to moment journey as a constant journey into mystery." And Jonathan began the longest journey of all, that journey into self "' was something I first heard at a Neil Diamond concert in San Diego. That set me on the road of discovery which has been such an adventure.  Challenging and rewarding are two words that come to mind. The word, easy, is missing. There are a few other words coming to mind, but prudence prevails

 We are made in the image and likeness of our Creator God,The  Greatest Mystery, so does it not stand to reason then we of our essence are an unsolvable mystery ? This does not mean we just throw up our hands and say, does that mean there is nothing for me to do but surrender to my powerlessness ? That is the copout for the lazy part of us. What is too big we just leave alone ,admire it,  say nice things about it, but never allow the existence of the mystery to speak to us. Never get into serious fear-filled research into all that has been written and revealed to us. 

              Now that The Advent-Christmas-Epiphany Season is now past, we are challenged to ask ourselves these hard questions ? What has changed from our many encounters with those who first were privileged to be witnesses and participants  in that awe-fullest of mysteries, the revelation of God. Not just any revelation, but THE revelation  of God. A Generous  Creator-God,Who has chosen freely to became Incarnate, in our human flesh. A name we use to describe this revelation is Emmanuel, which means God with us. That Whom the whole of creation cannot contain, has surrendered all power, to enter the ultimate place of powerlessness, the body of a human baby. There is nothing more powerless than a tiny infant. The Powerful One has become powerless so He could make His dwelling among  His  fellow human beings. We are the tabernacles where The Dwelling takes place. The mystery deepens as we explore the dignity and the challenge of being an authentic human being.

Yet this is where we must visit, again and again, ever with a newer and different understanding. The old preconceived ideas must be left in the dust, as we are called, and guided into a new way of thinking and seeing. Our challenge is not to build a comfortable nest there, but  to bring the new insights of who we really are into the existential, the here and now place. This place  that has been chosen for us to live and be mini revelations of The Word made flesh. Yes you are mini words, you existence is charged with the Presence of ,The Divine Eternal Word. This gift is given not to be hoarder but to be shared through the lived life that has been predestined for us from the begging of creation. We are of course free to surrender to our destiny, or walk another path, more comfy and far less challenging. To day that is called the false self. This too has a voice. A loud and nagging voice which must be dealt with, with healthy behaviors .

                    Now that the crib has been placed in some safe place, for next year, the voices coming from the crib within your depths must speak up, cry out loud and clear our new graced insights. Those gifts that lie dormant, just waiting for your voice, so new life, new Divine energy may be gifted to a creation  that is aching and thirsting for a new life source. " The gifts and talents we have been given are not for ourselves, but for the building up of the common good" St.Paul.

 " Be The God, you would like God to be'. Be The Christ you wish Christ to be. Be who you who really are. Be true to your true self and what you have wished for will become reality. Only you can do this. For this you were created.  Blessed with you unique gifts.You are mystery, be faithful to your truth and The Incarnation will continue to be a lived reality, ever new as the mystery of who you really are is revealed in all of it's  new-ness, awe-fullness.                  

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

I have got to be honest, I am playing catchup !!!! Well what is new in my current situation that I have not be forced to encounter, in so many of my life situations, these many years. So these words from scripture are, for me, full of consolation and hope. " "May The Lord bless you and keep you; may The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; may The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace". I have used these words of blessing so many time over the years and now they have more meaning for me as I face the challenge of entering the twilight of my human existence.

 Now, more than ever, I have to rely on the Care of The Good Shepherd, and all those who have accepted the challenge of looking after today's sick, lost, weak, hungry, naked etc. They are the current good shepherds who continue the mission and ministry of He Who entered our human condition as the most vulnerable of all creation, a baby. A baby has no instincts for survival. The rest of those who enter our world as babies have that God given instinct for survival. The Son of God came with no such instincts, he was not afforded special treatment because of He was. "He was like unto us in all things, except sin," and how He loved the sinner. His first visitors, the shepherds, were, the lowest of the low, at the time of His Incarnation. This Revelation of A Mercy-full Creator was first revealed to the powerless, not the powerful. In 2024 we must bring our powerlessness to The Crib and surrender all that pain, agony and alienation to the gentle hands of The Non-threatening vulnerable Infant. We are now encouraged to journey within, and give birth to the inner child. This is another name for The Christ Child. That Presence has chosen you to be His dwelling place. Each one is a walking tabernacle ? What innate dignity is conferred on each human ? We must face  challenge of not only discover The Christ Child, but all those that are presented in each crib scene. What you see is what is within you. Yes all those are within your depths. Which presence will be your choice for 2024 as you continue to discover the richness, and mysteriousness of The Incarnation.  Each year we are asked to encounter the crib, and The Mystery of The Incarnation and to make what is revealed to us by The Holy Spirit the foundation of our belief in The Epiphany.

          The Feast of The Holy Family is a celebration of what the ideal family looks like. The Holy Family had it's beginnings in messiness. Nothing was quite in order for the ideal entrance of The Son of The Creator of all Creation. Why did not That Creative Spirit Who brought all creation into an orderly reality, save some of that creativity plan an ideal entrance and subsequent revelation of He who keeps the whole of creation in existence. For many many years we had a glorious collect prayer for the above feast. 

       " Teach us the sanctity of human love, and show us the value of family life." This was our prayer, but has taken the prophetic voice Pope Francis to make that teaching a life giving reality. Because of the recognition of the sanctity of love, we are witnessing a revolution in the understanding of the sacramentality of human love. Human love and loving is a sacrament, NOT, a Sacrament. One has a small "s" and the other has a capital "S". I like to see all reality as a sacrament. A sacrament is each and every person, place, event, action that brings us in contact with the realities of life, ultimately with Reality Itself. That Reality we call The Divine, God, Great Spirit etc. "where love is there is God, where there is no love, there is no God, because God is love." My definition of Hell, is, where Love ,is, not". The Gracious Divine cannot send us to hell. We create our own hells, our own prisons, as we live a life that is, death-dealing rather than, life giving. We are each responsible for the heavens or the hells we freely choose to live in. Notice those two words, freely choose.  ( Next time let us look at all those actions, those attitudes, those gifts which are at our disposal, empowering us to be life-givers, not death-dealers. Within each and every now-moment we have to choose healthy love, and so fulfill the purpose for which we were created.) May 2024 be for you a sacramental reality. Love, prayers, and special blessings. Great grandpa Joe.