What does it mean to follow some sort of spiritual path? From my experience, to seek to grow in my relationship with God, and to deepen my knowledge of my own particular religious traditions, is not always easy. One reason it is not easy, is because I am simply lazy , and refuse to move forward, to tread water so to speak. The problem being; treading in itself, takes a lot of energy, that goes nowhere, and in the end you either have to sink, give up, or start swimming again.
Trauma in today’s world
(A Christian’s perspective)
When we see images of extreme violence on TV or on the internet, is it a form of trauma? About a year ago someone shared a YouTube video on Facebook. There was no warning about the nature of the clip and I right clicked it. Within five seconds I saw a man’s throat cut all the way back to his neck bone, then he was thrown into a grave and still alive, gasping and twitching. The men who did it calmly talked while he was bleeding out
Trauma in today’s world
(A Christian’s perspective)
A Lenten piece, written in 2015
When we see images of extreme violence on TV or on the internet, is it a form of trauma? About a year ago someone shared a YouTube video on Facebook. There was no warning about the nature of the clip and I right clicked it. Within five seconds I saw a man’s throat cut all the way back to his neck bone, then he was thrown into a grave and still alive, gasping and twitching. The men who did it cal
(some memories from 1969-70)
When I was in the Navy (1967-71) I met many interesting people. Most were of course in my age range, 18-25, most enlisted men and women. All shapes and sizes, some brilliant, others not so much so. There were always some that I thought were trapped in ways of dealing with reality that were very destructive and a few ran with my crowd, as small as the group was.
Drugs were a big deal then, and I guess they still are. I met one yo
A few months ago, a man and woman checked in here at our retreat house. The woman seemed exhausted and when I asked how she was doing she gave me a look that seemed to indicate that she did not now how to react. Her husband was a nice man who seemed grounded and centered. Right after meeting them I left the office and went down the hall towards my room. The lady followed me and made some kind of a statement that I could not place in any kind of category that I could really conne
If we don't speak up for ourselves, then who will? We create ourselves anew when we speak with honesty and transparency with those we deal with on a daily basis. Our words, spoken with respect and calm, even if the situation is intense will lead to deeper understanding of whom you are and your depth. The more we allow others to see us, the less we are looked upon as a function to be used. We can take advantage of one another without knowing it; it is only by the humble ex
Our roots go way back to the past. Present experiences draw the often forgotten emotional turmoil from the past to the present…this is called a ‘transference’. We get tied to the past and can find it difficult live in the present without being triggered to overreact.
Juan (not his real name), has been a friend of mine for almost 20 years now. He was born in Cuba, but came over as a very young boy in 1960 and his family settled in Miami. He is a very intelligent man who has a master’s degree in psychology and for awhile he worked at rehabilitation clinics, which dealt with both drugs and alcohol addiction. Being an addict himself, with other serious problem (he being bi-polar, that can become full blown paranoia if his medicines do not d
We all need touch. One way to touch someone deeply is to listen, see them and not try to control or coral them into being a certain way. I believe that we are all teachers for one another and those that cause us to stretch, are our most powerful mentors. Our enemies so called, often are on target in how they perceive us. So yes, even those who hate us can if listened to, be our teachers; our best ones. Though they themselves may need to also learn from us and ask what it is that
Why is it Lord….
our hearts why are they torn,
greens and reds co-joined
in an uneasy embrace?
More like a battle than a dance,
each wanting to lead
as they go round and round
healing or deepening old wounds.
We can heal and cut,
bring to life and kill,
so much blood
and then again more love.
War within and without,
carrying each others burden,
punishing others for our own inner evil,
the red becoming darker as the rage deepens,
burying what is true in a deep inner c
Too Many Obstacles in Me
The call that I received thirty years ago, a call to which I did not know how to respond,
or to which I found myself unable to respond fully. There were too many obstacles in me,
too many infected wounds, still waiting for the healing that had to come through the hands
of Mary and by the precious Blood of Jesus.
A Benedictine Monk. In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart
--The Journal of a Priest at Prayer (pp. 1-2). Angelico Press. Kindle Edition.
A friend of mine wanted me to help him to learn to drive. Now he is a very tense kind of fella, very focused and organized, almost too much so. So we got in the car and off we went. At first he was doing ok, but then I noticed he was only looking at the road in front of him, not at his rear-view or left and right mirrors. So I made the suggestions that he start using the mirrors since they are just as important as what is he is looking at outside his windshield. Then a car
A friend of mine wanted me to help him to learn to drive. Now he is a very tense kind of fella, very focused and organized, almost too much so. So we got in the car and off we went. At first he was doing ok, but then I noticed he was only looking at the road in front of him, not at his rear-view or left and right mirrors. So I made the suggestions that he start using the mirrors since they are just as important as what is he is looking at outside his windshield. Then a car came
Tombs are cold, dark, no sound, just empty silence
(Holy Saturday 2020)
A Black-hole is what death is,
everything dragged into its nothingness,
all of our loved ones, young and old,
none are spared this process than none really want,
we dance around this endless, bottomless pit,
yet we know we all fall in, disappearing forever
from this world.
So Jesus is now on this day, one with all of us,
he went walked his last mile, in pain, and infamy,
giving his last drop of blood and in that
I am not sure it ever really gets easy taking care of those who are seriously ill and could be dying. I say could be, because you never really know, for I have seen some pretty amazing rallies that have brought some from the brink of death and they have lived for another few good years. Tom himself has had over the past decade a couple of close calls. Around 2002 he was in a hospital in Villa Rica having his legs taken care of. While there he had a cerebral hemorrhage and the doctor
I often write about tolerance towards others, it is something central to who I am and what I believe, at least on the surface of things. However, perhaps the main reason I write and ponder this subject is because it is something lacking deep within my own soul that arises when provoked, tired, and not centered. Though I can honestly say being centered seldom happens for me. All my tolerance can fall by the way side pretty quickly. When that happens, all of my so called objectivity
It was peaceful today,
reading on my friends patio,
listening to the wind,
watching the palm leaves sway,
ducks spashing down in a nearby pond,
dark clouds slowly forming,
I so love dark rainy windy days,
slowly sinking into inner peace,
being in the presence of the infinite,
the lover and pursuer
of my soul.
Today my fight,
from this peace was lost,
I am happy about that.
To withstand my inner storms
of self-righteous indignation
(my secret place)
Yelling at someone is useless
or pointing fingers the same,
endless squabbles leading to violence
with words that cut deeply
or physical wounds from someone striking out,
blaming others without looking within,
seeing in a mirror darkly,
not understanding the endless web
of further fragmentation and isolation.
The only true bridge is not some sentiment,
or passing emotion or even deep feeling,
To wake up
Trust is such a pleasant word. It rolls off the tongue so gently and effortlessly; an invitation proffered, often said with a sincere smile. “Trust me”, it can almost be something demanded, but in that demand (if perceived as such), trust dies or diminishes. Weakened trust, is no trust at all, for fear and trust cannot co-exist in the same inner space, for one or the other dominates; there is no compromise.
Sometimes fear is good, for it warns and counsels whether to run, o
To take root
With age comes the wisdom
to embrace life's joys
and to endure with grace…. sorrow.
For bitterness is a bitter fruit
that poisons everything,
making joy impossible to experience.
though it can be a struggle
to the death
for hope to take root.
All souls bleed,
wounds hidden beneath our smiles,
no one is left innocent
from the wounding of evil,
yet we can heal one another
by allowing grace's calling
to enter out hearts.
Though the struggle will always
To start anew
At times people tell me that if only they were younger they would do things differently. Well ten years from now, they may be saying the same thing; bemoaning bad choices, wishing that they were a decade younger. We can only start where we are, we can’t go back to the past and redo whatever it was we did, nor can we go into the future, we only have now. No matter what our age we can learn from the past, go forward in trust, even if progress can’t be seen at once. Seeds take ti
To start anew
The good news is that we can always begin again, for each moment we are called to get up and start anew. For infinite mercy and love calls us, and as we receive, so are we to give to others.....to pass on mercy and love the best as we are able. The human heart, by grace and our 'yes' expands in an unending journey. It is what we are, made in the image and likeness of God, that is why when we love, or give from a loving heart we find ourselves happy and filled with light.
To speak firmly yet gently
Paradoxes are always with us. Today there is much to argue over, to try prove a point, and in doing that to become angry, bitter and argumentative. When that happens it joins in the cultural trend today to take offence very easily. We need to center ourselves, think about what we believe, pray about it and make our faith a living reality….not something that lives in the top three inches of our heads.
Pope Frances is speaking from the heart, just as Christ Jesu
To seek to hide is a fools game
The generic name for this presence encountered when alone, is of course “God”. In the presence of the Infinite we are all naked; we have no clothing that can cover our inwardness. We can hide much from ourselves (repression, which at times is needed), and from one another, and perhaps rightly so, but from God, nothing is hidden. The response to this reality can be one of exposure leading to fear, or to an experience of relief, knowing that running and seek
To seek is to find
(experience with a retreatant)
One day about two years ago we had a retreatant here who stood out among the others. She was perhaps in her late forties or early fifties, intelligent, with some piercings and a number of small tattoos on her arms. We talked a couple of times and I always found her a very interesting person to converse with. She was Jewish, but on a path seeking for a deeper relationship with the Infinite. She did tell me that she has never forgotten h