I think life is a setup. We often think life sucks, and of course it can and does. In times of stress, when our problems become apparent; we can either deal with it, which can be very difficult, or we can run from it, which can be fun, at first. Then things get crazier because now there may by two problems instead of just one.... with greater suffering that come with dealing with both of them. Of course, we can seek another out, and another, and then we can have four or five pr
I am violent. I have strong inner images that suggest that I fight, overcome my enemies with force and as well as overcome the rights of others so that I can get what I want. I am also a man who has compassion and love for others and am a care giver by trade. I am both angel and beast, perhaps we all are. I believe for anyone to be just a decent everyday human being takes a great deal of inner balance, self knowledge and discipline. We do it so often that this reality can be overlooked.
The call came on Saturday morning at 6: AM. I knew what it was about before I even got to my cell phone and answered. Hospice was calling, letting me know that Agnes died a few minutes before; peacefully I was told. I was hoping to be able to be there with her when she died and I did tell her I would try, even though at the time I knew that the chances were slim that would happen. I guess it was good news that they did not call me, for that meant that she simply slipped away wi
I am grateful for this sane place at unexplained
When I was in my late forties, I started having a kind of repetitive dream. Each dream was different, but the theme was the same and to this day I remember a few of them. I guess over the course of a couple of years I had perhaps five or six. Two stand out very clearly for me. In one dream I was sitting at my desk writing furiously, page after page essays on subjects I had never really written about much. The other dream, I was sitting i
Is there anywhere to hide?
I read an article a few years ago where studies have shown that when people meet someone new, the first instant of contact and evaluation that is made is correct. The problem is that it is often ignored or repressed before it can be processed. Why this is no one knows, or how this ‘judging’ of another is done.
Most of us know people who seem very angry; who are difficult to live with, but they themselves do not know it. It shows itself by their remarks. As wel
I can’t say I ever really got to know my father,
Of course, do we ever really get to know anyone,
Each unique in their depth and complexity,
Creating a puzzle and mystery too deep to fathom.
It was at the time of my mother’s death,
That it hit me very hard,
As I watched my dad,
That I did not know him at all,
In many ways a stranger, his inner self unknown,
We never met, our inner selves,
Never really talked;
How many father and sons ever really do?
The pie of truth
(Who has the bigger slice?)
Language is tricky, interesting, wonderful and frustrating all in one. Words resonate with us, we have histories with words, many of them will evoke a response in us that can be irrational and block deeper insight and understanding. That is why it can be difficult to communicate with one another, no matter what the medium. Writing and talking while related are different. In talking more can be conveyed, also there is a give and take and if
Talking with diverse groups of people
I suppose that the last 13 years have been extremely interesting and enlightening for me and I have the internet to thank for that. In 1999 I sat down in front of a computer, learned how to connect to the internet and dove right in. Within a couple of days I was downloading, uploading, emailing, and getting drunk over all the information that was available to me by the simple click of an icon, or the typing in of an web address. It was like my brain
End of life care
I go to the VA to have some of my medical needs taken care of. I have no real complaints since I take it for granted that there will be problems that are in fact a part of any health care system, no matter how smoothly it is run. The people who work for the VA, at least here in Atlanta are very caring in how they treat the Vets. So the government can do a good job, though it is not really enough. I also go to local doctors when I have a medical problem that needs immed
The horror of taking another’s life
I saw a video on the web that was very graphic, it showed a man being killed in Syria having his throat cut. The man who did it was so calm about it. It was one of the worst video’s I have ever looked at. No fantasy movie about killing, this showed the absolute evil and horror of taking another’s life, especially if the life is bound so there is no chance of defense. I was riveted by the sight, sick but had to watch it to the end until he finally died.
To create straw men and women
Community life of any kind is difficult, or another way to say it would be, if there are two or more people living or working together, there will be some level of struggle between them. It helps if those who belong to a community share the same values, though the difficulties will always be there. Some groupings are forced more or less. Going to school, being in the military, the work place of course, or perhaps the most difficult situation, being in some
Can’t please anyone
One of the great things about being Catholic is that from a very early age the realities of bigotry and ignorance have to be dealt with. I am sure that anyone who belongs to any grouping (be it racial or religious or political) has to deal with this in one way or another, but being Catholic I think brings the reality of prejudices to the fore, over and over and over again. It has also helped me to understand my own reactions and prejudices as well. How tightly they take h
An encounter with a possum
I get up early, not too early for those of us who live here, but it gives me enough time to make coffee for our retreatants, as well as to do my Lectio and devotions. Yesterday when I opened up the front door of our retreat house I noticed how pleasant it was, so I decided to go for a walk.
Since we built our new Heritage center, we have lights scattered around so that the walkways can be seen. I personally like the lights they use over parking lots, as well as
Spinning our wheels
We cannot change others, we can only work on how we relate and or react to them. Unless we understand that the only way to deal with those who have negative affect on us is to take responsibility for ourselves, we will spend a great deal of time spinning our wheels.. Also with those we love and those we may feel a need for, it is very important to understand that we are called to love others, they are not here to just fulfill some inner need. To truly help others, to
A more fully human life
(2nd talk for purity of heart and trust in God retreat)
We think of ourselves has human, and we are. We also are also shocked when we read or hear about the depth of hatred and cruelty that we can do to one another. We can each of us be vindictive towards others, we can harm one another. Why are we shocked? When we think of humanity which is an archetypal image we tend to focus on what is best, or what we desire our human nature to be. For instance we will sa
I have been in a dark mood lately. I am losing hope that as a species we will ever learn to communicate properly. Or, to actually listen intently enough to allow any real understanding of others from different groupings to actually happen…. even if does, it makes little difference because of its rarity. In saying this I know that I am part of the problem, even if at times I may do it unknowingly. Words; or one simple word, can trigger a response that is so emotional that it is
Bottles on a table empty but beautiful to see,
green and blue and clear glass together,
filled with stillness, emptiness,
overflowing with the light surrounding them,
free from inner ferment,
just waiting to be filled,
or perhaps just being empty,
a beauty all of its own.
Not half full, nor half empty,
just filled with contiguous luminosity,
it is enough.
Growing up in Panama Canal Zone on a military base
(the sense of uprootedness)
Before we moved to Panama in 1958, when I was ten, we changed our home base quite a bit. I got used to the moving and found it exciting. Moving into a new house was fun, meeting new people all the time and going to a different school not so much so. When we moved to Panama things became reversed.
Right after we moved down there one of the first friends I made was to a boy, who was my age, nicknamed “Peanuts”
Jason the golden cat
When I was a young monk, 23 to be exact, the year being 1973, we had a golden cat here named Jason. I am not much of a cat person, but have always found them beautiful creatures and Jason the cat was definitely that. He was actually more like a dog than a cat. He loved people and would not leave me alone until I picked him up. He even liked to be picked up by his tail and then wrapped over my shoulder…and would just stay there and purr. I never met a cat l
Simply talking with someone else and sharing ones faith
The greatest way we can show respect for someone is to simply listen to them and not to try to change their minds. I suppose in trying to such a thing would lead to ‘Excedrin Headache #8”, since it is impossible. Howe do I know this? From personal experience when I am communing with others. I have been screamed at by some over the simple fact that I am a Christian believer. I have been reviled by Christians because I am a Cathol
A figure from the far past, Dr. Miller
When I entered the community in 1971, a lot of the monks would talk to me about Dr. Miller. He used to be a doctor who had a very good relationship with the Monastery and would take care of the needs of the monks. I am not sure how it worked, how often he came out, but it was appreciated by the community; he was respected and loved and considered a friend by some. He died before I entered, I guess in the late 60’s. I heard so much about him that h
Annual Christmas Message to Jakov 2016.
.”Don’t look for peace and joy in worldly things because all of this is fleeting.”
“Dear children, today on this day of grace in a special way I call you to pray for peace. Children, I come here as Queen of Peace and how many times I called you to pray for peace, but your hearts are agitated, and sin is stopping you from to opening up completely to the grace and peace that God wants you to have.
Living peace my children means first to have p
To open or close one’ heart
(The need for prayer)
“Dear children! Today, I desire to thank you for your perseverance and call you to open yourselves to profound prayer. Prayer, little children, is the heart of faith and is hope in eternal life. Therefore, pray with the heart until your heart sings with thanksgiving to God the Creator who gave you life. I am with you, little children, and carry to you my motherly blessing of peace. Thank you for having responded to my call.---June 25, 201
The fear of suffering
My God, although my sufferings are great and protracted, I accept them from Your hands as magnificent gifts. I accept them all, even the ones that other souls have refused to accept. You can come to me with everything, my Jesus; I will refuse You nothing. I ask You for only one thing: give me the strength to endure them and grant that they may be meritorious. Here is my whole being; do with me as You please—Faustina’s Diary 795
I find saints hard to understan
Calm in the storm
(the gift of self-awareness)
I have two fish, ‘albino-catfish’ in a small aquarium. They take little care, just change the water, about a third of a tank once a month and add when needed in between. I guess these fish are from a long line of ancestors born in captivity and they seem content, but really, how would I know. I do know that they are beautiful to watch and they seem ‘happy’ enough in their tank. Perhaps in captivity, they live longer than in the larger ‘