Your wild and precious life

wild-lifeFor reasons that I can’t entirely explain, I dislike the term bucket list. Why? I’ve already said I can’t entirely explain! Perhaps I just dislike the term “kicking the bucket” that is foundational for said term. Death is not something I am averse to, although I am in no rush to get there!

OK, I just googled “kick the bucket” to check out images, now I can tell you that I now loathe the term bucket list. May it never be mentioned here again.

Let’s go with references to Continue reading

A lot on my mind

lot-on-my-mindYes, I am still here. It’s been a short while. Last week was very busy, I was attending and teaching at our fabulous annual diocesan catechetical conference, Spring Enrichment. This week has been busy catching up on everything that I did not get done last week.

Spring Enrichment was outstanding, and all is well, but I do have some things that are on my mind. Pardon the terrible bible pun image, and read on!

1. The “file” in my mind marked, SLAGIATT (seemed like a good idea at the time) is overstuffed.

2. The list of things that I want to write about is very long and is a bit crowded out by the aforementioned SLAGIATT.

Tropical-green-smoothie-23. Making one small change can make a world of difference. Due to some health concerns, I began to make myself a smoothie every morning for breakfast. The idea of such a thing was totally skeevy Continue reading

Called by name

Catacomb_of_Priscilla-Good-Shepherd-295x300“The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”
-John 10:3, From Sunday’s Gospel

Everyone has been moved by the story of the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls. Abducted by members of terrorist organization, Boko Haram, the story told us of 267 (the number has varied) girls. Horrifying.

Then a priest friend posted this link on my Facebook page the other day, asking for prayers for the girls by name – and I thought of was the upcoming Gospel for Sunday.

10312416_10202989629515392_5516044536055746652_nJesus is Continue reading

On the road

During a particularly broken period of my life, I did not think that God had left me, but I felt very hopeless. In that  state, I tried to focus on God alone, pushing others away. A week in a monastery was booked – the only place I believed I would find God.

The chill of the chapel and its silence caused me to either shiver or sleep, neither way seemed an effective way of talking to God. Mistakes were being made by the minute – thinking that God was only in the monastery and that I needed to do all the talking. (A problem that continues to dog me!) I felt more angry and frustrated than ever.

The next day, another guest showed up in the visitors quarters, a lovely woman, whose face I can’t quite remember.  She was 50? 60? 40? Honestly, I can’t recall; it is all so fuzzy. We ate our meal in relative silence,  but as we prepared after-dinner tea, she asked what brought me to the monastery.

blahDid I let her know! A massive flow of words and tears followed. Everything from my return to the church a few years earlier, my mother’s death, my search for God in the monastery, and my possible vocation to said monastery. How I went on for hour or more! Her presence, her compassion, her listening heart remain in my memory while all else has faded.

For the next day or two, she and I spent a lot of time talking. OK, I talked a lot, but she listened well, and when she did talk, I felt my heart burning within me.

Sound familiar? We have all been on that road, the road to Emmaus. That particular path is a path where, Continue reading

Whimsy full of wisdom – UPDATED

We have a winner! The name chosen out of the hat was Linda Reid! Thanks to one and all for reading the blog, and hopefully the book!

JohnXXIII-1 Although this is not a book review, I am going to talk about a book – and yes, I am going to give one away. Yesterday two popes were canonized, becoming official saints in the canon of the Catholic church – St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II.

Bro. Mickey McGrath OSFS is a gifted artist, author, retreat leader, and speaker. He is also a dear friend, and a colleague of mine. His latest book is about one of our new saints, one who is close to Mickey’s heart. This book, published by Clear Faith Publishing, is called Good Saint John XXIII, Quotes & Quips from the Prophet of Peace.

The book is one that is full of the whimsy we may associate with Mickey’s art, but make no mistake – this is not just simple fun – this book is Continue reading

The Church of Mercy – A book by Pope Francis – UPDATED

We have a winner. Chris Grace will receive a copy of The Church of Mercy. Thank you all for reading and participating.

church-of-mercy-bookcover“Let us ask ourselves today: are we open to God’s surprises”? Pope Francis, The Church of Mercy

Pope Francis’ name seems to be on the lips of many people. There are so many Catholics who are invigorated by his words and way of life. One of the things that is most surprising is the number of non-Catholic friends who bring him up, and generally with great regard. As I have said in other posts, he has not changed on iota, not one element of doctrine, but he has changed the way that people see the Church, and how people see the papacy.

The Church of Mercy, A Vision for the Church, by Pope Francis (Loyola Press, $16.95, 150pp.) brings together homilies, papers, and audiences from our beloved “Bishop of Rome.” This treasure trove of communiques from the first year of his papacy offers readers a chance to truly spend time with Francis’ as he presses Continue reading

Mercy matters

imagesmer·cy ˈmərsē/ noun noun: mercy; plural noun: mercies1.compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. “the boy was screaming and begging for mercy”
synonyms: leniency, clemency, compassion, grace, pity, charity, forgiveness, forbearance, quarter, humanity…

Mercy. It is not a new word, but we seem to hear more of it lately. I feel as if I do, anyway.

Mercy matters. Mercy is at the heart of Christ. God if rich in mercy – go read the definition next to the photo again. There is so much evidence for Continue reading

Authority, transformation, and dirty feet

hi-pope-kissing-feetTrue authority presents itself in service and flows downward. Authentic change presents itself in justice through community and flows upward. Transformation happens when they meet in they dynamism of the Spirit. This is only accomplished through life in Christ.

I have washed feet and I have had my feet washed. No surprise that the getting washed was more challenging than the washing. Well, except for maybe when I had my feet washed by someone with whom I had a difficult relationship.

As a former corporate executive and leader, I can tell you that you can’t make anyone do anything. As an ordinary human, I can tell you that cannot make someone love you. Of course you can force people to do things, you can chase someone to no end, but no real authority, change, or love will come from that. The only change will be the disintegration that comes from anything to discomfort all the way to hate. This is not the integrity that emerges from the love known as agape.

jesus-washing-peters-feet-by-sieger-koderWhatever you do this Holy Thursday, whether you get your feet washed or you wash those of another, don’t think of any church service as a nice re-enactment. That is why the Eucharist is different, we are not re-enacting anything, we are not “getting” anything, we are not forced to something.

Eucharist is about what we give in love, put at the service of world in Christ. Eucharist is about how we are all transformed into what we are becoming. This can only happen in community, it is not a moment that is between any one of us and Jesus alone, it is about the whole, the entire Body of Christ – which is Continue reading

Stay, watch, remain, pray

1932412_10152279350617438_613759620_nWe are almost there, these final days leading to Easter triumph and resurrection. But first we must walk the Via Crucis with Jesus, suffering and dying. How will you walk with Jesus this week?

Perhaps the better question is this, how will we each stay with Jesus this week? The comic to the left is cute and funny enough, but then again, it is not funny at all. How do we fail to stay awake? How do we continually find ways to distract ourselves? How do we avoid what must be done?

As for me, I can name many ways in which I do not watch and pray, far too many to enumerate for you today. Yet, Jesus continues to ask me to stay, to watch, to pray, remain in faithful vigil. So once again, I make my meek attempts.

May your steps this week be blessed with the grace attentiveness to and hope in Christ.