Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Yesterday, Sunday, July 28, we heard something daring coming from the disciples of Jesus, well, one disciple anyway.  He dared to compare Jesus to John the Baptist.  He said, "Teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."  This fellow dodged a bullet...or rather, he was blessed that bullets had not yet been invented. Jesus, placidly did not react to the comparison that the disciple made between Jesus and John.  Instead Luke just passes the center of focus on to Jesus who, as it happens does not teach his disciples to pray in the way that John had taught them to pray. Those of them who had been disciples of John had never heard what Jesus brought to them at that moment.  His first word, "Father" was the miraculous moment in the lives of the disciples of the Son of God when they became God's sons as well.  Nobody before that time had ever addressed God as "Father.  Not even John.  This, brothers and sisters is what Jesus taught His disciples and us about prayer.  It is the privilege that we have to address God Himself and to call Him Father.  The disciples received more that day than what they expected, and perhaps even more than they could fully understand at the moment, and even for a long, long time.  Our Mother,
weeping at La Salette, reminded us of
that miracle by instructing us to say, at least twice every day, Our Father.

Mary at La Salette:
"Do you say your prayers well, my children?"
"No, Madam."
"Ah, my children, you must pray every morning and every night.  You must say an 'Our Father' and a 'Hail Mary' at least.  When you have time, say more."

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Bring the truth to earthly power

On this 25th day of July, when we celebrate the great apostle James, it is a good time to consider one of the things for which he is famous.  First and foremost, he is remembered as the first official, de facto, leader of the New Community, The Way, as the followers of Jesus were collectively known.  His seat of leadership was atop Mount Zion, the Holy City of Jerusalem.  He is also known for his short but powerful written instruction to the world, The Epistle of James. Finally, and to the point of my present letter he is famous for his teaching about the human tongue.  [James, 3; 1 - 12]  You can imagine that anyone who could have written that must have lived by it first.
When I think of James, I always remember Nathan, the great prophet Nathan,  God's "mouth piece"  bringing judgement down into the ears, heart and soul of the great sinner, saint and  King, David.  Nathan was not afraid of David because Nathan was dedicated to God and God's truth.  Like all God fearing and revering people, Nathan was not afraid to die because he was doing God's work and speaking for God.  He knew that he was right and that the king who had been chosen by God through the service of the Great Patriarch Samuel, knew that he had to listen to God's word coming to him now through the holy prophet Nathan.
We have much to learn from Nathan.  We have much to learn from James.  We also have much to learn from our Weeping Mother, Mary as she appeared to two illiterate children at La Salette in France in 1846, speaking the Naked Truth in stark, real-time terms. The first thing to learn is that closeness to God makes us strong in the truth.
The second thing is that the truth is always produced by God in every age until the end of time.  Jesus used His human tongue to bring the truth home to us.  He showed us that the truth is a sign of contradiction. He showed us that the truth, because it is inexorably from God, is, in fact, a sign of contradiction just as He, Himself and His Father are, and always will be.  Jesus, when His Hour had come, clebrated the truth by testifying to it while standing before the ultimate earthly power, the cruel potentate, Pilate, who, just before handing Jesus over to the Jews and the Roman soldiers asked, "Truth?  What is that?" [John 38, 38]
Closeness to God. The whole truth and nothing but the truth takes away our fear of earthly power.  It doesn't matter what the source of power is, it can never equal the grace of God.  Staying close to the pure, unvarnished truth is therefore a very important virtue for us to practice.  It keeps us close to God, the Pure, Eternal Truth, at every moment.  It is in this actual intimacy that we will find comfort, peace and joy.

We should be aware of this every time we use our tongue to communicate something.  We have some very lofty sacred examples to follow, Nathan, Mary, Jesus, James just to name a few.
Think about it the next time someone asks you "How old did you say you are?"
Don't be afraid to say that you heard it here.  Don't be afraid to refrain from crying at my funeral because I say the truth when I tell you not to do that.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Click here for a perfect example of what this says
The other day, about two weeks ago I was sent a link to a Catholic blogger's site within an email which said: "This, you're going to really like!"  Since the source of the email is someone whom I really love and trust, I did proceed to go to the website and the first page that appeared provided me with some joy and satisfaction.  In fact if you click here you can go there to judge for yourself.  As I usually do when I am on a Catholic site, after I have read the first page I then go back to follow the links that the author proposes.  That was easy to do since the link sent the reader back to an exchange of comments from an earlier blog post published by the same author.  It turned out to be nearly 90 pages worth of diatribe and rebuttal after re-rebuttal between the "Sola Scriptura" crowd and the 'Roman Catholic" crowd.  90 pages full of smoke and not a single syllable of Holy Fire.
Two sides of invincibly ignorant people trying to convince the other about something that is so deeply entrenched in people that it is incorrigible by any other other force than by the Light, the Way and the Truth -- yeah, Him!
Oh, Him.  Well, in 90 pages, not a single word about Him nor from Him.  No siree, not in apologetics.  It's all about the text and MY way of reading the text against yours.  And I know that the text is God's word infused and Spirit blown into the soul of the writer, so my reading can't possibly be wrong.  Real sweet...Both sides coming from opposite poles with the same weapon.  One using it as a hammer and the other as a saber.  Neither one of them acknowledging the Christ Himself is the Word.  Brothers and sisters, this is we humans' greatest insult to the Word of God conducted in His Name, if you can believe that?  The text put before the living Word's life example.

Apologetics the way it is understood in our world is nothing but the centuries-old head-butting between the Pharisees and the Sadducees continued.  The only time the Gospels are mentioned is when a) it is pointed out by whomever thinks of it first, that Jesus defeated Satan by the Scripture quotes He wielded in the desert and b) snippets of rebuke to the people of the day about, say, when Jesus says that Satan can deceive even the believers.
In nearly 90 pages, not one single word of Jesus' command that we "pick up our cross daily and follow Me." [Mt. 16;24]
Not once did we hear the command, " lack one thing, go, sell all that you have, give the proceeds to the poor and then, come and follow me." [Mk. 10;21 + Mt and Lk]
Not once did we hear the admonition to "...visit the sick, clothe the naked..." - not once! [Mt. 25]
I could go on for at least another 1,000 words, but you get the point.  At no time was God, neither the Father nor His Son, His living Word,  the real subject of this discussion.  It was all about who is right and who is in error.  It is my opinion that in this kind of exchange, neither side is doing the Will of God.  Discussions of this nature do not make God float to the top and come into the line of vision of those discussing and certainly not of those reading/hearing.

You all know, of course, that I am Catholic.  I was born long before many of you saw the light of day.  I admit to being an exception to the Catholic "rule" about the Bible.  We always had a Bible in our house.  Not in a place of honor.  We were not THAT much of an exception.  But we had it because my father was a faithful prayor [maybe that's not word, but you know what I mean] of the Psalms.  We read the stories of creation, Noah, Abraham, Samson, of course, Tobit and the great fish, The Birth of Jesus and His passion, etc.  The praying of the Psalms is a daily exercise for me.  The praying of the song of Moses is a now and again treat.  The Song of Zachariah,  of Mary, of Hannah are all moments of deep spiritual meaning for me.  I regularly pray the vocation stories of Moses, Abraham, and the great prophets.  Finally, every single day I read one of the commands of God the Father to Adam, Cain, Noah, Abraham and others to collaborate with Him in the work of caring for His creation.  Every day I read the parallel orders of His Son to follow him, to feed the hungry, to help the widows, to pray daily, to eat His Body and Drink His Blood and finally to serve all nations by spreading His Good News.  Finally, at least once a month I reread the powerful prayer of Deacon Stephen [Acts, chapter 7] as he prepared to be stoned to death by the Chosen People themselves.  His prayer was the Biblical story of the escape from Egypt and the Covenant between God and the very people who were preparing to kill him.  

Brothers and Sisters, no matter what else you may hear about the Bible, remember this, it is the sacramental presence of the Word of God, telling us who He is and how to maintain a righteous spiritual and physical relationship to Him.  It is not exclusively to teach us who He is through the reading of it and the arguing about what it says to us.  We come to really know who He is through praying it, not just reading it in order to sharpen our saber.  Finally, we come to know Him even more deeply by duplicating His life style in our own, by energetically collaborating with the Triune God in an effort to make this world a holier place in which to live.

Now that you know all of this about me, since you won't be crying at my funeral, you'll be saving yourself the trouble of having to wash another handkerchief.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


"Faith implies a journey and a discovery. Faith itself is not the completion or the arrival. It's a journey. Abraham and the Magi signify this journey.
"It is impossible to believe alone." Faith is always communal. This means that faith always requires the Church.
Since we live in time, the faith is handed down in community." (Canterbury Tales: Dr. Taylor Marshall)

From the latest encyclical to come from the Holy See.  The two friends who have taken the wheel of the Ark (Benedict XVI and Francis) have produced a work of art for today's world.
This is the world of "social media" where people call themselves "friends" without ever having delved into the spiritual reality the one of the other.  Hearts and souls are now joined though the power of bytes and pixels, of BTW, BFF and ;))).  Even Jesus rides the Ethernet waves.  By faith, Abraham followed the directions of God the Father; by Faith Noah built the ark; by faith Moses led the people out of Egypt and across the desert and finally, by faith we read the words of Jesus as crafted by his earthly ambassador on a hand-held marvel of the 21st century. 
We no longer have to wait for Jesus to come up to Jerusalem from Galilee; we no longer have to wait for the Osservatore Romano to be published before hearing the word of God; we don't have to wait until the next time we see our BFF to share the Word.  There is now an app, [ParishWorld Mobile App] that begs for us to connect NOW and to pass the Word along, NOW.  As of today it is possible to walk together on the journey of developing faith.  As of today our faith is communal in a real sense.  We carry it in our hearts, our soul and our pocket and it radiates to our world through the ParishWorld Mobile App
Inspiration gets expressed NOW; prayer gets communicated to the one who needs it, NOW; prayer comes to the one who asks, NOW; the Sacred Scripture walks along with us and we share it as needed, NOW; the Holy Spirit just lit up my soul out of the blue.  I just have to tell you, NOW.
Yes, brethren, the world is now our parish.  The ParishWorld Mobile App does it.  Jesus just has to love this; He knows that this is the advent of a new time when it becomes all the more dynamic to "Go forth and baptize all nations" echoed by His mother's message from La Salette, "Well, my Children make this known to all my People." 
Come and discover the highest realities of the faith by carrying the material access to them in your pocket, all the easier therefore to walk, discover and stay in touch spiritually, constantly.