Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. The Ferryland – New Foundland Iceberg Easter 2017. A Word Press Production.

Quiet time

40 Days and 40 Nights …

I was gonna wait to post this, but the spirit is moving me today, So here is one of my favorite pieces of writing. I wrote in a few years ago, and I re-post it every year at the beginning of Lent. And since I don’t have anything fresh to offer you – you can read this and prepare for your journey … Enjoy..

And so it begins, the walk through the desert. God is moving tonight, I can feel it in my bones deep within my soul. I am in Preacher mode and the message is loud and clear…Write and share the journey. There are several new bloggers on this list now, Christians I know for sure. Here is my Lenten exercise of the journey, it is called “Will you walk with me a step or two.”

One day the Lord spoke to them and they started walking through the desert. Men, women, children the elderly and the herds and flocks. Where they were going was not known, but it was apparent that they were going to get somewhere. If only they walked a step or two.

A young man spoke up and said “I will walk ahead of the tribes, I will lead them as the Lord leads me.” And the Lord asked the young boy, “are you ready to walk for the glory of God,” why “Yes,” the boy answered. So be it the Lord said, “now lead them, but take only that which you need and nothing more.” I will walk with You Lord, he said without a second thought.

The Lord said that the way will not be smooth and there are things you will see on the way that will test your faith, yet I the Lord will make the way straight and the path smooth, if you have faith in Me and the Glory of God the father. Yes, I have faith, the boy replied, so walk my son.

A few days into the journey the boy came across a woman with ragged hair and little clothing. She was elderly and needed some water. The boy was only carrying what he had, and he gave drink to the woman and quenched her thirst. She said to him, that she was lonely and afraid of the road, and the boy replied, woman, have no fear, for I will walk with you until nightfall and we will camp under the canopy of heaven. That day they walked together and the woman was grateful for the company and the water.

That night, they made camp, the tribes of the Lord.

 

The Angel of the Lord came down and struck the rock and water flowed. They all drew water from a spring that appeared and everyone’s thirst was satiated. And the animals were watered as well. Food was passed from group to group until every last one was fed. That night they sang the song of the Lord until everyone was sent to a sleep protected by the Lord himself.

The very next morning, rested and fed, the tribes packed up their wares and started the journey as they did the day prior. The sun hung low in the sky, and by high noon, sweat was pouring off the brows of the people. The young boy made his way in front of the pack, leading them as he was guided by the spirit of the lord. Soon after noon the boy came across an elderly man who was being carried by two men, visibly shaken and tired.

The boy looked up to the sky and said, what can I do Lord?

The answer came and the boy took the arm of the litter and helped carry the man for the rest of the day, until darkness fell and camp was set up for the night. Once again, the Angel of the Lord came down and struck the rock and from the rock a spring came up from the earth once again, the people and the animals were watered. The tables were set and the people were fed to their fill. Once again, they praised the God of Abraham and in the coolness of the night they slept under the canopy of the heavens.

On the third day they awoke to a cloudy day, grateful for the relief from the sun, they gathered up their wares and began to walk once again. Today the young man was tired. He had been leading this lot for days now, and yet the lord said, Keep walking. So he did.

On this day he came upon a young person drawn from travel, covered in dust from the desert. Visibly the boy had not eaten in days and was close to death.

The young man stopped and knelt down next to him and shared his water and some bread from his pack. He lifted the boy into his arms and carried him for the rest of the day. Hours passed and the boy was filled with faith and strength as he carried his charge on his back. That night at camp, the young boy gathered some bedding and laid his friend in a cool soft place.

That night the Angel of the Lord appeared and once again, struck the rock and water flowed. He bathed the young man whom he had carried all day, then they broke bread and shared living water from the earth. Miracle, you ask, quite possibly so.

That night all were fed and after the plates were cleared and all had been fed, they gathered before the fires and praised the God of Abraham. They rested beneath the canopy of heaven.

For 38 days and 38 nights, the boy walked with his people, helping each soul he encountered to the best of his ability as God had commanded him to do.

On the 39th day they awoke. The angel of the Lord was there at first light and he told them, the journey was almost over, walk on as the Lord commands.

That day was no different. On that day the young boy would meet his final “person.” She was laden with child, and was walking alone carrying everything that she needed. No man walked by her side, no assistance came to her. She was visibly close to giving birth, and the Boy took her hand

As night fell, the boy gathered the women together and they prepared the woman for birth. A call went out to the men and they gathered together some wood for someplace to keep the child. As was foretold, the Angel of the Lord appeared to them once again, and struck the rock and as happened each night before, water flowed.

That night the stars shone brightly, the heavens were alight with song. Something was about to happen. For after the meal, the woman called for the boy and he appeared by her side. The time had come and she wanted to share the birth of the child with him, for he walked with her a step or two. That night under the canopy of heaven a child was born and she asked the boy his name.

He answered, “My name is David.” She smiled at her son, and spoke to the heavens, May God in heaven be blessed and may he bless my son David, born this night. The heavens replied with a thousand shooting stars… What a glorious vision the host of angels come down from heaven to sing to David, the newest member of the tribes of Abraham. That night they rested and slept in peace.

On the 40th day the young boy awoke, there standing before him were 40 men, women and children. All of those whom David had walked with through the desert. At that moment an Elder man spoke to David and said follow me, there is someone who would like to see you David, HE has asked for you by name.

The people before him parted and through them David walked until he reached a hill that was green with foliage and there a spring bubbled up. “Take off your sandals David” a voice spoke to him. David did not skip a beat. As David looked up from undoing his shoes, There the Master sat on the rock before him.

David’s eye welled up with tears, he had done exactly as he was instructed, as the Lord had told him. He had led his people through the desert helping each soul he met on his path. The Master knew what was in his heart and soul. David was without words. The Master got up from where He sat and approached David and wrapped his arms around him, and said……..

“Well done good and faithful servant. In YOU I am well pleased.”

What for? David said, all I did was what you asked of me while I walked. And the Master replied, “you know David, each time you helped one of these souls on your journey, you helped ME.” “What the least of these you have done for my brothers and sisters you have done for me.”

The Master reached down into the pool of water and blessing the water he blessed and baptized David the Boy, and then David the infant. And for a moment the heavens opened up and God’s voice was heard, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

And from the sky a beam of light shone forth into the desert and the sands were parted and there in the swirl of dust a city appeared. It is there that the people made their homes. The journey had ended. And a placed blessed by God was theirs to live in.

So will you walk with me a step or two. The journey is long and the road may be rough, but as the Lord says “I will make the path straight and your burden will be light.” Take only that which you need. And if you meet someone of the road, stop and ask your questions, share your water and food, for you never know when the Master will reveal himself to you.

Are you ready to start walking !!!


We are not meaningless …

Courtesy: Ofmiceandashley

We’ve come to the end of the first semester of Life Class. We’ve spent the better part of the last 5 weeks sharing the many lessons that have come up and the ones I have chosen to write about.

What do we do with all these life lessons? And how do we put them into action for ourselves? Can we become better people, can we rise to the occasion and really put it out there that We are not who we were, or what we have done, We are who we are right now, in the present moment. And we have the power to change our lives, we’ve always had that power, even if we have ignored it, it is there, waiting to be recognized.

I watch the live show afterwards and you see how people are putting into action all those lessons that Oprah painstakingly worked out for us in our own lives. And my mind is all over the place.

There is an occasion waiting to happen in  my life, and I don’t know whether to engage in the thoughts I am having or should I just let it go and forget about it.

This is where you all come in … I need your advice. I know at least 17 of you get these posts as I pump them out and another good number of you are reading via Facebook and other sites like LinkedIn and through the vehicle of Word Press itself.

We have all lived our lives. And we have all grown up in one way or another. In my life I had to make some decisions that had to be made to get me where I am today. I don’t have any regrets because in the end I am where I am because of the choices I made long ago.

Many of my choices did not sit well with certain people in my life. As a young gay man I made several decisions about family occasions that did not sit well with my brother and his now wife.

Several of my life decisions were made out of desperation to get out of an abusive relationship with my family that was not serving me well at all. My relationship with my family has been non existent for decades, this began when I came out, (Well I never came out to them personally) but I did when I was diagnosed with AIDS in 1994.

I’ve told you that the last time I saw my mother was for 20 minutes on New Years Day in 2001. And that was the year that saw my getting sober finally and pulling a geographic here to Canada, and that pissed my parents off to high heaven.

I attempted, over the first two years I was living here, to reconnect with my family. I invested time, talent, treasure and emotion into a relationship that I wanted with them, even though I had made certain decisions to serve my own needs and to get me the life I deserved and not the one I ended up in living in the states. Being forced to choose between paying rent/ buying food and/or buying medication and not having a life to speak of was detrimental to me survival wise.

You do what you have to do to survive, because in the end it is all about survival. You either choose to live, or you die trying.

My parents were not happy that I made the move out of the country because they felt that I was spitting on my parents lineage, however Canadian my mother is deep in her soul. She was in fact, still a Canadian, when both her children were born, and I used that fact to attain my citizenship. I Owned a Birthright. And I used it.

I made the conscious effort to maintain some semblance of a long distance relationship with them and I failed at it miserably. After two years of investment I gave up because my parents wouldn’t let go of the resentments.

So time wore on. When my boyfriend at the time and I were preparing to get married, this 20th of November in 2004, we sent a wedding invitation to them and invited them up for the wedding. And the reply we got was

“We Don’t Do Gay !!!”

Seeing that I made a huge scene before my brother’s wedding event many years ago, they carry with them the resentment of what I did to them as well. And things were terrible for me during those times. I was really sick and dying, in fact, and at the time, I expected something that did not go my way. And so I made a decision not to participate in their wedding. So that resentment is sitting out there still being fed by my parents and my brother and his wife.

I expected … I am sober almost ten years now.

I was sober then too. During my first sobriety. So that was my bad I guess.

A few years ago, my brother popped up on my Face Book profile page. He is friends with some people I am friends with to this day. And at that time, I attempted to reconnect with him, and that failed miserably. I sent him messages and he dutifully, by the book, turned a deaf ear.

And I had to let that go, however bitter the sting. It’s all sober lessons for me. I had to walk away from the hope and expectation. I’ve learned that I cannot have expectations where family is concerned because this is all my fault, that my parents did nothing wrong and that I deserve all that I get because I am queer and hiv positive.

I learned at their knees just what they think about people, and they have in fact over my lifetime showed me exactly who they are in the way they have treated me over the whole of my life.

And Maya Angelou said … When people show you who they are the first time, Believe them … I did not listen the first time. I let it get to this point, When I should have walked away… the first time … But here we are …

Well.

I’ve been sober now almost ten years. And I am almost 50 years old …

How long can you punish a child?

I’ve learned a lot of good lessons. The fact that I am still alive matters. The fact that I am here in this moment matters, and I am not meaningless.

These could be construed as Alanon issues. Because my parents are alcoholics and I am a child of an alcoholic. And I should know better than to expect things from people who refuse to engage me in my life.

Yet here we are, trying to live better lives and to become the men and women we are called to be because we matter and because our lives are not meaningless.

I’ve refused to let myself even ponder making an I’m Alive Statement of fact. I’ve refused to make an I am Sober now 10 years and I want statement. My sponsor would tell me that I should focus on my sobriety and not to go to places that are fruitless.

The holidays are coming up and I don’t know what to do about them. When family life is based on anger and resentment, the opportunity to change the past has gone. I can’t change the past, nor would I.

I am who I am and I am the man I wanted to become. I wanted to live a better life. I needed to make a call that served my needs. I could not remain where I was letting my failure of a life serve other people. And by that time, my life wasn’t serving anyone at all.

I have learned in my life that once my parents cop a resentment they turn off your life switch and you become persona non grata. I watched them do that to other family members when relations went south. And to this day those dark resentments still punish them.

At one point I nailed enough nails in my proverbial coffin to set myself up for the light switch to be turned off for myself.

It started many years ago, the transformation that I wanted to happen in my life. And I took no prisoners. I did not look back and I made it perfectly clear to all those involved why I had made those decisions. Even if it pissed people off in the long run.

Back in the old days of Life with AIDS, there was no time to waste. Time was of the essence. You either acted or you died. Or you waited to die. Once people walked out of your life, because you got sick, you walked away, even if those people were family. My family did not rally round me at any point. Not then and surely not now.

These decisions began well before my second attempt at sobriety. And I had to loose it all to get back on my feet once again, and nobody but my friends helped me get there. Family had nothing to do with my either success or failure.

So how do you heal the past? How do you make up for lost time? Is it as easy as picking up the phone and making a phone call or writing a letter or sending a Christmas gift? What if you put a wish out there and try not to connect an expectation to it.

Because an animal cannot change its stripes. And I know better than to expect anything from my family, yet I have this sick need to scratch this itch once again. I go through this once a year and it usually happens when I work my steps and arrive at another sober anniversary. This is the big one. Ten Years.

You’d think that I have learned a lot of life lessons having survived AIDS and my death sentence. You’d think that I matter to my friends and family. I do matter to my aunt, my mother’s sister, who is part of my family. And I know that if I asked her whether I should go down this path once again, she would tell me not to waste my time.

If they haven’t had the desire to come find me after ten years, then why think that If I put it out there would the act be returned in kindness???

If the Facebook ignore wasn’t salt on the wound, I am sure that it was discussed that little hit, that went no where. I will forever be punished for my sins until I am dead and in the ground. What’s a little bad blood.

How much does reconciliation cost ??? Is it worth my pride and my emotions???

I’ve gone without it and have gotten used to living without it. But sometimes I wonder if they ever think about me? I wonder what they think I have done with my life, that one day curiosity would get the better of them and they would make an effort to find out???

Well, that hasn’t happened to this day so you wonder, is my life really that meaningless? Can you shut someone out of your life, for the the rest of their lives? Yes, that is entirely plausible. We’ve learned over the past not to go knocking on old doors. Because you never know what is going to come back at you.

I did what I had to do when the time counted. I have no regrets.

I just wonder if my life is still meaningless to people who gave me life, even with the decisions I made and the life I have come to live, and the sobriety that I have worked so hard to keep. There is no pride here, just an honest question. I am fully aware at what could be waiting for me if I go barking up an old tree.

Disappointment.

I’ve prayed for this particular miracle in the past, and God saw fit not to grant it, so I stopped praying for it. Knowing better than to hope in greater humanity. I am a queer with AIDS who deserves no life nor dignity and my family made that perfectly clear long ago, why should I expect a change now?

Fuck me …

What do I do?

They say if you pray for courage, God gives you the opportunity to be courageous. I don’t know if I have it within me.


Continued…

Courtesy: Ninatang

Good day peeps! It is a cool 13c out and drizzle is falling from the skies. Thankfully the rain stayed away. The day was gray and miserable out. Several of my friends remarked that it was getting dark at 5 o’clock and the weary cloudy conditions did nothing but keep the sun away for another day.

I guess that’s how October is making its way into our lives here in Montreal in gray dreary days. Leaves are falling from the trees. Some of the trees in the neighborhood have turned a bright yellow – no reds to be seen anywhere locally. And many of the trees on Clarke over by the church have yet to even begin to change. Looks like it may be a late October event this year.

*** *** *** ***

This weeks theme is about helping others. When you can, do.

I got to the church a little earlier than usual tonight, I was running ahead of schedule all afternoon. I get to sleep in some afternoons, and today i was up earlier than usual, so I got set and out the door before 5.

The keeper of the parish came down to meet me when I arrived at the church to run me through how the new locks in the church work. The doors are BIG heavy doors that take two hands to open and close. they had to drill huge locks into the doors in order to make them work, therefore a little finesse is necessary to get the locks to lock properly.

We have been asked to keep all the doors locked at all times while in the church, which means that we have to unload our cabinet and re-lock the inner doors to the passageways during the hours we are there, so that even if strangers came into the room, they would not be able to get into the areas of the church they are not supposed to be in.

We hosted 30 people for the meeting tonight. The topic on the table was the Tenth Step. “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”

Before the meeting we were talking about this step, because a few of our women are working this step presently. And they asked me why they would need to do a 10th step if they had a good day? Why do we need to do a tenth step every day?

Well, my answer to this question is this: I begin my day with my Daily Reflections. That gives me a thought to work with every day. It sets the tone for the day and focuses me on a good thought.

I remarked tonight that my marriage keeps me on my toes, I am ever mindful of how I react to situations and people, places and things. I am somewhat hyper-aware of my life in regards to hubby during the day because we spend so much time together during the day.

I do my journal here during the week. Along with the myriad of social media programs that I use, sober friends on Face book do write little steps and thoughts during the day and I have noticed lately that one of my sober friends does a spot check at the end of every day. And that’s what I do as well.

My day usually concludes with some writing. A little prayer to make the world go around. When I stop to do my tenth step at the end of the day it leads me one of two places.

One – If I have had a good day I write my gratitude list. (Something I should do daily, but if I am honest, I don’t always think about that list usually.)

Two – If I have had a bad day/or a trying day, I get to write down what troubled me or what I had a problem with and with whom as well. I get to figure out what role I played in the bad happening.

There is no justified anger nor justified resentments. EVER !!!

I get a daily reprieve based on my spiritual condition every day. If I forget that I need to maintain my spiritual connection with my higher power, I get to reconnect, at any point during my day, so that I get back on track.

So my tenth step let’s me clean my slate at the end of the day. So that I don’t take things to bed with me from during my day.

This ability did not come over night. Let me tell you that right off. It has taken me years of study, prayer and meditation to be able to use my spiritual program to its optimum performance. I’ve been practicing these things for a long time.

Some days I get it all wrong. And that’s ok. Because then I get to see what needs to be checked out and changed. One of my friends was sitting next to me at the table, reading from my Twelve and Twelve, and when we got to the last page, I had notes written all over the pages and up and down the margins.

My 12 and 12 book and as well, my Big Book are covered in highlighter ink, pen notes and comments written in the margins here and there from hearing things at meetings over the years. Let’s just say my b0oks have running commentary that has spanned the last 10 years of being sober.

A good night was had by all.

Tomorrow is my day off midweek.

Last night in Sociology we had a group assignment during class time. We had to go to Zeller’s and observe and document the toy department. Looking at boys/girls toys. Colors used in packaging, how the packaging was advertised, and what the ratio between boys/girls toys there were, what age groups were represented on the toys and we had to sketch the entire department on our group work sheet. It was an interesting assignment.

The topic of the night was gender studies. We have next Monday off for Thanksgiving, which means we have two week to write our next reflection in our journals. We have to write on Cultural Capitol.

So that was the day in brief.

More to come, stay tuned …


Patience …

Courtesy: Chaowowow

It was a good day today. I got to bed nice and early last night because I had to get up this morning and go drop labs at the hospital for my doctor visit tomorrow. I have been slacking in the “taking care of me” department.

I should have dropped labs three weeks ago because I was supposed to see Dr. Chris on the 9th, and I see Dr. George tomorrow morning. I walk into the hospital and there are people all over the place in the front hallway waiting for the elevators. There are 3 elevators on the Pine side of the hospital.

Two are dedicated to all floors on this side of the building. The third is a high capacity express to the 7th floor. One of the two dedicated elevators is out of commission. That leaves one car to serve all floors. It took nearly 20 minutes to get a car. I hate taking the stairs. So I waited.

I get to the clinic this morning and I find out that the phlebotomist that usually works in the clinic is on vacation until next week.

Which meant I had to go up to the 6th floor and join the general population of the hospital for my blood draw. Usually we get to bypass this little problem at the clinic. I got to the lab around 10. And there were 20 people ahead of me in the queue. So I took my number and sat and waited my turn.

I got to the desk and they go through the litany of questions … “do you have your hospital card?” “Did you fast this morning?” And when they ran my sheet it spit out ten labels. We were killing two birds with one stone. I got to the chair and sat down and prepared to be sucked dry by the vampire phlebotomist from hell. “no she wasn’t that bad…” I am just being dramatic…

10 vials later, I was sitting there quietly with my eyes closed. Still to this day I hate watching blood being taken. I should be used to this since I do it every four months. She asked me if I was sleeping … I said “no.” Just a little meditation.

I went back up to the clinic and saw the secretary and she pushed back  my HIV visit until the 6th of April. Tomorrow I see the diabetes doctor. Hopefully he will be pleased with my progress.

It was an in and out visit. I just did my thing to the rhythm of how things work as they will. I missed the downhill bus, it was pulling away from the stop as I rounded the stairs out front of the hospital. Damn …

It wasn’t too cold, the sun was shining and the next bus wouldn’t come until 20 minutes later, I decided to walk down the mountain and home. I can do the walk in about 15 minutes from door to door.

I got home around 11:30 and farted around the internets and watched a little tv. Today is my free day, (read: Sober day) Tuesday is my dedicated day to do nothing but do my service and hit a few meetings.

I took a nap for a couple of hours before I had to get ready to hit my home group. Today was beautiful, we got a lot of sunshine and it wasn’t too cold.

I hit the church around 4:30 and began set up. I guess I finished up around 5:20 and had about 40 minutes (before people start showing up) to sit and read for class on Thursday night. We are reading Plato and Aristotle. Compare the two men and what it means to be a good person, and how one becomes a good person.

We had a dozen people show up for the early meeting. We talked about patience and the daily reflection for the day. March is the third month of the year so the reflections for the month all center around the third step.

Pertinent, yes. The third step post, here on the blog, has generated a huge number of visits to the blog in recent days.

The discussion was lively and animated. Patience … It is something that I have learned about in sobriety. I remarked that in early sobriety I had to learn patience in the form of “stay in your day” and “one day at a time.” Those lessons took me a good year to learn how to do.

And upon closer reflection on nine years of sobriety, The way it happened for me is that I had a few months to learn a lesson either from the Book or from the meeting and then God would give me an actual situation to put into practice what I learned.

And that cycle continued on into sobriety. I would get a few months of reading, discussing and education in the rooms, then a situation would come up and I would get to put that learning to the test in real life. I’ve spent a few years working One, Two, Three… I think that it has served me well.

Situations come up in life, and every time something particular arises you get to look at it from a certain perspective. And you find a way to deal with it soberly. And you let it go. With each passage of time, you get to practice what you’ve learned. It is progress not perfection. That’s what our speaker for tonight spoke about at the speaker meeting.

The message was clear from the chair tonight. We heard all those things that newcomers need to hear … It works if you work it, It starts with one day, one 24 hours. Stick with it. I heard something cool from Patrick tonight, on the way out of the church he said that “nothing changes if nothing changes.”

I’ve never heard that before …There is something new I can add to my toolbox.

It was a good night. We had a good number of people show up for the speaker meeting. Which was good for the kitty. This is the last month of a double meeting for our group. The beginning of April we go to the new format, which has been decided on now … A beginners Literature Discussion Meeting.

The members will meet over the next week to discuss our new format, find literature that we would like to use, and get the update into the blue sheets on time. We have a bunch of literature in the stand up rack. I just bought $25.00 worth of pamphlets last month.

Sunday Nighter’s does a literature discussion and we are going to morph off from that meeting and do something similar, but geared towards the beginner, the group will maintain its name “Tuesday Beginners.” it has been that name for 53 years, and it is a brand.

Hopefully the meeting will take off and prosper.

That’s about all for now. Time for some food.

More to come, stay tuned …


Micah …

Seen over on: Randall’s Blog, Flickr Retreat Chapel – Chicago

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

My Tuesday’s have been upset because of class, and I am disconnected from the hive, and tonight I am feeling a little out of sorts because of my missing a few meetings. Today was an uneventful day as my Tuesday’s have been the same as the rest for years.

I spent coffee time with my friends before hand and we walked over for set up. Funny that the matriarch of the meeting comes earlier and earlier to the church so that we have time to visit before I have to leave the church as the Angelus bells ring from the bell tower of St. Leon’s Church in Westmount.

I made it to class on time and handed in my latest reflection paper in early. I have to say that the discussion in class has gotten very lively. We’ve been discussing Richard Dawkins, who is a staunch Athiest and Alister McGrath who discusses Dawkins in a lecture given at Babbage Lecture Theatre, Cambridge.

McGrath writes:

“Pretending the religion is the only problem in the world, or the base of all pain and suffering, is simply no longer a real option for thinking people. It’s just rhetoric, masking a difficult problem we all need to address – namely, how human beings can coexist and limit their passions. There is a very serious problem here, which needs to be discussed openly and frankly by atheists and Christians alike – namely, how some of those who are inspired and uplifted by a great vision of reality end up doing such dreadful things.

This is a truth about human nature itself. It can easily be accommodated with specifically Christian understanding of human nature, which affirms that we bear the “image of God” while being fallen on account of sin. To put it very simplistically, the lingering remnant of divine likeness impels us to goodness; the powerful presence of sin drags us down into a moral quagmire, from which we can never entirely escape.”

Has Science eliminated God? Richard Dawkins and the Meaning of life, pgs. 200-201

I came home and remembered that I had an appointment to write a friend about her life. I have been following her blog religiously for months now. Tuesday is the day I go to church at the Cathedral and I take my friends to church with me and I lay their problems down at the altar. So I spent the better part of an hour when I got home doing that. We’ve had the discussion of “Should I stay or Should I go” for months now, and it seems that we have come full circle because she has asked this set of questions once again. And again, we have to stop and assess the situation as it is today, and see what has transpired over the last few months since our last communicade, and sit down and ask ourselves a few pointed and sometimes harsh questions.

There are no half measures when it comes to sobriety.

There are three places an addict can find themselves if they don’t find recovery, they are Institutions, Jails and finally Six Feet Under. There comes a time in recovery when we reach a point of no return with others who are in the grips of addiction and self destruction that one must assess the viablility of maintaining a relationship with someone who clearly does not strive to clean up their act. Every living person had one redemptive quality about themselves, and I write:

“The fact that you see One Redempive Quality in your husband is so very admirable. And Unlike most, we tend to miss the redemptive quality, while looking for everything that is wrong with said person.

Everyone has a redemptive quality about them. The junky, the addict, the alcoholic and the abuser. The caveat here is this, does the offense overshadow or outperform the redemptive quality of said person? Is it time to hang up your coat and walk away?

Has redemption passed for him? Has he reached the point that redemption has come and gone? Aren’t you fed up with this already? For Christ’s sake, enough already. havn’t you had enough? I know if it were me I would have shipped his ass off to rehab somewhere where he would not get out until he was clean and mentally taken care of.

Is it time for you to call it a night? The [battered] wife, usually goes back because it is all she knows. Until she claims herself free and walks away from her abuser,then she is ready to start her life again without the violence. Oh but he will not do that again, he only does it because he loves me, he is not really a bad man. I see it in him, [every time he drops his pants].

He’s abused you enough. Don’t you agree, this train is not coming into the station, it is running at warp speed and you are powerless to stop it. And the only way that it is going to stop is when you get off the ride, mentally, emotionally and most importantly physically…”

My heart is broken over this situation because I know that if a decision is made in haste that it could be dangerous. But just when is enough?  Working with others is a very hard chore sometimes, when one sees the writing on the wall and you have to step back and say, I can’t make this decision for you, but I can offer you a viewpoint from outside the maelstorm, maybe you can find some assistance in what I have perceived and what we have spoken about in the past. We are stuck on a broken record. And the rut the needle is stuck in is getting really deep. There is no confidence breaking here. Pastoral Counseling is something that doesn’t come easy. I’m supposed to remain objective and offer counsel and advice where I can. I hope I did that tonight.

Believing without Seeing…

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Matthew 28:1-10

The Resurrection

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Reflection:

Mary Magdalene came back to Jesus’ tomb in the dark of early morning of the first day of the week. She is grief-stricken without the light of her life. Her heart searches for his presence. In Matthew the day arrives dramatically for her and the other women. As the earth quakes an angel rolls away the stone, sits on it, and from his radiance announces: “Do not be afraid!” [Jesus] is not here, for he has been raised just as he said” (Matt 25:5-6). Mary and the women believe and are sent to announce the good news to the others, meeting Jesus on the way.

Belief in Jesus risen and with is may have come to us in some dramatic episode pointing to a presence beyond the ordinary — an “earthquake or angel” moment in our lives. It may have come through an “empty tomb” realization — some letting go of a lost dream or love that made way for us to open to the transcendent mystery of the risen Christ’s Spirit within us. Or the good news of that presence may have been passed on to us by women and men who believed — our fathers and mothers, our Christian community.

Today we renew our baptismal commitment to believe in Jesus risen and with us, even though we do not see him. Christ is a hidden presence; our lives are “hidden with [him] in God” (Col 3:3)

Meditation:

Take time to remember how you came to believe. Rejoice in Christ’s hidden presence within you and pray for his Spirit to “clear out the old yeast” of sin and doubt, and make you and all into a “fresh batch of dough” (1Cor 5:7).


This Too Shall Pass…

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Eckhart Tolle tells these stories in his book, A New Earth.

According to an ancient Sufi story, there lived a king in some Middle Eastern land who was continuously torn between happiness and despondency. The slightest thing would cause him great upset or provoke an intense reaction, and his happiness would quickly turn into disappointment and despair. A time came when the king finally got tired of himself and of life, and he began to seek a way out.

He sent for a wise man who lived in his kingdom and who was reputed to be enlightened. When the wise man came, the king said to him, “I want to be like you. Can you give me something that will bring balance, serenity and wisdom into my life? I will pay any price that you ask.”

The wise man said, “I may be able to help you. But the price is so great that your entire kingdom would not be sufficient payment for it. Therefore it will be a gift to you if you will honor it.” The king gave his assurance, and the wise man left.

A few weeks later, he returned and handed the king an ornate box carved in jade. The king opened the box and found a simple gold ring inside. Some letters were inscribed on the ring. The inscription read: This, Too, Will Pass. “What is the meaning of this?” Asked the king. The wise man said, “Wear this ring always. Whatever happens, before you call it good or bad, touch this ring and read the inscription. That way you will always be at peace.”

This, Too, Shall Pass.

What is it about these simple words that makes them so powerful? Looking at it superficially, it would seem while those words may provide some comfort in a bad situation, they would also diminish the enjoyment of the good things in life. “Don’t be too happy, because it won’t last.” This seems to be what they are saying when applied in a situation that is perceived as good.

Those words inscribed in the ring are not telling you that you should not enjoy the good in your life, nor are they merely meant to provide some comfort in times of suffering. They have a deeper purpose: to make you aware of the fleetingness of every situation, which is due to the transience of all forms — good or bad. When you become aware of the transience of all forms, your attachment to them lessens, and you disidentify from them to some extent.

Being detached does not mean that you cannot enjoy they good that the world has to offer. In fact, you enjoy it more. Once you see and accept the transience of all things of the world while they last without fear of loss or anxiety about the future. When you are detached, you gain a higher vantage point from which to view the events in your life instead of being trapped inside them.

You become like as astronaut who sees the planet earth surrounded by the vastness of space ad realizes a paradoxical truth: The earth is precious and at the same time insignificant. The recognition that This, Too, Shall Pass brings detachment and with detachment another dimension comes into your life — Inner Space.

Through detachment, as well as nonjudgment and inner nonresistance, you gain access to that dimension. When you are no longer totally identified with forms, consciousness — who you are — becomes freed from its imprisonment in form. This freedom is the arising of inner space. It comes as a stillness, a subtle peace deep within you, even in the face of something seemingly bad. This, Too, Shall Pass.

Suddenly, there is space around the event. There is also space around the emotional highs and lows, even around pain. And above all, there is space between your thoughts. And from that space emanates a peace that is not “of this world” because this world is form, and the peace is space.

This is the peace of God…

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Can you hear the Mountain Stream?

A Zen Master was walking in silence with one of his disciples along a mountain trail. When they came to an ancient cedar tree, they sat down under it for a simple meal of some rice and vegetables. After the meal, the disciple, a young monk who had not yet found the key to the mystery of Zen, broke the silence by asking the Master, “Master, how do I enter Zen?”

He was, of course, inquiring how to enter the state of consciousness which is Zen.

The Master remained silent. Almost five minutes passed while the disciple anxiously waited for an answer. He was about to ask another question when the Master suddenly spoke. “Do you hear the sound of that mountain stream?” The disciple had not been aware of any mountain stream. He had been too busy thinking about the meaning of Zen.

Now, as he began to listen for the sound, his noisy mind subsided. At first he heard nothing. Then, his thinking gave way to heightened alertness, and suddenly he did hear the hardly perceptible murmur of a small stream in the far distance.

“Yes, I can hear it now,” he said.

The Master raised his finger and, with a look in his eyes that in some way was both fierce and gentle, said, “Enter Zen from there.”

The disciple was stunned. It was his first satori – a flash of enlightenment. He knew what Zen was without knowing what it was that he knew!

They continued on their journey in silence. The disciple was amazed at the aliveness of the world around him. He experienced everything as if for the first time. Gradually, however, he started thinking again. The alert stillness became covered up again by mental noise, and before long he had another question. “Master” he said, “I have been thinkin. What would you have said if I hadn’t been able to hear the mountain stream?” The Master stopped, looked at him, raised his finger and said,

“Enter Zen from there.”


Signs of Mystery…

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John 9:1-12

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Some claimed that he was.
Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”
But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”

“How then were your eyes opened?” they demanded.

He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”

“Where is this man?” they asked him.
“I don’t know,” he said.

During the next two weeks we will be reading selections from the Gospel of John, sometime described as mystical. In the New Testament the Greek word for “mystery” means “hidden” or “secret.” All the gospels, John’s in a special way, are designed to draw us into the hidden spiritual dimension of life beneath the surface of the text and concealed within our ordinary lives. John opens our eyes of faith to this divine mystery at work in us and our world by singling out seven special events of Jesus’ lifetime as sings of that work.

In today’s gospel reading John recounts the sixth sign, the cure of the man born blind. Jesus, “the light of the world” (John 9:5), counteracting the hostility of his disbelieving opponents, restores physical sight to this man, showing us that he is here to cure our blindness, especially that of our hearts and minds. Jesus confronts the Pharisees who doubted him and his healing actions saying that if they would realize and admit their own blindness — spiritual blindness– they too could be restored to sight.

But he says, claiming they can see reveals their sin remains (John 9:41). Today Jesus draws us into the depth of our everyday lives, inviting us to admit our blindness and to entrust ourselves in faith to the light of his life-giving Spirit as he lives, dies, and risen in us.

Meditation:

Today take some time to be alone and quiet. Close your eyes and focused in a relaxed way of gently letting your attention drop away from present externals, from anxieties about the future and regrets about the past. Pray confidently, “You are the light of the world, open my eyes to your light.”


We Begin …

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He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

They tell us that it is going to snow, and SNOWING, they mean over 10 to 20 cm of snow over the next few days. February is going to go out with a bang. I woke up yesterday and I was not feeling myself. I slept a good portion of today away because I feel like someone has sucked the life out of me.

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I had to go to class tonight because another guest lecturer was coming in to talk about The Evangelical Tradition, Discovering the Word-Centered life. Tonight’s presentation was by a secular Franciscan man who talked to us about St. Francis and the ways of the Franciscan Order.  So we mention firstly the 3 Paths: Purgation, Illumination and Union…

I am reminded of my prayers to Anthony of Padua, and the connection that David Eskries and I had to the saint when we were in Seminary/Monastery back in the day. When I was in San Francisco I visited the Mission Churches, this was after David died. I walked through the church graveyard and there in the garden was a lifelike statue of St. Anthony, our patron saint.

I heard a voice tell me to walk further, so I followed. I was led into the Mission Sanctuary and I stepped up to the altar and I was standing at the lectern, thumbing through the lectionary when a voice called to me and he said look up and when I did, there was a stained glass window up in the back of the church. And there before the window stood David, he greeted me and smiled. That was the second time David had appeared to me after his death.

Still to this day, I never leave the house without wearing my Miraculous Mary medallion that David’s mother gave me when he died. Blessed Be my friend and angel…

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I got a letter from an old friend today, the man who was the Youth Minister from the parish that I belonged to when I was in High School. After so many years, we have been reconnected due to the illness that has impacted my circle of friends today.

I want to Quote what John wrote:

Your email and your blog brought tears to my eyes.  I had no idea what you have had to go through!  It’s obvious to me that your inner strength comes from your struggle.  It seems that at my age (turned 50 in November), reconnecting with folks usually means some sort of tragedy has occurred.  I always wonder if we can pray our way out of another one! 

I remember our days in “New Life” with great fondness.  I continue to see that time in my life as an anointed time.  It’s still a rare thing when you can see and feel such a strong presence of the Spirit… the letter continues… 

Now you can see why your story has touched me so much.  I will continue to read through your blog – and hopefully to stay in touch with you as you pursue the next big thing in your life.  I, too, believe that you are called to share your struggles and your faith with others.  You are in my thoughts and prayers, my friend.

John mentions strength and struggle. Two things I am vividly aware of because they are two of the most important words in my vernacular. I was to talk about the sick and suffering, because I believe in the salvific value in suffering. The Late Pontiff, John Paul II speaks about this topic:

 

“I have always been very conscious of the fundamental importance of what the suffering contribute to the life of the church. I remember that at the beginning the sick initiated me. I needed a lot of courage to stand before a sick person and enter, so to speak, into his physical and spiritual pain, not to betray discomfort, and to show at least a little loving compassion.

Only later did I begin to grasp the profound meaning of the mystery of human suffering. In the weakness of the sick, I saw emerging every more clearly a new strength — the strength of mercy. In a sense, the sick provoke mercy. Through their prayers and sacrifices, they not only ask for mercy but create a “space for mercy,” or better, open up spaces for mercy.

By their illness and suffering they call forth acts of mercy and create the possibility for accomplishing them. I used to entrust the needs of the church to the prayers of the sick, and the results were always positive.”

Rise Let us be on our Way, pgs. 75-76

There are many topics that I am a student of. But today I can confidently speak about and know what true suffering is. I can write about it because I have walked that road. I can identify with you and I can know for sure that God sees all and knows all. The one thing that blossoms from the garden of suffering is the act of compassion. Because only through true suffering can one really grasp, understand and know what true compassion is.

Inner Strength that is borne out of suffering is something that I know very well. And I write about this issue many times. It came to pass that one Sunday my friends brought me to mass, I was really sick, during these years.  I stood in my pew and waited on the procession to begin and low and behold a new priest was saying mass, he had crutches and his name was Fr. Jeff.

He made his way into the church and up the stairs and I stood there amazed. He said mass and it was as if God spoke to me that Sunday. I watched this man get around with his crutches like a hot knife runs through butter. I swore on that day that I would never ever complain about my suffering again, and I have kept that promise to this day. Fr. Jeff had M.S. and I came to know this holy man of God, he became my spiritual director at St. Louis Catholic Church. He took me on a journey that changed my life. And I will forever be grateful to him for that.

In the Pinball Game we call life, I was not insulated from suffering. My ball has been in play for decades, and it seems that I remain in play today. Aids, depression, abuse, near death experiences, addiction, alcoholism, mental health issues, I have seen it all. And so with what I know, I can minister to you. I can tell you [Evan] that there is light at the end of the tunnel. You just got to keep walking and know that I am walking with you.

There is No TRY – Only DO!!!

I speak to my friends every week. I check in with them because I need to hear their voices. I need their encouragement and support, like I need air in my lungs. I have never felt such grace, as I have felt it as of late for many a year. Prayer and silence gives rise to grace and peace. We must continue to pray and believe that miracles are still possible in the 21st century and that God can move heaven and earth for us. I have faith that God will do what God will do, In His time, and on his timeframe.

We start with simple prayers once again…

The Gathering:

Almighty God,
to you all heart are open,
all desires known,
And from you no secrets are hidden.
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
Through Christ our Lord, Amen…

 


The Third Step…

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“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him…”

We are advised the AA program is simple, and we should keep it as simple as possible. Yet in Step Three we are confronted with the age-old mystery of humankinds relativity to God. Our natural inclination is to duck the issue entirely. Surely there must be some easier way out. There is. Given a chance, our alcoholic minds will find it. It leads back to drinking.

We know what should be done about this matter, but we are not being honest with ourselves when we refuse to seek and understanding of God or to draw upon His help and power. We still reason through alcoholic thinking. It is hard to surrender the rationalization and alibis of our alcoholic personalities. Also while seeking a tangible God we miss the service that leads to Him.

The Little Red Book, pg. 36, Step Three

I have, for the last few days, spent time in prayer, reading from the book, reciting prayers from the book, to help me find the words that I feel I should pray. I must say that praying on my own is not a difficult task day in and day out. It is quite another beast altogether when a community asks me to pray for some specific intention. Because I am not only praying for myself, but for you as well.

And that is a lot of pressure. Because I not only have to pray for myself, but I have to take your concerns and petitions to the Father as well, and I better have the right words to speak to God and I need to make sure that my prayers come from the right place in my heart and that my words are specific and just.

The Daily Reflection says today that: I cannot consider myself “Different” in AA. if I do, I isolate myself from the others and from contact with my Higher Power. If I feel isolated in AA, it is not something for which others are responsible. It is something I’ve created by feeling I’m different in some way. Today I practice being just another alcoholic in the worldwide fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The Daily Reflections, “I’m not Different,” February 19th…

My spiritual director told me to return to the written word to pray those prayers that I know so well, like rote. And so I have. I also return to the roots of where to begin my returning to the first three steps. I can’t, He can, So I will let Him…

I am powerless over the future. I am powerless over people, places and things. I cannot heal the sick or raise the dead. I am just one man in a network of prayer and support. All I can offer is all I have to give. And so today is Tuesday, my day of taking care of me. Of taking my prayers and concerns to the church where I chair my home group meeting this month and I share my thoughts with my friends and fellows and I listen to what they have to offer on the Third Step, on Powerlessness and of Turning it Over to a God of my understanding.

I know what to do, I know where to do it, and with guidance from the book, I know how to do it. Return to the roots where you started. Trust that the right words will come at the right time. Trusting that God hears us and takes every word we utter to him to his heart and in His goodness and in His time, Thy will be done…


Dust …

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“Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return…”

Observing the Holy Day of obligation, I attended mass at Christ Church Cathedral. The Reverend Canon Joyce celebrated the mass, the music was heavenly. The prayers offered to begin our Lenten journey have been said for each and every one of you. My academic adviser joined us and I could not have been pleased more to see him. It was a beautiful night.

Almighty God,
to you all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from you no secrets are hidden.
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify you holy name;
Through Christ our Lord. Amen

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The Lenten Journey Begins…

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Here is one of my favorite pieces of writing. I wrote in a few years ago, and I repost it every year at the beginning of Lent. And since I don’t have anything fresh to offer you – you can read this and prepare for your journey … Enjoy..

And so it begins, the walk through the desert. God is moving tonight, I can feel it in my bones deep within my soul. I am in Preacher mode and the message is loud and clear…Write and share the journey. There are several new bloggers on this list now, Christians I know for sure. Here is my Lenten exercise of the journey, it is called “Will you walk with me a step or two.”

One day the Lord spoke to them and they started walking through the desert. Men, women, children the elderly and the herds and flocks. Where they were going was not known, but it was apparent that they were going to get somewhere. If only they walked a step or two.

A young man spoke up and said “I will walk ahead of the tribes, I will lead them as the Lord leads me.” And the Lord asked the young boy, “are you ready to walk for the glory of God,” why “Yes,” the boy answered. So be it the Lord said, “now lead them, but take only that which you need and nothing more.” I will walk with You Lord, he said without a second thought.

The Lord said that the way will not be smooth and there are things you will see on the way that will test your faith, yet I the Lord will make the way straight and the path smooth, if you have faith in Me and the Glory of God the father. Yes, I have faith, the boy replied, so walk my son.

A few days into the journey the boy came across a woman with ragged hair and little clothing. She was elderly and needed some water. The boy was only carrying what he had, and he gave drink to the woman and quenched her thirst. She said to him, that she was lonely and afraid of the road, and the boy replied, woman, have no fear, for I will walk with you until nightfall and we will camp under the canopy of heaven. That day they walked together and the woman was grateful for the company and the water.

That night, they made camp, the tribes of the Lord.

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The Angel of the Lord came down and struck the rock and water flowed. They all drew water from a spring that appeared and everyones thirst was satiated. And the animals were watered as well. Food was passed from group to group until every last one was fed. That night they sang the song of the Lord until everyone was sent to a sleep protected by the Lord himself.

The very next morning, rested and fed, the tribes packed up their wares and started the journey as they did the day prior. The sun hung low in the sky, and by high noon, sweat was pouring off the brows of the people. The young boy made his way in front of the pack, leading them as he was guided by the spirit of the lord. Soon after noon the boy came across an elderly man who was being carried by two men, visibly shaken and tired.

The boy looked up to the sky and said, what can I do Lord?

The answer came and the boy took the arm of the litter and helped carry the man for the rest of the day, until darkness fell and camp was set up for the night. Once again, the Angel of the Lord came down and struck the rock and from the rock a spring came up from the earth once again, the people and the animals were watered. The tables were set and the people were fed to their fill. Once again, they praised the God of Abraham and in the coolness of the night they slept under the canopy of the heavens.

On the third day they awoke to a cloudy day, grateful for the relief from the sun, they gathered up their wares and began to walk once again. Today the young man was tired. He had been leading this lot for days now, and yet the lord said, Keep walking. So he did.

On this day he came upon a young person drawn from travel, covered in dust from the desert. Visibly the boy had not eaten in days and was close to death.

The young man stopped and knelt down next to him and shared his water and some bread from his pack. He lifted the boy into his arms and carried him for the rest of the day. Hours passed and the boy was filled with faith and strength as he carried his charge on his back. That night at camp, the young boy gathered some bedding and laid his friend in a cool soft place.

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That night the Angel of the Lord appeared and once again, struck the rock and water flowed. He bathed the young man whom he had carried all day, then they broke bread and shared living water from the earth. Miracle, you ask, quite possibly so.

That night all were fed and after the plates were cleared and all had been fed, they gathered before the fires and praised the God of Abraham. They rested beneath the canopy of heaven.

For 38 days and 38 nights, the boy walked with his people, helping each soul he encountered to the best of his ability as God had commanded him to do.

On the 39th day they awoke. The angel of the Lord was there at first light and he told them, the journey was almost over, walk on as the Lord commands.

That day was no different. On that day the young boy would meet his final “person.” She was laden with child, and was walking alone carrying everything that she needed. No man walked by her side, no assistance came to her. She was visibly close to giving birth, and the Boy took her hand

As night fell, the boy gathered the women together and they prepared the woman for birth. A call went out to the men and they gathered together some wood for someplace to keep the child. As was foretold, the Angel of the Lord appeared to them once again, and struck the rock and as happened each night before, water flowed.

That night the stars shone brightly, the heavens were alight with song. Something was about to happen. For after the meal, the woman called for the boy and he appeared by her side. The time had come and she wanted to share the birth of the child with him, for he walked with her a step or two. That night under the canopy of heaven a child was born and she asked the boy his name.

He answered, “My name is David.” She smiled at her son, and spoke to the heavens, May God in heaven be blessed and may he bless my son David, born this night. The heavens replied with a thousand shooting stars… What a glorious vision the host of angels come down from heaven to sing to David, the newest member of the tribes of Abraham. That night they rested and slept in peace.

On the 40th day the young boy awoke, there standing before him were 40 men, women and children. All of those whom David had walked with through the desert. At that moment an Elder man spoke to David and said follow me, there is someone who would like to see you David, HE has asked for you by name.

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The people before him parted and through them David walked until he reached a hill that was green with foliage and there a spring bubbled up. “Take off your sandals David” a voice spoke to him. David did not skip a beat. As David looked up from undoing his shoes, There the Master sat on the rock before him.

David’s eye welled up with tears, he had done exactly as he was instructed, as the Lord had told him. He had led his people through the desert helping each soul he met on his path. The Master knew what was in his heart and soul. David was without words. The Master got up from where He sat and approached David and wrapped his arms around him, and said……..

“Well done good and faithful servant. In YOU I am well pleased.”

What for? David said, all I did was what you asked of me while I walked. And the Master replied, “you know David, each time you helped one of these souls on your journey, you helped ME.” “What the least of these you have done for my brothers and sisters you have done for me.”

The Master reached down into the pool of water and blessing the water he blessed and baptized David the Boy, and then David the infant. And for a moment the heavens opened up and God’s voice was heard, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

And from the sky a beam of light shone forth into the desert and the sands were parted and there in the swirl of dust a city appeared. It is there that the people made their homes. The journey had ended. And a placed blessed by God was theirs to live in.

So will you walk with me a step or two. The journey is long and the road may be rough, but as the Lord says “I will make the path straight and your burden will be light.” Take only that which you need. And if you meet someone of the road, stop and ask your questions, share your water and food, for you never know when the Master will reveal himself to you.

Are you ready to start walking !!!


Holocaust Memorial Day …

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You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz

Let us Remember so that We Never Forget…


Willing to Surrender

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“I guess the big question is… are you willing to surrender your life to Him and see where He leads you?” I refer you to Scotty’s Entry on his blog from a Starbucks in Jordan.

I ponder the word surrender. I ponder the word acceptance and I ponder the word wander. In my studies of ancient Celtic Christianity, I am struck by their desire to find God where they may, and the fact that the “arrival at any location is just as important as their need for pereginatio – “to travel beyond.”

“Thus we incorporate our models into ourselves, becoming what we image ourselves as the true purpose, the true structure of existence. Images and symbols, the great symbolic forms, are the shaping forces of our spiritual lives. We become what we behold. It is as though there were a continuing creation, forming us according to those things we choose to contemplate most seriously and so incorporate into ourselves.”

John W. Dixon, Jr. “Franciscan Exegesis,” Theology Today, 43:4

Are you willing to surrender your life to Him and see where He leads you? That is not a difficult question to answer, I do surrender myself to the God of my understanding but I believe I am missing part of the equation to consider whether or not I am being sent, so to speak. I don’t have a specific community that I am or should be connected to. I am missing that communal connection to serve outside my rooms of recovery, where I abandon myself to God as I understand God.

I am working towards a goal in my studies and one day I will reach that final goal of some sort of ministry, be that in the M. Div studies or some other form of ministerial work. I want to have a full life in faith, and yet I feel that I have fallen short of my goal in reckless abandonment to my God. I am farther back in the spiritual pack than others. Yet I follow closely the spiritual walk of others in the hopes that one day I will reach that point where I am totally ‘in service’ of God, in some form or fashion.

I am always on the lookout for that ‘spiritual road marker’ that will definitively tell me that “This is the project you should go after” or God will speak with a resounding voice to me and say “here ya go, try this on for size.” I was reading the other day about a job that was vacated in a particular church in Saskatchewan and for a few moments I thought to myself, I wonder what that particular job pays? And I put the idea out on the table here at home, and it was immediately shot down with a resounding NO!

I don’t know where this journey is taking me or where I will end up. But I know that I am not done yet surrendering, I am not done listening. I am not done wandering. The opportunity of a lifetime, I believe is still ahead of me, where ever that  opportunity lies, I have always maintained that I won’t cave to the language police here in Quebec, which leads me to remember that I may not stay here for the rest of my life.

There are places I still want to see in this great country, I have wanted to find myself in some backwater town in BC serving a community of faithful or working in a specific community, with a little church and a lot of nature. I believe that there is an adventure still left in me and that at some point, I will get the call that will send me. And I will know when that happens. Because it will stir from within me not from outside me.

Lord, hear me when I call to you
Harken my prayer and listen
Speak your words to me
in the silence of this night
and Guide me where you will.

Prepare the road and make it
straight, give me what it is that I need
and I will be ready
Speak to me for I am listening
Teach me and I will learn
Love me and I will be filled with
your joy and your peace.

Make ready the path I am supposed to walk
send me a guide to start me on the way
call to me and I will come to you
Let me hear you in the whisper
Let me see you in the daylight
Let me Love you like no other…


All is Right in the World

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I slept in today, UGH! But I did get to my evening class with Sara, my Celtic Christianity class, which I totally enjoyed. Sara’s classes are comfy and warm and cozy that you come in and you sit and allow the feeling to wash over you that “all is well in the world.”

That doesn’t speak of an easy ride mind you, but one of conscious thought and work. I have been reading the course pack and through tonight’s discussion we have learned a few things. That there is more to Celtic life than we may have known. That each reading in the book is set in its place for a reason.

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Imagine standing before a forest, you boys out West can better understand this than I can paint a picture, but Sara used the forest imagery tonight. And I remarked how each reading, if laid upon the one prior paints a picture in successive layers of reading, and information. And the readings tease you to walk into the forest and turn leaves over looking for further clues to the real truth of the Celtic.

We are invited to start exploring the forest for clues to our study for this term. It is not all so easy, and reading about the past – we must use our lenses of hermeneutic suspicion, to read each text and article with a critical eye. I used that term tonight, and Sara giggled to the rest of the class, “oh Jeremy, you are so clever, aren’t you!” I had to explain this strategy with my fellows.

It’s all good…

And my young warrior from the West came to visit! You can check out his blog, The Life of Robert Wesley, he is a very special friend that I have known for some time.  Joy of joys he has decided to continue writing!! YAY!!

On the way home I hit “Came to Believe” in time for the second speaker, just so I had some time to sit with myself and be quiet and listen to another speak about his trials and tribulations about recovery. I just wanted to sit and listen, which is always a good thing to do when possible.

Over all is was a great night. Now I am gonna hit some dinner and chill out…

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A photograph from the Portfolio of Robert Wesley from B.C.