Sunday, May 31, 2009

What do you seek?

The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, "What do you seek?" --John 1:37, 38
We all seek meaning and purpose. We seek direction and guidance. We seek friendship. We seek love. Jesus took those two disciples of John to where He was staying. He took them into His world. Their lives were never the same.  It is amazing to think He is still taking us, 2000 years away from that moment, into His world. He will never force us to go or to stay. He does not want robots, or people who serve Him out of fear. He wants sisters and brothers. He wants us to learn His way of love and joy. When we begin to learn His heart, we start to find out what it is we truly seek. We seek Jesus Himself. He is everything.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding..--Proverbs 3:5
This is one of the hardest teachings in our faith. In fact, it is what our entire earthly life in God is about! Abraham did not lean on his own understanding when he left Ur for the "promised land." He led his family into a wilderness of unknowing. He believed that this God Who had called him was reliable, so, he acted on this belief. Moses had lived in the desert many years when God came to him in a burning bush,( how bizarre) and told him to go back into the very place his understanding told him never to return to. Mary, a very young Nazarene girl, was told by an Angel that she was chosen to bring the Messiah into the world, though she knew no man. Every fiber of her being and her understanding must have tempted her to doubt, but instead she said "let it be unto me.." . Jesus prayed three times in the garden of Gethsemane for the cup of suffering to be taken away. It wasn't, so He rose to meet His betrayer. Everyone of us are called to take up our cross and follow Him. We must not rely on our own understanding. If we do, we will never make it to Calvary, and the empty tomb.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Jesus Wept

Jesus wept.--John, chapter 11, verse 35

Isn't it amazing to picture Jesus, fully God and fully man, weeping? It doesn't say he cried or that he was sad, it says He wept. There must have been some serious emotions going on with our Savior. This is incredibly comforting for us, His brothers and sisters. We know now that when we feel great emotions of sadness, fear, frustration, anger, etc.. that He knows them as well. Many have asked why He wept, especially if He knew He was about to raise His dear friend Lazarus from the tomb. I think He wept because of the great pain those around Him were experiencing. His humanity must have also felt pain for losing His close friend. Martha and Mary were close to Him too. Their sadness weighed on Him. But He may have also wept because He knew Lazarus was going to eventually face another death. I don't know. Whatever the reason, our Lord understands sadness, and that is encouraging to us in this valley of tears.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Book of Longing

I tried to love you my way, but I couldn't make it hold. So I closed the Book of Longing, and I do what I am told.--Leonard Cohen, from the song--"That don't make it Junk"
Why is so hard for us to love God? He knows it is hard for us to love Him. This is why He gives us ritual. When the feelings go, and they always do, we still have the ritual to keep us moving. Why do we think He gave us the Church? He gave us the Church so we will always have a foundation to keep standing on when our emotion of devotion wavers. In a way, the Church is like a wedding ring we wear. No matter what we go through, the ring reminds us of who we are. We know the Mass, we know the prayers, we know the sacraments. These things are not about feelings or emotion, they are how we stay with our God even when our God seems hidden and we feel abandoned to the devil himself. These gifts from God are vehicles of grace that give us faith to trust. I find the greatest attacks on my faith come when I am sitting in Mass. My mind becomes a search light, looking for anything to distract me from where I am and what I am doing. But even as I go through the motions, with no longing for God at all, there is a silver hope that I will one day be walking with Him in grace again. We must never stop going, especially when the feelings and the longing for God are gone.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

One eyed man is king..

In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king.--Tom Waits, from his song "Singapore"
What did Jesus mean when He spoke of the blind leading the blind? It seems He was speaking of the religious leaders and their followers. There are many religious leaders in our culture. We can turn on the TV right now and find a religious leader. It is not even surprising when someone we know decides to start their own "church". New denominations spring up across this country daily. Something is wrong about this. It only serves to separate more and more Christians.  Jesus was not blind, He had two good eyes. He told the apostles He was going to build His Church on Peter, the rock. He did not say He was going to build thousands of churches that can't even agree on the relevance of baptism. We must make sure that the religious leaders we follow can see. If the light within our leaders is darkness, how great is the darkness! There has to be an ancient tradition of unchanging truth that we follow. A Tradition that brought us our doctrines, the New Testament, and the Sacraments. Even a broken down one eyed man of the fullness of truth is better than a blind man following his own ideas.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In the Mirror

For He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.--The writer of Hebrews
Why is it so important to us that God never changes? Why do we care that He is constant in Who and What He is? There has always been the argument as to whether people can really change. Everyone knows somebody whose had a "change" in their lives. Think about that uncle who, "got religion". He was different for a while, but slowly he went back to cussing like a sailor. The difference is now he apologizes when he says a cuss word around the kids. What do we expect people to become after they find Jesus? Are they supposed to become like Mother Teresa overnight? No, it takes time to grow in the grace of the Lord. Look in the mirror and ask this, "How long have you been a believer? Shouldn't you be closer to the heart of Jesus by now?" We are all not that much less lost. We are all in need of mercy. So, let's be patient in our condemnation and judgement of others. And let's be patient in our expectation of others, even of that face in the mirror. Our strength comes from our God who does not change, He doesn't need to.

Monday, May 25, 2009


I heard there was a secret chord that David played and it pleased the Lord...-Leonard Cohen, from the song Hallelujah
Is there a time in our day, or night, when we play a secret chord for God? What is that simple little sound from our lives that pleases Jesus? Scripture says that without faith it is impossible to please Him. This does not mean that we won't have doubt. Our faith springs forth from our doubts, like the geyser, Old Faithful, springs from the earth. Without recognizing and dealing with our doubts, our faith will be shallow and easily overcome. My greatest tests of faith so far have always been born from my greatest and most troubling doubts. For instance, I do not know how we will make it to the goal set before us, but I know that faith will have something to do with it. So will grace and mercy. So will hope and pain. So will doubt. So will love. The cross of Jesus is not about having it all figured out, but it is the doorway to something that makes our doubts bloom into the rose pedals of a beautiful faith.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Child of the Wind

Hear the wind moan in the bright diamond sky, these mountains are waiting brown-green and dry. I'm too old for the term but I'll use it anyway, I'll be a child of the wind till the end of my days.--Bruce Cockburn, Child of the Wind
If we walk by the Spirit, we will not fulfill the desires of the flesh scripture tells us. It is not a good thing to fulfill the desires of the flesh. When we do this, we are leaving grace behind. It is not a good thing to leave grace behind. To leave grace behind is to leave beauty, hope, and wise reason. If we are blown by the winds of this world, we will end up numb and bitter. We are all called to be  children of the Spirit, blown by the Wind of God. Scripture says the Holy Spirit is like the wind, blowing in and through our lives, often disturbing them to the point of bewilderment, and we have no idea from where He came or where He is going. I often wonder, 'God, where is this all going?'To be a child of the wind is to live not on the rollercoaster of emotion, but is instead is to roll down the highway of maturing love. This highway is neither predictable nor smooth, but it's end is eternal bliss, which is itself a mystery.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Lilly of the Midnight Sky

While You look from on high, spare a smile as I, put on my dog mask and howl for You. I can reach You if I try, Lilly of the midnight sky.--Bruce Cockburn, Lilly of the Midnight Sky
Life and death are mysterious. We are not asked if we would like to be born, nor are we asked if we would like to die. Both of these are gifts. While we are here, we learn that humility is the greatest way to Truth, Hope, and Love. Faith without humility is once more the devil in the garden of our minds. He comes there when we are full of self righteous pride and tempts us to be like God. Same old shtick, same old results. But Jesus comes and gives us a way out. Humility. It's not easy to stumble upon it, and holding on to it is like bottling the rays of the moon. When you graduate from one thing in your life and begin a new thing, look hard for ways to embrace humility as you go. St. Francis referred to Mary as the moon, she reflected the sun all through the night. Her humility allows this. I pray we can be so humble as to reflect the light of our Lord to this dark world.

Friday, May 22, 2009


"The simplification of anything is always sensational." - G.K. Chesterton

My dear friend, Fr. Greg Michaud, reminds me often that walking with
God, though incredibly mysterious, is incredibly simple. We make it
hard with our "issues". It is simple to pray, believe, and wait. It is
hard when praying is confused with talking to ourselves instead of
God, believing in an idea of God that has nothing to do with God, and
waiting for a door to open that God may not have placed before us.
See, we make this journey a mess with our un-childlike ways.


Thursday, May 21, 2009


God is our refuge...Psalm 46

We need a refuge in this rain storm of pain, frustration, and
confusion. We need a refuge in this desert of loneliness, dry hearts,
and silence. We need a refuge in this blue night of cold breath,
starless skies, and the never appearing dawn. We need a refuge in this
land of shadows, stark words, and broken dreams. We need a refuge.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The element of all spiritual life...

The vital element of all spiritual growth is grace in its many
forms...--Fr. Benedict Groeschel from his book, "Listening at Prayer".

If we think we can do any of this spiritual life on our own without
God's help, we are mistaken. If you stop reading this and pray right
now, it is because of grace. Yet, somehow, it is still a choice we
make. It is too mysterious, but it is also too simple. What we have
building here is a foundation of thankfulness. We are always moving
toward the Eucharist, which means "thanksgiving". He made us. He gave
us life and breath. He is patient with us in our sin. He sent His Son
so that we might know His crazy love for us. He daily tries to remind
us that without Him we are lost. We have the Church with the
Sacraments to help us in the journey. He even gave us His very own
mother to be our mother while He was on the cross! We could go on and
on with the things He does to draw us to Himself. St. Therese, the
Little Flower said it best, "Everything is grace."


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

God is Love

The greatest of these is love.--St. Paul
What is love? Can we see it? Can we touch it? Sometimes we can feel its effects, but it is not something provable in a test tube. Love is a decision on our part. To want the good of another person simply because they exist is the highest form of love. Jesus showed this by dying. While we are on this earth we can choose to love or not to love. The more we understand how we are loved by our invisible, unprovable God, the more we respond with love. "We love because He first loved us", St. John writes. We live in this realm by faith, hope, and love. But we will only carry one of these with us into the next realm. We will no longer need faith or hope, for we shall see what we have had faith and hope for. Love will be revealed beyond our imagining. So, let's dedicate ourselves today to God, Who is love.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ever was a Door

The door has closed forevermore, if indeed there ever was a door.---Bob Dylan, from his new album, Together Through Life, the song is called "Forgetful Heart"
What if the door we want opened never opens? Even if our dreams don't come true, even if we suffer without apparent purpose, even if we fall a hundred times, we are called to be people of detachment, joy, and hope. This is a hard thing to embrace, but this is the example of our Lord. His freedom to go through whatever for the Father and His brothers is the hope of all the baptized. But in our times, we have been taught to worship talent, dreams, and success. In this sick culture of shallow ideals and American Idols, we are called to swim against the current. If we are not careful, we will start thinking we deserve something. We don't. This is why we are people of faith, grace, and works. St. James said, "It is not by faith alone.... Faith without works is dead." Joy comes in the simple things, in working out our salvation with fear and trembling. It comes in a sunrise, a sunset, a song of struggle. Sometimes we get the idea that if we pray hard enough and long enough the door to our dreams will open. What we may find is that there never was a door there in the first place. To learn this is the case and then to move on, delighting oneself in the Lord in spite of the temptation to despair, is freedom.  "Lord, help us! Mercy!" 

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Listen to what life is saying in the present moment before trying to shape your prayer.--Fr. Benedict Groeschel
There is so much wisdom in taking a moment to listen before we start speaking. Praying is never going to be what it can be in our life if we don't try to grow it. We must spend time and effort in our life of talking and listening with God. If we listen and take note of what is going on around and in us when we pray, our prayers will change. By God's grace, we will start praying things Jesus would have us pray. When this starts to happen, so will amazing things in our life. Maybe not things we expect or even want at the moment they come, but our hearts start to become more His, and deeper into union with Him we will go.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What a reward!

It's hard! Yes, I know. But, forward! No one receives the reward--and what a reward!--except those who fight bravely.---St. Josemaria Escriva
St. Paul said we fight the good fight. It is truly a battle for virtue, a battle against vice. We are so easily full of vice, without much effort at all. But to be full of virtue, that is a fight. It comes through grace working within our lives, and our response to grace. The reward, Paul said, makes the struggle seem like nothing in comparison. "Lord, help us right now to believe this. Help us die to ourselves and live for You, even while stumbling through this valley of tears."

Friday, May 15, 2009

God is waiting for us.

God's waiting for us.--Henri J.M. Nouwen
We must understand something. There is one act that all living things experience, waiting. It starts with creation itself. St. Paul said, "All of creation longs for the sons of men to be revealed." Trees, animals, insects, the planets, dirt, humans, good or bad, everything and everyone is waiting for renewal. Even God is waiting. Let this sink in for a moment, selah......... God waits for us. We wait for God. We need prayers answered, miracles, direction, signs, grace, hope, love, etc.. He waits for us to call upon Him with a broken and contrite heart. He waits because much of the time our hearts are hardened by self loathing, pain, fear, and doubt. I know this well. He showers grace on everyone, waiting for hearts to break and turn to Him. And this is not about salvation alone, it is also about sanctification. Our journey with God is tumultuous, bizarre, and great. Sometimes, all we can do is yearn for a change of heart. ..., hallelujah.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.--Jesus
Why would Jesus say this? He knows how important freedom is to the soul of a man. Wars have been waged for it. Nations are built upon the idea. But what is freedom? Is it being able to do whatever we want to do? Is freedom being able to do or say anything we want? The "free" Jesus was speaking of means something more. It is so beyond being able to do whatever we want. If we know the truth, and He said He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, then we shall be set free from slavery to false freedom. We shall be set free from the sin that so easily entangles us, so that we might run the race of true liberty to follow Him with abandon. True freedom is about saying yes to Jesus. Any other kind of freedom is a lie. Liberty lies in these words alone, "Not my will, but Thine be done." Jesus said this too.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Right there where we are most vunerable, the peace that is not of this world is mysteriously hidden.--Henri J.M. Nouwen
The simple love of God is made complicated by all the things we hold on to that have nothing to do with love.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Trust and Openness

To wait with openness and trust is an enormously radical attitude toward life. It is choosing to hope that something is happening for us that is far beyond our own imaginings.-- Henri J.M. Nouwen
In football, the basics of blocking and tackling are where everything begins and ends. If these two aren't sure, nothing else is sure in the game plan. In our journey with God, trust and openness are the same. The devil knows this. Life is full of distractions and big ideas that tempt us to forget the basics of our faith. Trust and openness is where we begin, and it is also where we end. No matter how much pain and suffering we go through, we need to trust in, and be open to our Beloved's ability to get us through it. Even when everything we can see or feel tells us He has forgotten us, or worse, knows what we are going through but doesn't care. This is why trusting and be open is a radical attitude in this life.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Just Pray

If you pray, you are positive of saving your soul. If you do not pray, you are just as positive of losing your soul. --St. Alphonse Liguori
It is very simple, pray right now. Pray after you read this. Pray after you leave your computer. Pray as you walk through the room. Pray upon your bed, in your car, at your job, on the field, wherever, always, just pray. I pray that we never feel as if we have prayed enough.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Becoming His Love

It's not hard to fall when you float like a cannonball.--Damien Rice

The clumsy never get used to falling. It hurts just as bad the 50th time as
it did the 5th. The humility of loving someone who is mysterious and vague
is always perplexing. The kiss from the one who loves you is always
wonderful, even after so many years. The little things in this painful life
are always the most beautiful. Friendship, laughter, delight, a good steak,
a glass of red wine, a call from someone who just wanted say hello. The best
things are simple. God made us to live simple lives, but no, we have to
complicate them with sin, deceit, envy, jealousy, dreams that have nothing
to do with Him at all. But even so, He does not give up on us. He is there
when we fall 51 times. He is there though He is mysterious and vague. To
adore Him is to kiss His lips. We must not stop trying to follow Him up the
hill to Golgotha. No matter what, it is very simple, we all have to die on a
cross. And when we learn how to do this, we will experience His simple
liberty that is becoming His love. In this we learn to love oursleves,
others, and His simple Heart.


Saturday, May 9, 2009


We must always learn to realize that the love of God seeks us in every
situation, and seeks out good. His inscrutable love seeks our
awakening.--Thomas Merton

We are sleepwalkers. We all are able to fall asleep standing up. One
minute grace is leading us and we are wide awake in the great
adventure of faith, and then, suddenly, we fall asleep in the light.
We go through the motions and the motions go through us. We are like
zombies in our relationship with God. We mouth the words and every so
often we feel a tug on our hearts to awaken. We toss and turn as if in
a dream, we try to scream, but can't make a sound. This is a state of
darkness where we can only wait for God. He must be doing something we
don't understand. He must be trying to wake something in us we don't
even know about. It can be about the scariest thing to go through in
this journey. I know I am scared.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Free Will Creatures

Whatever good or bad things happen to us, they have only one single purpose, to awaken us to the reality of God and help us on the path toward union with Him.--Father Maximos, from the book "The Mountain of Silence"
"It is up to us whether we take advantage of these wake up calls", says Fr. Maximos. We are free will creatures. We can choose to give our love to God or we can choose to give our love to pride. It is an incredible revelation to our souls when we know we have a choice. We are not robots. We are not destined to follow pride, we are not destined to follow Jesus. We are guided by grace, and we are shown  His heart, so that we might choose His way instead of pride. He will go to unbelievable lengths to help us choose His way. If you don't believe me, gaze upon a crucifix. 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

That's all we got.

Come gather 'roun people wherever you roam....--Bob Dylan
There has to be a sense of urgency in telling the story. Life is nothing if not a story, many stories, all beginning the same, and all ending the same. The in-between is where we learn to live and die. We are all called to speak our story of our God, He Who became one of us. We are called to speak the story of a God with scars in his hands, side, and feet. We are not supposed to pretend we understand this crazy love He has for our sorry souls, but we are suppose to give it away with the same abandon. We are all storytellers, travelers,  gypsies of a sort. Why? How? Well, this old screwed up beautiful world is a road. Even if you never leave the town you were born in, you don't live there if you were baptized into the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Your life is hidden with Jesus in God. Here is there. We are there. He is here, we are here. And until we die, that's all we got. What a story!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Not that Strong

One day old Paisios was visited in is remote hermitage by a group of five obnoxious young men, full of pride and arrogance. He patiently spent several hours showing them attention. A theology teacher who was present became irritable and impatient. "How could you tolerate them?" he asked him, And the elder replied, "Have you ever wondered how God could tolerate you?"--From the book, "The Mountain of Silence"
There is a way of wisdom that comes to those who follow closely to Jesus. It is not something one can learn in a few days, months, or years. This is why we are fools to not study the lives of the saints. They did not become saints by simply believing. They became saints by spending hours in prayer, in service, in silence, in study, in close proximity to Jesus. They learned to trust through what they suffered. They learned to die to themselves through mountains of disappointment and uncertainty. They learned to fight the good fight in humility through being let down by others over and over again. And when we study a saints life, we find this person had also studied the life of a saint that came before them. We cannot be loners in this journey, we will be tricked by the devil if we try. We are not that strong.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Prove it all Night

God loves, you see, to be investigated by us humans.--Father Maximos, from the book, "The Mountain of Silence"
If the belief we have in God is not our own, we are skating on thin ice. If my faith is only a result of my parents, priest, or some spiritual guru, then it's not my heart that belongs to Jesus. I will not hold up when storms of suffering, confusion, frustration, fear, and failure rage against me. God does not want us to assume Who He is when it comes to being His child. He wants us each to dig on our own. He wants us each to prove or disprove Him! This cannot be done with logic or reason, scientifically, philosophically, psychologically, or geologically. He is beyond logic and reason. But He is not beyond the heart. Our hearts must lead the way in this seeking. There is great mystery God will only reveal to hearts.  If you follow Him, seek Him faithfully, walk with Him, and then time and time again He lets you down, it is possible that He is trying to destroy your borrowed faith and give you a deep faith of your own. We can't be afraid to try and find out Who He really is. If we are afraid of proving Him one way or another, then our faith will stay in shadow, and we will stay shallow.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Light

The light shines in the darkness..--St. John
Wherever you and I go, the light is within us. If we are His, the light is there. Does it shine in the darkness of the water cooler, the break room, the construction site, the court room, the classroom, the studio, the office cubicle, the kitchen, the board room, the weight room, etc...? If Christ is in us, His light is there. He is about saving souls and bringing them home. He wants us to be about this too. And this takes on many guises. Many times, it is saying nothing, just living in humility and following Him in our convictions. This says more than words ever could. But sometimes He calls us to open our mouths... We must always be ready to give an account, a witness, to His light within us. Do not be afraid, let it shine.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Whole of the Moon

I saw the crescent, but You saw the whole of the moon.--Mike Scott, from the Waterboy's "This is the Sea" album
What would we see if we saw the world through Jesus' eyes? Jesus sees through the facade of the times. He sees through our spiritual pride and our fears. Jesus sees beyond our false ideas of self.  Scripture says that He knows the heart of man. What did He see when He saw a sunset? Did He laugh at puppies playing? When He saw suffering, did He feel pity for those going through it, or did He feel something beyond pity? He saw everything perfectly. He saw with the eyes of wisdom, patience, hope, and love. When we see a sunset or someone suffering, we see it as through a glass dimly. We do not know one anothers hearts, we don't even know our own. The reality of our world is not beyond our Lord's vision. What you and I go through everyday is known by our Beloved, and knowing that He sees it as it truly is, should bring us courage to trust Him. In this, we can pray and ask Him daily to let us see ourselves, things, and  people around us with His loving eyes of truth.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Don't forget about delight.--Bruce Cockburn, from his song, "Delight"
Very often, if not careful, we can take ourselves way too seriously. I am guilty of this. Now, I am not saying we should not take holiness, service, joy, humility, hope, prayer, bearing our crosses, evangelizing the world for Jesus, etc.. very serious. By all means, these things are our life! But we must not forget to laugh at ourselves along the way, knowing deep within that God must have a sense of humor. We also know that He knows us better than we know ourselves, and yet, His love endures. He calls us sheep, google "sheep" , read about them, and ask yourself why God would call us sheep. To think that God loves me, calls me, guides me, forgives me, wants to be near me, how incredible! I recall what G.K. Chesterton said, "The reason angels can fly is that they take themselves so lightly." We must not forget about delight as we make our way through this valley of tears. In the midst of our struggles, we need to look for those moments of beauty and comedy, seeing the wisdom of laughing, it goes a long way in hanging on.

Friday, May 1, 2009


O Bread of Angels, clestial manna, precious Evengel, sacrament of the present moment, you bring God to the mean surroundings of a lowly stable in a manger among straw and hay. But to whom do You give Yourself? God reveals Himself to the humble in small things---Jean Pierre De Caussae, from his book, "The Sacrament of the Moment".
God is near to those who call upon Him, a very present help in time of trouble the psalmist tells us. There is holiness around every corner of every thought and every action, moments for God. God is calling us all to a humility like Mary's in every moment of our lives. She said yes, and then lived her life in trust. Scripture tells us she always pondered things in her heart. She must have been a contemplative person. God is in the moment with you as you read this. He is always giving us the chance to give Him ourselves, to ponder His love for us in the moments, in this moment. When we drive our car, listen to music, meet a friend for lunch, it can all be a moment of seeking God. When you decide to go to daily Mass, you are humbling yourself. When you read the scripture instead of some other magazine, you are giving Him the moment. When you pray the rosary, you are humbling yourself. When you kneel before the Tabernacle, you are humbling yourself. When you seek Him before every decision you make, you are humbling yourself. These are little ways we can give Him our moments. Little disciplines of self that do matter. When you do not do these things, you are most likely not walking in humility and are keeping the moments for yourself. I say this only because I know very well how not to walk in humility.