Saturday, July 31, 2010


Go within.

Then, reach out.

Try circling your family facing each other to illustrate our globe and one family under God.

After some time, invite the group to turn full circle to the outside.

Reach in.

Reach out.

Pausing to ponder provides rests, recreation and a renewed vigor to confront the world we face daily.

Unless I go within, I go without.


Read on. Reach in. Pause. Breathe deeply.

At the 125th anniversary of SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary, St. Mary's Prep, and, the Polish Mission at what is called the Orchard Lake Schools at Commerce Road, July 18th, former Vatican leader Edmund Cardinal Szoka suggested that the Seminary go global and invite students from Africa to apply to be formed to be pastors leading communities.

That prayed proposal is another example of pausing and going within, in order to go outside and lift those lost, carry the wounded and warriors, and humans in the womb, provide jobs, house everyone, and bring along those who move more slowly, all with a higher standard of living.

Founded and carried by our founders who went "inside" to thier center, or soul, in order to reach out to build this Nation and its virtues, all of us must carry the heavy cost of commitment and encourage marital fidelity and commitment once more, and grow the domestic and global family.

Holywood images of TV must be confronted when virtues and strengths of patience, commitment and attention fade fast in an instant and 'microwave-able' world that want little, if any engagement in the public square these days.

Clergy of the Children of Abraham, including Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions meet August 7th in the Karbalaa Islamic Educational Center and Museum to explore common elements of Moses, Jesus and Mohamed. Later in the day, they will encourage media to go beyond cursory soundbites and superficial reporting. Call Imam Al-Husainy at 313 729 8035 to join us for conversation, food, exhibits and more.

"An inordinate fest suggests that if we go too deep, endurance, steadfastness, commitment and active engagement in the public square," is required, spiritual guide and retreat leader, the Reverend Kenneth Kaucheck noted, when I ask the Bloomfield Hills Manresa Center pastor what he makes of Hollywood-like glamor of TV today that fosters promiscuity, infidelity and faithlessness.

Going within to better the world outside.

Pausing to ponder. Is there a better way to imagine a better world here at home?

"When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." (Mt. 6:6)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mary's Mantle

A brochure seemed to shout at me:

Take me, take me!

What was I supposed to do?

In blue color on the cover of a brochure, titled, Mary's Mantle: A Catholic Residential Home for Expectant Mothers in Oakland County's Southfield, I was curious.

I picked it up.

When demonizing opposing sides is so common in Michigan and national politics and church and society, I read on about this positive place and plan to help expectant mothers experience healthy pregnancies in a faith-based atmosphere of support as a community resource.

It was clear to me that some would not welcome this home for mothers to be.

Yet, the alternatives to a home such as Mary's Mantle, only leave a pregnant mom feeling alone, unloved and frigthened about the end of her baby's life.

Where is mom and child to go?

Years ago, I recall the much-loved bishop of Saginaw, MI., Ken Unterner, a native of Detroit, encouraging his parishioners to walk with pregnant moms all the way to fruition.

Rubber met the road in Saginaw. Talk was not enough the good bishop instructed. Action was key.

Near Ten and one-half mile at Telegraph there is a home for eighteen-year-old moms and older with residential nuns who serve as mentors along with care givers.


In the womb.

Outside the womb.

Life is precious.

Mary's Mantle stands up for life.

I want to also.

Always when so much war, destruction and consequences of violence in and outside humans are tearing this nation and my heart apart.

Good for Mary's Mantle (, 248 376 5338, PO Box 115, Bloomfield Hills, MI, 48303-0115), named afte Mary, the mother of the revered Jesus the Christ, who said, "I have come to give you life and give it more abundantly."


It's all we have.

And, we can do better on all fronts.

Inside the womb.

And, outside as battles brew and we're on the wrong side of international and personal politics so often.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rocky Mountain High


What's in it for you?

Vacationing in Colorado Springs, Vale, Aspen, and Snowmass is the time of one's life.

Pike's Peak is way up above sea level. Our cog train moved its way ascending to the high point in the pastoral green mountains.

Getting away is good for everyone.

Getting another view of things is also recommended.

My eight days began with a retreat in Snowmass at the St. Benedict Monastery where the Trappists live and work.

My 3/4 quarter-mile hike back and forth to the chapel kept me in shape.

I reminded myself I was to move slowly, after all, this is a retreat.

Quiet and solitude is good.

It helps one calm down and be still in a frenetic culture.

The inspiring Pike's Peak is enough to renew any soul.

Summer is fading.

Vacation time calls.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

What's in It for You - Angry Feelings?

If there's something in it for me, we all seem to flock to that which enriches me.

But, what about anger?

What's in it for you, for me?

Why do statistics show alarming numbers of persons engaging angry feelings these days?

Is road rage, domestic and global poverty, conflict with a spouse or boss, for example,
filled with benefits for you and me?

Anger is the feeling - among the 7 deadly or capital sins for Catholics - that rings the alarm bell that one is being treated unfairly.

What's in anger for you, for me?

Heightened blood pressure, release of cortisol, and mounting stress, to name the fray of angry people.

All of that, let alone the raging relationship, loss of esteem, feelings of guilt, and violation of
one's own, and another's dignity and worth.

After all, one is made in the image and likeness of God.

That's enough to ponder to put any angry person in awe of the beauty in which each is created.

In fact, in the sermon on the mount, the wise and much-loved Jesus said:

"You shall not kill," and, adds to it the prescription of anger, hatred and vengeance. (Mt. 5:21)

The true story of a prizefighter who was knocked to the canvas in the third round illustrates how one can make anger work for him or her with a time out.

Hit, the fighter didn't get up until after the 10-count.

"Why didn't you get up, you crazy,? demanded his manager, after the fight.

"I was so mad at being floored by that jerk," explained the defeated fighter, "that I thought I'd better count to ten befor I did anything."

Take a time out to be remade in God's image.

One way to move from anger to poise in the moment of anger is to pray for direction, to calm the raging feelings.

Anger blinds one, yet prayer and a connect with the Creator amid anger restores sight.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

An Artist Beyond Compare

A drive north on Michigan's Highway M-25 took my breath away.

Along Lake Huron and through Lexington and other small towns, I headed to Port Austin in Michigan's thumb.

Roots and relationships came to mind.

The beautiful Great Lake State occupied my pondering about water and its power and beauty.

The Gulf and the oil spill animated me enough to feel my sad feelings about the water creatures and their plight, let alone the economic fray of lost jobs and more.

Water was poured over me when I was a baby, I recalled.

At the initiation rite into becoming a Christian, water was used with prayers to welcome me into God's world ever more deeply, my parents told me as I grew.

The original innocence and breath-taking magnificence of life was marred by Adam and Eve in the Genesis story of their crossing boundaries.


It's like that.

It refreshes, cleanses and cools one.

Woof and Wolf were standing on the back seat of my Chevy Aveo gazing at the Lake.

I wondered what they thought.

A couple hours later, I arrive in Port Austin across from Jenks Park where my brother lived until he met Debbie and fell in love.

Another of life's beauty - love.

As they make choices, decide on a wedding day, and live love's joy's and struggles that come with relations, all of the roots the Ventline family have in the Thumb will come to mind.

My dad's merged family after his own birth mother died while he was six months old comes to mind.

Those roots are not always pleasant to recall given some domestic violence and child abuse, I heard about in this family secret.

Embrace the family tree and tales, I remember a pastor telling me in high school. Own all of life, he said.

I do.

I accept it all in the grandeur of God, the general manager of the universe who must know what
is the plan and purpose of life's unfolding for others, for me, for family, for the village, and the world.

Ducks, dogs, chickens, pigeons, and other heavenly critters engaged my Bichon Frise pups, Wolf and Woof as they would speed out of the house to chase a cat or rooster bellowing out a wake-up call at 4 am each day!


The trek home in the heat wave had me counting blessings instead of sheep.


An artist beyond compare who designed it all.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

To Be Free, Independent

It takes a village to grow a dump.

That thought crossed my mind as I walked Woof and Wolf, my ten-month-old Bichon Frise pups earlier today.

Roots and relationships go deep with family and neighbors, don't they?

As we passed a dump by my home, I noticed that piles of paper, debris, bottles and cans fill that site of boulders and pastoral greens.

The dump got started when builders began what they could not complete. A pressed economy halted homes from being erected. So, foundations are laid.

This huge field, however, remains, where residents and visitors, seem to pile on this dump.

Does freedom mean the ability to do as I please?

Does it mean to pollute and throw garbage where I want to rid it from myself?

Is selfish, self-centeredness the aim of America?

Am I independent and free this July 4th?

To be free hardly means to be self-sufficient with reckless disregard for others and creation.

Are we not inter-dependent as Americans?

To be free, productive and sharing are noble purposes for each American.

Does it not take a village to raise a family, a community, and, even a dump, for that matter?

Happy Fourth of July America!