Friday, December 31, 2010

Change and Michigan

One thing we can be assured of in Michigan is CHANGE.

Change is as inevitable as the call to morph and be better daily.

Everything must change.

All things.

Physicists tells us that matter and energy are not destroyed but
changed, transformed.

That gives me hope.

Change is a plus, a positive morphing.

Each year, at its finale, burning the past bears fruit:
Burning the resentment of a relationship unforgiven, a boss who doesn't understand or communicate, a self with great expectations, the one who betrayed a relationship, and so forth.

Write down and do the rite of burning.

Then, write a letter to yourself imagining the end of the new year, 2011.

Feel how you will be next December, where, with whom, what work, job, and relationships will be like. Think and write about the end at the beginning.


In Michigan it is inevitable.

Be all you can be.


Heaven in 2011 all along the way!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year Predictions

As Detroit rebuilds and relocates residents into neighborhoods in 2011, the process of outsourcing all the unused land will be purchased by China.

And, grow, Detroit will with China at the helm, while a Middle Eastern country purchases the Detroit Pistons.

Spirituality will be in the news again in the new year, while organized religion is questioned by young adults, among others.

The Islamic community will continue to be the focus of news as terror preoccupies the minds and hearts of Americans.

Media - the lone unchallenged entity and institution - unlike the church, corruption and greed, will remain unscathed once again with turn of the calendar.

Jobs and those without one will continue to occupy the Motor City and metropolitan Detroit.

Weight problems, and stress and strain with diabetes among the young will reign again in new time.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Heartache and Hope

Emergency 9 1 1 is called when one is suffering a heart attack.

Yet, when one is dealing with depression from unhealed grieving at death of a spouse, those standing by wait and watch, even debate with one about getting help.

When Pope John Paul I was ailing in his 30-day pontificate, and later died after refusing medical attention, a Brittish journalist declared that his demise was due to "neglect."

The so-called "smiling Pope" wanting to be treated in Venice, Italy. His staff obliged.

Like cancer that grows in its pathology, other diseases loom large from inattention, even neglect by family who know better.

Even suicide is a process like cancer in its crawling deadliness that finally peaks with one's following through on taking his or her life.

Suicide has always been prached against as an option to life.

Catholics have the least amount of suicides given warnings against it.

That is similar to prevention when it comes to depression, for example.

It must be nipped in the bud, as the saying goes, long before depression does the victim with death.

Perhaps the new year will be a time for families and eye witnesses to be attentive and take action when life and death issues are prone to be left to one's demise without the crucial care and decisiveness demanded.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

State Representative Inspires

Anthony Forlini is my new State Representative for the district of St. Clair Shores and Harrison Township, Michigan.

Wednesday, a crowd of family and friends gathered at the Capitol Building to witness him taking the oath of Office before Judge Viviano of Mt. Clemens' Circuit Court.

Others there made promises also, including his parents of fifty years of matrimony, who renewed their marital vows. Tony and his wife, Diane, with their three children nearby, renewed their twenty-five-year marriage commitment.

Diane was delighted with a silver necklace and crucifix she received from her husband as a gift. Her joy was obvious.

Pledges and promises.

We hear them all the time. We make them and break them.

One young adult there at the State Capitol building told me and show me the promise ring to be abstinent until he is married. That was refreshing along with the fresh vigor to live out the promise of married love.

While pledges and promises were abundant, somehow, I sensed a seriousness about keeping these vows fresh and alive.

That sense made the trek to Lansing worth it.

In a world of broken promises, this crowd stood up for cherished values and virtues.

That's good news.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fear Knocked, Faith Answered

Fear knocked at the door.

Faith answered.

No one was there.

Nothing paralyzed me or made me immobile.

Faith is like that.

I wonder how people get through without it.

Of course, fear has heightened in this nation since 9/11.

So much is lost when fear wraps one's life. Adventure goes.
Confidence flees.

Fear is useless, what's needed is trust, the master Jesus the Christ said in the
Sacred Scriptures.

Yet, people are afraid to trust, especially after being betrayed, or hurt.

Early on in life, a pastor helped me realize that fear is not helpful. We should fear
walking into traffic, jumping of a mountain, and, the like. However, the fear
that traps one and does ones thinking and deciding needs to go.

In 1989, when a gorup of us were in El Salvador, our translator remined us not to let
our fears do our thinking.

That was a life lesson.

Nothing would have progressed there is fear became an obstacle that thought for us.

Fear knocked.

Faith answered.

No one was at the door, thank God, and my willingness to let fear go.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

War on Culture of Corruption

We hope the culture of corruption is over.


Are we all not to blame?

The rank and file employee, aides, secretaries, office workers, neighbors, acquaintances knew the Kilpatrick criminal enterprise was operating.

At least, individuals knew something.

And, that could have been enough to stop the corruption.

There were voluminous rumors about "shady" activity. Yet, silence and consent ruled.

No one stood up to speak up against the corruption culture.

Until six years of investigation.

Give me a break.

A youngster starts stealing early on, for example. He or she takes candy. A parent, a teacher, a friend hears, or senses something bad is going on with Judy or Joey.

Everyone failed. All of us. We're all to be blamed for letting this spiral roll into the fiasco it is.

This could have been nipped in the bod at the start.

We knew. Rumors were flying about the Mayor as early as his days as a State Representative.

There is something terrribly wrong with our people, our police, our judicial system, our moral and ethical way of life, our homes, parents, families, neighbors, co-workers, and . . .

Shame on us all.

We hope the culture of corruption is over.

That's a weak refrain. It rings of less than muscle to stop the sin, the stealing, the "getting away with murder," the hens being slaughtered in the barn by the wolves.

This amounts to basics:

It is about time each of us take responsibility.

After all, the great book remins us that we are our sister and brother's keeper.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Climate and Advent

Roots and relationships have a lot to do with rites or rituals.

During Advent, a time of anticipation and waiting to observe the birth of Jesus the Christ, we walked our way along Van Dyke Avenue on Detroit's east side south to our parish church of St. Thomas the Apostle.

That became a rite of origin.

Rite, rituals are like habits, good practices, strengths, virtues.

Rites become ways of doing things and marking special seasons.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, began with the season of Advent this year.

Climate change is happening.

It is far from Advent waiting, watching.

Greenhouse gas emissions need reducing.

Catholic Relief Services in Guatemala, for example, are helping with agriculture and its adapting to unpredictable weather. Farmers diversify crop planting and soil practices and production, in turn.

Interfaith Power and Light unite in a Carbon Covenant. It fosters rapport with congregations in the Global North and South to mitigate global warming's influence and deforestation.

Religion does a world of good in union with faith traditions.

Harnessing the power of faith with challenges of climate change is something we do not wait for.

Conversion of heart calls for change not. Climate change included.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Retreat

What's a retreat?

What's in it for you?

When one mentions Abbey of Gethsemane Retreat House (, 1-502 549 4133,) in Trappist Kentucky, for example, one may wonder what happens there.

In the Catholic tradition, not to mention Eastern practices of silence, monks pray and work as they reside in a monastic milieu apart "to entertain silence in the heart and listen for the voice of God -- to pray for your own discovery," Trappist monk, Thomas Merton wrote.

Although the index does not list the word, retreat, it is a cherished and savored time for retreatants, a term use for those "on retreat," as it were for a few days, a week, even a month or year.

Communing with the Creator requires a measure of solitude, a stillness and an emptiness, a waiting on and attending to the Spirit. Silence fosters and preserves the climate of prayer and is a fundamental part of the retreat experience.

Gethsemane, Kentucky is a favorite place of mine for my annual winter retreat choice.

Those persons on retreat maintain a limit to talking only in designated areas.

The abbey's many acres of woodlands and fields afford extensive space for reflection and prayer.

Guests assist the monks at Mass - Liturgy of the Word and Eucharist - and hours of prayer from 3:15 am vigils, to 5:45 am lauds, 7:30 am terce, 12:15 pm sext, 2:15 none, 5:30 vespers, and 7:30 pm compline.

About four hours from Detroit, MI., by automobile, the drive is refreshing and renewing, readying me for my time there.

Today, when retreat houses struggle at times to register applicants for a retreat period, I find that casinos are more attractive, yet less recreating and significant for humans who need time alone with the Maker.

Offerings for the retreat expenses are on a free will basis according to means.

Stress rates are lessened and better hearts are benefits of a retreat, among others.

Furthermore, people who pray, heal up faster according to medical researchers.

What's in it for me?

A fresh spirit and renewed disposition to live life fully one day at a time.

My blog will return when I conclude my retreat next Friday.

My readers will be in pray as I unite you in thought these days.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Why Did Pope Sit For Hours in Interview?

Humility and heartache drove Pope Benedict XVI to be interviewed in a new tome that tracks his leadership in the Catholic Church, it seems to me.

What was the man to do?

Managing public relations was the sure aim of the book that details responses from the Pope on everything from the sex abuse cover-up, condoms, what he watches on TV, and should he resign, among other topics treated.

A German journalist and author of other texts on the Church interviewed Benedict last July.

Did he admit mistakes?


That's hard to do for leaders in high places. Yet, he was pressed to speak up if the Church asunder is to heal from this unhealed wound of sex abuse by clergy.

Not that they are the only ones staining the Church with filth to use the Pope's description, but clergy are held to a higher standard, after all.

Nevertheless, sex is out of control, and unreported and undetected abuse by parents of their children is skyrocketing. Not to say anything of the rage and anger put upon youngsters and their fragile bodies and minds to forever remember.

The fixation on condoms got the most ink in the media once more.

The Pope did say that perhaps it was more responsible of prostitutes to use condoms when engaging in sex with multiple partners. Limiting infection is key. However, in the larger context, sex is to be reserved for marriage, not flings that diminish its sanctity and dignity.

Of course, this mess isn't solved yet of abuse in the Church.

This step, in this book, is a link of many more to follow as the Church heals up victims and itself from this horror that must stop.

How it will stop is anyone's call?

Why Did Pope Sit For Hours in Interview?

Monday, December 6, 2010

10 Guides for Disagreement Resolution Among Relations, Others

1) Above all, love rules in all things. When in doubt about the loving and charitable choice decide generously, graciously, favorably.
2) A sense of peace and serenity pervades the choice made.
3) Humility, as if it isn't my choice but God's, grounds the decision worked out.
4) A "take it or leave it" attitude leaves room for God's lead, God's parade, after all is said and done.
5)Let loom large the heart and mind of the Maker as told in tradition, Scripture, the Church, revered mystics, saints, and teachers, and prayer for sure.
6) Keep the common good in mind, and the heart of the Creator and wise women and men, elders, presbyters, popes, martyrs and trusted colleagues, confidants, confessors, counselors.
7) Make two columns listing the positive and negatives of choices. A third column notes the common good.
8) Talk it through when a tentative choice is preferred.
9) When a decision is reached with input from various sources as listed above, don't look back.
10) Give thanks and praise to God. Choice will seem like Someone's else decided for you.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Over the years I've noticed people telling of how disappointed they are during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays when the entire family is unable to gather together in one place to celebrate the seasons.

Sounds like the picture-perfect postcard of mom, dad, and the children all there in one color photo. Just perfect. The way is should be, right?

Ideally, yes.

Really, no!

With merged families and in-laws, how can everyone get together on one day, altogether in one place?

There are 364 others days to gather the family. Thanksgiving and Christmas is only one day.

We tend to make the holidays idols that rule us if things don't work out perfectly.

People end up mad, hurt and more with this "perfect" thinking of the way life should be, or else.

One family told me they make use of the entire Thanksgiving Day weekend and days of the next week to have a progressive meeting each night at another family member's home.

Sound like a plan.

It also is more real.

It is less likely to create conflict with a plan like that.

Happy holidays!

And, peace on earth.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Two Thirds of Americans Note Religion Is Losing Influence

This is not a good thing, is it?

Faith matter as roots and relations do, no?

Founding fathers found faith to matter in writing our founding documents in 1776.

What is happening to America?

Religion is losing it influence on the American lifestyle.

Deeper within humans, however, is the spiritual thrist and longing for happiness. Hence, proof itself that without God life is meaningless.

Organized religion is different that spirituality.

Pew research, for example, shows that 52 % of those polled noted that churches should refrain from taking stands on political issues, while 43 % said they should express their views on such matters.

61 % of those polled noted that members of Congress should have strong religious beliefs, while 34 % disagreed.

43 % noted that the Republican Party was supportive of religion, while 25 % noted the Democratic Party was supportive of religion.

Something to ponder.

A survey on the spiritual life of Americans may show another profile of believers.