Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why Are We Here?

When this basic question is avoided or left unaswered, one may fall into meaninglessness, even depression. Depression of our time is far from economic, it is deep-seated, and spiritual in nature. People without purpose, or, a plan, perish, the Psalm writer notes in the Sacred Scriptures. Why did God make me? To know God, love God and serve the Creator. That's having an aim in life, a purpose, a plan to serve and reach out in the name of God for the common good of all we encounter daily at work, at school, at play, at home, for sure. Those who no longer ask the question, no longer ask since they witness little in the lives of others who need to let light shine! God's light, that is! Hiding one's light under a barrel blinds the light to others as Jesus is to have said in Matthew's Gospel, Chapter 5:14. Happiness is hard to find without having as one's aim, her or his reason for being here. Each can be a tremendous spiritual entity in our time. One does that by connecting with what God who is love as the ancient and revered writings note. Wholeness, wellness and holiness are aims. When groups and individuals refrain from the divine connect to be God's light that lifts life where one finds it, then peril, not promise flourishes. What is your purpose? Name it. Claim it as your own. Live it. Happiness is found forever in stooping low to life life and serve in nursing homes visitations, hospital rooms, and, at work and home for sure. Being there for others where one is planted at any given moment gives meaning no price can tag or purchase. Happiness and holiness can be in you today. Start serving and follow a North star, as it were with your starlight shining kindly on one hurting in need of help. It's that hard and that simple. Ready? Get set? Now, go, go reach out in the love of the Maker who made you marvelous to behold!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Relationships Are All We Are About

Relations. Rapport. That seems to be what humans are all about when one comes right down to it. All day today I was with people. People at St. David Episcopal Church, Southfield, MI., we part of my day. So was Imam Achmat Salie who spoke on Islam there and clarified some questions the waiting crowd asked. People before that visit also. In prayer with God, my neighbors whom I greeted as they went off to worship this sunny Sunday of March. Then there was a fundraiser at the Hyatt in Dearborn, MI., for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). More people there. People all day. From there is was off to Hamtamck's Queen of Apostle Church for a gathering of parishioners and clergy for what's called Forty Hours and sung lamentations of Jesus before he was crucified, given leaders who saw him as a threat to their authority ovr 2,000 years ago. A priest from Poland, Bernard Pilarski of Westland, MI., was there. I lived with him in a huge house called a rectory, when I was in St. John Seminary in Plymouth, MI., and would escape on weekends to the late St. Thomas the Apostle Church on Harper and Van Dyke on Detroit's east side. Bernie caught me up on his life, ministry and people we know by way of our pastoral care. Bogdon Milosz, pastor there connected with clergy as he hosted this dinner after prayer there. It was a day full of relating and re-connecting, praise the Creator. A full day ended with Meijer's where I needed some salmon, carrots, cheese and a copy of The Oakland Press newspaper with whom I write special stories, and a blog three times a week, including this one thatis fresh on my heart and mind. A full day of relating, bonding and building a better world. Langston Hughes put it best perhaps in his poem to let America be . . . be, and be better by each of us, inch by inch, one person at a time, Miami Herald writer and author, Leonard Pitts, Jr., voiced in his keynote at the CAIR banquet earlier today. A Muslim family I sat with inspired me with their dedication to strengthening marriage and family by coming together to events like this one. They were a delight and joy to break bread with together, thankfully. All humans are more pleasant and engaging when we take time for sharing roots, relationships and religon. That's good in a world and culture that gets toxic and terrible at times when it treats each other like enemies instead of one family and globe under God.

Friday, March 25, 2011

About Connecting with the Creator


Isn't everything about connecting with roots
and relationships?

A novice at prayer - the regular practice of creating a connect with God -
asked me recently how I pray.

Like most things, I said, I practice.

To be a good cook, practice.

To be an effective parent, practice.

To excell in sports, practice.

And, to bear fruitful prayer, practice regularly.

My preferred way to pray is what is called praying the liturgy of the hours.

This combination of Psalms from the Sacred Scriptures, coupled with prayers, is the official
prayer of the Church for all the People of God, including the faithful and clergy as well.

It is common for folks to pray these psalms alone or with a community.

Jews and Christians pray the psalms.

The preferred way of praying these 150 psalms that are the river of the synagogue's prayer is singing them.

Whatever is said and done for the believer, it is done by way the human emotions and feelings
felt in these psalms that are like rooms of a lived-in and even, old home, for example.

There is thanks, praise, cursing, and lamenting in the dominant feelings of mad, sad, glad and scared, or variations of these feelings.

All of the drama of life unfolds in the depth of the psalms.

That's why they link us with our ancestors and pilgrims, as it were, in the journey, the trek, not unlike the sojourn in the land of desolation and consolation, of down times, and joyful moments also, along with every feeling in between those markers.

At the Trappist monastery at Gethsemane, Kentucky, miles from Louisville, the late Thomas Merton sang the psalms with other monks numerous times a day from the earliest dawn to
dusk at bed time.

The oneness I feel in chanting the psalms with the monks inspires me so much.

That monastery is a favorite retreat place for respite and recreation in the Maker.

Those same psalms were prayed out loud in song in St. Benedict Monastery in Snowmass, CO., last summer when I joined the monks for retreat in the mountains and valleys of the awesome
beauty there where Trappist Thomas Keating resides.

Opening the Book of Psalms, according to Scripture scholar Caroll Stuhlmueller, a practical
biblical expert, is like walking into a home, lived in for many generations.

There one finds photos and mementos, ancient and new, that blend together.

Some are faded or folded, while others are well preserved.

Grandparents know the story and its line that connects those who traverse the home over and over again.

Wise are the ancestors in faith to whom we turn to tell us about the sacred home, the rooms of the psalms, if you like, their house of prayer, the Book of Psalms.

Psalm 70 is well preserved like a family homestead,
for example.

Others are almost indecipherable, like Psalms 2:1-12 and 141:5-7.

Others, like Psalm 139, use rare Hebrew forms, Arammaic words perhaps, or, endings.

Yet, whatever the problem, this psalm is well loved.

Psalm 69: 23-29 fits the category called the curse or vindictive psalms.

Angry outbursts and rants against the enemy embarrass Jews and Chrsitians alike.

They have been dropped from the liturgical prayer of most churches.

Grudges and feuds still fill homes today.

The psalms, like the home, walk us in the transitions and tragedies of the life we embrace in
various moments of struggle or joy.

Praise of God is obvious in the psalms.

Dark clouds hover over Psalms 1-41 with lament and supplication.

Praise, as in Psalms 8, 19 or 29, at times interrupts the dismal landscape of heartache by the number!

Depression days darken all over in these psalms with tears and groans of individual Jewish people after their return to a devastated homeland around 537 BCE, before the Christian era.

Despite all that, this cluster of psalms is affirmed with its Amen, so be it!

God is in there somewhere, for sure.

Worship in the temple is another room of psalms one enters. Pslams 42-72 fit this set of
praise of God, like Psalm 42:

As the deer craves
running water, I
thirst for you, my God. . .
I cry my heart out,
I remember better days.

Then, there are psalms reflecting as in a mirror, religious reform, psalms 73-89.

Stray pieces seem to be added to the rooms in the home, another group, psalms 90-106
collect these pieces like the toys of a child or a ramp added for the elder's ease of entry.

Finally, there are psalms for the journey and pilgrimages to Jerusalem, psalms 107-150, and those for singing at festivals, psalms 113-118, perhaps after the conquests of Alexander the Great around 300 BCE.

The pslams are a response to the needs of nights or day, and all the moments in between.

We all know the moments.

We walk them daily in dark and light and shades in between.

And, we connect with the Creator.

The psalms help us do that.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Passionate Roots, Relations, Religion in Dorothy Day

All the way to heaven.

That phrase is actually the title of Oribs Books editor-in-chief Robert Ellsberg's latest tome about one passionate saint.

All the way to heaven is a book of love letters of the famed Catholic Worker Movement, and newspaper by the same name, that Dorothy Day founded in her lifespan between 1897 and 1980 when she died at the age of eighty-three.

One would think she would have been canonized long before others who are in front of the line now to be recognized for their holiness by the Vatican in Rome, Italy, by Pope Benedict XVI.

Although this Pope has slowed down the production of saints, unlike his predecessor, who seemed to canonize one a month, this latest book of Ellsberg will have head turners tossing and turning at the humanity and realism of Dorothy Day.

Ellsberg has written a larger tome, titled, All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time.

From Therese of Lisieux to Mother Teresa behind the late Pope John Paul II, who will ascend May 1st in Rome, from Moses to Gandhi, Dorothy Day is included in Ellberg's litany of saints in his earlier volume.

Day asked penetrating questions on earth.

"Whatever I had read as a child about the saints had thrilled me. I could see the nobility of
giving one's life for the sick, the maimed, the leper...But there was another question in my mind.
Why was so much done in remedying the evil instead of avoiding it in the first place?...Where were the saints to try to change the social order, not just to minister to the slaves, but to do away with slavery?"

Day was recognized as the most influential, interesting, and significant figure in the history of American Catholicity.

This challenging figure ranked with the rest of the faithful as a pilgrim on the way.

She was, in fact, called a Communist, given her strict observance of the teachings of Jesus on love of God and neighbor.

Her blend of prayer, holiness and politics for change unsettled leaders everywhere, particularly, men who led her Church, and, were often silent in the face of injustice.

She was not a bishop who speaks out against injustice like the revered Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit, or the late Ken Untener, a bishop of Saginaw, MI., who said the Church was acting like a dysfunctional family when it refused to talk about sex at national meetings of the hierarchs.

With no official position in the Church, and, with most of her ideas universally rejected thorugh her eight decades of life in New York, she now teaches us something about the passion of her long love relationship with Forster Batterham.

Day shared a home with him and has a baby girl, Tamar.

And, she wasn't born a Catholic, but rather converted to the Catholic faith as she cherished her politics but added orthodoxy as well.

Batterham loved Day, however, he wouldn't marry her, this new collection of her letters, All the Way to Heaven, notes.

Her brand was one of political holiness, not quiet acceptance of the status quo.

She stood up when others sat, like the late Father William Cunningham who co-founded a national feeding program for the poor in Detroit, with Eleanor Josaitis, who still pricks the conscience of Detroit.

They prayed and acted. Or, mixed action with contemplation, to get the results they did in feeding the hungry and raising the dignity of humans who were being shredded in the mill of
greed and capitalism at its extreme.

"When they call you saint," she often said, "it means basically that you are not to be taken seriously."

"Neither revolutions nor faith is won without suffering. For me Chrit was not t be bought for thirty pieces of silver but with my heart's blood. We buy not cheap in this market."

She was baptized an Episcopalian.

When she became pregnant, a mysterious conversion happend, Ellsberg writes.

She decided to have her baby baptized a Catholic in 1927.

The consequence of this was the end of her common-law marriage.

Batterhan had little use for marriage.

Her life aimed at the poor:

"...They are Jesus, and what you do for them you do to Him," she said.

She unites closer with readers and the world in her love letters edited by Ellsberg.

The letters link the reader with the sociable yet lion-like lady who could be ferocious in her feeling for the disadvantaged poor.

Day inspired Cesar Chavez, Eunice Shriver, and Thomas Merton, among others.

Day was determined in her day in the face of obstacles.

A freelance writer, Day lived in a Saten Island shack, where she fished and cared for Tamar.

All along the way, hoever, she lavished long on her companion who grew estranged.

She was, is the saint of the single, and the unwed mother, perhaps too.

So ordinary, yet, so extraordinary a pilgrim.


She was that, and more.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Power and Leadership in Sacred Scripture

Let's talk about power.

No, not the power of missiles over Lybia by the UK, France, and the U.S., among other
coalition countries.

Rather, the power of the Creator.

Power is a name used for the Holy Spirit, who is described as
"dynamis" or power (Acts, 10:38-; 24:49); Romans 15:13; I Corinthians 2:5).

"You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.
Then you will be my witnesses...to the very ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).

St. Paul in Romans 8:16 depicts the process of contacting God, the inner Source:
God's Spirit and our spirit bear common witness that we are indeed "children of God."

The aim is a shared knowing and a common power, and totally initiated and given from God's side, as is vividly aflame in the Pentecost event of Acts 2: 1-13.

As with the Virgin Mary, the conception in her womb, itis "done unto us" and the most we can do is savor and relish life from such a gift of power.

The foolish only think it is their creation.

God seems to plant seeds and sow some of God, the Holy Spirit inside each of us! (Mt. 13:1-23; Jeremiah 31: 31-34; Jn 14:16 ff).

This covenant and new agreement replaces "hearts of stone with a heart of flesh" that Ezekiel
promised (36: 25-26).

This Divine Indwelling differentiates authentic Christian spirituality from all others, as Trappist Thomas Keating, and Franciscan Richard Rohr, for example, teach.

The late John Cardinal Dearden of Detroit reminded me once of the Holy Spirit as the lost or undiscovered person of the Blessed Trinity that needs development.

In our own roots and relationships, we've been looking for power in all the "wrong places and
faces" when contact is not made with the one true power, the Indwelling Spirit (Romans 8:9).

Power is good.

It is bigger, however, than domination or force.

Power is a paradox, the Scriptures show.

God used and planted and sowed God's life transforming egos in Moses and Paul.

Name the good power or settle for the bad use of power.

Consequently, avoidance of one's powerful vocation in the world as baptized believers is neglected.

What we get is negative leadership, then, that we settle for instead of the transformed new woman and new man that St. Paul speaks about often in the groaning and birthing of true power that emerges from within.

This power is very far from outside sources such as dominative power that Ken Wilbur, for example, addresses.

Knowing who one is, with Divine Indwelling of Power within diminishes one's need for outer approval, titles, roles, robes and perks that many leaders climb toward outside of self.


It can be good when humans contact their Inner Source and become living icons of the Divine Image itself (Is. 43:10). This authentic, humble and confident power is tapped and lived out of that person who takes time to tap into it.

This is the well-grounded person in God.

Only pauses and prayer and stillness contacts that Inner Dwelling within.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

March 17: St. Patrick, Pray for Us! +

Dear God:

I need all the help
I can get.

Your steering and
guidance is a gift.

Help me to listen
to you. To take
your lead alone in
a world that rocks with
violent beating of non-
combatants and the
innocent caught in the

Divine Maker,
you formed me, and
made me in your
wonderful image and

And, everyone else
was made this way
as well.

Everyone matters.
I matter.

The little one and the
lost one matter most.

They are the preferential
option of the poor.

You sided with the most
vulnerable, and least little

This day I implore the
prayer of St. Patrick,
the patron saint of

He knew how to have
and to go without.

His captivity, God, is
a reminder for me that
when one is held hostage
we all are.

We swim together in the
same ship, or, sad to
say, we die alone, O God.

You know.

Patrick is said to have
driven serpents from

He did that in your Name, and

Give me hope to be hope
for the oppressed this day,
O God.

Give me evergreen hope,
that strength and virtue
that lifts life long Lord.

Give me green.

Or, keep me in my room
until green hope soars this
Irish day of national pride.

Amen. +

Ireland, St. Patrick, and Truth

The first casualty of war is truth.

Cicero made that observation.

Lies emerge in war's birth.

Leaders lie, politicians lie. The reason for the conflict is mired in lies also. But, I lie also at the expense of truth. The truth of who one is, and, truths we must honor or live as captives as though I were someone else.

Truth tells.

St. Patrick's Day is filled with tales, woes and perhaps lies about his story.

And, truth too.

He drove out the serpents of Ireland, so the biography of his life tells.

A kernal of truth resides here.

His life was a long ordeal of being captured by Irish pirates from his Roman Britain home, and put in captivity as a slave for decades perhaps.

He knew oppression, suffering, resiliency, and hope, however captured.

Escape enters.

He returns home after his captivity and escape only wanting to return to Ireland as a missionary morphing lives and mending with blessings of reconciliation and a wreckless and wile love of God.

Dud he rid the Emerald Isle of snakes?

Robert Ellsberg's All Saints suggests that Patrick, the apostle to Ireland from 389 until 461,
glows with apocryphal achievement such as ridding Ireland of the snakes, more than his charity
and forgiving heart for his captors.

Truth is that Patrick is an iconic believer who follows Jesus the Christ, his founder and inspiration.

Non-violent, his legacy is a lesson in peace this culture of conflict and battle the world over

It does.

St. Patrick, pray for us!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Doubt Overcome by Courage, Nonviolent Anger

Fear can do one's thinking.

That, however, not the way to live life.

In El Salvador back when I was a pastor at St. Joseph Church in Lake Orion, MI., USA, a translator reminded the delegation there what Cicero said about reminders.

That is, not to let one's fears do her or his thinking.

Our delegation would return just days before Jesuit priests who staffed the University in El Salvador, and their two aides, were murdered.

One must plough through one's unreasonable fears.

Otherwise, one is frozen in space and time.

"O you of little faith, why did you doubt," Jesus the Christ says to Peter in the Gospel.

Getting out of the boat of comfort and convenience can keep one from growing, or, crossing the
goal posts that show that one scores high.

In the desolaton and consolation and roller-coaster-like ride through life, one is filled with doubt, at certain moments and passages.

At other times, one is sure, certain, and surges ahead with faith and confidence.

Peter embarked from the boat.

He did not drown.

Peter was persistent, yet fragile, doubtful, denying and more as a human life every inhabitant on the globe.

He is you.


Your neighbor.

He is . . . praise God.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Books and Buying Them at Borders

Appearing in Border's Books in Utica, MI., earlier today was like a day trip to Art Van's Furniture.

Both take hours to get one book, or, one piece of furniture.

Truth is I enjoy reading. I buy books.

But, when I buy a few, I give away as many.

That way I avoid attachment disorder to my tomes. The same with furniture.

St. Vincent Depaul knows me by name now that I give away things there for the needy in
CLinton Township, MI., on Gratiot at Fifteen Mile Road.

And, truth is one needs a piece of furniture ever so often.

Getting rid of books or furniture as new pieces come in helps keep things tidy.

At Border's I met a couple of wonderful women who asked what I was looking for as we all
searched the bargain prices at 30 per cent of the list price.

Human development, I said.

Are you a hypnotist, one asked.

Nope, I said, as I put the book back on the shelf.

Are you former Catholics, I asked, as I noticed many new age books.

Yes, one of them said. Too oppressive, she added.

Will never go back there again, she insisted.

Do you know Richard Rohr's works, I asked.

I heard of him, one of them responded.

Do you know of this one on Mary Magdalene, another asked.

No, I said, as shehanded it to me for my review.

I got this one as Unity, one of them said, as she showed me a favorite of her's.

You go to Unity, I asked.

Yes, I like it there one shouted.

Two hours later, it was time to move on.

It was good tlaking with you both, I said.

Yes, with you also, one said, as the other already waved her way off to the register.




That was more about the connections than the books I gladly thought, as I carried an armful
to the check-out counter.

How sad that this Border's is set for the chopping block.

Yes, too bad, in an age of the internet, I guess.

Not many still read books or newspapers in hand.

Friday, March 11, 2011

King Speech and Truths

Stuttering is no laughing matter.

Nor is bullying one who stutters, like King George did in the King Speech, anacademy award-winning head-turner, for sure.

His anger is used to help heal.

Rollng around on the floor, jumping up and down, and, shaking if off was engaged also.

Early childhood trauma brought the stuttering state on, his uncredentialed speech therapist, said.

His wife found the doctor in the yellow pages.

Reluctant at first, a friendship is forged for life.

Relationships are like that.

Whether a relationship with stuttering, like pizza-pizza of Little Caesers, or, that told so profoundly in this flick, they're time-consuming, heart-wrenching, even hostile commitments.

On and off again they are repeatedly reported with drama.

The King Speech.

Thrust into ascendency to be king, his confidence at first shaken by fear from his past, is bolstered by the beautiful and stunning work of his therapist.

The King's wife intervenes also. Her support shows the virtue and strength of enduring
love for her husband.

Marriage is like that. Not all of them.

Lessons learned.

Truths told.

He shakes his impediment off once his fears are overcome.

He walks and acts like the King his people expect, although he is a figure head and cannot declare war, and more.

Truth is fear can be conquered.

It was in the King Speech.

After I watched it the other night, I went to Target adjacent to the MJR Theatre on Fifteen Mile Road at Van Dyke in Sterling Heights, MI.

Larry, a friend I viewed it with said that "after the academy awards, the winners are on sale."

Enthusiastic workers led one shopper to the Social Network.

But, the King Speech, for it I will have to wait.

It is still playing in theatres, I was told.


Telling the truth.

Truths about ourselves, our story, our horror and traumas.

Fear can be sent off like the demon it is, it was for the King.

Freedom of speech achieved.

A kingly character triumphs.

It is a story that grips with possibilities and dreams come true.

We all can triumph.

Truth is like that.

It rises, and sets us free.

His first war-time speech is perfect with the coaching of his unconventional doc and friend.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wolf and Woof, My Bichon Frise Pups in Michigan's Wonderland

What were you doing all day, they wondered out loud, barking about why I was gone all day.

They waited all day and practiced their listening skills when I finally returned home Ash Wednesday.

It was the start of the penitential season for Christians leading up to Easter Sunday, April 24th and my two Bichon Frise pups wanted to know what I was up to.

Not that they believe in organized religion and go to church with me.

They're vying for attention that most humans desire as part of our nature.

I left them yesterday as I headed to Roseville for 9 am Mass at Sacred Heart Church on the corner of Gratiot at Utica Road. The priest who was to preside grew sick suddenly with heart problems.

And, the two Masses I was to lead were moved due to a lockdown at the jails.

So . . .

Woof and Wolf got an earful after they were tossed their frisbe a few times as they joyfuly ran through the 800-square foot condominium I live in across from Lake St. Clair in Harrison Township, MI., 48045.

Well, I should say that they let me live with them.

After all, they are boss!

Why didn't you give us ashes, they complained, as if the remains of the burnt palm branches were for human (dog!) consumption.

Ashes, I told them, are for humans, to remind them of their mortality and the temporal life
lived before passing over to heaven unless you have other plans, I said!

What's Mass, Woof wondered.

Mass is the source and summit of the life of Jesus today where Catholics gather daily and on Sundays, for sure, to praise God, listen to the Word in the Sacred Scriptures, and become who we are, as St. Augustine reminded, the Body of Christ, the Lamb, as the Eastern Rite refers to Holy Communion.

Yes, sirs, I said, we receive who we are, the Body of Christ, from the transformed bread consecrated by a priest who presides at Mass.

And, priests do that everyday across the globe, not to mention, repeatedly on Sundays.

Spring cleaning is how I described Lent to Woof and Wolf.

They watch me clean house and won't lift a paw to help, thank God!

That metaphor they could understand, I thought.

Christians examine their conscience, put to use the three pillars of fasting, praying and alms giving, and, are part of a revolution of sorts from ashes to Easter, like Jesus' own fasting
in his 40-day trek of temptation in the desert.

By now, the boys, Woof and Wolf, had enough.

One was asleep on his mat under the end table, while Wolf was at his feeding bowl biting away.

Truth is, Lent changes us all.

And, I am pleased with my first day, faithful as I was to follow my Lenten plan, thanks
be to God.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Truth About Friday Fish

During Lent, fish reigns, at least for people.

Poor fish, nevertheless, must try to hide from the catcher's grip these days of this penitential season through Good Friday, and Easter, April 24th.


Big in Lent.

Truth is, Lou Groen, cut up halibut and with his own recipe sent it off to McDonald's Ray Croc founder, who was unimpressed by the dipped and fried fish bit of halibut.

Compromise forged a deal between the two, however and Good Friday's menu since 1965 included halibut bits on its menu with a novel burger. A winner ever since at the goldlen arches.

The fish flourished, reports say, amid the fledgling burger that sold few the same Good Friday, the Little Lenten Book of the late Bishop Ken Untener of Saignaw, MI., notes (www.littlebooks.org).

These little Lenten books flourish also and folks flock to find one each Lent.

I know.

If I don't supply the fix, folks are about to hang me. : )

Not a fishy story about these little books that ask us to pause and ponder six minutes a day.

Fish food of another sort.

Flourishing soul food.

Mardi Gras Roots

Purple is supposed to mean justice, green, faith, and gold and yellow symbolizes power in New Orleans Mardi Gras, the day before the beginning of the 40-day penitential trek of Lent.

Lent is important on the Christian calendar and starts tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, when people flock to their church for ashes to be mindful of one's mortality.

That is, this life's temporal time before death.

Also called Fat Tuesday since we fatten up with the leftovers in the refrigerator that need vacating for the required fast and abstinence the next days.

Grand Duke Alexis Alexandrovitch Romanoff of Russia chose the colors on a visit to party town in 1872, legend has it, but really, truth of the matter is, Rex Parade, Mardi Gras Day parade party planner, did.


Speaking of it, my next blogs will address truth.

Truth that once discovered in one's own life, must be lived or lied regretfully to one's failure
to grow.

Join me for Lent in roots, relations and religion.

Monday, March 7, 2011

When a Family Member Is Sick

He was avoiding the others in the household.

I don't know why.

He seemed to want to be alone. He'd hide in the laundry room and at the foot of the stairwell.

Wolf, my 18-month-old Bichon Frise, concerned his twin brother, Woof, and me, of course.

Want to get in the care, I'd ask, and, Wolf would amble up the stairwell.

He wasn't eating much other than the little piece of my apple I cut for him.

One just doesn't know when someone gets sick.

I sure don't want him to miss the start of the Christian penitential season, called Lent.

It's a 40-day kind of desert experience of prayer, fasting and alms giving as one unites
with the suffering, dyring and glorious rising of Jesus the Christ at Easter.

We'll have to wait and see if he's well enough to get ashes. After all, the remains of burnt palm tree branches remind us of our limited life here on earth.

They remind us of heaven, unless one has other plans.


I don't know.

Woof doesn't understand either.

We'll see.

We better.

Wolf may need the holy oils.

I am concerned nevertheless and a bit worried to say the least.

Keep us all in prayer, will you please?

When a family member is sick it is serious, as you know, I'm sure.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Made in America. . .Michigan

One's worth is tied up with his or her work.

It's good to hear that the unemployment rate dropped to nine per cent in this nation in
February. Thousands of jobs were created, and, that's good news for the dignity of the
worker who needs a job, of course.

In the 60s, nine out of ten items made were crafted in America. Statistics show that less than half of the goods we buy are made in the good ole USA.

A TV show showed a home deplete of everything except the kitchen sink and an artificial flower and its pot made here at home when one examines the tag noting where items originate.

Most come from other countries.

A few more jobs at home would lower unemployment further.

In fact, comparisons show that things made here cost less also.

The kitchen sink doesn't have to be among the lone items made in American homes, among few others.

Michigan's woods can make beds, even caskets!

Putting people to work in Michigan will give them that right to work spirit applauded in Catholic social teaching in all its documents on the common good. Igniting their worth with work. Imagine that!

To do less may mean going down the kitchen sink drain.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Life's Desolation, Consolation in the Interior Life

A farmer's elderly, frail donkey was not cooperating.

Tired perhaps. Sick.

The donkey fell in in a ditch.

Frustrated, the farmer decided to let it go, and simply cover the donkey with dirt.

Each shovel of soil poured over the donkey was shaken by him. Then the donkey stomped the soil.

Again, another shovel full of dirt was sprinkled the donkey.

Likewise, the donkey wiggled its way out of it, and, even seemed to rise some as it
pushed down the dirt underfoot.

Finally, frustrated further, the farmer just went his way without the donkey.

Others wondered where the donkey was and what happened.

"I just had to shake it off," he said.


Thursday, March 3, 2011


Treat it as a disease.

That is, a progressive one.

Shock fills those who survive one who has taken her or his life by way of suicide.

Many blame self for it, or worse.

They're surprised also.

"We didn't know she was so depressed," some admit.

Although someone must have witnessed the sad disposition of the one who takes his or her life, no one can take responsibility for it except the one who commits suicide.

And, yes, people are beside themselves, not self, or so out of reality that the God I believe in shows mercy beyond condemnation.

God loves all of us.

Those who "are not sounding like self," as many describe him or her, also.

God does.

God holds them close.

When one is sick God is most close.

Forgetting is not a good thing.


Grieve the loss. Pray. Write about the one who took his or her life. Cry. Talk.

Get help if the grief persists.

Swallowed grief drops into depression when the grief is not felt.

Like muscles, feels must be felt, or they harden.

Stay fresh. Feel.

Live life fully.

Be there for others.

Reach out to them even if they lack the skill or willingness to connect.

Relations, roots, religion.

That's about it. Relate in faith.

Image of Virgin on Craggy Cliff in Newquay's Western Beach, Cornwall

What's this?

A pilgrim noticed what appeared to be the virgin Mary crafted into the craggy cliff in Newquay's Western Beach, Cornwall.

Images of Mary are being spotted everywhere these days, and, who am I to conclude that what one sees is unreal, even valid?

Never do I want to assume I know what is in the mind and heart of another human.

The virgin does get around, nevertheless.

She's appeared under expressway bridges, on garages, even on a tortilla chip, it was reported.

The feminine is coming of age.

She is listened to more amid the masculine voices that have so often been deaf to women, mothers, grandmothers, and the Virgin Mary, in fact.

Have men failed sufficiently as so much in leading nations, families, workplaces, faiths, industry and schools that the feminine finds its way through all of it?

Dreams are telling storylines of one's life. Nighmares are of a different sort.


The hope and vision and dream for a new day. Perhaps that is what the face of the feminine is telling.

Even on a craggy cliff far away, a voices speaks in creations clay to you, me, and the world.

Imagine the wonder of it all!

And, make a difference because of it.

Be a fresh advocate for women to be heard, listened to, and respected, most of all.

Establishments of the all-male world only present some of the dream. The feminine
radiates as much, of not more in the generative and life-giving force they are for me, for many.

And, hopefully for you, and the common good of the globe.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Positive People Are Happier, Live Longer

Grace does build upon human nature and experience.

Such favor and blessing builds even better on positive encounters.

Still more, people are happier, heal up better and live longer
when positive.

I caught a glimpse of a news clip as I smiled my way to the car from my kitchen.

Watching people grow by way of growth groups and spiritual direction, even clinical counseling is a satisfying and pleasant ministry for me.

When I was a substance abuse therapist at Sacred Heart Rehabilittion Center in Memphis, MI., aftr arriving home and going out to visit friends, they would ask:

"Are you alway so upbeat?"

"You mean the whistling?" I asked.

People notice happy people.

Now, science is showing it's true.

Grace does build on positive human nature.

After all, people may make a fast U-turn to the crowd they are flocking toward if they
sense that they appear dull, lifeless, unengaging and without vibrance and enthusiasm as
they discuss and drink a healthy non-toxic beverage.

Go figure!