Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Opposite Way

Jesus tells us that happiness lies in the other direction.  Each of Brian Doyle's rewording of them deserves a meditation of its own: 
"Blessed are those who do not think that they are cool.
 Blessed are those who abjure power.
 Blessed are those who deflate their own arrogance
  and puncture their own pomposity.
 Blessed are those who quietly try to shrive their sins
  without calling attention to their overweening piety.
 Blessed are those who know that they are dunderheads
  but forge on cheerfully anyway."
(quoted in Give Us This Day from Liturgical Press)

Saturday, January 28, 2017


Another look at that beautiful sunset.  Beauty takes me out of myself, makes me want to surrender to Beauty whom we sometimes call God.
I got to thinking during the night how being poor in spirit is like the first three steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.  We recognize that we are powerless on our own, we acknowledge that a Power greater than ourselves can help us, and we surrender to that Power.  Jesus says that such people are happy, fortunate, blessed because they are caught up in the Reign of God.  They are able to let God bring their will in line with God's will.

Friday, January 27, 2017


The most magnificent and long lasting sunset I have ever seen from an airplane.
In Matthew's Gospel Jesus begins his first sermon (5:1-12) by telling us how fortunate are:
poor in spirit who realize that without God they are powerless
those who mourn over wickedness
meek don't use anger or force against those who wrong them
those who hunger and thirst for a right relationship with God 
merciful are kind and generous toward those who need them
clean of heart love God single-heartedly, without mixed motives
peacemakers - work for harmony with God and with others
those persecuted for clinging to a right relationship with God

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

St. Paul

Today is the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, my patron saint.  This is the Areopagus where St. Paul spoke to the Athenians (Acts of the Apostles 17:23-31.)  Speaking of God here St. Paul said,
"In him we live and move and have our being."
Some other verses from his letters that have had a strong influence on my life:
"By the grace of God I am what I am and his grace in me has not been in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:10.)
"I live, now not I, but Christ lives in me." (Galatians 2:20)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Brilliant Presence

This is where I have been, walking the beach and swimming, in sunny warm weather.
When Matthew tells us in his Gospel, "They immediately left their nets and followed him," we are impressed not only with the bigheartedness of  these fishermen but with the magnetism of Jesus.  From within us he draws our hearts and shines out of us to draw others.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Twelfth Night

On this Twelfth Day of Christmas my true Love gave to me three swans a-swimming!!  Well, who hasn't got that song mixed up!  Nevertheless, a lovely gift.
Starting in the 4th century, the birth of Jesus was celebrated on the winter solstice.  In calendars in use in the West the solstice was December 25.  In calendars in use in the East the solstice was January 6.  Eventually the 12 days between these two dates were set aside to celebrate the birth of God-Become-Flesh.  Such an earth changing event deserves a long celebration and a special song.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Star

"Today  the Magi find crying in a manger
the one they have followed as he shone in the sky. 
Today the Magi see clearly, in swaddling clothes,
the one they have long awaited as he lay hidden among the stars.
Today the Magi gaze in deep wonder at what they see:
heaven on earth, earth in heaven
man in God, God in man
one whom the whole universe cannot contain
now enclosed in a tiny body"
                     --Peter Chrysologus

(click on the picture to see the star)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy Ninth Day of Christmas!

Lake is completely thawed and right now the fog is so thick that I can't see anything beyond my shore.  The Magi will need my Christmas lights to find their way.
For the rest of the Days of Christmas try not watching 20 minutes of news and spend the time in contemplative prayer, just sitting still, maybe with your Christmas lights glowing, and listening for the Good News.