Wednesday, August 5, 2020


The cover of this month's Give Us This Day is a picture of a white robed figure in a swirl of colors.  The artist, Daniel Bonnel, titles it, Jesus Walking On The Water, Contemplating.  Jesus has spent the night in prayer on the hill.  He is still lost in contemplation as he moves over the water..  The commentator points out that one of Webster's definitions of contemplation is, "a state of mystical awareness of God's being," a beautiful and inviting notion of contemplating.
I'm still waiting for a lab report that would tell us what kind of melanoma is attacking my lung.  That will determine what medicine we will use to shrink it,  Please keep praying,

Thursday, July 30, 2020

All will be well?

I have often quoted Julian of Norwich's famous line, "All will be well, and all will be well, and every kind of thing will be well."  It's a thought that can give us hope with so much suffering and pain and confusion in our world.  But in a welcome article by Mahri Leonard-Fleckman in the August issue of America magazine the author says that Julian took a long time before she could understand how God could say such a thing in so miserable a world.
Julian wrote finally, "Know it well, love was his meaning.  Who reveals it to you?  Love.  What did he reveal to you?  Love.  Why does he reveal it to you?  For love.  Remain in this, and you will know more of the same.  But you will never know different, without end.  So I was taught that love is our Lord's meaning."
It is hard for our limited mind to grasp this Mystery.  Love is everything, everywhere, in us and around us like the air we breathe.  As I begin centering prayer I am keenly aware that my love for God is woefully inadequate.  So I pray, "You are Love with Whom I love You."  It's only with God in me, loving God through Godself that I can dare approach the Divine Mystery.  It can never be completely clear.  So we surrender.   Then Love can use us to permeate out suffering world.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Divine Abundanza

The shore of the Sea of Galilee.
An excellent pizzeria near my home has a very large pizza they call "Abundanza."   The miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand (Matthew 14:13-21,) is full of rich symbolism. One that stands out for me today is the abundance of divine hospitality.  Hospitality strikes me as a good way to think about grace.  You don't earn it, you just happen to show up and you are welcome.  The disciples in the story suggest letting the people take care of themselves, but Jesus feeds them hospitably.  And not just scrimping.  With abundance!  Twelve wicker baskets full left over.
With abundance God's love washes over us.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Let It Be

After the angel Gabriel made his announcement to Mary, the young girl responded, "Let it happen to me as you have said."  I like to think that as a young mother teaching her son to pray, she taught him to say to God, "Let it be as you will."  As a man Jesus taught us to say "Thy will be done."  In the garden the night before he died   Jesus himself prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me.  Nevertheless, let your will be done, not mine." (Luke:22:42)
While I am lying in bed in the morning, reluctant to get up, I pray a version of the Angelus.  I have a statue of Mary on the wall beside my bed.  As I pray Mary's response to the angel, I stop and ask her  to teach me, as she taught her son, to mean it when I pray to God, ."Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me.  Nevertheless, let your will, not mine, be done."
It occurs to me as I pray that the French "si vous plait," (if it pleases you,)  comes closer to what I mean than our English "please."

Friday, July 24, 2020

St. Mary Magdalene

My favorite depiction of Mary Magdalene is in Franco Zeffirielli's  1977 TV series Jesus of Nazareth.  Perfectly played by Anne Bancroft, she is about the age of the mother of Jesus, maybe a little older.  Not a former prostitute, she is a follower of Jesus, as devoted as the other apostles, perhaps more devoted because we find her at the Crucifixion of Jesus. The gospels describe her as the first person to meet the Risen Christ who sends her to tell the other apostles.
In the film she goes to the room where they are hiding out of fear of the authorities.  She tells them that she has seen Jesus and that he sent her to tell the that he is risen.  They don't believe her and mutter about women's fantasies.  Sort of scolding them in a very old aunt kind of way, she says"Well, I've told you!"  And she walks out.
(The series may be available for screening.  A fortieth anniversary edition is available from Amazon.)
In an age when most people would look askance at anyone talking about rising from the dead, St. Mary Magdalene is a model for us of loving faith and courage.
I am not expecting to celebrate Mass in church or outside in the near future.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

One Precious Pearl

In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus helps us to understand what he means by The Reign of God.  In Hebrew poetry a second line often repeats the meaning of the first line in different words.  Jesus teaches us to pray "Thy Kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."  God's will being done by each of us and all of us results in the coming of God's Reign.
That Reign of God is one precious pearl that we would give everything for.  With God we can bring it about.
The biopsy last Tuesday showed that the type of cancer in my right lung and pleura is a melanoma, common on people's skin, but rare inside a person.  We want the lab to answer some questions that will assure us the cancer is melanoma.  If so the treatment to reduce the tumor could be a daily pill or an injection every two or four weeks, both of which target the melanoma directly.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Kingdom of "Heaven"?

I'm still here.  I haven't had the energy to do a blog.  I am having trouble with my breathing.  Had a pet-scan and biopsy last week and am waiting for the results.  Please pray for me.
Last weekend, this weekend, and next we've been reading parables about "the Kingdom of Heaven" from Matthew's Gospel.  I think it''s worth repeating that Matthew,as a reverent Jew, uses "Heaven" as a substitute for the name "God."  Every year the Gospel reading was from Matthew's until the 1970's when we got a three year cycle of readings.  When I was young I thought Jesus was talking about  the place where we go when we die.
Another help is that the Greek word that is translated "kingdom" is better translated "reign."  So we get the reign of God is like seed growing enormously, like yeast hidden in dough, like a treasure hidden in a field.  Reign of God helps me to think of letting God's love rule over my heart and quietly and abundantly change me.  Not just individuals,  the Reign of God that Jesus announces is taking over the whole world.  It doesn't always seem that way, but each of us letting God rule our hearts spreads the Reign of God.