Monthly Archives: February 2015

Waste time gracefully

…We must be discreet and humble. Our greatest ambitions must be to see the crucified Christ always before us. His life and death, what efforts He demands of us.

Seek nothing beyond this. It will please the Divine Master. His real friends ask only for those things that will enable them to fulfill His commissions. Any other desire, any other quest, is but self-love, spiritual pride, an encirclement of the devil.

Such a disciplined conduct is well fortified against the assaults of the devil. When the skilled opponent sees the fervor of persons beginning spiritual exercises and the fixed resolution of their wills, he insinuates his subtleties into their understanding. A break-through here permits him to push his way into the will. He is then master of both these faculties.

As a feint, he inflates their imagination in moments of prayer, suggesting elevated sentiments. He works particularity on those who are curious and discerning by nature, who are subject to self-conceit and are fond of their own schemes. His aim, of course, is to amuse them with idle dreams and the sensible pleasure they afford so that, drugged with a false sense of appreciation of God, they may forget to cleanse their hearts, to examine themselves, and to practice mortification. In this way they become inflated with pride, and they idolize their own understanding.

–Dom Lorenzo Scupoli ‘The Spiritual Combat’


More Than A Life

Encompassing all this,
Withholding for naught,
Auguring totality,
Things to be,
Simplicity complex,
Perplexity immense,
Innocence shattered,
A Bloody aftermath remains,
A birth, a death, a rebirth, eternity,
Falling through the ages,
Creation centers in being,
An individual extreme,
Conception, a waiting womb forming,
A slap on the bare ass, a scream,
It is time,
A life baptized,
Awake little innocent one birthed in likeness to ultimate unity,
Now you are one set apart,
Cry and scream,
Hunger and demand,
Belch and vomit,
Throw up upon yourself,
Passions aplenty,
Amazed and delighted,
Wiggle the fingers and toes,
Childhood growing,
A voice, subconscious forming,
Parents, broken adults loving, teaching, rearing,
Offering a name, others to huddle and cuddle amongst,
Effort, mistakes, success,
Pleasure and pain,
Skinned knees,
Gratifying victories,
The measles and mumps,
A broken heart,
A home run,
A game winning three,
Memories amidst the surviving,
Sitting in a pew week after week witnessing,
Receiving communion,
Generational imperfections amass,
The parental arrow that pierces was never meant to fly,
The embedded arrows within let loose the one that stings,
It is not of God, the brokenness within,
Children become fathers and mothers,
Sons and lovers,
Daughters and danger,
Siblings and sadness,
Competition and fun,
Let us cry and laugh,
Allow experiences to linger while new ones are birthed,
Surpass, surmount,
Holy Mother witness, watch, pray, shower graces,
Undo knots,
Crush the serpent’s head,
You, the profound everlasting Mother,
Regenerate generations,
To lose one little sheep,
No, No, No,
Trinity please appease,
Through time, through births, through the many,
Emancipate one,
Enslave none,
Lord above, seated at the right hand,
A cross your earthly throne,
Your crown thorns,
Transform sorrow,
Allow joy to reign eternally supreme.
For each and every,
Heart beating within suffering,
Touch the individual standing alone,
Washed in sin, in faith, in hope, in love,
Life must surpass original sin,
Eclipse psychological and physical disasters,
A lasting train wreck God never directed,
Expand, breath into the virtues Holy Spirit,
Provide the gifts of true worldly advancement,
Archangels assist,
Bellow Gabriel, guide Raphael, protect Michael,
All you saints adore the wonder of individual creation,
Let not one escape without time changing battles,
Love the one in peril,
The Church of Christ support, sustain, inspire, teach,
Soothe the deepest wounds,
Filial infestation,
Hurting the deepest, the ones loved most,
Psychological impairment,
Blockage, obstacles,
Catholic church heal, amend,
A soft gentle touch,
A harsh brutal reprimand, discipline,
Sacramental gifting,
The Eucharest adoring,
Being adored,
Swallowing whole salvation.



Does He aim at detaching a soul from earthly things and uniting her strongly to Himself? He will deluge her with light and love. Plunged in God, of whose presence and action she is delightfully conscious, inflamed with the holy ardors of unitive love, fascinated by the divine beauty and goodness and by the tenderness of a Lord so great and holy for His miserable creature, she becomes instantly silent and contemplates Him in a hush of admiration. She envelopes her Well-Beloved with a long, lingering look wherein jostle each other the emotions of astonishment, joy, and love, which hold her captive. She enjoys her God in a union full of peace and sweetness, like St John reposing on the bosom of His beloved Master. –Abbot Vital Lehodey

I like the use of the female pronoun in the above quote. Embracing manliness, masculinity to a brutish nature, the passivity necessary for the proper reception of God calls for a female receptivity, a complete penetrating of self. In the world, I am a strong man. Before God, I find it more appropriate to think of myself as a weak impoverished bride–a King marrying a wretched peasant child.


Proper Kneeling

Mortification and prayer,
Reposed, hand in hand,
Building beyond,
Foundational virtue,
Within faith,
Through hope,
In love,
Permeated by Divine Presence,
Effort, aided by grace,
Darkness ensues,
Joyful sadness infused,
Life gets none the better.



Lap like dogs

Dogs are loyal and show loyal gratitude to a master irrespective of the type of master he or she may be. It is because of this that a dog will follow his master, even though such master might be indifferent or even cruel, and he will follow that master into poverty, walk at his heels over the most uncomfortable roads, leave a cozy home for a miserable cabin, and then act all the while as if he were privileged to be accompanying his master. –Father John Doe ‘Sobriety and Beyond’.


And the LORD said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; take them down to the water and I will test them for you there; and he of whom I say to you, `This man shall go with you,’ shall go with you; and any of whom I say to you, `This man shall not go with you,’ shall not go.

So he brought the people down to the water; and the LORD said to Gideon, “Every one that laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself; likewise every one that kneels down to drink.”

And the number of those that lapped, putting their hands to their mouths, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people knelt down to drink water.

And the LORD said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will deliver you, and give the Mid’ianites into your hand; and let all the others go every man to his home. –Judges chp. 7

Aspiring to a greater concentration, doing all that we can in order for God to make of us all that we can be as contemplatives, let us take inspiration from Gideon’s chosen men. With haste, rapt attention, lacking self-consciousness,and unrestrained; let us lap up our devotion and dedication to all things that brings us closer to God as dogs lap up water.

Oh great and glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart. Grant me true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity. Grace me with wisdom and understanding so that I may carry out Thy holy and true commandments. –prayer of St Francis before the St Damiano Cross


Sister Ignatia: Catholicism deeply within AA



Della Gavin was born in Ireland. When she was seven, her family came to America and settled in northern Ohio. She became a musician and supported her family by teaching piano lessons. After entering the convent in 1914, she continued to teach music and became a music director for her community.

Due to overwork and stress, Sister Ignatia suffered a nervous breakdown and ulcers in the late 1920s. During her treatment, her doctor realized that it was not enough to treat the ulcers. The underlying causes of the breakdown would have to be addressed. Sister Ignatia would have to be willing to examine her life and habits and to make the changes necessary for a permanent recovery.

Part of her treatment required that she stop her professional involvement with music. In her new assignment as hospital administrator of St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, she met Dr. Robert S., one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. Together they developed the first hospital treatment program for alcoholics. It was based solidly on the principles of A.A.: total abstinence from alcohol and drugs, dependence on God, commitment to the Twelve Steps and willingness to help other suffering alcoholics.

At a time when alcoholism was regarded as a moral weakness rather than a disease, Sister Ignatia treated her patients with compassion and common sense. Perhaps because of her own descent to the depths of despair, she used her faith and the resources at her disposal to bring hope to others. With “tough love” she made them confront the realities of their addiction. She put them in touch with God and told them to “bend their knees instead of their elbows.” Helping others was a major part of recovery as people who had been sober only a few days were put to work welcoming the jittery newcomers.

This petite and humble Sister personally helped thousands of alcoholics, including priests and religious. She also counseled countless family members, encouraging them to “pull the curtain on the past” and give their recovering alcoholic another chance.

When a newly sober person was being discharged, Sister Ignatia would give him a Sacred Heart badge, and ask him to promise to return it to her before reaching for the first drink. Acceptance of the badge was a symbol of trust and commitment between the patient and Sister Ignatia, and it helped many to avoid impulsive relapses. A.A. still gives medallions to commemorate sobriety or as tangible encouragement to try the A.A. way of life.

Sister Ignatia: Catholic Pioneer of ‘Tough Love’ By Mary D. HERALD Columnist


Father John Doe

Introduction to Father John Doe’s book ‘Sobriety and Beyond’ written by another John Doe.

No matter how degraded an alcoholic may be; no matter how confused his or her thinking might be; no matter how burden may his soul and body be; somewhere deep within his heart and soul there is that deathless urge found in all such people to reach out beyond the sordidness, the deceit, the folly, the ignorance, the immorality, the sham, the materialism and the hypocrisy of this world to grasp that elusive something which spells kinship with the lovely, and the beautiful and the divine in life. His perfectionist nature–so sensitive and so attuned to the eternal cravings–has always…reached for the pinnacle in every endeavor. Nothing in life was ever less than perfection, albeit ever blocked by some strange unseen force. In his work, his play, his love–he ever strove with might and main for the best. But, again and again he ended in defeat– which wrenched from the death of his agonized soul the cry:

“How can my dream break through the darkness,
When always this ‘thing,’ this Vile ‘thing’
Hangs at the satanic chalice above the threshold of night,…
So that none may Pass?”

And like The “Hound of Heaven,”

“He fled Him down the nights,
And down the days–
Down the labyrinthine ways of his own mind
He sped…”


Feb 19, 2002.  Today is the anniversary of Fr. Ralph Pfau’s death, also known as Father John Doe. He is believed to have been the first Roman Catholic priest to enter Alcoholics Anonymous. Fr. Pfau was born on November 10, 1904, and died on February 19, 1967.  He was a priest in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, ordained at St. Meinrad Seminary, and received an MA in Education at Fordham University.  In the opening paragraph of his autobiography, “Prodigal Shepherd,” Father Pfau wrote: “All my life, I will carry three indelible marks. I am a Roman Catholic priest. I am an alcoholic. And I am a neurotic.”