Monthly Archives: January 2016

Divine Marriage

In the further defining of the sanctity of Joseph and marriage let’s allow the words of J. Ivan Prcela to elaborate:

Saint Joseph was privileged to share in the Incarnation as the Virginal Father of Jesus by fulfilling the conditions necessary for that sublime mystery.  Besides being the God-preordained golden link of Jesus’ Davidic descendence, Joseph also fulfilled another necessary condition for the conception and the birth of the eternal, Messianic King.  According to St Jerome, St Augustine, St Bernard, St Albert the Great, St Thomas Aquinas, St Bonaventure and many other Catholic theologians, including John Paul the II the Great, St Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary had made a Vow of Virginity.  Mary was fully aware of that Vow when Gabriel announced to Her that God wants Her to become the Mother of His Eternal Son.  That is why Her question to the angel, ‘Quomodo fiet istud quia virum non cognosco—How this will be, for I don’t know man?’ expresses Her Betrothed Husband’s and Her own determination to live the Vow of Virginity even in Marriage.  Behind Mary’s humble and resolute virginal Fiat, there is also Joseph’s life’s permanent virginal Fiat, with which he made his and Mary’s Virginal Marriage possible.  This was God’s plan, foreseen, willed and decreed from all eternity. –J. Ivan Prcela ‘St Jospeh: The Virginal Father of Jesus’



A weekend reflection

I took my car in for routine maintenance this morning, voiding early mass at St Clare. I was able to attend noon mass for the first time at Sacred Heart. Walking to the Adoration chapel, I encountered none other than the man who has been on my mind. J. Ivan Prcela,  with all of his ninty years, stood there talking in the hallway. I approached. He warmly received. We discussed Spain. I marvelled while reading his book on St Joseph that his wife was Spanish. She is native to a smaller Valencia town, near the city of Zaragoza, my mother’s hometown. He told me of meeting his wife in Spain, admitting he took the trip with every intention of finding a wife. The man’s charm is his frankness and lack of concern regarding the making of an impression. He is a character of simplicity within his complexity. I am astounded by the scholarly level of his writing. He is a true academic authority on St Joseph, an authentic intellectual voice properly rendering influence on the highest levels of the Church. It is his mission to establish Church dogma regarding the virginal grace of St Joseph’s life. The indisputable fact St Joseph was a virgin, never married, nor fathering other children. St Joseph was not an elderly man of eighty years. Ivan is a legitimate voice of such a sublime and bold assertion; scripture, saints, and doctors of the Church his sources. Notice the cover of the white book I posted deals singularly with organizing his sources. He sees himself as a modern day Duns Scotus, the Franciscan who intellectually battled for the Immaculate Conception of Mary through reason and debate. Ivan does the same for St Joseph. He corresponded with Pope John Paul II on the matter and continues to interact with other Church luminaries in the same regard. However put that aside. Ivan’s candid friendly manner announces his true joy is his faith, family, and fellowship. His academic writing achievements are embraced intelligently and passionately, yet his heart is grounded in faith, family, and friends. St Joseph is more than an intellectual pursuit. St Joseph is a model and practical inspiration, an example for the life of an authentic man of Christ. I love Father Doze’s identification of St Joseph as the shadow of the Father; like Mary a hidden treasure within a humble life lived, a man immersed within the mystery of God. I am positive Mary and Joseph smile upon my growing endearment with Ivan. I do differ in approach though, and it is not by choice. His education and life experiences raise him to an intellectual level I can only look up to and admire. However that said his ways are analytical, linear thinking amongst the immensity of Church thinking, reason and study bearing the weight of advancement. I easily understand that is not my way. My youthful desire to establish the life of a writer arose from brokenness. I am not a scholar, and feel none the less for the recognition, the acceptance. Previously, I envisioned the healing and justifying of myself could be accomplished by becoming a writer, a noted and unique thinker. I am convinced it is not a deeper calling. It is spiritual gluttony, an absorption in self, an attachment to sweet consolations. God only wanted me to sit still, to truly learn to be quiet and listen to Him. That is all I am called to be. That is my real business. Through the perfecting, love germinating and cultivating in my center, I can spread love upon my circumference, able to act and be of service to God. I knew the Hospice calls would cease for the time being. They will return. This weekend with family: a mother and a shared trip to Spain discussed, a son and his girlfriend, newborns, Brandon and Tyler, and of course Andre. A funny story, one that moves the heart, demonstrating the importance of a father figure, I was told during my mid-Sunday afternoon nap I became the focus of Andre’s delight, my loud snoring hilarious to the child. My mother said he climbed up next to me, watching me sleep, laughing when I snored. I am glad he finds it so amusing. Final note: Sacred Heart has Joseph and Mary together adorning the sanctuary. I noticed the fact today. Both St Clare and Sacred Heart are  the same in uniqueness. Sacred Heart is truly a visual splendor with its immense gold gilded sanctuary backdrop, stunning Trinitarian tribute, and a wonderful statue of David as a youth, a lamb upon his shoulders, his pouch of five stones ready for dispensing. Today, I absorbed the wall mounted statue of Joseph with his arm around Mary. I am touched how the two churches have emerged in my life.


Prayer to Saint Joseph

J. Ivan Prcela’s prayerful salutation to St Joseph


Hail, Joseph the just man,
Virgin Husband of the Virgin-Wife,
Full of all virtues:
The Lord be with you and with your Spouse.
Blessed is the fruit of this wedlock;
Jesus by the Holy Spirit conceived.
Saint Joseph, Messiah’s Virgin-Father,
Pray for us sinners to Jesus,
Whom from the massacre in Bethlehem you saved
For the cross in Jerusalem
And with the Father’s love for our altars
You nourished Him,
That, in the warmth of the Fire of the Eucharist,
We can in the spirit of St Francis our death await.



Saturday night fathering

Abandoning the need for declarations, observing, discerning, taking note of an active God in my life, I find situations illuminating. The men’s meeting today, a reading from St Paul defining the parts of the body of Christ, the living Church. Bishop Robert Baron furthered the idea by identifying the Church as a living organism. Beyond an organization, the Church is an organism, prone to health and prosperity, as well as illness and the potential of death–an organism in perpetual need of divine grace. Within the enduring organism, self-knowledge, acceptance and honesty are essential. I know who I am as I form myself during my immersion into the greater body of the Church. Even to go off with John the Hermit calls for this proper wisdom regarding the immensity and all-embracing nature of the Church. It is something I contradict with him. He is determined to define the life of the hermit as the ultimate spiritual life. I respond that such a point of view is foolishness, instantly negating the very fact it asserts. The first will be last.  I enjoy the fact that quite often the men’s meeting at Sacred Heart involves heated conversation. The men are not afraid to disagree, avoiding the spiritually critical fault of being overly-sensitive, while also not allowing passive politeness to shelter delusion.  If one’s position insults the many, or few, it most likely is askew, a personal agenda centered within pride or individual brokenness/lack of maturity.  For the most part, these are men who have not only been practicing Catholicism seriously throughout their lives, searching for authenticity rather than advanced self-perceived understanding,  Being a sincere man of individual integrity ranks supreme.  They are men leading families, assisting in the structure and politics of not only the church, yet also associated educational institutions.  More than talkers, they are men who get things done, experiencing a broad range of personal experiences.  Reading Ivan’s book on St Joseph, a piece of paper fell out.  It was a list of Ivan’s eight grandchildren, all eight of them writing a four line snippet on what their grandfather turning ninety meant to them, personal reflections on their grandfather of intense character. It is enlightening and humbling for me a loner and isolator. I comprehend it is not my contemplative path, at least not at this time, yet it is important for me to participate, to witness and understand the complexity and deep broad breadth of the Church. I must not be defensive or offensive, feeling the need to lower or raise myself. I am a brother, unique in my call and being. Nothing more or less. I am positive regarding the fact My Holy Mother strongly desires my participation. Mary placed me amidst the group. Her loving, devoted, and inspiring husband strongly establishing his presence today. That reminds me. Another interesting example of God working in my life. I am visiting family in Toledo, celebrating a sudden expansion of my family as nephews and nieces are having babies left and right, a new generation suddenly emerging. Four babies will be receiving baptism in unison this coming Easter season. I planned on relaxing tonight at my mother’s, reading the new gifted St Joseph books. My intent was to immerse myself in the father of Jesus. I would read about the father of the Holy Family. God asked something different. He wanted me to be a father. My mother is babysitting Andre, one of the babies being baptized. Andre’s mother, my niece, is battling morbid obesity, a spiritually wayward child of adult age, a lost broken young soul. She has basically turned over the raising of her child to my mother. Andre is a companion and sweet consolation to her, and if he asks for me she cannot provide. The father, an African-American young man, does not claim his son. Andre sleeps next to me now. Tonight, I wanted to read about St Joseph, however Andre is so consumed with having a male around him, he crawls all over me, constantly demanding my attention, following me around everywhere I go. I love it. I love him. I read to him. We sing together, watching videos on my laptop, partaking of singalong silly and educational songs, reading about David and Goliath. I have three brothers, nephews, and a brother-in-law. My mother says he is like this with all the males. The toddler instinctually demonstrates the need for a father. God clearly presents the higher path of practicing to be a father, rather than reading about the greatest father. I will have my time to read and further my understanding of St Joseph. Now it is time to be a father for a boy lacking a father.  In the morning, he will go to mass with my mother and myself.  Once again, I will carry him as I receive communion.

Andre close to trouble

Andre close to trouble


Fellowship meeting

These men are a blast.  I attended the men’s meeting at Sacred Heart after 6:45 AM daily mass this morning, learning the meeting is held every two weeks.  I went last week, witnessing several of the men at mass yet there was no meeting.  Today’s meeting proved incredible.  We read the daily readings for Sunday mass and listened to Bishop Robert Baron elaborate.  Topics centered on: a return to roots, self-identity, walls, bridges, and windows.  The group discussion became heated, especially when the topic involved the Sacred Heart school merging with St Clare’s, forming the Corpus Christi Academy.  I find it fascinating to listen to the men, powerbrokers within the two churches becoming central in my practice of faith, discuss the emotional subject of educating the children of the parishes.  There is also a man, a character of substantial intelligence who stirs the group up with his constant attacks upon Sacred Heart’s ministering priest.  One man caught my attention with his remarkable presence.  He was older, crippled a bit, yet loud and foreign in accent, outspoken and awkward I knew instantly he was a man of my liking.  He tended to wave his hand in the air when making strong pronouncements, declaring the ecclesiastic criticizing man was wrong in his allegations of neglect and tyrannical apathy by Sacred Heart’s priest.  During my comment, a humble remark, I was brought to momentary silence, by the man once again waving his hand in the air and pronouncing I was right.  I almost broke into laughter.  The man had that type of effect on me.  He commented toward the end of the meeting about the importance of St Joseph, emphasizing Pope John Paul II and the three books he wrote on St Joseph.  I thought to myself: so this is one of the reasons you want me here Holy Mother.  I am here to learn more about St Joseph.  Immediately after the meeting, I confronted the man, introducing myself, telling him my recent illuminations regarding St Joseph, and the discovery of Father Andrew Doze’s book ‘St Joseph: Shadow of the Father’, presenting quickly some ideas from the book. He declared that was all the things he wrote about in his books.  He insisted one of the men take me down to the Eucharistic chapel and give me two of his books.  His third book is not complete.  Of course before sending me off to attain his books, he wanted to make more pronouncements, waving one hand in the air, while clutching his cane with his other.  He loudly proclaimed I was new and that he wanted me to clearly understand all the allegations brought forth against the priest were hogwash.  The priest was nothing but kind to him, sending the Bishop to speak to him, and both the Bishop and the priest active in promoting his books.  His name is J. Ivan Prcela.

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Answers solidify within a vortex of possibilities

My employment probationary period is complete, my testing successfully satisfied. I have attained the rank of top electrician at work. There is room for growth. An engineering technician position aligns with my qualifications. Taking matters a day at a time, I recognize there is so much to learn. I have never applied myself regarding employment. Potentialities intrigue. I become more confident daily, recognizing alcoholic personality remnants are truly my greatest obstacle. I possess an insecure, pessimistic, overly-critical attitude toward my work, always hard on myself, stressing out and making everything more difficult than it should be. My pace becomes frantic and manic all too often. My mental state is an agitated flight and fight desperation, an internal screaming, complaining, cussing, and overall collapse into panic. I assume the worst the majority of the time. I tend to talk to others unsure of myself, displaying an exterior persona devoid of confidence. Others of lesser ability and intellect can dominate me simply through bravado. Yet overall I am learning to trust in God, abandoning fear and an obsessive disposition demanding perfection. My employer and coworkers like me as an electrician/mechanic and a man. I do not fear. If I am no good, lacking in ability, so be it. I do not fear failure. God blessed me with a decent intellect, a solid work ethic, and the ability to get along with others. I have all the skills necessary to excel at work. With Saturday and Sunday off, I am able to concentrate upon my future with the satisfaction of knowing financially I can prosper. The religious life calls, yet first I must leave the world with dignity. I am still not sure what the insight, the acute awareness, declaring itself last Sunday at St Paul Shrine designates. God is going to elevate matters, providing a heightened spiritual life, yet details lack definitude. John the Hermit wants me to visit property in southern Ohio, near West Virginia, canvasing the area, investigating possibilities for a hermitage. It all seems exciting, yet so remote and exotic. It dawned on me while working that a hermit I spent time with in the distant past in Missouri might be of interest to John the Hermit. The man in Missouri is associated with Assumption Abbey, an Ozark Trappist monastery. His name is Paul Jones, a former Ivy League college professor, leaving behind a successful academic career for the remoteness of the Missouri Badlands. He has an interesting book, ‘Teaching the Dead Bird to Sing….’ detailing his efforts to settle into the life of a hermit.

I detoured from the post, reading an article by Father Paul Jones. I am exhausted. Good night.


Reflection upon direction

I have been thinking, praying, regarding my last Hospice patient. Within all good intent I was disobedient. I perceive my Hospice calls will cease for a short time. I have the weekend off, planning time with my son and nephew with his newborn in Ann Arbor and Toledo. It will be a downtime weekend, rest and family. The Hospice calls I treat as the voice of God, responding without hesitation. The timeliness has been astounding. The last patient was the first time I took initiative, passively demanding as much time with the patient as I could arrange. I made the calls, setting up my visits on my own. I reacted to what I perceived to be the woman’s need, her immense reception of my attention overwhelming me. I should have shown patience, allowing God to call if needed. What if my lengthy touch upon the woman’s forehead distracted her in some regard, causing her to yearn for worldly things. I prayed authentically, discerning with care. I am pure in my motivation. The effort was conducted through sheer love and compassion, focused upon God and eternity. However, what if my touch negated my visiting with the woman according to the demands of God? These things are that serious. Death is that serious. I must bring absolute obedience to matters, comprehending my best desires are suspect to my imperfections and the imperfections of the patient. Another recent Hospice encounter from last week haunts a bit. A woman arraigned for me to sit with her husband while she went shopping with her sister in Akron. The woman, I perceived as older, and I easily engaged in friendly banter over the phone, discussing casual matters and my Hospice efforts. She called me twice. I assume she retrieved my number from her cellphone call log. That is against Hospice regulations. I said nothing, waiting until I met her to address the matter. Meeting her, I was stunned to be greeted by a beautiful Jewish woman my age. Engaging, funny in conversation, she showed me around her home, touching my hand while speaking. Sitting with her husband, praying, talking to him, it took all my energy to stop myself from imagining righteous situations that would allow me to further socializing with his wife. I spoke more earnestly with him,  filled with shame. That one called for confession. I did talk to her over the phone afterward, informing her she must call the Hospice if she needs my service in the future. It was not proper for her to call me. I did enjoy my time with the gentleman. If God wills, I would return. My point is the relevancy of the post from St Albert Hurado. Let’s read some of it again:

The generous man tends to move forward too fast: he wants to restore the good and destroy the injustice. But there is inertia in both men and things that he must take into account. Mystically, it is a matter of walking in step with God, of fitting exactly into the plan of God.

All effort to move faster than God is useless, and even worse, harmful. Activity is replaced by activism, which goes to the head like champagne, aspires to unreachable goals and leaves no time for contemplation. A man is no longer master of his life: the danger of excess of action is compensation. An exhausted man easily seeks it. This is all the more dangerous when one has to some extent lost self-control.

The body is tired, the nerves are agitated, the will vacillating. The greatest stupidities are possible in these moments.