Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Will of the Father

Jesus’ parents find him, on the third day, that is, at the Biblical moment…when great dramas unravel themselves.  Mary tells him something he does not seem to understand: “Son, why have you treated us like this?  Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety!” (LK 2:48)

What is obviously puzzling to him is partly the anguish of this couple so profoundly united to God, as if God himself were distressed; it is also, partly, this expression of Mary’s that sounds very strange to Jesus’ ears: “Your father is searching for you…!  “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Lk 2:49) says Jesus as he opposes his Father to this man of who Mary is speaking.

What follows speaks for itself: Joseph and Mary do not understand what he is saying and Jesus begins a descent in their footsteps.  His feet will obey Mary.  Soon, in the humble workshop, his hands will obey Joseph:  “whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise” (Jn 5:19).  Jesus considers Joseph as his father.  His feet and hands have designated him. 

Jesus had gone up to Jerusalem, to the most beautiful place in the world, to the temple of God; they’re he had enjoyed immediate respect in spite of his early you.  He descends to a scorned place, Nazareth.  And that, through Mary.  –Andrew Doze “Joseph Shadow of the Father”


Misdirection settles into a nap before work

One must not exaggerate and squander one’s strength in the excess of conquering force.  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.  One simply has to slow down, find one’s call again among true good friends, recite one’s Rosary mechanically and fall asleep sweetly in the Lord.  –St Albert Hurado

God is a challenging and invigorating voice of unpredictability, wise in knowing what is best.  I rose this morning early to attend a pre-mass Rosary and Divine Mercy communal prayer at St Clare, focused upon my Hospice patient, preparing for my morning afternoon bedside visit.  The communal prayer did not work.  The participants praying so fast and self-consciously I could not absorb myself.  There was no recourse except silence.  Mass concluded, Eucharist received, the reading of David slaying Goliath always providing wonder.  A voice mail waited on my phone.  It was the Hospice.  The patient passed away at four in the morning.  They would not be needing my service.  She did not wait for me.  I felt stung by pride.  God demonstrating he did not need me to advance the woman to eternal peace.  I needed the woman and the thought of doing something spiritually superior.  God wanted me to go home and take a nap. The above quote came from the autobiography of Abbot William from the Maronite Monks of Adoration.  Abbot’s thoughts were important.  I am not going to put them together, pointing out relevancy with words and ideas: disjointed, masks, multiple personalities, anxiety, nature building upon grace, proper rest.  My Holy Hour after mass I could barely stay awake, fighting sleep, deeply exhausted.  My late night vigils, overload of Hospice calls, and seven days of work caught up with me.  Driving home, John the Hermit called.  We have not talked in days.  He stressed the difference between our nervous systems functioning in a sympathetic or parasympathetic mode—bottom line: living a life of reaction to worldly concerns opposed to a life of contemplation and absorption in God.  He takes it much deeper, encompassing a holistic understanding of one’s life and personal habits.  He said to go home and get some rest.  Everything coalesced, further words from Abbot William arising in poignancy, tantalizing in indirectly teasing toward the consecrated life, while eluding to the neurosis of modern city life.  It all comes together within mystery.  The title of the book: ‘A Calling: An Autobiography’.

An old colloquialism comes to mind: “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country of the boy.”  In the old European formula, the average Catholic vocation in Europe came from farm and country.  He knew farm life; he knew how it worked.  He knew the soil.  He knew a sick cow from a healthy one.  He knew the land and how and when to hay.

On the American scene, we meet the obverse: “You can take the boy out of the city but you can’t take the city of the boy.”  The average candidate for an American monastery came from the city, suburbia, a college campus, or the armed services.  His whole culture and economic arrangement was ‘punching the clock’.  He worked his forty hour week, and when he was finished, it was done.  He received his wages and went home.  His skill and expertise were to be all efficient and he was to expedite the work.  If he was a hustler, he was considered an efficient worker.  This habit and mentality was ingrained in him.

In agrarian society, however, the work on the farm is never done.  One did not punch the clock on the farm.  The chores were always there, all day long, seven days a week.  The farmer handled his task and survived by his ability to work his farm at a ‘farmer’s pace’.  The farm candidate brought that particular culture and manner of living to the monastery.  The old Trappist regime was constructed around the old world agrarian society.  The Trappist monk could be very contemplative within the context of living the old Trappist structure—at a farmer’s pace.  But this, quite obviously, was not so readily accomplished on the American scene.

Sleeping Monk


A most pleasant patient

Disappointment tonight. My visit with the ninety-seven year old patient I have grown so fond of did not work out. I arrived at her room, only to discover two Hospice employees sitting with her. I could not just ask them to leave. They invited me to sit with them, however I felt it best to dismiss myself. I must admit I was a bit jealous. I did not want others to impede upon our time together. I will assert a strong speculation, acknowledging uncertainty, exposing myself to criticism, yet I am positive she wanted the other two men to leave. I know this one well. She possesses a strong personality, passionate, and ornery. I am positive we have a lot in common. She locked eyes with me, imploring. I have prayed for her all day, strongly focused during a solitary Holy Hour at St Clare’s. I have the Poor Clares of St Paul Shrine praying for her. This one is special. I am certain she wanted me to talk to her and pray with her. I will even go out on a limb, possibly saying too much, yet knowing the depth it brings to my heart. This one is no angel, a free-spirited life lived. Maybe it is why we connect so naturally. Birds of a feather flock together. Her sister told me of her past as a burlesque dancer at the Roxy Theater in Cleveland during the fifties. My precious patient, obviously beautiful in her younger years, was a woman of allure and sensuality. It only makes me love her more. Proud to present her to Our Holy Mother in preparation for her appearance before Our Lord. During our time together, after our Rosary together, I placed my hand upon her forehead. I felt her collapse under my touch. I was stunned by the degree of comfort my hand brought to her. I could feel her melting under my touch. I kept my hand upon her forehead, pleading with Our Blessed Mother to join forces with the woman’s guardian angel, to shower grace down upon this one staring into the face of eternity. I could hear in her breathing the security my hand upon her forehead provided. I felt small, fearing I was not special enough to be of such comfort to another, yet this precious one adored my touch. Tonight, I could feel her eyes penetrating, relieved to see me. I thank her for the wonderful gift she provides, allowing me to feel I am a worthy man, a man a beautiful woman is pleased to welcome for a visit. I wanted strongly to tell the other two kind and polite gentlemen to leave. However, I felt it was proper for me to leave. Tomorrow morning we will have four hours together. She will wait for me. This one is exquisite. Together, surrendering to the grace of God, utilizing the divine gift of Our Holy Mother, we are going to send her off to heaven.


Monsieur Olier, letter writer extraordinaire

I seem to see Jesus and Mary united as one, Who seem but one person, and seem to rejoice in their innocent, pure and divine love for all eternity. I cannot express this mutual love which transmits and carries them one to the other. Alas! It is a love which alone is capable of being a paradise. So the kiss, which is spoken of in the Canticles, is accomplished: the Bride rejoices in her request, she confesses that the Spouse had introduced her to his cellar; for she has her fill of love and its delights from the Spouse. So well does she captivate him since letting himself go to her, and allowing her to find him that she no longer wants to leave him, to the point until she has entered heaven. She is no longer troubled about asking where he rests at midday, since she rejoices in him in her place of glory. It is there where she is all clothed with the sun, and she appears to be no longer in herself, but in Jesus Christ, in Whom she is wholly transformed in the beautiful day of eternity. Be faithful in this life to losing yourself in her, and you will with her, be lost in Jesus Christ for time and eternity. 


‘Absent souls’ what does that mean?

Monsieur Olier speaks accurately to my sensibility, expanding and deepening my way of knowing.  The following paragraph from one of his letters introduces a new insight regarding the discerning of a small still voice. Silent in nature, loving in captivation, faith and hope are properly bolstered within an absent soul listening sincerely to the beating of his heart, keenly aware,  at all times,  of the presence of God.

Is it well known that absent souls see each other in God and speak about His goodness and love? How many times do you believe that the soul of Mary was present to the absent Jesus, and how Jesus spoke to His Mother though absent in body, but divinely present to Him?   – – Monsieur Olier

Tonight, I will spend a couple hours after work with a Hospice patient. I went out of my way, insisting upon the time.  The Hospice covers the hours through the night with in-house staff, asking for volunteers in this case only from eight AM to eight PM. Her sister and niece approved my late night visit, granting permission for a prayer vigil. The women is ninety-seven, single throughout her life, the oldest of eight siblings. Her younger sister talked extensively about her older caretaking sister. The elder, controlling and opinionated, lorded over her siblings and their children throughout her life. The younger sister loved her older sister, speaking of her wisdom and strength, yet stressing her sister was an angry,  hot-tempered woman, difficult to endure often. Recently, before the elder sister became unresponsive, she remarked to her younger sister,  ‘You must hate me for the things I have said and done’.  Her sister responded, ‘Oh no!  I forgive you for everything’.  The elder demanded more of an answer,  ‘Why would you forgive me? I was a bitch and I knew it. I wanted you to despise me.’  ‘You were my sister. You always watched over me. I love you’. The words moved me, however looking at my patient, eyes wide open, I was shocked by the severity of her anger. Her sister was causing great unrest within her. She wanted to say something. She wanted to argue and fight. She wanted to shut her sister up. I was positive of the fact.  I knew I had to be alone with her, to speak to her about releasing the immense wrath filling her heart. I knew she must hear me recite a Rosary and sing the Divine Mercy chaplet. Tonight will be our time together. She is a new soul I am attaching to within love and prayer. This is a special one. We need one another.


Declaration of a furthering

During Sunday mass at St Paul Shrine a sense of peace and an answer voiced itself. I would be lifted in the religious life. The declaration interiorly announcing itself. God would soon be manifesting a deeper direction, a new way of life. The extern sisters care for the presentation of the Shrine’s Sanctuary. The Christmas season past, Ordinary Time engaged, they threw me a bit of a loop by positioning their marvelous Divine Mercy painting before the lector’s podium, the ‘Ambo’ in proper vernacular. I considered the powerful image of the resurrected Christ as appropriate following Easter Sunday. The mystical painting of the resurrected Christ ministering to the living through His personal relationship with Saint Faustina called me within, a door in the background presenting itself. The door appeared relevant in its darkened hidden representation. The painting invoked an awareness the religious life would be granted, a gift from God, grace, an infusion of a higher way. I instantly assumed that would mean entering a religious community in September. God blesses approval. The scenario presented comfort and warmth, the idea of solitude, removal from the world, allowing a full frontal assault upon the spiritual life and my inner healing for the salvation of souls emanates joy and splendor. I am ready and capable. I know I possess the psychological soundness, the fortitude, acquired knowledge, disposition toward prayer, and a love of all things that are God. All things created by God, I succumbed to uncertainty and the profundity of mystery. Maybe my interpretation of the certainty that I will enter a higher religious life beyond cloistered walls is incorrect. Within the meditating, the idea of the married life being the deeper call to a lay vocation, an acceptance flowered. It is enough to yearn, content and contrite, humble, comprehending I have the ability to love and care for another. It is enough. God makes the final decision. My role is passive in accepting. Within patience, humility, service, and prayer, I wait for the consequence of God’s pronouncement. A pure heart and a state of grace sanctify. Mystery prevails, enforcing silence. John the Hermit spoke about regularly discerning the voice of God within his extensive prayer life and demanding healthy lifestyle. Three hours of adoration, first thing in the morning, structures his daily routine. He declares that God intended, and set forth the means, for individuals to hear his small still voice. In ancient times, it was easier to hear the interior voice of God. In the modern, industrial and computerized world noise prevails. Man’s worsening eating habits, his lack of exercise, intense employment stress and concern, inefficient sleep patterns, and a distancing from intimate contact with nature drowns out the voice of God. God’s design has been rendered obsolete by the commotion of the world and the treachery of Satan. It is an interesting idea. John the Hermit offers quality conversation.

Divine Mercy


Mary losing herself in Jesus

It is inconceivable to see this holy being of Mary absolutely lost in Jesus, to see how profoundly She lives in Him, how what is proper to Her is destroyed and annihilated and how one sees and feels only a total abandonment and an absolute relinquishment; but more than all that, the donation of Her whole being is made with such a living, ardent and pressing need  that She is in a continuous act of  abandonment, feeling by Her ardent desires that it seems to Her that She does not belong enough to Him, wishing, were it possible for Her, to belong still more.  –Monsieur Olier a passionate mystic letter writer.


More than a friend to St Francis de Sales, Monsieur Olier must be associated with St Louis de Montfort. St Montfort (1673-1716) studied theology from 1695 to 1700 at Saint Sulpice, the seminary founded by Monsieur Olier. Olier died in 1657, but his spirit and his writings were very much alive and certainly greatly influenced St Montfort, the author of “The Secret of the Rosary”, “The Secret of Mary”, and “True devotion to Mary”.