Today during the first reading, Naaman, the gentile esteemed war leader of men, a leper, a man who nearly shunned Divine providence through the rejection of the ordinary, I reflected upon basketball. Something all tied together, yet I am not really sure how. I thought of what often happens during open gyms, gatherings of basketball players upon various levels. There will be a player who is quite advanced in skill and competition. Often, he will refuse to play with others. Some of the others will become angry, calling him arrogant, accusing him of thinking he is better than them. The truth is the advanced player will identify only negative possibilities in competing. He understands he could possibly get hurt. The game will progress in a way that will drag him down in experience, forcing him to deal with frustrating situations, lowering the possibility of excelling. If he plays and loses, an internal wrath and festering may plague him for days. If he wins it means nothing. He comprehends that if he plays with those at his level or above, he can compete in a manner that exercises his skills to their fullest potential. Even if he plays poorly and loses, or plays his best and loses, he understand he improved his skills, fulfilled in the fact he had the opportunity to be the best that he could be. There are some players whose skill level may not be the highest, yet their ability to adapt, their insight and intelligence to bring out the best in others allows them to advance. I am convinced attending mass at St Clare is elevating my spiritual life. The surrounding, and abundant, attendees solidify a profounder calling. Father Estabrook deeply satisfies ecclesiastically. I was placed amongst a mature community of worshipers able to bring out the best in me. The depth and Presence I experience during prayer and mass is warmly accentuated. Yesterday, I spent the day with Mary, a surprisingly delightful day. She took me to Mount St Joseph, an elderly care facility run by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of St Mark. It is the religious community she belonged to during the mid-seventies. We walked around the magnificent, and brand new, facility as she told me about the various and dramatic visions she encountered during her stay with the sisters. There was a plentitude of remarkable stories. Details do not effect veracity. The day was the most intimate time the two of us have shared. She not only told me her visions, yet she also told me about being strapped to hospital beds, strange periods of being drugged, a plentitude of psychological examinations, and finally the religious order, accompanying priest, and bishop easing her out of the community and into a normal life. She speaks lovingly of how considerate the Church was in helping her attain a career as a nursing assistant and a solid life as a layperson. There are no hard feelings, nor animosity. In fact, we were there to visit her former mother superior, a woman she cares for deeply, however the sister was vacationing in Florida. We ended up eating out twice during the day, and paying a visit to the man of prayer. The man of prayer was experiencing electrical problems in his home, and through the grace of God I was able to alleviate his problems. It was a splendid day with two unique souls strongly in the service of God. Mary and I ended up at Sacred Heart. I figured the Adoration chapel would be locked, yet we tried anyway. Lo and behold, Rodger and the Tanzanian priest associated with the parish were unloading groceries from a car. They both greeted us warmly. Rodger informed us he was about to go in for Adoration, thrilled with the idea of us joining him. He showed us the code to enter the chapel, inviting us to visit whenever the Lord called. God is good and all giving. He is gracing my life with a true sense of Catholic community, with the spiritual maturity I easily see I needed. Even if everything is being done simply in order to remove me, I embrace the Lent renewal with faith, hope, and charity.