Monthly Archives: June 2016

Mid-noon nap

A story from ‘Healing the Eight Stages of Life’.

One wise mother told us how she prayed for a son, Michael. When Michael was in the autonomy stage, he found his baby brother dead in his crib one morning. Michael loved his roommate brother and was heartbroken. Two years later, five year old Michael was refusing to go to school. Since he was doing well in school and had many friends, Michael’s mother knew there must be something else bothering him. She was led to take Michael back to the scene of his brother’s death.

“Mike, can you see your bedroom and Jesus in the corner?”
“Let Jesus take you over to the crib and show you Tom the morning you found him dead. What is Jesus saying and doing?”
“Jesus has his hand on my shoulder and he is sad. He says Tom died not because of anything I did but because he wasn’t made right.”
“Do you fear that I to might die or get hurt if you go to school?”
“What does Jesus say?”
“He says he will never leave me.” 

I like this story from ‘Healing the Eight Stages of Life’, a return to innocence in order to move forward in innocence. I am currently conducting a fast, a Master Cleanse, three days into the cleanse and detox process, after a preceding day of only fruit and granola bars. It is amazing the clarity of mind a fast induces. It is astounding to receive communion while the body is allowed to heal itself, taking a break from the overindulgent eating I tend to involve myself in. The psychology behind the fast is important, examining and contemplating eating habits. What is the purpose of eating? Stripping myself of meals, the reality strikes that hunger is not the driving force behind my eating. Entertainment and pleasure is the true motivating force. God is good and all giving. The clarity of mind brings about a deeper peace calling forth intention. I am learning to leave most of that behind, decreasing and losing, while focusing on how I want to live the rest of my life. The religious life appears as a dream, yet a sublime refuge upon a mental mountaintop I am convinced is the proper place for such relief from the world. It is a life to aspire toward, not to pursue. It becomes more and more evident my deeper healing comes from learning to live a simple life of anonymity, work, and peace—responsibility and accountability daily factors—stripping and then stripping some more, learning to accept and abide in my place in the world, not even the desire to be a religious aficionado calling forth thought and behavior. The significant other eases into greater emergence. There are little moments absolutely sealing the deal. Kayaking she slipped and lost her balance entering her kayak, falling to the shore. Her vulnerability appeared precious. How could I not love her? Hospice volunteer work has receded for the time being. Many thoughts there, yet I will allow them to shape and form rather than be expressed. I am content in giving everything to bringing about a lasting relationship abiding within the love of Christ, a relationship uniting me with a significant other. The healing and revealing of the Father in all His majesty existing within the muddy and splendid details of sharing with one who entrenches herself soundly and firmly within my heart and mind. It is off to take a nap.


Now I lay me down to sleep

In order to give a perfectly concrete turn to the process of learning to which we must subject ourselves, nothing is more instructive than to meditate on the first and the most elementary of these three forms of death, the art of lending ourselves to sleep.

…“to sleep is to let things go”.  Man let’s go his usual mental experience for the sake of an interest of prime importance: that of recuperating in depth, of allowing God to restore him.

….  Like Jesus sleeping in the middle of the storm, sleep expresses a perfect trust in God who “neither slumbers nor sleeps” (Psalm 121) and who takes care of us all the more sense we let him do so.  That is why the Lord makes the harvest of the just man grow, instructs Joseph about his secret wishes during his sleep, suggests a totally dedramatized image of death for the death of the just (“the girl is not dead but sleeping”—Matthew 9:24, the same for Lazarus).  But one must go further.  The effort which the one seeking sleep must make when he does not easily drop off to sleep, in contrast with the happy mortal of the psalm who “lies down and sleeps” right away, is a typical example.  It is, as it were, the model of full spiritual effort. –Father Andrew Doze “Saint Joseph Shadow of the Father”



Mother reveals the father, an expression of human fulfillment

Interesting words from ‘Healing the Eight Stages of Life’.

In a healthy family, the mother reveals the father to the child and the father reveals the mother. In the presence of my mother, my father became fully alive, and as she admired the tomatoes he had grown or told him all the things she loved about him, both he and I learned what it means to be a man. In this stage, as in all the stages, what a child needs most is not one parent or the other, but the loving union between them.  


A prayer of Padre Pio

Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You. You know how easily I abandon You.

Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, that I may not fall so often.

Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life, and without You, I am without fervor.

Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light, and without You, I am in darkness.

Stay with me, Lord, to show me Your will.

Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your voice and follow You.

Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You very much, and always be in Your company.

Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You.

Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is, I want it to be a place of consolation for You, a nest of love.

Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes; death, judgment, eternity approaches. It is necessary to renew my strength, so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need You. It is getting late and death approaches, I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows. O how I need You, my Jesus, in this night of exile!

Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all its dangers. I need You.

Let me recognize You as Your disciples did at the breaking of the bread, so that the Eucharistic Communion be the Light which disperses the darkness, the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart.

Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to You, if not by communion, at least by grace and love.

Stay with me, Jesus, I do not ask for divine consolation, because I do not merit it, but the gift of Your Presence, oh yes, I ask this of You!

Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone I look for, Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart, Your Spirit, because I love You and ask no other reward but to love You more and more.

With a firm love, I will love You with all my heart while on earth and continue to love You perfectly during all eternity. Amen.

Re-posted from the Traditional Catholic Priest blog, a priest struggling in health. Update On Father: At this point, father is completely bedridden and unable to walk.  His condition continues to further deteriorate.  Please continue to pray for him that he will have peace throughout this time.


A workman’s prayer to St Joseph

Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work in a spirit of penance for the expiation of my many sins; to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my inclinations; to work with gratitude and joy, considering it an honor to employ and develop, by means of labor, the gifts received from God; to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, without ever recoiling before weariness or difficulties; to work, above all, with purity of intention, and with detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account which I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all after your example, O Patriarch Joseph. Such shall be my watchword in life and in death. 

Georges de La Tour (1593-1652)

Georges de La Tour (1593-1652)

A fascinating painting of St Joseph with Jesus as a child. Art historians comment upon the play of light and darkness within the painting. The overall darkness of the background representing the condition of death at the time of Jesus as a child.  The drilling of the hole into a wooden plank representing the crucifixion to come–the New Covenant established. The predominate color tone, a dirty earthy brown signifying the realm of matter, time and space. Shining, the presence of two lights. The candle (secular) held by Jesus illuminating his father’s work, and the divine inner light illuminating the child Jesus’ face. I find the image calming, delighting in the fascination of Jesus’ eyes as he witnesses his father.  The son within the Trinity is awestruck by his humanly father.  The immense love of the son for his earthly father tangible in observing.  Working, St Joseph stares upon his son.

I like the discipline of observing artwork, the same for music, in regards to furthering my love and understanding of God.  Aside from reasoning, aside from linear wordy concepts induced through reading, an immersion within an image allows a subtler approach to reality to form itself.  I enjoy spending lengthy contemplative time observing a painting that captures.  Imagine all the time the artist put into creating the work. The time of a skilled master merits worthy attention.  His thoughts, abilities, and being tasted and appreciated.  Meditative observing allows truths to settle subtlety.  Proper reception of the painting is important in that we are not occupied with useless thoughts, wasting energy.  Am I arrogant in my faith forcing me to doubt the authenticity of others?  Can I marvel at the genius of others, understanding, all goodness comes from God?  Do I trust in God so that my faith, hope, and charity is open and willing to His delicate interplay with others?  Do I trust in the Church in regards to guiding me to appropriate works of creativity, and within creativity away from Catholicism am I respectful and prayerful, searching for God in all things, or am I judgmental, righteous, absolutely occupied with the need to dominate and be right?  Have I expanded beyond the childish mentality of seeing myself within everything I encounter?  Am I so absorbed in my own world and concerns that I cannot take my thoughts away from my preoccupations for an enriching experience? The rich interior life of an artist is an amazing place to perceive, a simulation of a deep prayer life, the secular combined with the divine. In perception maybe I am wrong.  It is not so important.  Trust in God, muse, repose, exercising faith hope and charity.  I have heard it said: Don’t be so concerned about the facts, concentrate upon truth.



There are two limits to human attention: that of the man who falls asleep, yielding himself to the biological wisdom hidden in the innermost recesses of his being and which alone can restore him in depth; and that of the man who touches the edges of ‘ecstasy’ because he has caught a glimpse of beauty, of love, of true prayer.  When man forgets himself to become attention, this other mysterious being, “the Holy Spirit, intercedes with sights too deep for words, praying for what man does not know how to ask” as the Apostle says. –Andrew Doze “Saint Joseph Shadow of the Father”

St Joseph, dally greeter

St Joseph, dally greeter


Significant other takes photos

Rocky River kayak

Rocky River kayak

This is a photo of me, convinced it is spiritually healing to post it. I despise and fear photos of myself. Once a Trappist monk in Missouri took a photo of me. He was proud of the photo, showing it to me. I said ‘no’, forcing the color image he printed out to be discarded into a trash can. The monk became upset with how consternated I became. He scolded me, ‘Jim you must accept yourself, to be honest and at peace with your physical appearance. You look nice in the photo. Your reaction when being confronted with yourself is spiritually negative, a damaged and disturbed psyche. It is ugly. You are not ugly. Look at yourself and accept yourself’. The Trappist monk would be proud I gathered the courage to post the photo. The significant other deserves credit for the advancement also. I laugh and observe the photo, stammering ‘look it’s me’.