Thursday, March 30, 2017


Let us open our eyes to the light that comes from God, and our ears to the voice from heaven.  
Karl Rahner as quoted in Seeking Life, Esther de Waal     
We are always being offered a opportunity to simply be with God.  When we are aware of this offering, there Christ is.  It is much like opening an envelope. The invitation is addressed to each of us. We are all invited.  How can we not respond with gratitude?   

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Letting One Another Grow

From a very good book entitled, "Strangers to the City, Reflections on the Beliefs and Values of the Rule of Saint Benedict," by Michael Casey.   
"If I accept my limitations and liabilities and look to others to do what I cannot, then we are bound together through many such multi-dimensional interactions. The struggle in building community is often a matter of my not recognizing my need for others. In a sense, it is my failure to see the need to be saved from my own deficiencies, not only by God but by other men and women. Sometimes the best way to turn an enemy into a friend or to restart  stalled communications is to ask a favor, to put ourselves in the position of a petitioner, to give the other a chance to demonstrate magnanimity. This is not so easy. Sometimes there will be rebuffs, but the tactic works more often than not, so long as we approach it in a spirit of humility and simplicity. By admitting our "weakness" we allow the other to feel "strong," and most people will like us a little more for that."   
Paraclette Press, Brewster, MA, 2006, page 113   
Yes, those of us who are called into Christian communities are called to do good in the world, and certainly the need is great.  Sometimes, however, we forget we are also called to help one another, and ourselves, grow in love.  If we are focused only on meeting tangible goals, we can find the process of letting others in on the project frustratingly inefficient.  How do we measure love?  I really do not have an answer for that question. However, I do think our quest for measurable efficiency is often detrimental to our overall emotional and physical health. When our health suffers, so does the health of those around us.  
I was thinking of this passage on my walk this morning.  Our dog has to have some surgery next week.  Whether it is my dog or myself that needs surgery, when the time comes I want the medical staff to be completely focused on the task at hand.  However, I also want the staff to take their Sabbath time to rest, to be with their families, and enjoy their hobbies or avocations. In other words, I want them to have the chance to be fully human. It is not a weakness to take this "unproductive" time; it is truly the source of our strength and our divine inheritance.    

Monday, March 27, 2017

Radiance Is in the House

I was happy to see John and Sara today (see blog post from Feb. 28th entitled "Goodness.").  Both seemed in very good spirits, and they talked for a few minutes with the pianist who is planning a trip to Europe. Last month I did not try to serve Communion as I was still struggling with the aftermath of a cold, so today was the first day for me to ask Sara if she would like to take Communion. The answer was a gentle yes.  I then to turned to John. Up until now, he had always declined because he is a devout Catholic, as is she. However, today he told me, "My wife has convinced me  that this, too, is the House of the Lord, so I will gladly accept."  She smiled, and I pretty much floated around the room after that. Ultimately, that is what I want people to know: that not matter what, they are in the House of Lord - or as Stephen Mitchell translates in Psalm 23, "in God's radiance forever and ever."  

Do John and Sara really need to be a dementia care home?  I still wonder.  However, for now, I will live in their radiance, and give thanks.      

Friday, March 24, 2017

To Taste from the Stream

The visible stream of being in daily life mysteriously mingles purity with impurity, joy with suffering, innocence and guilt, peace with stress, love with fear. In Lent, through giving up, letting go and making more time to pray, we learn to see and accept and actually rejoice in this mixed up mixture that is human existence. We are not angels, thank God. We are not exact answers to mathematical questions. We are not mechanical models. Through our growth in self-knowledge, we see that impurity is useful because it makes us better able to taste the freshness of the spring.
Laurence Freeman, OSB​    
It is from this stream that Jesus did his healing.  Then, he sent those he touched back to live their lives - to mingle in the ever flowing mystery once more.     


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

For Miss Annie

 I learned yesterday that Miss Annie passed a few days ago.  I already miss her smile and warm affection. While there was something timeless about her, I am sure she was younger than I. She addressed all women with the title of "Miss." She was gently valiant in facing her illness. She knew she was in God's hands, so despite the fact that she was whisked off the hospital for her final hours, I hope that peace made it into the ambulance.  I will always believe that it did. 
Prayer is like watching for the 
Kingfisher. All you can do is 
Be there where he is likely to appear, and
Often, nothing much happens. 
There is space, silence, and 
No visible sign, only the 
Knowledge that he's been there, 
And may come again. 
Seeing or not seeing cease to matter. 
You have been prepared. 
But sometimes, when you've almost 
Stopped expecting it, 
A flash of brightness 
Gives encouragement.  
Ann Lewin, Candles & Kingfishers 
from Lost in Wonder, Esther de Waal   
Thank you, Miss Annie.  I know you are well.  
Miss Sue Ann
The photograph was taken outside the skilled nursing community yesterday, before I learned of her passing. It reminds me of old-fashioned wall paper one might find in a very quiet home.  

Monday, March 20, 2017

Celebrating Limitations

Dear Friends, 
We begin a new week that is bound to be full of challenges, chores to complete, and work to be done.  Everywhere we turn, we will be reminded of unmet needs and incompleteness. In my readings this morning, I came across a wonderfully reassuring paragraph which I will share with you.  Please remember that God is on your side. We are not in this life alone.   
"Edith Schaeffer of L'Abri Fellowship captures some of the tension with which many of us live when she writes that 'because there are more people than we have time or strength to see personally and care for, it is imperative to remember that it is not sinful to be finite and limited.' When hospitality is not practiced widely in the larger society, or when resources are not distributed fairly or adequately, personal hospitality cannot respond to every need. It can, however, meet some needs; it can be a living demonstration of what is possible when people care."   
Christine D. Pohl, Called to Community  
Let us do the best we can, and then humbly and gratefully leave the rest to God. Blessings on your week.  


Sunday, March 19, 2017

For the Traveler Who Took Communion

This poem has been sitting in my drafts since 2011.  At some point I probably posted it, but it seems to fit with this day​ of serving and accepting Communion, and affirming that we have enough even when that is hard to believe.  A bit of housekeeping, in the spirit of Lent.  Light duty, in the spirit of Sabbath.  Rather than just deleting it and forgetting it again, I risk sending it once more.    

“Thirst,” by Mary Oliver in THIRST (Boston: Beacon, 2006), p. 69.

Another morning and I wake with thirst
for the goodness I do not have. I walk
out to the pond and all the way God has
given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord,
I was never a quick scholar but sulked
and hunched over my books past the
hour and the bell; grant me, in your
mercy, a little more time. Love for the
earth and love for you are having such a
long conversation in my heart. Who
knows what will finally happen or
where I will be sent, yet already I have
given a great many things away, expecting
to be told to pack nothing, except the
prayer which, with this thirst, I am
slowly learning. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Ready Made

"If the world is going to be renewed it must be renewed in sanity."  
 John Main, OSB
Fully Alive 
I think when a leader professes to be a Christian, but then proceeds to take actions that increase the burdens of the old, the ill, the impoverished, or children needing a decent education, then he or she is neither. This is a time of learning, and re-learning for us all. Let us not despair, but rather tend to our lessons, and one another, with careful, loving obedience. A quote from Clarissa Pinkola Estes, is showing up with regularity, and I must include it here: "I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is – we were made for these times."


Tuesday, March 14, 2017


I took part in a small group discussion last Sunday afternoon. The phrase, "to be clothed in Christ" came up, and has stayed with me.  In Galatians 3:27, the Apostle Paul used the phrase to remind those with him, and now us, that once we take on the mantle of Christ, we must strive to no longer focus on the differences between people, but rather live in relationship. This is not saying everyone must be Christian; God has created a multi-faith, multi-cultural world that should be celebrated, not feared.  "Clothed in Christ" is about how we Christians should view those around us - that is, we are all are part of God's universal love, and through this love we can experience oneness. Lines of demarcation are no longer needed.  As the psalmist sang in Psalm 16:6, "The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places..."  

May it be so.        

Monday, March 13, 2017


"​Giving and receiving then become a single rhythm. We pass beyond the politics of fear, segregation and hatred into a sharing society, a community that enjoys being human, a life that overflows.​"
Laurence Freeman, OSB 
The World Community for Christian Meditation   
photograph:  San Leandro, May 2016




Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Gift of a Moment

"So day by day we make our pilgrimage, even if it is a commute, leaving home and family, exploring the strange world of others and encountering their needs with our limited resources. We either burn out or we are transfigured. The difference lies in whether we have been still for the one moment necessary to be touched by the grace existing before time."
Laurence Freeman​,OSB 

Thursday, March 9, 2017


"Hidden in our hesitations, helplessness, and the impotence of stalled moments, lie the roots of courage, the bedrock of the one energy that lifts all nature."
 Marv and Nancy Hiles, All the Days of My Life  
Yesterday's lunchtime walk in the warm sun was just what I needed. Today, I was able to sing and serve Communion.  Holy One, I thank you for the chance to be able to continue. Differently, I think, but I continue. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


Prayer is necessary. It exists, not to tell God how divine He is, nor to give us a platform for dramatising our desires. It exists to help us see this vital distinction between need and desire, reality and illusion. On the clarity of that seeing our life depends.

Laurence Freeman  

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Blessed Obligation

"Human community is the universal obligation to live fully ourselves and to live well with others." Sister Joan Chittister, The Rule of Benedict.
Many of our elders struggle to live in community after a lifetime of envisioning themselves as fully independent. One of the most important aspects of the of SpiritCare is trying to create a sense of a faith community within the community. The sooner we realize that we need one another, the easier the transition. God always calls us into community. To accept the invitation is to accept our place in the living body of Christ. We belong to God, and we belong to one another.   


Friday, March 3, 2017


"Faith came to me just like that, and the need to adore."    
Dorothy Day, The Reckless Way of Love