September 24, 2022

What’s the relationship between your “I” and “me”?  When our souls are confused, we end up in that classic inward-caving-of-the-self situation where our desires are constantly directed back toward the psychological projector screen.  This life of shadows amounts to desperately grasping after things that we think we need paired with the inevitable anguish when those things fail to satisfy.  This closed-off system is a recipe for a suffocating human experience.  The Christian life is an invitation to put the “I” and the “me” back in right relationship.  Indeed, when we die to self, the system is broken open and that fear-based clinging is transformed into a partnership where the “I” thinks critically, understands and knows, while the “me” feels deeply, longs for and receives.  Starting tonight, do this:  Instead of vegging out in front of the television for an hour, which simply supports the status quo, go to a quiet place (Mt 6:6) and let the “I” and “me” mess begin the untangling process.  Beyond the intensity of the interior jungle, we will discover a mind that is starving for reality and a heart that thirsts for the truth (cf. Mt 25:35).  These two sides of the same coin (cf. Lk 10:35) are together the essence of our spiritual health which will allow us to say things like “I love you” and “Please help me” in a way that reveals the glory of our shared humanity.  Ave Crux, Spes Unica

September 17, 2022

Have you drunk the Kool-Aid?  This provocative question is of course a reference to a tragic event that resulted in a significant loss of life, but it is nevertheless an invitation for each of us to be honest about what motivates us in our depths.  While we may consider ourselves to be squeaky-clean independent thinkers who would never adopt someone else’s agenda, we should consider the subtle way that indoctrination actually happens.  Indeed, just as Jesus indicated in his public teachings (Mt 13:24-30), the Kool-Aid more typically comes to us and if we are not intentional about guarding the door of our minds and hearts, we will unknowingly consume it:  all of a sudden we are wearing fancy clothing, paying attention to the latest trends, getting obsessive about our weight, worrying about our financial standing, and desperately trying to keep up appearances.  Perhaps we do not practice vigilance (Mt 26:40) because we are afraid of intimacy, unwilling to experience life without interference from the outside.  Whatever the case may be, when we become aware of our hidden cravings and learn how to be nourished from the inside (Rev 3:20), we shall deal eucharistically with the Kool-Aid (Mt 26:26), inviting would-be enemies and manipulators into the spiritual communion that they are actually seeking.  Ave Crux, Spes Unica

September 10, 2022

When we were growing up, my brother and I were outstanding backyard football players.  We could throw the deep ball, kick field goals, run through any defense, return punts, block linemen, and tackle anybody who came our way.  Yet, when we entered high school and tried to play football with twenty pounds of equipment on our one hundred pound bodies, we lost both our agility and our passion for the game.  I wonder if this is an analogy for our spiritual lives, that is, when we are young and carefree our relationship with God is so natural,  but as we grow older and get weighed down by religious, intellectual and emotional baggage, we find it increasingly difficult to operate as spiritual people.  Perhaps we have forgotten what it is like to live by the Spirit and have settled for lukewarmness, or maybe we’re just stuck with no end in sight.  Whatever the case may be, we will always have the choice, like Jesus, to put out our hands and be led to new places (Jn 21:18), and it is this willingness to walk in the direction of the living God, into open spaces (Ps 119:45) and new horizons, that allows our burdens to be scraped away and our hearts realigned to the truth of things.  My brother and I eventually found the soccer and rugby pitches – what new fields are awaiting you (Mt 13:44)?  Ave Crux, Spes Unica.

September 3, 2022

A famous playwright once observed that “all the world’s a stage” and we are “merely players.”  If you have ever worked for a corporation, taught in a school, held public office, or been a member of a family, you understand exactly what he meant, namely, that unwritten rules cause much of our lives to feel like a show.  Such assumptions include: profit is the most important thing, kids just naturally misbehave, image is everything, we’re better than other families, etc.  While our first instinct when we become aware of the fakeness of it all might be cynicism (Ecc 1:1), we should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Indeed, the complex web that constitutes society and culture is a necessary apparatus for the Kingdom of God to be realized and for us to enter into our full human potential.  To live in a state of renunciation and isolation serves no one!  The key is to practice humility, to go low and to live as authentic persons in the midst of the drama, actors whose script is the one written on the human heart from the beginning of time (Rom 2:15).  May these various venues, therefore, become liturgical spaces where we are constantly re-presenting the Christic pattern until all people are gathered onto that one true stage which no longer imitates but confers life (Rev 19:1-10). Ave Crux, Spes Unica!