December 31, 2022

Please, Lord, make me humble.  Take me to that low place.  Help me to see the way you see and feel the way you feel.  Give me the grace to accept the slow process of becoming the person you call me to be.  Teach me to be patient with myself on this journey of discovery.  Enlarge my heart so that authenticity and truth prevail in all of my relationships and in all aspects of my life.  When old messages play in my brain, make me self-aware.  When painful memories are triggered, keep me grounded.  Fill me with the courage to bury the past and be excited about the possibilities that lie ahead.  You are my protector, my redeemer, my mother, my father, my brother, my sister, my friend, my life.  I love you and need you in the new year.  Ave Crux, Spes Unica.

December 24, 2022

Let’s spend today contemplating the inner-Bethlehem of the human soul.  While there is lots of activity and fanfare constantly going on up there in that nearby religious metropolis, Bethlehem is a quiet and out-of-the-way place.  Literally meaning, “house of bread,” this town invites us into and nourishes us with a secret communion that the world does not see and cannot understand.  When we do discover how this deep place meets our deep needs, we shall learn to return to it again and again, allowing the intimacy of the-one-who-speaks-directly-with-us to unfold in the recesses of our hearts.  Perhaps this is in fact the meaning of the Word-made-flesh, that is, those eternal whispers taking on real contours and texture in our generous and trusting reception, born into history and time through us.  May this Christmas season therefore be a graced opportunity to remember that the glorious life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus began in an anonymous village and that our lives will only thrive when they have first been rooted in our inner-Bethlehem.  Ave Crux, Spes Unica! 

December 17, 2022

I was once sitting on a park bench across from a young woman who was patiently waiting for someone.  With a nervous smile on her face, her eyes looked off into the distance.  She conversed with a friend but her mind was obviously somewhere else.  When he finally arrived – it was her beloved – she erupted with joy, jumping up and down, embracing him, showering him with kisses, squeezing his face, totally elated.  Isn’t my heart constantly searching for this kind of contact?  Doesn’t this encounter sum up the meaning of my own existence?  Aren’t my various attachments in life just awkward ways of trying to get this vital need met?  Pause. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Indeed, this is the drama that is playing out within our souls this very moment. Let’s therefore quiet down, grow attentive, wait patiently, and be prepared to endure the nervous tension on whatever bench we find ourselves.  Then, when the time is right – AND IT WILL HAPPEN – we shall run out to meet our lover and rejoice (cf. Song 3:4, Jn 20:4).  Ave Crux, Spes Unica. 

December 10, 2022

Here’s an interesting image to meditate upon during this time of year:  pieces of popcorn being slid down a needle and thread in an effort to decorate the Christmas tree.  Each kernel locks into place with a kind of precision and certainty that can remind us of how to proceed when holiday drama arises.  This person pushes our buttons, this person puts the bait out there, this person with the slight of hand, and this person is just plain belligerent.  If we are attentive to our spiritual lives, our inner thread will be a sure path for us to keep aligned and our affairs moving forward with logic and consistency amidst it all.  One day at a time, one step at a time, one thing at a time, our focus will prevail and we shall be left with a coherent experience while the world spins around us.  One has to think that this is how Jesus operated – those long nights in prayerful solitude paired with a clear mind and an uninterrupted sense of purpose (cf. Lk 6:12, Mt 14:23, Mk 6:46).  Let’s therefore spend the coming weeks being faithful to our personal paths to holiness, and in doing so, allow our thoughts, words, intentions, memories and emotions to be strung together in an elegant way worthy of decorating the Tree of Life (Rev 22:2).  Ave Crux, Spes Unica.

December 3, 2022

Did you ever think about the fact that Jesus was neither a Sadducee, nor a Pharisee, nor a scribe?  He had been anointed by the very Spirit (Lk 3:22) – seemingly in private (v.21) – and lived out the deep feeling of being called by name by the living God without the trappings of institutional life (Lk 4:18).  Are we comfortable with our identity at this level?  Do we hold onto the illusion of power because we are insecure?  Do titles and rankings and outfits facilitate or obstruct our purpose in the world?  The next time we go to pronounce a judgment or pontificate, let’s pause, and, like Jesus, listen for that same Spirit.  We shall be led on paths we do not understand (Is 55:8-9), and perhaps mocked for not having official credentials (Jn 1:46), but we shall nevertheless live authentically and invite those who are lost in the world of religious symbolism to encounter the reality which they so ardently seek.  Ave Crux, Spes Unica