Thursday, December 10, 2015

A CHRISTMAS LETTER TO ALL OF YOU

(PHOTO CREDIT - YOUR DADDY)
 My Dearest Ladies,

It’s Advent 2015 and the world is in such confusion, I want to take all of you up to some far away mountain and keep you safe, but I cannot. So I must do my best to let you all know what love is and what love can do to change a world in such confusion. I must let you know that even though love cannot protect us, love can sustain us.

It seems so naïve to suggest that “love” can do the things that so desperately need to be done in our world at this moment.

But I’m not talking about a love that is naïve. I am talking about a love that cost everything. I am talking about a love that must die to self and open to and trust this great mystery we call God, the God whom Jesus pointed to as his Abba, Papa.

Our sacred text says that this God is love.
Our sacred text says that this love:
Feeds the hungry
Clothes the naked
Love’s its enemy
Visits the sick
Visits the imprisoned
Rains on the just and unjust

Our sacred text says that “a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship this Love in Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers this love seeks. This love is spirit, and this Love’s worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.

This LOVE is not Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist. 

This Love is LOVE.

A poem I have shared with all of you at some time by Rumi seems to me to be the perfect prayer for this Advent season of 2015:


“Beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, 

there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass, 
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
doesn’t make sense anymore.”



― Rumi


Where is that field?

I believe that field is in the deepest part of us. 

Thomas Merton spoke of it this way:

“At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. It is so to speak his name written in us…like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of live vanish completely”

Merton says this place is not accessible to us, but that would seem to suggest that we have no hope of changing this confused world but to wait on God.

But maybe what he is saying is revealed in the next sentence. This place is not accessible by our ego, our false-self, that self that wants to win, be the better than, have more...inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will.

Could it be that God is waiting on us?

But how can I, You change the WORLD?

We begin just where we are. We begin with our own hearts and pray that change ripples out beyond us –

“Beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, 

there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass, 
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
doesn’t make sense anymore.”


It’s an act of kenosis. Self-emptying…a self-emptying of our ideas of what is right, what is wrong…
It’s to become aware of our oneness with that which we call LOVE. That place of “pure truth”…that place where “…ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’ doesn’t make sense anymore.”

It's that place where we realize we are all one.

It is called that place of non-duality.

It’s really not a place we go to but a place we realize.

And we realize it by taking the time to be silent, to be in solitude, to breathe and to wait for the grace to be given by the Mystery we call Love.

Yes,
God is waiting on us.
Waiting on us to wait...to wait for the realization that we are one with Love,  just as Jesus was.

And Christ again is born into this world…

Merry Christmas Ladies!
Love,
Papa 



(PHOTO CREDIT - YOUR DADDY)

Addendum:
There will always be wars and some which are necessary for the sake of the innocent but war is not the answer and war will not resolve the confusion.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

SPEAKING OF HALLOWEEN AND SCARY THINGS...







ELEANOR,
Jesus said to his disciples, "Come follow me."

Jesus also said,
" If anyone would be my disciple he (she) must take up his (her) cross daily..."

So Eleanor,

Will you be a follower of Jesus?

or

Will you just expect Jesus to fix everything?

Happy Halloween!

LOVE,
PAPA

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Wishing I Could Protect You From The Storms In Your Life but...






If to enjoy even an enjoyable present we must have the assurance of a happy future, we are “crying for the moon.” We have no such assurance. The best predictions are still matters of probability rather than certainty, and to the best of our knowledge every one of us is going to suffer and die. If, then, we cannot live happily without an assured future, we are certainly not adapted to living in a finite world where, despite the best plans, accidents will happen, and where death comes at the end.

ALAN WATTS


ELEANOR,

Sometimes the truth can frighten us but it can also set us free.
There will be storms in your life.
There will be suffering in your life.
Your life will eventually come to an end.


But the only life you have is this very moment.
Stay here in this moment and LIVE!

I love you always,
Papa

Monday, August 10, 2015

MY NEXT GREAT SPIRITUAL ADVENTURE

Dear Lovely Ladies,
This month I am writing the same thing to all of you. Right now Papa is pondering his retirement from his present vocation. There is much to consider in this kind of decision. Mostly, the decision surrounds the AMOUNT OF MONEY ONE WILL HAVE TO LIVE ON.

How much is enough? What does it mean to live?

Regarding the "how much?" question:

Not as much as one would think if we have our spirits aligned with the truth regarding the second question.

Many see this major decision as a financial decision, especially those of us who have been saturated in Capitalism.

What do I mean by that?

In her chapter titled The Emptiness of Accumalation, Joan Chittister writes:

In a capitalist society consumption is a national virtue. It is its backbone, its engine, the mainframe at the very center of the society. We measure our society’s well-being by keeping precise records of the amount of consumption we do. We use percentages to signal how much better or worse we were at buying things this year than we were last. We celebrate our gross national product when we never even consider calculating our gross national distribution of goods, and we define buying as a sign of national health. It’s buying, after all, that sustains the economy. And sustaining the economy is what a capitalist system is all about. “The chief business of the American people,” President Calvin Coolidge said, “is business.” 
At the height of the worst national tragedy in U.S. history, the 9/ 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, President Bush ended his first television message to the American public by telling them that the most important thing they could do in the face of such a devastating attack was to “keep our economy going … to go shopping more.” The whole world must have drawn breath on that one. 

In the face of the first foreign attack on U.S. soil since the War of 1812, in the middle of the smoking rubble that carried the ashes of over three thousand civilians, there was something about the message that rang hollow, that broke the heart, that lacked soul. No talk of 
discovering reasons for such an attack. No talk of reaching out to allies in the Middle East. No talk of bringing the height of U.S. justice to this devastating situation. No talk about being our spiritual best at such a time as this. No, the god who would save us from this disaster, Bush was clear, was the god of the free market.

Chittister, Joan (2015-02-24). Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life 

I wish I could say my spirit is perfectly alligned with the "truth" but I am one of those people who likes to shop, confusing what I "need" with what I "want". I have been, like you, saturated in the virture of consumption.

Chittister continues:

And yet, why wouldn’t we be a society of consumers? What other basic value do we learn in a world where developing excess want is more important than meeting basic needs? In societies such as these the people who manage to accumulate the most things are considered the most successful. So we sell and we buy and we buy and we sell, all of us trying to catch up and keep up and get more tomorrow than we had yesterday. We live in a whirlwind of exchange where we market to three-year-olds on the television sets in their playrooms and begrudge retirement monies to those who spent their whole lives making the very things we want everybody else to buy. The problem, of course, is that the never-ending marathon of marketing that is required to maintain such a system is now sucking the rest of the world into it, as well. Poor societies, which cannot afford the goods we buy, make the goods wealthy societies consume at lesser pay and great cost to the quality of their own lives. At the same time, the quality of our own lives, drowned in adult toys and public playthings, are just as surely being smothered by them, too. Judging from the front page of every newspaper we print, every television program we watch, every deteriorating school and bombed-out neighborhood and pitted road and overloaded electrical grid and homeless family in the nation— in a nation awash in the flotsam and jetsam of things— there’s something missing that is far more important than the gadgets we have chosen in its stead. We are bartering our souls for the sake of what will be tomorrow’s refuse.

Chittister, Joan (2015-02-24). Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life 

So what is the answer? How does one make this decision in a responsible way, knowing we still have to "live", pay our bills and eat? Is there a different kind of "retirement planning" That can make this decision easier?

Chittister ends her discussion this way:

...The price we pay for the accumulation of things is a high one. For the rest of our lives we are condemned to fear the loss of them and to live forever with the taste of continual insecurity in our mouths, unending neediness in our hearts and the inability of soul to enjoy what we have and be grateful for what we love. 

The things of the soul— the joy of life, the love of beauty, the gift of friendship, the integration into nature, the pursuit of truth and the depth of the spirit— grow in open land, bare of the baubles of life, free of frenzy and devoid of the chaos of accumulation. Then we are rich. Then we are strong. Then no one can take anything away from us because we have already relinquished it. Or, as the philosopher Epictetus wrote: “Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”

Chittister, Joan (2015-02-24). Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life 

Chittister helps me to see what a great "spiritual adventure", not a "financial adventure" I have before me now.

What a great risk it is to feed the spirit and not the ego!

It is the Gospel!

It is dying and rising!

MAY ALL OF YOU GATHER THE THINGS OF THE SOUL IN YOUR LIVES. MAYBE THEN YOU WON'T HAVE TO RETIRE FROM ANYTHING.

LOVE,
PAPA



Sunday, July 26, 2015

AMAZING GRACE




"...5 years ago I decided that I was going to take a 48 hour silent retreat every 6 months. Before you start thinking I’m some sort of spiritual giant let me add… That was 60 months ago and so far I have gone on…hold on …let me do the math…oh yeah, ONE. But for the one I did go on I went to a Catholic retreat house outside town and I was matched up for spiritual direction with a tiny little nun named Sister Eileen. I remember thinking it an absurd idea to take spiritual direction from someone I just met. Because, you know, I’m complicated…. way too complex for someone to “get me” in an hour long meeting. Ends up I was right. It didn’t take an hour for her to get me. It took like, 5 minutes. See, I was hoping she’d give me work to do. Spiritual practices…. Stations of the cross, say the our father, lectio divina…some work that would make me a better leader – a more spiritual pastor for my people instead, but instead she looked me in the eyes and said. Nadia. I don’t think you should DO anything while you are here. Just walk these grounds knowing that God loves you totally apart from any work you do. As you might expect I thought that sounded awful. Because as soon as I tried, I just started crying. How can the work I do be important if God loves me quite apart from the fact that I do it?..." 

Eleanor,
The above quote is taken from a sermon given by 

Nadia Bolz Weber. She is a Lutheran Pastor in 

Colorado, a former alcoholic and drug addict, and 

child of God. 

What a great truth!

"God loves you totally apart from any work you do"

Eleanor,

May this truth send you out to do the work you are called to do with great freedom.


Love,
Papa

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

TO SUCH BELONGS THE KINGDOM OF GOD


FROM RICHARD RHOR'S DAILY MEDIATATIONS:

HELEN LUKE SAYS, "THE COMING OF CONSCIOUSNESS IS NOT A DISCOVERY OF SOME NEW THING; IT IS A LONG AND PAINFUL RETURN TO THAT WHICH HAS ALWAYS BEEN."

ELEANOR,
WHEN YOU ARE ABLE TO READ THIS FOR YOURSELF, MAY YOU STILL HAVE THESE EYES TO SEE WITH. IF NOT, MAY YOU SEEK THAT WHICH HAS ALWAYS BEEN. TO SUCH BELONGS THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

LOVE,
PAPA





Sunday, May 10, 2015

PARADOX

Eleanor,
Happy Spring!
May, 2015

I am reading a book by Carl McColman, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism and in one chapter he talks about PARDOX.

Here’s an example of Paradox;
“Think without thinking”
Francisco De Osuna

The author of the book says this:
“Paradox is not always warmly received by those who want their faith to be watertight and easy to control. If you invested your heart and soul in the idea that God makes everything neat and tidy and your job is simply to obey the rules, then you will have no room for paradoxical statements in your spirituality. After all, if the goal is an unassailable faith, then seemingly contradictory truths must be eliminated.

But for those who regard faith as a relationship rather than a belief system, paradox is not nearly so threatening. When faith is large enough to encompass unknowing rather than mere certitude, paradox can be a source of joy and wonder rather than fear or doubt. A spiritual paradox may provide evidence that God is bigger than our limited human capacity for reason and logic…”

In closing Eleanor,

“You cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.”
Exodus 33:20
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
Matthew 5:8

Enjoy your paradoxes Eleanor!

Love,
Papa

Monday, April 27, 2015

April is National Poetry month, so I thought I would make an attempt to offer you lovely ladies some words from my heart.



LOVE!,
Thanks for helping me understand what that word really means.




Papa

Sunday, March 29, 2015

REALLY SEEING







Eleanor,

"Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first time or last time.
Then you time of earth will be filled with joy."

Betty Smith in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
( from spiritualityandpractice.com)


LOVE,
PAPA


Monday, February 23, 2015

SSHH...LISTEN



“The Voice

There is a voice inside of you

That whispers all day long,

"I feel this is right for me,

I know that this is wrong."

No teacher, preacher, parent, friend

Or wise man can decide

What's right for you--just listen to

The voice that speaks inside.” 






H
A
P
P
Y

B
I
R
T
H
D
A
Y

ELEANOR!

You will hear that a lot today. All these voices all around you, reminding you of your special day.

There's another voice deep inside of you Eleanor, reminding you who you are in God. I pray you learn to discern that voice on the inside, so all those voices on the outside won't have so much influence over you when it comes to being who you are in God.

LOVE,

PAPA


Sunday, January 25, 2015


Happy New Year Eleanor!

Today I want to share with you a quote from one of my mentors, David Steindl-Rast.

 “Gratefulness is the inner gesture of giving meaning to our life by receiving life as a gift.”
I like his use of the image of an “inner gesture”.
For me that speaks to a way of “being”.
For me that speaks to a certain spiritual posture and insight.

So it begs the question:
How does one become aware that life is a gift, so that one might become grateful?


Think about it!
Love,
Papa