Saturday, December 20, 2014
For the second time this year I cannot get out of San Francisco because of weather. We are having an all day of rain and some wind. Growing up in New York City, I have seen this before and life went on with wearing boots and having umbrella or rain slicker. We were tough. Out here is Wimp City. Everyone forgot how rain is because it never rains in California, or hardly ever. Big drought time here. Anyway, schools close, power goes out in my neighborhood which includes shopping and skyscrapers. Stop lights don't work. Some places it is flooding which is cause for worry. But around here, no flooding. Our rectory has been without power all day. So I sat and meditated. I found a power to love me and warm me in my otherwise cold room. Then I went out for a walk in the rain. I am tough…and holy. Or do I have wet brain?
Friday, December 19, 2014
Someone pointed out that there is a difference between stray and lost sheep. A stray sheep, knows the way, but stubbornly chooses to go a different way. This would be me in self-will run riot. I want to do what I want to do and I ignore what is the right path. Bad sheep. Bad Terry. Sometimes, I am the lost sheep. The lost sheep thinks they know the way, when in fact they do not and make a wrong choice out of ignorance. Not bad. We hear of Jesus going after the lost sheep. What about the stray? Well, it seems that in another gospel, it is a "stray" Jesus wants too. I like that. No matter if I am stupid, frightened, anxious, or self-willed, God still seems to want to love on me. Who am I to judge? Oh, someone else said that too.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Recently, I identified a feeling that I had, fear. So I sat down to make a list of my fears. For the life of me, there was nothing specific. I had general fear. What to do? When this happens, I remind myself that I am loved, and not crazy. Other people have fear. I might tell someone about my general fear. But I also try to do something specific to be helpful, to make the world around me a bit better place. There are job related things, such as preaching, teaching, doing sacraments, but those may not be available at the moment. I can always do something in the house or the office, or ask someone how they are doing. On Sundays at our rectory in San Francisco, by the afternoon, our dining room is pretty trashed. The cook has not been there since Friday, and though there are nine priests here, "no one is in charge." I might then clean up the kitchen, put dishes in dishwasher, or empty clean dishes from the dishwasher and set the tables for Monday morning breakfast. Does anyone notice? NO. But it makes me feel better when I am useful. Cooking a meal can do this too. In the office, I can put out some chocolate, go see someone in their office, write a snail mail letter to someone. Doing nothing when feeling fearful only makes things more acute in a negative way. Sometimes, I think fear might be the doorway to growth. I prefer a wider, easier door to open, but you know about the narrow way advice of the sages. Good grief! There has to be an easier, softer way.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Crispina was a Christian martyr, beheaded by the Romans for refusing to worship their gods. At her trial she said, "A religion that inflicts torture on those who do not adhere to it is not a religion." The Romans had all the political and military power. Christianity had none. Jump ahead about a thousand years, and some dissenters burned at the stake by the Catholic Church could make the same quote. When an Institution has power and its dissenters have none, religion brooks no dissent. So when we condemn various groups of Islam for their tyranny today, we might also remember, those of us who profess a connection to Christianity, that we have been there and done that. It is correct to say that something is wrong, but not to be so judgmental as to say, "Well, we would never do that."
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Do you sometimes have a nice night's sleep, but when you wake up you are in a bad mood, or out of sorts, a bit irritable, feeling burdened? Any of the above? Someone gave me an insightful way of looking at this. When I wake up on these occasions, something else of me awoke before this. In other words, you did not cause the mood. You slept OK. Hoping that it will go away is not my best option. While waiting, I might do silly, mean, unkind things around other people and situations. I find it is better to do something sooner rather than later about this mood. I find meditation to help, and if I have a trusted friend around, I might tell that person. I find meditation helps me because though my body got a good rest, my soul might still be restless. Think of meditation prayer as a way for the interior part of oneself to get some rest. The deeper the mediation, the deeper the rest. Meditation also helps me to stop thinking about me, the one who has all the problems, most of which are fear base imagined.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Did you know that Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the same day, April 23, 1616? Dates are significant, and whenever you think that you are insignificant, recall that the day you were born something significant was going on in the world and your birth is part of that energy. Maybe a certain person died that day, that you came into the world. Rachmaninov the great composer and pianist died the day I was born. Each of us is part of significant happenings that begin with our being born. So when someone tries to make you feel like nothing, remember that you were born something and history cannot change that. We are never an isolated nothing. We are always a connected something. You are precious, important, and meant to be in this world. Keep the faith…in yourself.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
California has been in a drought. Then the rains came last week and this week. It poured. A lot of this water will simply run back into the ocean, especially in LA. Much of it will go into the mountains East of San Francisco and our mountain reservoirs which will be Spring run off for drinking water. We are getting too much rain all at once. It is not efficient, but it is still good, better than no rain. I think of the rain the way I think of prayer and my spiritual life. I can be dry and parched with no prayer, no attention to the interior life. They I can spend all my time for a few days, like a retreat, focused on the interior. I will feel wonderful, but it is only a brief relief. I need daily prayer, like a farmer's rain, that soaks the soil of my sou, little by little. This is why I try do do something each day. To ignore my inner life to to go too quickly dry. I have found it to be so.