Wednesday, October 21, 2015

An Updated Creed

A fellow named Bob Senser, recently deceased, a good Catholic, was standing reciting the Nicene Creed at mass one day and suddenly wondered why we profess a faith that deals with heresies of 17 centuries ago.  Why not gospel terms that matter in our own time.  Why not, for instance, include a creed about the God-given dignity of the human person as a transcendent value.  That seemed to him a fundamental principle of faith.  Something to think about.  It is easier for Christians to agree on a creed that has lots of statements about God that we accept, that do not interfere with our business as usual.  The Trinity, the divinity of Jesus do not affect modern economic, political and sociological issues, and business practices that might skirt respect for the worker/employee, much less the consumer.  Something to think about.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Skin Present

If you are with someone who has lost the use of their mind, as with Alzheimer, you might think that they don't even know you are there, much less that you care about them.  Try touching them, as in holding their hand.  Their mind might be gone, but the skin might be very much in touch with your presence.  No words, just touch is the way to show you care.  Now there are times when you, who think you have full use of your mind, know that someone is talking to you, but you do not listen.  You could tune in, but you don't for any number of reasons.  I suspect that if they stopped talking and just held your hand, it might awaken your attention.  Words are not all they are cracked up to be.  The mind drifts, races about and gets over loaded.  The skin is more often in the present moment.  Maybe that is why people often show love by feeding us.  We eat of their presence in taste, and the aroma of food.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Super Bowl

While many of you will be getting caught up in SuperBowl buzz next February, there will be a group of nuns there trying to heighten awareness and prevent sex trafficking.  Apparently, this is a big thing at all the hotel venues in the SuperBowl area.  This year the SuperBowl will be right outside of San Francisco.  I am clueless about all this, but no more, thanks to women religious who once again are on the front lines to help those enslaved to this business.  Lots of young children are involved in this.  So, while you are praying for your team to win, you might add a much more important prayer for all the victims of this very profitable business.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Free Market

I don't think there really is anything like "free" market economies.  There are so many things that control your freedom to do things.  If you make a product, you can only make as much of that product as you can find the materials, commodities, and workers to make the product.  Then you can only sell it at a price that someone is willing to pay.  Supplies, labor, and price limit what you can do and still stay in business with a reasonable profit. You are not free to live in San Francisco.  Too many people tried that and now the cost of housing has priced out most people.  Only the crazed and the self-centered think in terms of unlimited freedom.  When they act "freely" they end up in self-destruction and usually take others down with them.  In my life, I seem to be more free than before I became a priest.  I thought I was giving up a lot, but find that now I live in four wonderful places, get invited to interesting new places, seem to have no income and yet have what I need or even want.  It may be that when we try to get "more" freedom we end up constricted and when we give up things, life seems to expand our horizons.  I think there is some spiritual maxim here.  The one who loses their life will find it?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Advance Answers

Chiara Lubich gave me this one.  It is a jolt.  If you were about to take a test, would you not think it fortuitous to have the answers in advance?  I don't mean cheating.  That would be bad.  I mean, if the answers were readily and knowingly given to you with the permission of the teacher.  Easy test right?  Pass with 100%.  Go on to Harvard or the next grade level anyway.  Well, life is a test.  To get to eternal life we have to pass the exam.  But we have the answers.  They are given to us in the scriptures of whatever spiritual path we follow or say we believe in.  In Christianity it is Matthew, chapter 25.  I am sure it is in the Hebrew Scriptures, Koran, Upanishads, Sutras, Twelve Steps, and so on.  We have the answers.  But we don't follow them or answer correctly.  You would think yourself pretty stupid if you did this on a school test would you not?  Right now, I think I might get a rather low grade.  How about you?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Mercy Hirschboeck

Elizabeth Hirschboeck, known as Sister Mercy Hirschboeck, is one of these anonymous Holy people who should be less anonymous.  She fascinates me.  She was a Maryknoll doctor missionary from Marquette University.  She got a little press for her work in the Korea during the Korean War.  She started out at a clinic in Korea in 1931 when Japan occupied that country.  They she moves on in 1943 to the heat and snakes of a Bolivian Jungle.  Back to Korea in 1951 to Pusan clinic.  In two years, 200,000 patents were treated.  It was a big and busy clinic.  1954 she goes home to Kansas City to administer at a fully integrated hospital called Queen of the World.  An integrated hospital in 1954 is something considering that the Supreme Court finally decided that separate but equal schools were not so equal.  Then she runs the whole order for twelve years.  At seventy you would think she could kick back, but no.  She moves into a crime infested neighborhood in Manhattan with a a group of "contemplative" nuns and witnessed by her presence amidst crime, drugs and poverty.  Doctoring never stops for her.  She died in 1986, just as I was moving to San Francisco to take on some "soft" Paulist ministry.  Someone said her demeanor gave you the sense of her being holy.  Wow.  My demeanor gives you the sense of what?  Never mind.  Work on your own demeanor.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


The Hebrew scriptures have a book or two that remind me of the Hasids in Brooklyn.  The Book of Ezra speaks about the Israelites returning from their Persian exile to the land they had left years ago.  Ezra says the reason they were sent into exile is because they did not keep the law as purely as they should.  Ezra was against intermarriage with non-Jews.  He was for studying and keeping all the various laws.  He was for the separation of Jews of the Law from foreigners, pagans, goyim.  The Hasids of Brooklyn said they were destroyed by Hitler because they did not keep the law correctly.  We see in religions this desire to be apart from others as a way to preserve something.  We may not all agree with it.  Many Jews do not agree with Hasids or Ezra.  But at least we know why people set themselves apart at times.  As the "West" impinges on Islam in the Levant or Middle East, as we call it, maybe there is some of this same desire for pure separation.  Just as some Jews think other Jews are no better than pagans, so some Moslems feel the same way about other Moslems.  Come to think of it, some Catholics feel that way about me.  Gotta' go.