Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Haircut

I don't get a haircut very often.  It had been two months, and my hair had gotten rather long.  I had a professional barber haircut.  I thought that I looked rather spiffy.  I walked around for two days at church and in the office, and no one said anything.  From this I surmise two things:  I am vain.  I am invisible, the anonymous person.  I cannot do much about being invisible.  If I am not noticed, I need acceptance.  Spiritual masters often say we should be "nothing" or we are "nothing."  Buddha says we are dung heaps.  I can work on the vanity part.  So, being unnoticed is a grace for it reveals a fault upon which I can work.  Do you try to find the positive in being invisible?  We are never nobody.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Story Audience

I sometimes tell stories that I write for homilies at the children's mass.  Fiction and fairy tales are risky business from the pulpit when trying to reach out to children.  After the mass, as they all filed by to go back to school, the children said nothing one way of the other about the story I told them.  I had written it myself.  I had felt quite creative.  I thought it had a good message.  Maybe not.  Children are easily bored.  Could I be a boring priest?  The "R" word came into my mind.  Retire?  Well, maybe from preaching my stories to children.  God only knows.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Just In Time

I was on the way to the office and one of the staff, pesky Michelle, said that First Confession children were gathered in church to learn about how to do this sacrament.  She invited me and said it would be good if a priest would be there, as in ME.  "I have office work," was my tepid reply.  She smiled and walked away, probably taking me off her prayer list.  So I went and did my "office work." Finally, I left the office, with the thought of priestless children in church.  I decided to stop in and see if they were all gone.  They were all still there, these tiny little souls, with their two catechists from school.
"They don't need me, " I thought.  Michelle was there.  "They need you, Father," she said.  I need pest control for this caring Michelle!  So I went up and greeted the children.  They had a ton of questions for Father.  All in all, it was a graced time and I was useful.  I was of service for an agenda not of my own choosing.  This is often the most rewarding service.  I guess that Michelle is a source of grace and not so pesky.  Or maybe sometimes grace appears disguised as a bother.  Anyway, a few less days in purgatory for me, I hope.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Passing Time

I was watching our local college basketball team in a game last night and noticed that when they had the ball, they simply passed it around to one another, far away from the basket.  The object is to get the ball to the basket for a short shot or toss/shoot it to the basket from long range.  No one did much of anything but pass the ball around.  No one took charge.  It reminded me of times when I think that "someone should do something," but I fail to identify that someone as ME.  It is always someone else.  It is so much easier to pass the ball, or pass the time, or pass the responsibility, then it is to get involved and get something done.  "I am too weak, too old, too poor, too nobody or too busy to act," so I say.  Do you ever get too busy at not much?  I am guilty of this more than I care to admit.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Big Family Blessings

Well now, the Pope says that big families are a blessing.  Well enough.  But then he goes on to say that poverty is not caused by numbers of people but by stuff like greed, distribution of wealth or lack thereof.  I still say there are too many people.  To make matters even more difficult, there are too few young to support the too many old, like me, in first world countries.  So we have a distribution of people problem as much as a distribution of resources problem.   Even if we were to distribute all the available food justly, would there be enough to feed everyone?  And in ten years from now would thee be enough?  The earth is a limited size.  Families seem to be bound by no limits.

Saturday, January 24, 2015


The pope says that one can be a good Catholic without being like rabbits, as in lots of children.  I did not even have to wait to read this info on a website.  It was in the coffee house this morning.  See, people listen to the pope when he speaks their language and issues.  Now I am waiting for the Vatican spin doctors to say that the Pope did not really mean this or that, or even what he said.  If you spent your whole church career with one or two central issues, i.e. SEX, and the pope changes the agenda or the focus, you too would become a spin doctor.  Better to stick with the Gospel than get into culture wars over sex.

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Bit Bonkers

I just completed two days in which I presided at 5 masses, in 4 churches, in 3 towns, in 2 languages.  It is the day after and I am still recovering.  This is one way to know my limits.  I can see the limits getting more limited, but only find it out by pushing the boundaries, or trying things out.  When I was just about ready to begin the 5th and final mass of the weekend, I was running on empty.  Then it occurred to me that for the people attending this mass, it is their only one for the weekend.  So I sucked it up, did not wine and was of service.  Joe Dimaggio, a great baseball player, did his best every day because he thought it might be the only time someone got to see him play, and they deserved nothing but his best.  Joe made the  Baseball Hall of Fame.  Is there one for priests?