Tag Archives: Christ

Be Still

June 9, 2008
You are sad. Why? — Because you are living in yourself and not in God. Remember that God is present. You are not alone for a single moment. He surrounds you. He sees you. He bears everything with you. He wants to help you. Always live in the assurance that God is present. The awareness of His presence will transform everything for you, and your sadness will disappear.
Mother Basilea Schlink, Daily Meditations

Plug End

Unplugging…it speaks of stopping…even of taking steps back, but the very word itself…unplugging…is a word of modern times, of action, of being electrified, charged up and holding voltage…even as the end of the cord lies on the floor…out of the source of juice…unplugged.Lightning Multiple

I have absorbed the static electricity of our times, not knowing that the very first step of unplugging was just that…the very first step.

Modern life has taken on a visceral quality.  We are propelled forward with our first breath in the morning, a schedule sounded by the alarm, children and school bells, snarls of traffic and a push on the gas at the first open stretch, having mastered the one fluid motion of bumping-wheels-to-the-curb-turning-pulling-key-opening-door-feet-out-and-down-closing-a-click-of-the-key-as-it-drops-into-purse-door-locked-almost-early-again-one-minute-late.

But it’s not just the activity of the day.  It’s the activity of the mind…of the spirit…of the soul.Psalm 4

The more I unplug, the more I find I need to unplug.  I exchange my radio and television for music.  I exchange my music for melody…lines of quiet musical poetry that aren’t improved by bass.

No longer needing to respond to the latest Fox News Alert, confident that next week will be soon enough to know who won the primary, silence beckons with her promise of a door that opens into a different world…and I turn the dial to fade the last diminishing flute tone down and out of sound.

Silence makes me aware of a different noise, the noise of the self, the mind turned inward, feeding on worries, questions, and habits that have pressed out the Source of life.  I am plugged in still, plugged into myself.

I have been struggling to set myself on a more inspired path for the coming years.  I have strained to hear and see God’s vision.  I thought that unplugging would reveal the Word.

Sunset DockIt hasn’t.  And I fear it is because I am still plugged into the barrier that separates me from my Master.  I still grasp for control.

Unplugging my desires, my plans, my goals, my pride, my vision of what I think I need to do…I have been led by the challenge laid out by modern motivational speakers, “Make a difference, think big, ask for the sky and lay it all out, like Jabez, before our Father.”

From a quieter perspective, I think I have been trying to build a bridge to heaven.  Not His bridge, but my bridge.  His bridge was given on the cross.  It’s already here.Crucifix 5

Laying down plans, unplugging from myself, I set myself down…quiet…chided…chastened…and loved.   The only thing left to do is pray that my every desire and every action will be created and activated from the Source above.

I am still.  Waiting.  He is God.



First Published:  FROM THE HOME FRONT

Copyright, 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

The Halo Effect

Halo Effect Person


Even months later, I am still living inside the halo effect of my baptism.

Raising out of the baptismal water that night in Los Angeles, I could literally feel the close presence of Christ securely enfolding me, invisible but palpable.  Vic and I took our time walking back to the van.  I couldn’t talk, except to say, “I’m so happy.”  Halo Effect Heaven

for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”  [Heb 13:5]

The joy I felt was unexpected.  I had struggled for so many months to impress Catholic priests of the deep hunger I had for baptism.  That was all I could think of…the hunger…and the anxiety of not knowing how much longer this hunger would continue.

Baptism PoolEven as I had finally found a path to the baptismal font, my emotions on the drive to California had been a mixture of relief in finally “getting on with it” and anxiety about the possibility of being let down once again.  Maybe it wasn’t really that easy…that I would have to be a California resident…that I would have to have a sponsor…that I would have to prove I had attended their church for two months.  Maybe “after every service” did not include “this service” on Saturday night.  Maybe the pastor had gotten sick and had put a sign near the pool…Closed.  In my meetings with the priests, I was so used to baptism being problematic that I couldn’t believe it would be that easy.

Jason and Fr. Kevin had each tried to carry me with anticipation through eight months up to the Easter Vigil Baptism Pool GalileeMass, mentioning the wonderful ceremony of baptism.  But ever since that night in Los Angeles, I can’t imagine anything more wonderful than my own baptism, confirming my new life with Christ.

Even as I write, at this very moment and every day of the year, people from around the world are being baptized in Galilee at the Yardenit Baptismal Site on the Jordan River.  Their joy in fulfillment of the promise of Christ is proclaimed by the gospel verse Mark 1:9-11, engraved on the nearby Wall of New Life in more than 80 languages and dialects.  Baptism on the Jordan River would also be an amazing experience.  But it doesn’t top my baptism.

Baptism Pool NaturalAt Yardenit on the Jordan…and on every continent of the earth…baptisms have taken place for 2000 years every day of the year…on Easter…and on the other 364 days of the calendar.  I don’t doubt for a minute that the baptism at  Easter Vigil Mass is beautiful and joy-filled.  I truly understand the person who anticipates this joy for eight months because the anticipation satisfies their longing.  Halo Effect Cloud

But the joy of baptism is not constrained nor is it defined by place or  liturgical customs.  The joy of baptism comes as the overflow of love proclaimed between Christ and Christian.  It is the darkness overtaken by Light.  It is the radiance that is left behind in a halo of Love that follows us on earth until we arrive home with Christ.

Halo Effect GoldWhile Deacon Dave was terribly concerned about my being baptized a second time, I still wonder at his apparent lack of concern at my being baptized at all.  The catechism assures me that having the intent to get baptized would save me at death, if I should die before I wake.  That being true, if I died today, the last 65 days of my life lived on earth as a baptized Christian have been heaven on earth.  I would not change a thing!

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  [Rom 8:38-39]


NEXT:  Loose Ends


Copyright, 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

Artificial Light


Arizona MapTomorrow, in Phoenix, Arizona, it is forecast to be nearly the same temperature as today.  What does that mean?

Based on the history of weather in Phoenix, you can pretty much count on a sunny day.

Amount of Sun

How much sunshine does a city get? The % Sun number measures the percentage of time Sunshinebetween sunrise and sunset that sunshine reaches the ground. These amounts are yearly averages based on many years of weather observations.  For Phoenix…85% of our days are sunny…and partly sunny…296 of 365 days in Phoenix are lit by the sun in heaven.

Living in Phoenix, a person comes to expect sun as the normal state of life on planet earth.  We have HOT sun in the summer…and COOL sun in winter…we don’t really know what COLD is like.  COLD is impossible on a sunny day.

The sun…light…natural light from above…we take it for granted…as if it always has been, is Daisynow, and ever will be.  We forget.  Without light, life would cease to exist.

Jesus was announced as more than The Truth and The Way.  Jesus, above all, is The Light, the very source and foundation of life as we know it.  Life exists because Jesus exists.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”  [John 8:12 NRSVCE]

This claim of Christ made more sense to us in the days before Thomas Edison gave us Daisy Fieldincandescence light in all its 20-40-60-100 watt varieties…bulbs, flashlights, LEDs, and florescent tubes.  Awash in artificial man-made light, it seems inconceivable that we would need God to shine on our field of daisies.  Inconceivable…but not impossible.

God’s Light?  It requires faith, the kind of faith birthed in humility…the humility that knows Edison’s light Pilgrim Backpackmay help us see our way up to the front door…but that Edison’s light will never help us find our way through life. Edison’s light will never BE the WAY.

Living in Phoenix, Arizona, with 296 days of sunlight each year, it can take a long time for a person to understand the difference between real light and artificial light.  At least…that’s how it happened for me.

LOOKING FOR SIGNS OF LAND…for years I had been free-sailing, floating where ever the currents and storms of life might take me, grabbing the wheel whenever I wanted.  Now I knew there was a better way…a truer way…to live life…if only I could figure it out.  I was now quite certain that land existed.  But where?

In my faith journey, I finally had the Light.  But I didn’t have clarity.


If you are just joining the journey…




Copyright 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

All the Things that Don’t Exist

Just getting started, it would take years to complete the list of all the things that don’t exist:

RCIA FormMickey Mouse
Forrest Gump
…and on and on…
and God?

I wonder.  We love Mickey Mouse, Bambi, Forrest Gump.  Even when they don’t really exist.

But why, if He doesn’t exist, do we have such a hard time loving God?

Mickey MouseIf we encounter people talking about Mickey Mouse, we’re likely to pull up a chair, sit down and join the Mickey Mouse Fantasia conversation.  Oh, yeah!  I got to shake his hand at Disney Land when I was a kid.  And did you see his first movie Steamboat Willie?  I think, actually, though, my favorite Mick flick was Fantasia.  Fantastic it was!  And we’ll invite other people to pull up their chairs so’s we can hum a few bars of symphony and move our hands like the advancing army of mops and brooms chasing Mickey down the stairs.

But if you want to sit in a restaurant and talk about God, you’d better lower your voice.

Bible Reading Praying HandsMost people want to sit at tables far away from people, their Bibles open, who are engaged in God Talk.  And it’s just actually ridiculous when these fanatics bow their heads and pray at the beginning of their meal.  In a public restaurant, even.  I mean, what’s with them?  They think they’re so good.  Better than everyone.  Can’t they keep that stuff to themselves?

We love people who love Mickey.

On the other hand, we’re suspicious of, if not downright hostile toward, people who love God…and God’s son Jesus.Crucifix 9

If God doesn’t exist, and if he’s not real…if he’s just a figment of the vivid imaginations of  over-wrought people…why does it matter to the rest of us so much that He’s out there…in the world…where we might bump into Him now and then?  If God doesn’t exist.




Copyright 2014.  All Rights Reserved.