Thursday, April 2, 2020

FORCED


Dear All of Us,

We rail and rebel at the mere suggestion 

of being forced in any way.



Right now, and for a lot of "nows  to come,

We are being forced.

We are being forced like never before.

We are being forced individually and collectively.

We are being forced to go without.

We are being subjected to a

               FORCED FAST.



Strange that it happens in Lent.




Because of the global Pan Problem, 
we are denied, 
we have taken from us, 
all sorts of preferred/accustomed 
conveniences, consumables, 
and a wide span of things we 
"feed on" - essential to peripheral:
       food, freedoms, activities, products, leisures,
       finances, medical care, travel, entertainment, 
       social gatherings, clarity and assurance  of
       a safe, secure future, indeed of survival.

In solidarity with the vast numbers of people
world wide who live like this all the time,
we can't have what we want, even need.
We have to go without.
Our shared asceticism this Lent,
this global forced fast,
is not of our choosing or control.
That makes it all the harder for sure,
but there it is -a  forced fast.
We can rail and rebel all the way
to desperation and chaos.

Or, we can snap to,
"man up" -  "woman up"
and deal with the deal,
get real about it.
Yep, tough talk for tough times.

Richard Rohr talks tough,
the tough truth of what's going on.
Starting on Sunday, March 29, 2020
and for the following two weeks
Richard talks us straight -

        "Reality Initiating Us"

In all honesty, it is too tough for some.
For those who can handle it, 
it is a Godsend.
                   Online, 
   Center for Action and Contemplation, 
     Richard Rohr's Daily Meditations


No matter how we frame it, 
we are suffering and 
likely to suffer more and longer.
It may be how are we going 
to get groceries all the way to 
am I going to die?

I am dealing with both.
The groceries are getting here for now.
I'll be eighty years old 
at the end of the month.
If I get the virus that quite likely 
will mean death.
Put another way, 
I could be dead in a week.
That's tougher than talk.

So where do I go? 
What do I do?
And not just me.
All of us.

At this point it's back to the basics.
Something beyond comprehension 
is going on - has been for as long 
as we can imagine and more.
We can comprehend neither 
the full beauty of it nor the painful terror of it.
We experience both.
           A baby is conceived.
           It's painful to birth.
That underlying phenomenon crisscrosses 
all time, people and places ,
every form of life and being
as creation works itself out.

Right now we are travelling 
a rough stretch of that reality.
We go deep or we go crazy.


Our aliveness, as Paul so often put it. is 
                   "En Chtisto"
So in Jesus the Christ, the Suffering Servant  
we find ourselves.
One in him, we see how he dealt
with the chaos and pain, the forced fasting of his Passion
back when and is doing so right now in and with us.
The time and place are different.
The experience is a timeless right now oneness.

Much was denied him.
Much was taken from him.
He was misunderstood, maligned, opposed,
betrayed, abandond, tortured, stripped naked,
mocked and murdered.
Jesus sure didn't just give up candy for Lent!!
He gave up more and more to fully all - to life itself.
It was a progressive and ultimately total fast.
Jesus not only accepted it.
He dealt with it in a divinely redemptive way.
That was transformative and salvific.
In him our dealing with the terror of
our forced fast can be as well.
In him we live the energy of Love Itself.

So, just how are we dealing with 
our right now, right here forced fast,
personally and as a people?

How are we dealing with being 
deprived and denied our list of 
needs, preferences and way more 
this forced fast, this Lent 2020,
a Lent like none before for us???

Paradoxically our forced fast provides 
a plentitude of food for thought:
why, who, how, what, when, now, future...?

We dare not stop there, though.
The deepest of prayer and meditation alone 
will open us to the embrace, support and strength 
of The Holy Spirit.

In tandem with this, it is essential 
that we reach to others,
seeing and hearing  how they are 
and how they are experiencing all this.
The Spirit will give lead to such care,
one to others.

     Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us
     ("...right now we are travelling a rough stretch of that reality…"),
     looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,
     who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross...                                                   
                                                                                
      Please spend a lot of deep quiet with Hebrews 12 and 13.
      Pray it, ponder it. It is tough talk for tough times.
      It says pain and it says promise.

                                 en Christo
                                   
                                 John Frank

                                  *****





                 

       


















Thursday, March 26, 2020

PRAYER


Dear All of Us,

Yesterday I saw presence, pure presence.
It happened  on the Red Line of the Metro  
right here in Washington, DC.

A young father and his little boy were sitting together.
And what a together.
There was a peace and calm about them,
a relaxed intimacy,
a subtle, gentle joy.
Amid all the riders, ear budded or cell phoned into elsewhere isolation,
was this little boy feet up on the seat,
snuggled into his dad,
the two of them absorbed into each other 
and in together reading a book.
It was pure presence.
It was divine.
It was what prayer is.

                        Prayer is presence

Prayer is presence - now, here, absorbed in God.
Prayer is presence so absorbed in God that it is intimate.
Prayer is presence so intimate that it is love.
Prayer is presence of such love that it is unitive.
Prayer is presence so unitive that the two are distinctly One. 

                        Prayer is presence

       God is present everywhere and in everything.

             Prayer is being present to the Presence

                                 
Prayer Presence is like that little boy and his dad on the Metro -
snuggling up and being absorbed into a unity.
That oneness can happen  wherever and however we are.
God is already there.
All we need to do is show up,
open up to the Presence of God.
In prayer we do just that.

                        Prayer is living in the Presence of God, 

                     anywhere, everywhere, always:
               
               - eating - sleeping - working - playing - suffering
               - achieving - creating correcting - helping
               - healing loving - forgiving - learning - teaching
               - touching - listening - speaking - dressing -
               - reading a book together on the Metro                      
                    anywhere, everywhere, always.

Let's all take a break here adding to the list more and personal
where's and when's of God Presence in our daily lives.
Then slowly sense how we can be present to the Presence -
                             
                      anywhere, everywhere, always

By the way, to be present really isn't hard work.
It really isn't.
In all truth it's exactly the opposite.
Again, the little boy and his dad.
Like them we just need to ease into where we are and God already is.
We don't have to make anything happen.
We just need to let it happen,
and let ourselves be one with it.
  
           
God is Being Itself. 
All that "be's" is in God's Being.
All energy in every form is God Energy.
That God Energy presences in matter and spirit.
So wherever we go, whatever we experience is God Present
in one form, fashion or another.

It's not hard, but it does take time to relax enough
to accept God's presence and offer ours in everything from 

                     - taking a shower to going to work
                     - having supper to getting the car serviced
                     - dealing with conflict to having a party
                     - bailing hay to attending a concert
                     - striving for social justice to taking a vacation
                     - meditating to paying bills
                     - going to church to reading a great novel 
                              - just being quiet to savoring scripture.

We go to our room, close the door and be present to
the Presence that is our Father -
just as the little boy and his dad did on the Metro.

Next time you're in DC be sure to travel the Metro Red Line.
It's really a place of prayer, 
a place of presence.

God Loves You And So Do I,

           John Frank

              *****

Welcome to all new here.
Your presence is a blessing.

     "frankly speaking"
 spirituality for the street

- is posted Thursday evening
  east coast USA time
    johnfrankshares.blogspot.com

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All sorts of things effect how we are





Prayer is conditioned by all of life,

                          our age and maturity
                          our upbringing and experience
                          our time and place in creation




    




.




Thursday, March 19, 2020

LENT V: PAN PROBLEM

                                         16 March 2020
Dear All of us,

It's Monday morning.
Time to start the blog.
The start is always the hardest part.
This week way, way, WAY more so. 
On top of that, by the time 
this is posted Thursday evening,
it may need a complete restart.

Next to nothing is set and settled
in this time and experience of our
         Pan Problem.
So many and much is upset, 
upended like never before.
The only thing predictable 
     about this global 
         Pan Problem
is that there's going to be 
        a lot more of it -
a lot more that will unmoor us 
    and how we try to live 
   settled, safe and secure. 
A lot of us are going to get sick. 
Some of us are going to die.
Many of us are going to see 
our financial fitness fade to flaccid.
     Society is scrambled 
in structure and by paradox
    (trying to be communal
    through social distancing).
The poor will be poorer.
Governments, medical establishments,
financial systems, industries, 
transportation networks,
social support structures
are spun out and having 
a turbulent time trying to curb,
much less control, 
this spiral to who knows where. 


We stay on the surface spiritually 
          to our peril.
It will mean stress to desperation.
We not only need to deep clean, 
          we need to 
          Deep Soul.
Right now our spiritual lives 
     need to be deep,
      as in profound, 
 or they just won't hold up.

      We're having a 
        Soul Shake.
Hopefully it will shake off 
things false, casual, 
inattentive or superficial 
   in our spiritual lives, 
    and shake us free 
    all the way to our 
        Soul Core.
An uncomfortable blessing.

So shaken, moved and refocused,
we will be spot on, secure in the 
         Source and Center 
of all that is and has no bounds.


So centered we are empowered:
    "I can do all things in Christ
       who strengthens me."
                       Philippians 4:13

       So strengthened in Christ, 
     there's a lot to do:
     - surrendering supposed control
       and sureties that aren't
     - supporting the fallen
     - suffering the demise of illusions
     - seeing structures bend and break
     - stepping up to a life of courage
       in the face of unknowns and difficulties
     - seeking shared ways to a renewed
           "spirituality for the street".


Many good and healthy things
          - real gifts -
 are threatened/compromised 
             by this 
         Pan Problem:
           - health
           - farmers' markets
           - education
           - socializing
           - employment
           - libraries
           - hospitals/medical care
           - religious services
           - baseball games
           - transportation
           - commerce
           - a beer at the local pub
and so many manys in the galaxy of our
                God Gifts.

Sometimes we miss the giver for the gift.
        Missing the gift for a while
can be another uncomfortable blessing. 
   It can makes us seek and see 
              The Giver
         anew and gratefully. 
  It can make us go right to the
         Source and Center
of all that is and has no bounds.
    It can make us spot on, 
          Soul Strong
 and do we ever need to be 
      just that just now.   

                          
                                      Thursday Morning
                           19 March 2020

Well, "restarts" for this week's blog
there have been - aplenty -
and here's another.
Restart and rewrite after
restart and rewrite.
It's been struggle
morning, noon and night
to get it right - whatever that is.
That's been the dilemma.
What needs to be said,
and what does not need to be said?
Like so much of what so many of us 
        are experiencing
     - confused, powerless -
     - prayer and waiting -

Then i
n the wee hours this morning 
   a peaceful awareness that
      we are experiencing
   - really going through -
   
     The  Paschal Mystery

     death and resurrection
    in our now and here. 

   This Lent it's not 
routine, ritual, reading.
          It's real.
Real death-  real resurrection.
Right now the death part.
Death to supposed control,
invulnerability, invincibility.
Our bodies and our body politic
are sick and some are dying.
What was isn't, can't be.
What is is suffering.
What will be is new life in a new way.
It's Winter about to Spring.
And it's one hell of a hard winter right now,
no matter what the calendar says.

How do we power through?
Certainly not on our own.
  That's a power outage.
   We accept, embrace, 
         connect with,
      are jump started 
     and juiced by the 
      Power Source 
          at the 
    Center of Things,
   that "IS" the very  
    Center of Things - 
       The Center 
 With No Circumference.
         We are 
    Center Sourced
     and no matter 
     the deadliness 
    of the moment, 
 there's no stopping us.
  Death Be Dammed!!

  In those blessed moments 
this morning in the wee hours,
  clarity and empowerment.
     It was resuscitation, 
        heart to heart.
The Spirit was all over me,
pulsed, powered all through me.
Enlightenment in the dark of night
seeing, hearing, feeling, accepting
the embrace offered in truly 
           Good News        
        Gospel for Sure
I spent a lot of time and soul hearing
     
    THE WORD'S WORD
             John 14 -17

          It's so now.


Whatever season, day, time 
 it is where you are around 
      our shared orb,
          please 
     hush your head,
     open your heart,
let The Spirit get all over you,
pulse, power all through you,
        resuscitate, 
enlighten in the dark of now,
see, hear, feel, accept the
         Embrace
   The Good News
   Gospel for sure

 THE WORD'S WORD
       John 14-17

         PLEASE

   It will take time.
   It will give life.

We have one hell of a 
      Pan Problem
We have one heaven of a 
      Pan Power.

A few Soul Supports follow
for the coming week.

"God is our refuge and strength,
 a very present help in trouble."
                             Psalm 46: 1

    With you all as we 
    hurt, hope, hear,

        John Frank

           *****


                             SOUL SUPPORTS

Suggestions, resources, supports for this week and later as well.

- Richard Rohr's daily online meditation for today, March 19th. on COVID-19.
  Go to Center For Action And Contemplation.
  Richard sure is a Soul Brother. He speaks Spirit.

- For your kids, grandkids, neighbor kids, any kid connects:
  
       What Do You Do With A Problem?
       Kobi Yamada and Mae Besom
       Compendium, Seattle, WA 
       2016
       ISBN: 973-1-943200-00-9
       Says it simple.

       The Good Egg
       Jory John and Pete Oswald
       HarperCollins Children's Books
       New York
       2019
       ISBN 978-0-06-286600-4
       How to be good when things go wrong.

- The Road Less Travelled
  M. Scott Peck
  Simon & Shuster
  1978
  Avoidance avoids resolution.
  The only way ahead is straight through.
  Another saying of death and resurrection.

                                   *****
   

                          THE WORD'S WORD
                              John 14 -17

  Yes, that's a spread.
  So, let's 
             Go Slow In The Spirit.

 For starters: 
           - be in a quiet/comfortable place and way 
        - don't look for anything
        - see surprise
        - clear the lens of consciousness to quiet
           - identify what/how you are/feel just now
        - unload/decompress
        - stretch body/mind/feelings to calm
        - breathe gradually slower/deeper - in/out to calm
        - breath air, breath Spirit to a still fullness
        - ask for presence - yours to The Spirit
        - speak you heart - all of it
        - listen as The Spirit speaks - heart to heart
        - see/hear The WORD's WORD
        - freely stop when stopped to ponder
        - context:
                     Jesus was in the beginnings of his Pan Problem
                     He was getting ready to suffer through bad to good
                     He was about to die through to new life.
                     He spoke to his followers on how to follow.
                     He speaks that to us in our here and now.
                     Hear Him.
                     Hear as he speaks to your now.
                     Hear as he speaks to our shared, social now.
                     Ponder it.
                     What's he saying?
                     How does that touch who/how you are right now?
                     Let The Spirit set the pace.



             Here are a few prompt for prayer, understanding, application.
             Please use/not use them as is best for you.
             Please focus on your own prompts as you sense The Spirt Say.

                                       
                                      John 14

vs1
       - what are our troubles?
       - at heart how troubled am I?
       - separation/loss/a new now - how am I doing with all that?
       -"believe" is more a lived experience than a head proposition/position-
         it is to "be-life" in God/in me - how much do/don't I accept the offer?

vs2 - 14  
       - place of union/intimacy promised going forward
       - Thomas/us - a question of direction 
       - offer: a way to go, foundational truth, real/unlimited life - my response?
       - Father and Son tight - invited into their enterprise - yes/sort of/check                with me latter?
       - how big an "ask" will I make?

vs 15-17 
       - love so close we're on the same page
       - The Spirit of truth: how much do I want/will I live the real and right?
       - do I invite the Advocate to take my case?
       - today's Pan Problem and "the world" not accepting - what do you see?

vs18-24
       - what does "orphaned" say to me?
       - "because I live you, you also will live": am I a "YES" to this and the other          words of intimacy/union here?

vs 25- 
      - will I hear the Advocate in the particulars and practicals of this now?
      - "peace" so unique - Jesus's ordering and harmony of life -
         will I go with his flow?


                                     John 15

vs1-26 
      - connection - a shared life energy
        - "abide in me as I abide in you" - have we moved in together?
      - will I accept this BIG LOVE of Father and Son?
      - am I hearing unto joy?
      - so, how about loving others as Jesus loves us - ready for the intensity?
      - how cool to be "chosen" for the team!!
      - how am I with the hatred of the world coming my way as I go Jesus' way?
      

                                    John 16


vs 1-19
     - will I hear and stay standing, or no,t and stumble?
     - fair warning about the heat for daring to follow Jesus,rather than                       the world/Empire     
     - a promise that the Advocate will make the winning case 
     - a promise that the Advocate will explain as we go

vs 20-24 
      - "this is gonna hurt" but oh what a delivery!!


                                   John 17


vs 1-
     - "eternal life" - am I invest in a timeless share?
     - "what's the word?" the world can't/won't hear?
     - a tight team - a "one" - unity 

**************************************************************


              

   







   

















  
In a sense what is going on right now is
like the shock of being in reality therapy,
    the fright when we lose power 
          and things go dark.
  Globally in scope and geography
   we are going through a shared
      Dark Night of the Senses,
      Dark Night of the Soul.
It is uncomfortable to threatening.
It calls for spiritual strength and solidarity.
It clears for a new brilliance.
  
    John of the Cross could see in the dark.
             He called The Dark Night
               Luminous Darkness.
That's a paradox to ponder for sure and long.

               









In the dark,
            seeking the light,
             we draw close
       in mutual love and support.
        As hard and frightening 
        as things are right now


            Pan Promise of Jesus: