Friday, June 30, 2017


Hi There!

So, there's slow food, slow dancing, slow sex.

Slow savors.

Slow senses.

Slow "souls."

Slow gentles to wonder.

Sure did last night.

I had just finished a funeral service. It was tough and I was tired.

All I wanted to do was get out of my vestments and get home.

Moving through the foyer of the funeral home, though, I simply had to slow down and stop.

There was this young girl taking care of a frisky little boy.

She was about seven, he clearly two!

I sat down on the couch across from her.

We smiled and talked a bit.

It was simply sublime.

She was beautiful of body and spirit - pure, calm, deep, oh so deep and serenely so.

Age, words, location didn't get on the way. It was soul to soul.

So glad I slowed down to open up to God simply seven years old.

Yes, slow sanctifies.

Here's to a slow, soulful summer for us all.

Thanks for your good company.

Looking forward to seeing you next week.

In God's Dear Love,

      John Frank

Some meditation markers to help us slow down  and  catch up with Reality.

-   " The slaves of today are not driven with whips, but with schedules."

                                                                                                 John Steinbeck

-   " Don't try to reach a destination. Try to experience the trip."

                                                                                                  Being Caballaco

-   " There's more to life than increasing its speed. "

                                                                                                  Mohandas Gandi

-   " Now is where love breaths."


-  " I learned that every mortal will taste death. But only some will taste life. "


-  " When you are everywhere you are nowhere. When you are somewhere you are everywhere."



Tuesday, June 20, 2017


 Hi There !

So, as kids we were told,

"Don't talk to strangers."

Many of us still don't !

We're scared to death of them:

the homeless, immigrants, gays, the poor, those of "other,"

other political persuasions, religions, no religion at all,

those of different colorations of skin, life style, ideology - strangers all.

In our fear of these strangers, we get ourselves  locked away in some sort of

psychological, ideological, social "gated community."

We hope it will keep them out and us in and safe.

It is well buttressed emotionally, socially, even forcefully.

For us,  stranger means anyone different than I am,

and difference scares the bejeebers out of us.

Of course, that says more about us than it does about strangers, doesn't it?

Enter Jesus, if we'll let him meet us at the gates of our enclosedment.

Jesus has a beautifully different and freeing take on all this.

He transforms the "don't" of talk to strangers

to the "do" of welcoming strangers.

He invites us big kids to come on out and play with him,

and "him" is the stranger.

He puts it like this:

"I was a stranger and you welcomed me." ( Matthew 25:35 )

How's that?

Well, it means this.

As we are just now isn't the epicenter of all reality.

Not only is life larger than logic, especially our variant of it,

life is larger than we and our turf are so far,

even if we see that as strange.

Jesus invites us to mix it up with strangers,

and in the process be blended into him and his fullness.

Welcome widens to oneness.

Jesus is offering liberation and expansion.

He is showing us what is hidden in plain sight.

It's this:

Deep down at the heart of it all,

                                                       ALL IS ONE


                                                    ALL IS UNIQUE

                                                        IN THAT


World religion, ancient philosophies, mythologies,  and contemporary science  say

the same thing in their own various articulations.

It's the paradox of unity in diversity.

                                                   BEING IS ONE

                                     IN A LOT OF DIFFERENT WAYS,

people, mountains, puppy dogs, gases, galaxies beyond count, pizza pies,

symphonies, minerals, robots, to name but nine of the countless.

So, it's not just strange people we welcome.

It's foods and dances and concepts and customs and art and religions and geological formations -

any and everything we find different or strange at first.

Welcome widens to oneness.

When we walk through a beautiful garden, it is us and we are it.

When we see a child blown to bits in Syria, she is us and we are her.

In Reality no one, indeed, no thing is estranged because all is One in different ways.

Francis let Jesus unlock him from his gated confinement in uptown Assisi.

The folks there called themselves "maiores," major leaguers.

Francis sprung free and moved in with the folks at the low end of town,

with the "minores,". minor leaguers.

Francis welcomed all.

No one, no thing was a stranger anymore, nor was he estranged anymore.

Welcome widens to oneness.

Francis met God, Reality, himself, in one and all -

lepers, birds, wild animals, the poor and marginalized, in community,

even in the Muslim Sultan he visited.

Right now a lot of lights have gone off in the darkness

of our current cultural contraction and confinement.

We find ourselves frightened.

In this fearful darkness we fall into frightening deeds of darkness that exclude "strangers," -

people, ideas, customs - anyone or thing  we see as dangerously different

in our fearful contraction and confinement.

Right now there is this cacophony in Washington about immigrants and terrorism.

Yes, a terrorist may blend in and get in.

That would be horrible.

In actuality, though, it isn't strangers from other cultures who are terrorizing America.

Americans are terrorizing Americans.

11,564 Americans were shot to death in 2016 ( The Brady Campaign ).

Attacks by Muslim terrorist accounted for one third of one percent of all murders in America in 2016

(David Schazar, director of Triangle Center, Duke University, quoted in Vox, 01-27-17 ).

Why don't too many not want to know this and address this?

Why not welcome Jesus coming from elsewhere?

In our spiritual lives out here on the street of everyday living, we can't let ourselves be estranged

by deceptive cacophony from Washington, or anywhere else.

We can do a lot better. For example, we can take a light from

the wonderful new cardinal archbishop of Newark. Joseph Tobin.

He's a for real peoples' priest.

Recently he hosted a pilgrimage of  LBGTQ folks and their families

at Newark's Sacred Heart Cathedral.

He then had them all stay for dinner.

That was a refreshing first in Roman Catholic circles.

Jesus sure got a great welcome in Newark!

Welcome widens to oneness.

In our "Newark," let's get a few folks together for dinner ( being sure to have a worthy wine ),

and surface some of the  not too welcome "strangers" in our midst.

Then let's come up with do-able, practical ways to welcome  "Jesus Them,"

and be sure to honestly deal any fears this may cause us or those we want to welcome.

Here are some prompts that might  help;

                                       - struggling single parents

                                       - senior adults, alone and fragile

                                       - children needing after school care and support

                                       - drop outs seared or soured by religion

                                       - marginalized and minority folks

                                       - singles or divorced and alone

                                       - people with a life style markedly different than the majority

                                          ( "maiores ) of us

                                        - people thinking, voting, living a value system

                                          not respected in our "Newark"

                                         - people with diasabilites

                                        - what stresses might be involved for those welcomed

                                          and us s we try to welcome?

Welcome widens to oneness.

Our world wouldn't be so scary if there weren't unwelcomed  "strangers" in it,

and boy oh boy, it sure would be neat to have Jesus in the neighborhood!!

Thanks for your company.

You're always welcome here.

Looking forward to seeing you next week.

In the meantime and always,

Holding You In God's Dear Love.

              John Frank

PS: This week's posting is a bit on the early side.

       Most often postings go up toward the end of the week,

       usually on Saturday.

       Hope you get a chance to check out the previous posting, " Candy Store."

       Just scroll down from here.




Saturday, June 17, 2017


Hi There !

So, come on !

Let's be kids let loose in a candy store,

and there's no parent within ten miles!

                 HELP YOURSELF                 ENJOY               ALL KINDS FOR ALL KINDS

                                          Stay close
                                                    to anything
                                                               that makes you
                                                                                 glad and alive.

        On the Sabbath

       try and make no noise

       that goes beyond you house.

       Cries of passion between lovers

       are exempt.
                                     Thomas Aquinas


                                                  My Lord told me a joke.

                                                                       And seeing Him laugh

                                                                                              has done more for me

                                                                                                          than any scripture

                                                                                                                       I will ever read.
                                                                                                                                        Meister Echhart


                                                 A good gage of spiritual health

                                                            is to write down

                                               the three things you want the most.

                                                      If they in any way differ,

                                                          you are in trouble.                           

                                    Your greatest gift lies beyond the door named fear.

                                                                                                                       Sufi Saying

                    The day of my spiritual awakening  was the day I saw - and knew I saw -

                                          all things in God and God in all things.

                                                                                                            Mechtild of Magdeburg

                           The ship is moving by a mighty engine and you are busy rowing.

                                                                                                                      Author  Unknown


                                     Do you have a body?

                                                            Don't sit on the porch !

                                                                                       Go for a walk in the rain !

                                                                                                                           Kabir ( 6: 32 )


                          God hugs you. You are encircled by the arms of the mystery of God.

                                                                                                                    Hildegarde of Bingen


                                          We are an energy field in an infinite energy field.

                                                                                                                        e.e. cummings


                                                       To be is a blessing. To live is holy.

                                                                                                                     Abraham Heschel


                                                                        It is in God
                                                                           we live
                                                                         and move
                                                                   and have our being.

                                                                                                        Paul in Acts 17: 38


                 Pleasure is of the body. Joy is of the spirit. Wildly wonderful when they are one.

                                                                                                                                 John Frank


                                                   Only from the heart can you touch the sky.



                                 The fish in the water that is thirsty needs professional counseling.

                                                                                                                 Paraphrase of Kabir


                 Does God only pucker at certain moments of life? No way! He is the wildest of lovers.



  When he touches me I clutch the sky's sheets,  the way other lovers do the earth's weave of clay.

  Any real ecstasy is a sign you are moving in the right direction,  don't let any prude tell you

  otherwise.                                                                                                 Theresa of Avila


Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and all your strength

and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.



"How sweet it is" to be let loose in a candy store like this.

 Lots to take home and savor.

 Looking forward to being together next week.

 In God's Dear Love,

       John Frank

























Friday, June 9, 2017


Hi There !

So, you know what?

You have an attitude !!!

You really do !!!

So do I.

So does everyone.

Even airplanes do.

The "attitude" of a plane is its approach to the ground.

Pretty critical !

I once witnessed an Alitalia flight from Rome approach the runway at J.F.K.

with way too steep a pitch.

Because of that bad "attitude," the plane literally split in two upon landing.

Attitude is critical.

For us Earthlings,

attitude is how we approach

everything and everyone,

how we come at it all,

and let it all come at us.

Over the past sixty years or so

- that's two generations -

( alright already -yes I'm well into my third one )

we've experienced  a marked attitudinal  shift.

It is all too clear, perhaps dark is a better term,

in  our attitude/approach  to

governance, leadership, economy, religion, entertainment,

community, communication, truth, indeed, reality itself.

Compare John F. Kennedy and Donald J. Trump.

Compare altruism to "me-ism."

Compare civility to a congressional candidate

body slamming a reporter.

Compare the middle class and the one percenters.

Facebook, text, Twitter and their cousins

have pretty much replaced the watercooler and the front porch,

and thus our attitude toward  personal and social communications.

Then there's Reality TV that isn't.

Just compare telling "... the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth"

with "alternative facts," fake news, and

unsubstantiated, truth twisting and inflammatory tweets

from the dark of night.

With these kinds of attitudinal changes free ranging up and down

the street of our everyday living,

what about the spiritual?

Spiritual means the energy and mystery

in which we exist.

Spirituality is our attitude and experience

as we approach that energy and mystery

Religious institutions are tanking,

and in  many/most cases appropriately so.

Their attitude toward the spiritual

has been to develop elaborate containers with little or no fire in them.

So, "What's a mother ( father, brother, sister ) to do?"

What's a good lead on a real, viable spiritual attitude today,

and likely for  a lot of days to come?

Let's try this on for size.

                                       Let your attitude be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

                                       Who, being in very nature God,

                                       did not consider equality with God

                                       something to be grasped at,

                                       but made himself nothing,

                                       taking the very nature of a servant,

                                       being made in human form.

                                                                                 Philippians 2: 5-7

What an attitude!!!

Put in current terms, it is like

the Number One one percenter

delighted to give

all of who he is and what he has

to the ninety nine percenters,

makings us all hundred percenters!!

Now, that's an attitude to write home about,

even better, to take home -- a keeper!!

What a spirit.

What a way to approach everything and everyone:

                 SHARE TO UNION.

When I was a teen, a very deep and holy nun

taught me this.

She expressed it in terms of

                  NONLESSE OBLIGE,

                  NOBILITY OBLIGES.

From our privilege we privilege others.

Right now the attitude out here

on the street of everyday living

makes it pretty much

Mean Street.

Yet, we get to have a  wonderfully different attitude

toward everything and everyone.

With a servant, sharing attitude,

we can navigate an expansive, unitive, counter cultural way

all along Mean Street's rough, dangerous twists and turns.

Rich, we get to enrich

with our love, time, money,

attention, modelling, caring, sharing, work, giftedness.


What a delightful attitude,

what a privileged approach

to everything and everyone:

- to people close up and far away, the same and wonderfully different

- to a life style of simplicity and hospitality

- to the environment and sustainability

- to social justice

- to civility and ethics

- to the common good

- to raising children

- to developing community

- to getting the fallen on their feet

- to both the arts and the sciences

- to socially responsible business

- to meditation, contemplation and sacred rites

- to servant leadership

- to "government of the people, for the people, by the people"

- to an economics of plenty for all

Now, the scaredy-cat in us 

objects that giving away all we have and are

will leave us broke and vulnerable.

Actually, it will free us from the partial

and enfold us in The Total.

Look what it did for Jesus.

Look what it did for

Francis of Assisi,

Vincent De Paul,

John Wesley,

Albert  Schweitzer,

Mother Theresa.

So, our street spirituality,

even out here on Mean Street,

means we are

gifted to give.


What an attitude !!

Thanks for your company.

See you next week.

Holding you in

God's Dear Love,

    John Frank



Saturday, June 3, 2017



Hi There!

So,I was hot to trot, I mean hot as in  "torrid."
Fresh out of the chute, four years of graduate theology under my mortarboard,
just ordained by the Archbishop in medieval magnificence,
and now my first days in the parish as a priest.
I was going to save souls big time,
and why not the world while I was at it!
That last part turned out to be the whammy in the works.
It started with a call from Sister Bernard, a staunch, starched,
 and ever so dear Irish nun at Mercy Hospital.
 "Faaaaather, do hurry over. A man is dying. His name is Harry."
Adrenaline rush!
Time to shine!
I was going to let loose all sorts of divine power,
power that only  an ordained priest like me could dispense.
I was going to score big time for God, or was it for me?
Not even a nod to that question as I readied to dazzle.
" Of course, Sister. I'll be right over,"
spoken like a self assured veteran,
when in fact I was so green I couldn't remember the Latin and rituals of the Last Rites,
 and had never ministered to a dying person before.
Think that would bring me up short, no way, but here is what did.
Sister Bernard again,
" Faaaather, do hurry. He won't last long,  
and Oh Faaaaather, did I tell you he hates priests?"
"No Sister, you didn't mention that. I'll be right over."
From being high and mighty in a hot air balloon of arrogance,
I was shoved out at a thousand feet.
I didn't just crash,
I splattered.
No idea of what to do, much less how to do it.
Oh, yeah, fresh out of the chute alright, and tripped up at the gate!
I'll be sent to the clerical glue factory for sure!
So, I went over to church, got my stole, the oils, and ritual as well as Holy Communion.
I also got something else;
I got real.
I just knelt at the altar and said,
"OK, God, I don't have a clue as to how to deal with this man,
and I admit I'm an arrogant S.O.B.,
so I'll just go over to the hospital and be whatever I'm supposed to be for him,
even if that's just a young jerk in a new clerical suit. 
Oh God, use me as you will, and may Harry die well."
I walked into Harry's dimly lit room, with no idea of how to start.
So, I just blurted out,
"You know what, I just bought a VW Beetle."
Harry shot back, "Why the Hell did you buy a foreign car?"
Turns out, Harry had worked for GM all his life!!
After a few more verbal stabs that didn't come within a time zone of being effective,
Harry said,
"Kid, you're new, aren't you?
It sure shows!
Look, Boy, I'm in terrible pain and dying by the minute, so just get the Hell out of here!"
Glue factory, here I come!!
Then Harry relaxed just a bit,
even smiled a little and said,
"Please,  PLEASE, Father, give me the Last Rites.
I've had a wretched life, and I just want to get right with God."
Oh boy!
But there was more, as Harry continued,
"Thank God you aren't one of those super smooth, pain-in-the-ass priests.
I would've thrown you out right away if you were.
You're really a pretty silly boy, kind of a mess,
but I can relate."
Then Harry confessed and was freed.
He was anointed and strengthened.
For the first time since his teen years,
Harry savored a for-real Holy Communion with Goodness.
Harry died two hours later.
The first Funeral Mass I ever celebrated was for Harry.
It was a "first" for both of us!
And guess what story I told in the sermon?
It was entitled "Sunray."
I don't know how it is for you,
but all too often I am a sunray posturing as the sun! 
And you know what, I just can't do it!
What I can do,
and finally did do for Harry,
was share what I have fully and freely, and not even start to play God.
My klutziness and ineptitude actually made it possible for Harry to loosen up
and get lost in Goodness,
even if a dumb-butt, twenty-nine year old priest turned out to be
his usher into Heaven.
So, when we
raise kids,
fly airplanes,
manage stores,
cook supper,
work on the line,
or online,
coach Little League,
and all the rest that we do out here on the street of life,
we are invited to be
radiations of Reality,
not Reality itself. 
Sunrays, yes, but not the sun.
We don't need to play God.
That Goodness will shine through us
and in myriad other ways into a fullness of which we can be a part.
So, after this "Priest's Confession"
(sounds like something from the National Inquirer, doesn't it?),
let's all brighten up and be what we really are - sunrays,
a part of the answer but certainly not the whole story.
Let's drop power trips,
being control freaks,
hovering as helicopter parents,
If we all bask in the Radiance of Reality,
it will shine through us,
often in ways that we don't engineer or sometimes understand.
We will be
freed from a lot of stress,
free to use all we have creatively and generously,
free to shine brightly,
free to enjoy being a wonderful
All of this is so much better put by Jesus:
"Are you tired? 
Worn out? 
Burned out on religion?
Come to me.
Get away with me and you'll recover your life.
I'll show you how to take a real rest.
Walk with me and work with me -
watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
Keep company with me
and you'll learn how to live
freely and fully."
         (Matthew 11:28 - The Message)
We probably should read this at least once a week!
Hey, really good to be with you.
Thanks for the blessing of your company!
Holding you in
God's Dear Love,
John Frank