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