Friday, December 22, 2017



Hi There !

       So, if we all piled into a great big room and stripped naked, you know what we'd find,
       after more than a few good laughs that is?  We'd see that we are all the same
       ( no, I didn't fail Anatomy 101 ). But, and do pardon the pun, we really are all the same!
       Sure, there are all sorts of body types and condition and color tones,
       and there are gender and genital variations for sure. But if that is all we see,
       we need to strip more and look deeper. There are all sorts of personality types,
       competencies, and personal histories. But we need to strip even more
       and look ever deeper, discarding every psychological contrivance, cloak and cover.
        Ah! Now there we are, bare and all the same! Our deepest selves crave, ache, pulsate
        for perfect love.  That's the same and deepest truth for us all. We so want to meet,
        merge and meld.  There at our deepest, we desire to pour ourselves
        into the other and be filled by the one who is and is no longer the other. For sure,
        it's physical, but even more surely it is emotional, intellectual, psychological, soulful
        to the point beyond any point.  It's mystical.

        The good news is that there really is perfect love. " God is love " ( 1 John 4:8 ).
        Whatever is ultimate, that fires up being, is love. Of course  all this means that love is God.
        Find some love and you've found God to one degree or other.
        The hard fact, though, is that none of us have completely connected
        with The Fullness of Love that is God.

        So how do we put all this together? Well we don't and can't. It's just the state
        of our evolution to this existential moment. Hopefully, more to come!!
        But, how about now? What's our status report? Well, if we are eight years old
        and have a best friend, we think we're there.
        But that only last a while and the ache is still there, too.
        We could be a young person romantically and sexually tossing and turning
        with our first love. As good as that is, it eventually burns off
        and the ache presents even stronger.  There's marriage for most, affairs for many.
        For some there is meditation and prayer, seeking a perfect spiritual love.
        But always and for all, the ache for more, better, perfect love.
        By the time we are old it occurs to some of us that it all works  differently,
        that love presents, penetrates, draws in all of who we are, opens wide  and takes
        all of us all the way in, and that in a way  we didn't expect.
        ( Pretty sexy, ugh?  Actually I'm just a piker. Check The Song of Songs
        and the mystics for the really good stuff!! )   Here's the deal.
        Paradoxically, the fuller comes through the partial.
        It engages us and draws us into itself through portals of the partial.
        The tone introduces the symphony and draws us into its majesty.
        Color and form catch our eye and bear us into the magnificence of the painting.
        Please let me share a little story about this paradox from my own life.
        I was first semester graduate student far from home. The academics
        were more than worthy. Not so the social. My social " circle "
        was lower than a pregnant ant. Truth to tell, my social " circle "
        was a great big " circular zero."  It was December, dark and dreary, and so was I.
        More out of desperation than desire I headed out to a shopping mall,
        not usually one of my preferred destinations.  At least there would be
        lights and buzz. Well, I didn't find a perfect lover just sitting there in the food court
        waiting for me. It went the other way round. Enlivening love came to me through
        a little portal and drew me into a moment of unitive ecstasy. I was just making busy
        at a clothing  counter. A woman joins in a few feet away.  I look down and there is
        her little son, four- ish, cascades of blond locks, pure complected, radiant eyed.
        He looked up at me and let loose the purest, warmest, most accepting
        and inviting smile in all of creation. Love presented through the portal of
        a little boy's to die for smile. In less than half a second I was drawn
        into utter goodness, merged with pure love. Through the partial came the fuller.
        Pretty wonderful!! It was like noticing a ray of light and being drawn into the sun.

      If we stop demanding full and perfect love right now and always, and are sensitive
      to portals of the partial as they open to us and open us, we will be drawn into oneness
      with fuller and fuller love. It might happen with a little boy's pure smile, a lover's caress,
      taking in a Shakespearean play, working out a mathematical formula,
      trying an innovative science experiment, quiet prayer, giving a dinner party,
      spending at day at the shore, making a spiritual retreat, going for a horse back ride,
      harvesting a crop, being in communion through the Eucharist,
      and wondrous portals without end.

     Richard Rohr puts it a bit differently and better. 

                                                   " Contemplation
                                              is the end of loneliness
                                                   because it erases
                                             the separation between
                                                   seer and seen."

  So let's " see" with our eyes and ears, our touch and taste, our very spirits. The contemplative
  does that, "sees " all the way into what is, to the core that is Love, and starts with all those 
  portals of the partial that invite into fuller and fuller love, the love we so crave. So,  really get 
  into taking that hot shower, savor your chicken cacciatore ( now you know my favorite, but feel 
  to free to insert  your particular favorite right here _______________ ), really cuddle that baby,
  give music a clear channel, take a chance on a new relationship, run real, working for social and
  ecological justice, soak in wisdom reading, stop texting and give full attention to family and
  friends, go to a museum, and if you have the bucks, head for Tuscany. In short, and I I am,
  except here!!, let's truly be open to the portals of the partial.
  They usher us into fuller and fuller love.

  This week we celebrate The Fullness of Love as it aborned  in the Babe of Bethlehem.
  He grew to be the one whom many of us know as Emmanuel , God With Us,
  Love With Us. In Him we see, feel, experience Full Love personalized
  in the most human of ways. Following the story line of the nativity, I expect
  the wise men and the shepherds just saw a little baby for starters.  That was their portal.
  They opened to it and were drawn into a whole lot more.  As we go encounter our portals,
  I hope I will do that, too. I hope you will as well. I recommend it.
  I've never been to Bethlehem, but I did meet a beautiful Christ Child in a mall out in St. Louis!!
  And it was Love at first sight!!

                                                Thanks so much for considering all this.

                                                          Merry Christmas!!

                                                             John Frank