Friday, December 28, 2018


Dear All of Us

"What's a word for...?"

It could be playing Scrabble or Bananagrams.

It could be doing a crossword or Word Search Puzzle.

It could be penning a poem.

It could be composing a letter of recommendation.

It could be The Word For The Year.

          Major dictionary publishers

       just selected their choices for the


                Word of the Year:

        Oxford Dictionary: "Toxic"      "Misinformation"

        Merriam-Webster:   "Justice"

        How bout dem apples, those words???

Whatever the setting, it is important

to get just the right word  because

"A word for...",

well for anything,

pegs its essence,

bespeaks the innerness,

the core of it.

It just that telling.

So, how about this?

You and I are a word for God,

an articulation of God

from our deepest innerness.

   "In him we live and move

       and have our being."

            Acts 17:28

Who we are, how we are,

is our saying of God,

our verbalizing,

our speaking in

person and practice,

   what's real,

             what's good,

                         what's actual.

In our own ways and place we are

   a personalized expression



       "God is with us."

   We bespeak The Reality

        spoken of as God.

       We "word" God

   in practical, daily life by:
              - our life style

              - our lived values

              - our choices

              - our work

              - our creativity

              - our care of

                people and place

              - our example

              - our centeredness

              - our immersion in

                The Love Who Is God

              - our relationships.

          No board or parlor game this!!

                Ever so much better

                we are a living word

              of recommendation for


            a person poem speaking


All this does not require

    or even allow for a

       Word Search.

It is not some sort of good

  we have to struggle at


         try to "do."

All that is required is that

  we simply allow the

      Good That Is


to flow through our living,

for us to be in Being.

All we have to do

is give clear channel.

Now that's where the "doing,"

the struggle, does comes in.

Our False Self with its volumes

of phony articulations has to be

            reworded real.

     We have to give the lie

      to a culture of deceits.

We have to again and again accept

the speech therapy that is Truth.

   The strength and energy for this

              "God Wording"

         is our centeredness in

                THE WORD

  "In the beginning was the Word,

    and the Word was with God,

    and the Word was God.

    All things (there we are!)

    came into being through him,

    and without him not

    one thing came into being.

   What came into being in him was life,

   and the life was the light of all people.

   The light shines in the darkness,

   and the darkness did not overcome it...

   to all who received him,

   who believed in his name,

   he gave power

  (there's our energy source, our strength)

  to become children of of God ...

  And the Word became flesh

  and lived among us,

  and we have seen his glory,

  the glory as of a father's only son,

  full of grace and truth...

  From his fullness

  we have all received,

  grace upon grace."

(again, our strength and energy Source )

     John 1: 1-5, 12, 14, 16

    Our spiritual life out here

on the street of everyday living

     * is one of

        Truth Telling

           *is one of

                 Living the Word

                    *" is one of


We are asked to be

                 The "Word" For It.

A word is our innerness

expressed and shared.

Jesus is The Word of God,

     God's innerness

  expressed and shared.

   We are invited to be

    a word for God,

    God's innerness

 expressed and shared

 right where we are

 out here on the street

 of everyday living,

expressed and shared

in a living personal way -

     just like Jesus.

The Word Wonks'

word for 2018 were






       What do we say?

        Holding us all in

          God's Word,

          John Frank


As we begin this new year

it is a happiness

to welcome those new

to our weekly sharing here.

This week we welcome participation

from Kosovo.

So good to connect.

Thank you for joining in.

Please do read




       ( right column online )

     for a bit of orientation to

        "frankly speaking"

         spirituality for the street.

* It is posted online Fridays

              (easy to bookmark )

* It is available by automatic email delivery

   Saturdays - sign up right column online

* Past postings available at

             Blog Archve

       ( right column online ).

              Thank You!




Friday, December 21, 2018



                                             CHRISTMAS 2018

Dear All Of Us,

Happily Love doesn’t wait for some sort 
of optimal time and circumstance
to come alive.
Love is way too vigorous for that.
Love came alive two thousand years ago 
in the midst of horrid corruption, chaos and conflict 
in occupied Israel.
Love is coming alive right now 
in the midst of horrid corruption, chaos and conflict
in our distressed time and place.
Love doesn’t duck or defer.
It’s way too vigorous for that.
Love aborned in Jesus.
Love abornes in you.

Thank God for Vigorous Lovers.
It’s so darn divine!!!

    John Frank


Friday, December 14, 2018


                                               10 December 2018

Dear All of Us,

I don't know how it is with you,

but when I go to the doctor's

and have to strip naked,

I feel a lot more than chilly.

I feel vulnerable, exposed, scared.

It means more than dropping my pants.

It means dropping a lot of "covers" I use

to present and protect myself.

It's so private.

I only do it so that the doctor

can see me as I really am.

Well, I ask you to allow me

to bare myself to you,

to expose the most private part of me.

Actually, it's not at all a "part" of me.

It is me -  my core, center, heart.

I really do feel vulnerable, exposed, scared.

It's so private.

Often my sharing with you here

in this blog is quite personal,

but  never private.

This is private.

I only bear myself so you can see me

as I really am and I can then

share something wonderful with you

right from my bared core, center, heart.

For all my sin, conflict, confusion, falseness,

screw ups, missteps, at heart

                    I am in love.

                          I am

                     I am in I AM

                     I am in LOVE

               I AM WHO IS LOVE.

Please let this be what it is -


from me to you because

my heart is full

of joy and gratitude

and I sure as heaven want

to share that with you.

Look, you and I are out here

on the street of everyday living.

We want, oh do we want, to get life right.

For all our wrong turns,

dead and deadening ends,

detours, collisions and conflicts

we know there is a way to go,

a way to, well, we have a lot of names for it -

love, fullness, oneness, goodness,

happiness, enlightenment, The Ultimate,

Perfection, Reality, and most commonly, God.

But how??

What's the way to go??

As a boy,

after a chaotic few years,

I was gifted and graced, invited to

the way of contemplation.

My heart learned that

over time, with growth and grace,

contemplation takes us all the way

to mysticism and Oneness.

Thomas Merton (1915 - 1968 )

reintroduced contemplation to Western Christianity.

It had been fairly much lost for five hundred years.

As a fifteen year old my Spiritual Father,

Father Anthony Vivona, introduced me

to the way of contemplation

and to the writings of Thomas Merton

on the way of contemplation.

I took both to heart and fell in Love.

Today is the fiftieth anniversary

of Thomas Merton's death.

 I am flooded with feelings

of gratitude and joy,

thanks and happiness

for the contemplative way

he opened to me

and which continues

to open me wide, lover like,

to Love.

In a simple, quiet way I love all of us

who gather here weekly

at "frankly speaking"

and share our spirituality for the street,

our seeking the way to go.

So, on Thomas Merton's anniversary,

from my heart to yours,

here is a bit of his

                 LOVE WRITE

"Contemplation is the highest expression

of man's intellectual and spiritual life.

It is that life itself, fully awake, fully active,

fully aware that it is alive. It is a spiritual wonder.

It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being.

It is gratitude for life, for awareness and for being.

It is a vivid realization of the fact that life and being in us

proceed from an invisible, transcendent

and infinitely abundant Source. Contemplation is above all,

awareness of the reality of that Source. It knows the Source,

obscurely, inexplicably, but with a certitude that goes

both beyond reason and beyond simple faith."

                     New Seeds of Contemplation, p.1

"The contemplative life has nothing to tell you except

to reassure you and say that if you dare to penetrate

your own silence and dare to advance without fear

into the solitude of your own heart, and risk the sharing

of that solitude with the lonely other who seeks God

through you and with you, then you will truly recover

the light and the capacity to understand what is beyond words

and beyond explanation because it is too close to be explained:

it is the intimate union in the depths of your own heart,

of God's spirit and your own secret inmost self,

so that you and He are in truth One Spirit."

              The Monastic Journey, p.173

What a way.

What words.

Wonders to pray and ponder,

 to slowly savor

 in Thomas Merton's


Thank you for allowing me

to bare my soul and share.

I pray it encourages yours.

Yes and so " muchly,"

thank you for allowing me

to bare and share such a core blessing

with you in this little

               LOVE WRITE

               from me to you.

               heart to heart.

              Holding one and all

             In God's Dear Love,

                   John Frank


PS: Just want to share with you

 that twice I have had

the privilege and joy of celebrating

The Eucharist with friends in

Thomas Merton's hermitage

out in the woods near the

Trappist Abbey of Gethsemani.


Greetings to those joining us for the first time.


Thank you for the gift of your presence.

To get a sense of what we are about here,

please do take time with




         (right column online)

           frankly speaking

*is posted online each Friday at

   (bookmark for weekly access)

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each Saturday - sign up top right online

*past postings are at

                   Blog Archive

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Friday, December 7, 2018


Hi There !

So, a bit back I posted the blog,
        (May 25, 2018 )

Well, I took my own advice,

selected a quote from the collection offered,

wrote it out on an index card

and carried it with me as suggested.

I spent a lot of time and soul with it,

and that way more than the recommended day.

                  It rocked me.
                  It saddened me.
                  It delighted me.
                  It opened me.
                  It confirmed me.
                  It settled me.
                  It challenged me.
                    "a lot"

Please allow me to share that powerful

 "a lot" quote with you,

the one that wouldn't leave me alone.

Doing so, I wonder what

it will do to you way down inside.

Frankly, I hope it will

            " a lot "

                    you !!

            " Please remember,

               it is what you are

               that heals,

               not what you know."

                                      Carl Jung

Do really take time and soul with that.

Stay with it awhile and let it stay with you.

See what it does to you

and what you will do with it.

Now, as for me, here's what it does.

As I look back at a long life

of ministry and in education,

I fall into the old man fantasy

of wishing I could redirect,

recompose wide swaths of both.

I missed the mark

so often and so much.

Yes, I worked hard and long,

brought all sorts of

professional competencies

to that work,

administered effectively,

got great reviews.

          Sadly though, the what I

            powered way too much

                   of what I did.

               I forgot that what we


          makes the critical difference,

        and I just left it in the back seat

           for far too much of the trip.

What I "know" was up front

doing most of the driving,

and not all that effectively.

As I survey my past,

I so wish what I am,

my personal incarnation

of what we all


was more genuine and real,

deeper, warmer, freer

as God gave it,

not limited by my cloudy,

ego harness.

So many looked to me

for "healing" of one sort or many,

and sadly too often

I gave them just diligent efficiency,

professionally presented.

Such an old age fantasy

and realization

chastens and humbles.

That's good.

But it's not good to stay there.

I need to recall that the


     of who I am,

     my experience

    of what we all


 is  rooted in

The Love Who Is God.

For all my immaturity

and my self centered halter,

that Love flowed through the

       "what" of me

            and the

     the what I "know"

to the healing of many,

   and that in varied

   and multiple ways.

  Thanks be to God !!


So, for me it is

definitely a  mixed bag.

Here's another old man fantasy.

If I got to be a despot for a day,

a dear old benign one of course,

I would require that

        "Please remember,

         it is what you are

          that heals,

          not what you know"

be emblazoned over the doorway of every

       - birthing center

       - family home

       - school and university

       - seminary

       - church, synagogue, mosque, temple

       - political and social justice


       - counselor and mentor

       - preacher, teacher and spiritual guide.

I would also decree that any

in the helping professions with tattoos

would be required to have the quote inked

on their arm for ready and regular reference.

Now, just for the record, in no way

do I mean to denigrate or downplay

professionalism or the intellectual life

in the helping professions or right at home.

They are marvelous and helpful competencies

in the hands of a healer.

For all that, they don't heal.

It's "what you are" that heals.

Professional competencies are

as paints to an artist,

as rhythms and tones to a musician.

Sadly and too often today,

tool and technique

trump the genius that is healing.

Lots of paint,

                 no artist,

                            no masterpiece.

Lots of rhythms and tones,

                no musician,

                               no symphony.

It can go the other way as well.

It should also be remembered that

not everyone has all the "paints."

all the "rhythms and tones,"

to heal any or all.

There are people whom

we are not able to help or heal.

We just don't have

the requisite competencies

or chemistry.

When we can be a vehicle of healing, though,

 it is not what we know that heals.

It's what we are that heals

through what we know.

Please allow me to reference clergy

as an example of how

what you are heals, not what you know.

I've been a clergy person for over fifty years.

These days clergy journals, conferences, websites

abound in marketing techniques, demographics,

catchy to engaging worship media,

ever newer programs and pastoral strategies.

Tools like analytics become normative

rather than references for reflection.

Local church to "Denomination Central"

are being structured to the corporate model.

Clergy education is predominately academic.

All of the above certainly deserve

way more than a nod.

They are what clergy "know."

They are a toolbox.

As the standard fare,

the common core of pastoral ministry,

though, they are flaccid.

Much ado about way too much

that just isn't that much,

and certainly doesn't heal.

What heals is way deeper,

requires a lot more of us.

It requires the hard work

of getting out of the way,

of not playing God,

of giving way to God,

accepting intimate absorption in

    The Love Who Is God.

Healing comes through a person

immersed in the flow of divine love.

That divine love is personalized,

humanized, touches,

through one awash in it.

It heals.

Honestly, I'm not a cranky old man.

I am a concerned old man.

We clergy don't

"Need to get religion."

We've got way too much of that already.

We clergy need  to get past devotional religion

and reliance on organization and technique.

We clergy need real and robust union

with God, Spirit to spirit.

We clergy need to get in bed with God.

The situation of clergy replicates

in parenting, education, counseling -

all the helping, healing vocations.

Our society has all sorts of systems,

protocols, procedures, expertise, competencies.

It's like a beautiful body.

It just needs soul.

Sad to say,

a body without soul

is a corpse.

Happily, fortunately, there are

wonderfully in love,

spirited souls  among us.

Real healers.

Please permit a personal example.

I had a terrible time when puberty hit,

and I didn't keep it to myself.

I made things quite terrible for others.

Every week, though,

I had time with my pastor,

Father Joe Sheehan.

He was an athlete, an intellectual,

a man's man, a deeply spiritual man.

He knew a lot.

He was a lot,

a lot more than he knew.

He was centered in

The Love Who Is God.

Being in the flow,

healing flowed from him.

He cared about me.

He believed in me.

He listened to me,

and that with

way more than ears.

He saw soul.

I let him into my troubled soul

and he went there with his.

The realness, the steadiness,

the centeredness, the strength,

the presence of God

that was at his core

cared about me, flowed into me.

A way too hookie metaphor would be

that his caring connected

the way jumper cables do and

the energy, the juice, the charge,

the voltage in him,

the Reality at his center,

jolted me, jump started me to aliveness.

What Father Sheehan was way down deep

powered a healing in me.

He gave me great counsel.

He gave me way more.

He gave what he was.

That powered me so that

I could live out

the counsel he gave.

He was way more than a tactician.

He was in the flow of Divine Love,

of grace and it graced me,

it flowed into me.

It healed me.

Please take time and attention

to recall such souls

that were healers in your life.

Let's join them,

get in the flow,

and let healing

flow through us.

There's more and it's good!

Healing is wider than curing a malady.

It can mean helping others to grow,

develop, mature, imagine, create.

It  can be evangelizing,

leading, teaching, modeling, enthusing, inspiring.

Whether we are clergy, parents,

educators, a friend, neighbor,

we can really help in proportion to what we


                 Our spiritual lives are

                     "what we are."

They "are" the engine that powers us,

and empowers others through us.

Our spiritual lives are our first priority.

That's where we get Real,

and then really can be

 a healer for others.

So, let's develop every competency we can, for sure.

Let's notice those

all around us that wait,

that long for healing

in so many, many ways:

      - children and teens adrift,

        needing a full time parent,

        role models,

        foster parents,

        a Big Brother/Sister

      - the lonely and isolated elderly

         who need inclusion and respect

      - neighbors, co-workers

        who simply need a good friend

      - students needing a full education,

         not just passing tests,

         but opening to  the vastness of learning

       - the sick needing technique infused with soul

       - twenty somethings trying to sort themselves

         and adult life out

       - all sorts stuck on the surface, money and media driven

In other words, we are they,

longing for help and healing.

As we see and respond let's live the truth that:

                  "Please remember

                    it is who you are

                    that heals,

                    not what you know."

Thanks for letting me share this.

Holding you all in

God's Dear Love,

     John Frank


A warm welcome to

our newest participants

from Albania and Estonia.


Sincere thanks to all who

personally tell family, friends,

congregants and other associate about

       "frankly speaking"

     spirituality for the street

as well as share it

via Facebook and  email.

If you are new to our weekly sharing,

please allow for a bit of context and orientation.

Hopefully some time and reflection with

            WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?



                   will be helpful.

           (go to right column online )

 "frankly speaking is posted

online each Friday at

and can be bookmarked

for easy access.

It is available each Saturday

 by automatic email.

The email sign up is at

 the top right of the online version.

Past postings are available from

the Blog Archive at the

bottom right of the online version.




Friday, November 30, 2018


Hi There !

"May she/he rest in peace."

I've offered that final funeral prayer

just south of twelve hundred times

over the past fifty years.

Rather regularly it causes me

to wonder if we have to wait

 'til grave or urn to

 "rest in peace."

Reading history, checking the news,

counseling all types and strips of us,

looking in the mirror,

hearing countless confessions,

people watching,

supermarket to symphony,

causes me to wonder,

indeed to worry, about that.

So many say they want peace.

Some devoutly pray for it.

Some work hard

 "to get along" with everyone.

Some kill for it.

Since I was born in 1940,

how many wars, deaths,

how much devastation

and destruction,

life wounds, resources

and finance used up

have there been

"killing for peace,"

and where is that peace?

So many say they want peace.

Some drink and drug for it.

Some work for 

social justice and accord

hoping for it.

Some "shop 'til they drop "

trying to buy it.

Some see shrinks.

Some binge.

Some are dedicated to 

Yoga, Tai Chi,

 mindfulness sessions.

Some vigorously vacation and party.

Some have affairs.

Some hike and run.

Some worship at the altar of

non-stop sports and entertainment

trying to numb their way to it.

Some go to religious services seeking it.

Some drown their consciousness

with surround sound.

Some explore 

various spiritualities seeking it.

Some look to philosophy, 

psychology, the arts for it.

Some do porn.

Some go on retreats searching for it.

So many seek peace so many ways.

When we don't find peace 

we get grumpy, moody, 

depressed, agitated, angry.

Some politicians and media moguls 

parley that, driving wedges

in our hearts and between us.

Hate groups, hate media, terrorists,

young males with guns, 

devastate and destroy.

Nations spend

 "the kids lunch money,"

and way so much more, 

incessantly arming

"for peace."

Lovers leave.

Families fray.

Trivia, factual manipulation,

gossip pollute 

airways and awareness.

Corporations leave 

The Common Good in the dust.

     "Peace, peace,
         but there is
          no peace."

     ( Jeremiah 6:14 )

Sadly so.

Yet, happily there is peace.

Lots of it.

We all have some combination of

grandparents, Soul Friends, 

coworkers, acquaintances, congregants,

who are genuinely peace people,

ones who settle us 

and their surroundings

with their for real peacefulness.

I fondly and gratefully remember

the steadiness, calm, centeredness

of old Father John

back in my seminary days.

Just being in his presence

was settling and "whole-ly."

With him things were 

of a piece, 

a peace.

A few years ago 

a deranged young man

terrorized a little Amish school

in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

He shot and killed 

five, sweet little girls,

and inflicted permanent trauma

upon the other children 

and the families.

In response, the Amish elders

immediately went to care 

for the wife and children

of that deranged, young man.

That's peace,

    "A peace that passes
        all understanding."
   ( at least for most so far )

         ( Philippians 4:7 )

I recently met a zippy, 

zesty young couple

in their twenties who are doing

wilderness therapy with troubled

and addicted teens,

helping them free up

and experience 

a balanced peacefulness.

When we get right down to it,

better, when we're up for it,

just what is peace?

Does it come to us in positive

or negative ways,

is it a doing or a not doing?

It seems the saints, 

the ones who are "whole,"

find that peace is 

the result of things being as

they really are at their core - 

genuine, alive, loving, 

creative, restorative, real.

It took Augustine half his life

to find that peace,

to let himself accept peace.

He finally experienced that

and expressed it:

" Peace is the tranquility of order."

Now, that's worth a lot of 

good long looks

and frequent revisits.

There is a calm, a freeing, a harmony

when things are in right arrangement,

are ordered and settled 

in their basic realness.

Paul VI said that'

  "If you want peace
   work for justice."

In other words, get things

  (Latin for "right")

  among you and within you.

Francis of Assisi prayed 

for peace in words,

but much more in his living:




Lord, make me an instrument

of your peace.

Where there is hatred,

let me sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon,

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is despair, hope.

 Where there is darkness, light.

 Where there is sadness, joy.

  O divine master grant that

  I may not so much seek

  to be consoled as to console,

  to be understood as to understand,

  to be loved as to love.

  For it is in giving that we receive.

  It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

  and it is in dying that we are born

  to eternal life.

Now, that's an action plan,

a peace plan.

It's down right, 

actually up right, 


    "Blessed are

     the peacemakers,

     for they shall be called

     children of God."

       ( Matthew 5:9 )


     personal life,

            social life,

                 international life

        lived like that.

Peace is love let loose!!

How do we out here

on the street of everyday living

find our way to peace?

Probably the best way of all

is to "catch it," is to share

in the life, the spirit,

of the most peaceful person 

you can find.

For me that is Jesus The Christ.

He has it together, embodies

"the tranquility of order."

He is the incarnation 

of Cosmic Love - God.

He is Love let loose 

in the most personal way.

Happily Jesus is more than willing

to welcome us into a union with him

so complete that 

his spirit becomes our spirit,

that his peace becomes our peace.

We are invited into his realness,

his flow, dynamic in peace, 

powered by his love;

    "My peace I leave you;

     my peace I give you.

     I do not give

     as the world gives.

     Do not let your hearts
     be troubled and
     do not be afraid."

      ( John 14: 27 )

What a source and sharing.

We let Jesus draw us into himself

by meditation, prayer, sacrament,

worship, modeling him, joining his love

of all people and all creation,

and being active in their care.

That opens us up to his flow.

Peace is the result of being:

  - rooted right and real 

    in love and life,

  - and that vibrantly active 

    in thought,word, deed, 

    action and attitude,

    through and through

  - personally and communally

   letting love loose 

   in all affections and actions.

We don't have to wait

 'til grave or urn

to "rest in peace."

Right now, 

we can experience and share

a vigorous living of love, of justice,

and the resultant "tranquility of order"

in our heads, hearts, souls and society

as love is let loose.

"Peace be with you!"

       John Frank


If you are willing to invest

a healthy portion of time,

"Pacem in Terris"

by John XXIII

is a masterful, brilliant treatise

on peace so suited to our time,

need and potential.

It can be sourced through Google.

See" Combat High, America's addiction to war"

Harper's magazine, June 2018,

Forum, beginning at page 25.


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and soul going over

    What's Going On Here?


   Consider Your Source

  ( right column online posting )

      for an orientation to

        "frankly speaking."

                  It is

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