Friday, January 26, 2018


Hi There !

In Latin it's "cor."

In English it's "core."

After dinner it's a "cordial."

In conflict there is "discord."

When nations and equations agree, it's "accord."

In one way or many, it all has to do with the center of things -

essence - the heart of the matter.

In Latin "cor" means just that - "heart."

"The heart of the matter" makes all the difference

 in the orbit of our world, personal or public.

For all our variants of ethnicity, spirituality, sexuality,

economics, politics, and personality,

if at the "heart"of things, at the "core," we are one,

we can make our way together out here on the street of every day living.

"If your heart is as my heart, take my hand." ( John Wesley )

If not, we have the discouragement of Kim Il un

and Donald J. Trump poised to annihilate,

couples ready to nuke marriage and family,

zealots terrorizing difference,

middle school "mean girls " ( and bully boys)

devastating victims of their insecurity

and self- centeredness, wealth forcing poverty.

On a more singular level, there is the teen

with zits and mood swings,

the elderly dealing with multiplying infirmities

and diminishment of abilities.

Public or private, but all  just takes the heart out of people.

A real, healthy spiritual life gives us a heart for the hearts of others.

It propels us into "en - 'cor' - aging" all sorts of people in all sorts of major and minor ways,

some obvious, some more subtle, always sensitive to person and situation.

"Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."

( 1 Thessalonians 5:11 ):

    - leaving a 25% tip for the waitress/waiter

    - quietly smiling as we hold the door for another

    - asking the cashier at the supermarket, "So how's it going today?"

    - sending a "Care Package" of treats to a college student

      or military person from the neighborhood

    - letting a family that can't afford a vacation use your summer place for a week

    - back at the supermarket, letting the person behind you with just a few items

      go before you and you very full cart

    - actively listening to an elderly person tell you about the good old days

    - take a pass on starting a power keg  political conversation

    - find something affirming to say to the new person at work

    - surprise your spouse/partner with dinner out tonight

    - share the driving with your spouse even though self rated

      and convinced you are a much superior driver!!!!

    - become a Big Brother/Sister to a child who so needs

      the encouragement of adult attention and affection

    - welcome an inner city child into your home for a week

      in the summer ( Fresh Air Fund )

    - give a listening ear and a warm heart to someone

       who just needs to unload a U-Haul of feelings

    - text a faraway friend just to say you are thinking of them.

Recently at our local library a  down at the heals young man needed a certain book.

He was not allowed to check it out because of $24.00 dollars in past due fines.

He needed that book.

An older man overheard all this,  discretely took the young man aside

and asked if it would be alright for him to cover the fines?

The young man lit up like a Christmas tree.

By the way, turns out the young man's name was Josh.

Joshua in Hebrew means Jesus.

 At our local "Y" pool there is a man

who always goes over to the teenage life guards

and  thanks them before leaving.

Because of a birth injury my left arm

is shorter than my right arm.

One muscle is non-functioning.

As a kid I was ridiculed and excluded

because I was not good at baseball and basketball,

sports that need two good arms.

It was painfully discouraging.

Father Joe Sheehan, our parish priest,

was a man's man with heart.

He got a hold of me and said,

" Mac, you have really strong legs.

Let's get you into soccer and cross country.

And your right arm is impressive.

Let's get  started with tennis."

Kids took the heart out of me.

Father Sheehan put heart right back into me,

and that in multiples.

Not to crow, but I turned out to be way better

at soccer, cross country and tennis

than the kids who mocked and excluded me.

Besides sports, Father Joe Sheehan taught me encouragement.

           " Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

             the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,

             who comforts us in all our troubles,

             so that we can comfort those in any trouble

            with the comfort we have received from God "

            ( through the encouragement

            of people like Father Joe Sheehan) - 11 Corinthians 1:3-4

At the heart of things, it's always about just that - heart-

and putting heart into others.

It's right at the cor of our spiritual lives.

A personal note:

The fact that you choose to be part

of our weekly gathering here at

"frankly speaking" is definitely an encouragement to me.

From my heart to yours,

Thank You!

See you next week.

In God's Dear Love,

    John Frank

Friday, January 19, 2018


        "frankly speaking"

continues to be available online


 It is also now available

     by weekly email.

         To sign up

for the email delivery

please go to the top right

 of the online option.

Past postings are only available

     with the online mode.


 Which ever delivery option

           you choose,

         online delivery


        email delivery,

      it's wonderful to be

    connected into sharing.


Hi There !

So, he other day it snowed.

Gazing out at

the gentle ballet of white

playing across the field,

I was drawn into gentle rapture.

A distilled delight.

A poem spoke itself.


Snowing soft and slow.


snow different,

light white complected.

Illumined space and spirit.

Snow still, silent gentleness.

Snow slowed to sacred.

Snowful peace.

"Be still and know I am Snow Good."

It was a light high for sure.

A bit later,

neighborhood children

took to the fluffy white field 



pure white delight.

So much for stillness

and solitary rapture.

The canvas of

uninterrupted white

now action and noise

etched, reconfigured.

I started to resent

the youthful re-composition of

my inner and outer space.

I tried to clutch

a transcendent moment,

a blissful high,

and reject

a much more earthy

and noisy

new now.

Caught myself

and embraced the incarnate new now

as it unfolded,

let it be the gift  it was,

was drawn into

its much different beauty,

even though I was

slow to sense that.

The canvass of that white field

had a whole new glory to it,

designed by playful children

tracing their exuberance.

Rather divine actually!!

Godness has ever unfolding

new nows.

Rather than be present to

The Presence

in those unfolding new nows,

my selfish, isolating self

so too often

tries to orchestrate,

and arrange Reality

to my desires and preferences.

I play God,

and I'm just not up to it!!.

It's a pervasive foil

for us all.

Remember the transfiguration of Jesus

up on the mountain top?

Peter really got into it,

got high on it,

and wanted to stay put.

.Jesus took him in tow,

down from a preferred 

mountain top transcendence

right into the messy mix

of needy people.

( Matthew 17:1 - 21 ).

Godness has a wider spectrum

than our desires and preferences.

What Lin Yutang, in his book,

The Importance of Living,

notes  of travel applies  here.

He says that we must posses

the capacity to open out

to seeing what's in front of us

and around us

all the time,

not just when

we are on a special trip.


-Peter on the mountain top

-John Frank snow high)

Quoting the philosopher,

Chin Shengt'an,

he says that

seeing the beauty and grace

in the most majestic mountains

means nothing if I we can't see

beauty and grace in

" a little patch of water,

a village, a bridge,

a tree, a hedge, or a dog..."

I hasten to add that goes

for boisterous children

in free form on

a field of white as well.

And it is well,

if I open to Reality

as it unfolds

rather than  try

to squeeze it into

my selfish, constricting

desires and preferences.

Godness has a wider spectrum

than our desires and preferences.

Some happy little kids retaught me that,

righted me to Reality

with their Snowful Souls at play.

Our circle of sharing here

is now blessed to have participation

from Italy. Welcome!

The very best to one and all.

See you next week.

Holding you in

God's Dear Love,

    John Frank


Friday, January 12, 2018


Hi There !

As a six year old I had a recurrent "bad dream."

In the dead of night I could sense

the Boogieman slowly coming up

the basement steps to get me.

I filled with fear.

He continued up to the second floor.

My heart was beating wildly.

I was in danger and powerless.

The Boogieman stood at the foot of my bed.

With hypnotic power

he drew me down to the basement

and then tickled me for

a horrendously long time.

I hated it.

Then I would awake  terrified,

with my heart still  beating wildly.

My Mom listened and cared

as I shared my dreadful fear.

She said that the Boogieman wasn't real,

so he couldn't really hurt me.

That did it.

I decided what to do.

The next time this "bad dream" started,

in my dream I jumped out of bed,

scared almost to death,

and raced down the stairs

 right to the basement

and the Boogieman

.Arms on my hips,

I stared right at that Boogieman and said,

 "You can't hurt me

 because you aren't real !!!"

The Boogieman vanished.

I never had that "bad dream " again.

Ever since I was six years old

I have faced fear and refuse

to be immobilized by it.

 I share this

very personal experience

of dealing with fear because

today there is an epidemic of

fear and anxiety among us.

It strangles the spiritual life.

It causes a reactive withdrawal,

it immobilizes so much of our spirit.

There is a lot to fear today for sure.

That we cannot control.

It's there.

What we can do, though,

is address how we deal

with our fear and anxiety.

In so many ways

our social fabric is shredding.

The edges come undone.

Boundaries contain,

but they also protect.

Their undoing causes fear and anxiety.

Family life is destabilized.

Divorce and remarriage

multiply not so much blended

as forced together tries at family

that in all honesty

often really don't qualify.

With or without marriage involved,

One third of American children,

15 million of them,

are being raised without a father.

Nearly 5 million are being raised without a mother.

( LifeSite - based on the census )

Lots of couples live together

but don't end up staying together.

What bonding holds?

A lot of religion is discredited and discarded.

Too many politicians and government leaders

are a bad mix of playground bullies

and drunken college boys having a mud fight.

It's scary.

What can you count on?

Where are reliable boundaries

to hold things together?

It's frightening.

It's fearful.

There's more, and it's worse.

The biggest and "baddist" Boogieman

is the fear that the world will end,

and maybe soon.

No, I don't march around

midtown Manhattan

wearing sandwich boards front and back

proclaiming that the world will end

on March 45th. at 15:22 PM.

Two illustrations of this fear

that the world may end

pretty much show what is this

 just below the surface,

this down in the basement

of our consciousness,


MSN recently posted a political cartoon

showing an elevator

with words about

nuclear destruction over the doors.

Two little boys trying

to outrun each other were shouting,

"I want to push the button!!"

The little boys were

Kim Jong-un and Donald J. Trump.

The cartoon wasn't even close to funny,

but way to close for comfort.

Talk about boundaries and edges coming undone,

to say nothing of all and everything

coming undone.



Fearful for sure!


Stephen Hawkins is one of

the most respected scientist in the world.

He is a theoretical physicist

and cosmologist at Cambridge University.

He says what holds things together

is not going to hold things together much longer.

Hawkins maintains that our planet has

"reached the point of no return."

( )

and that

"If we do not find another planet to live on,

climate change, over population, pandemics

and our warring ways will end us."

( BBC "Expedition New Earth ) .

That's enough to make you wet the bed at night.

Threats abound,

the worst in the history

of our planet and our people.

Avoided, they destabilize and immobilize

our spirits and our society.

How do we go down into the basement

 and  confront the Boogieman?

First off, we need to see that these horrors

are on the surface of our immediate experience.

We and all creation are founded,

based in our very being in the

 Energy of the Cosmos and More Beyond Limit.

It has many names:

Existence, Reality, Being, God.

It's not going away nor are we.

We may make ourselves and others suffer,

even destroy society and Mother Earth

in their present forms,

but Existence, Reality, Being, God


and that includes us.

The ancient Israelites got that

and relied on that in all their troubles:

" not fear

for I am with you,

do not be afraid,

for I am your God;

I will strengthen you,

I will help you,

I will uphold you

with my victorious hand."

                ( Isaiah 41:19 )

Jesus scoped out the scene:

" I am sending you out

like sheep in the midst of wolves.

Be wise as a serpent

and guileless as a dove."

( Matthew 10:10 )

That was so

a lot of yesterdays ago.

It's so today.

In other words,

be street smart, soul simple,

and just keep going.

More than any other words

Jesus used in the Gospels are

have to do with "Fear not."

A few examples.

"Fear not little flock

for it is your Father's good pleasure

to give you the kingdom."

              ( Luke 12: 32 )

"Do not fear,

only believe."

              ( Mark 5:36 )

"So do not be afraid.

You are of more value

than many sparrows."

              ( Matthew 10:31 0

"Peace I leave you;

my peace I give you...

Do not let your hearts be troubled,

and do not let them be afraid."

                ( John 14:27 )  

We have next to no control over

the evil powers of this world

           - the wolves.

We are empowered in Jesus

to be free from fear,

            - guileless.

We can face down 

The Boogieman of Fear knowing

it isn't the real deal,

it isn't the last we say,

"You can't hurt me, because you aren't real."

So freed, we can live

in the midst of mess

deeply, fully, responsibly, spiritually

         FEAR FREE.

The Christian scriptures end

with the admission of  human trouble

and the assurance of  divine integration:

   "Then I saw a new heaven

     and a new earth:

     for the first heaven

     and the first earth had passed away,

     and the sea was no more.

     And I saw the holy city,

      the new Jerusalem,

      coming down out of heaven from God,

      prepared as a bride

      adorned for her husband.

      And I head a loud voice

      from the throne saying,

      'See, the home of God

      is among mortals.

      He will dwell with them

      as their God;

      they will be his peoples,

      and God himself

      will be with them;

       he will wipe away

       every tear from their eyes.

      Death will be no more;

      mourning and crying and pain

      will be no more,

     for the first things have passed away.'

     And the one seated on the throne said,

     ' See, I am making all thing new.' "

                        ( Revelation 21: 1- 5 )

 Bye, bye Boogieman!!!



See you next week.

In God's Dear Love,

    John Frank


Friday, January 5, 2018


              "frankly speaking"

         continues to be available



    is now also available by email.

   To sign up for the email option,

 please go to the top right of this page.

     Thanks for joining in weekly,

      whichever option you chose.


Hi There !

So, I'm more than a bit slow on the uptake.

After a year plus of "frankly speaking,"

it just occurred to me today that

I never got around to wishing you a

a happy birthday.

Please forgive the gaffe.

So, whatever the date,


Birthdays are more than milestones.

They mark a beginning without end.

That actually  happens

in the tiniest of ways at conception,

but in our cultural context

birthdays mark

our start,

our coming forth,

our coming to life,

the beginning of

a personal/spiritual evolution

opening to forever.

That's more than worthy of noting

with cake, card and gift.

I don't know how

to get a cake over to you,

but please accept this

as card and gift.





Keep birthing forth,

Keep birthing forth

in all your potential,

with all your uniqueness.

Keep birthing forth

with all your energy

and giftedness.

Keep birthing  forth

in ever fuller and freer aliveness.

Keep birthing forth

becoming LOVE ,

becoming LIFE,

becoming DIVINE!.

Keep birthing forth,

busy with God

creating and helping and healing.

Keep birthing  forth

from any confinement

that slows or stalls you;

a painful past,




Let God continue

to birth you forth,

free and fresh.

Here are a few little gifts

to celebrate your birthing.

Please unwrap them

with your heart,

see them with your soul,

notice what they mean

in the most practical,

most actual,

most right now


day to day

birthing of who

and how you are.

What do they say

to your spirit

about the doing

of your days?


"There is nothing

we can do but love..."

    Dorothy Day


"To say that I am made

in the image of God

is to say that

Love is the reason

for my existence...

Love is my true identity...

Love is my true character.

Love is my name."

  Thomas Merton



A Lover is wide open.

A Lover is swept along in

loves free flow.

A Lover is wide open,

as love swirls in and out,

through and through.

 A Lover is wide open,

evermore open

of mind,

of heart,

of focus,

ever more open

of attention,

of soul,

of senses spirit and body,

of gift given,

of gift giving.

A Lover welcomes love

just as it comes


just as it goes,

the plain, the pain, the pleasure,

the ecstatic, the earthy,

the understood,

the beyond understanding.

 Ever the free flow,

awash in love,

A Lover is wide open.

A full time now.

.   John  Frank


"Be drunk in love.

Love is everything

that exists."



Like a lot of others,

in union with God,

I'm so happy you are



A word of thanks to Nick Minnich,

who generously continues to offer

technical help with this blog.

Without him I'd be trying

to get this to you

each week by courier pigeon. 

.Holding you and all of  us

busy being birthed

in the Love

from which we come

and in which

we will never finish.

    John Frank