Friday, June 28, 2019


Dear All of Us,

Most mornings it's coffee and Rohr.

That's Aldi's Classic Roast and Richard Rohr's daily email meditation.

Sometimes the coffee tends to strong and so does Richard.

That was the double header in spades this morning. (1)

BAMM!!!!   BAMM!!!!

Between the two of them they curled what little hair I have left.

I don't know how to digitalize the coffee for you, 

but here's Richard's "Waker Upper", 

and watch out for your hair: 

     I'm convinced that beneath the ugly manifestations
     of our present evils - political corruption,
     ecological devastation, warring against one another,
     hating each other based on race, gender, 
     sexual orientation, religion, or nationality - 
     the greatest dis-ease facing humanity right now
     is our profound and painful sense of disconnection.
     We feel disconnected from God, certainly, 
     but also from ourselves (especially our bodies),
     from each other, and from our world. 
     Our sense of this fourfold isolation is plunging 
     our species into increasingly destructive behavior 
     and much mental illness.

Forget more coffee.

I was almost tempted to head for the bed,

connect with my pillow,

pull the covers over my head 

and wait to wake up in heaven.

How 'bout you?

Actually, that's not the idle question it might seem.

Richard is right about the wrong that threatens us.

"Us" is  civilization and planet.

Do nothing and we're done.

The threat is this lethal disconnect he cataloged above.


Disconnect life support and we're dead.

Disconnect a phone call and we can't communicate.

All the more,

   - Disconnect from ecological correction and the planet fails.

     (The scientist tell us we have less than a hundred years on that one).

   - Disconnect from The Common Good and it's all sorts of hateful militias, 

     poisonous politicians and sick social media  prying us away from

     our basic oneness, destroying our unity - civilization cancelled. 

   - Disconnect from each other and we sentence ourselves 

     to a solitary confinement and its certain madness.

   - Disconnect from our bodied selves and we go into 

     self loathing and perverse acting out. 

   - Disconnect from God and we have no Being in which to "be."

                            "To be or not to be". 

                         That sure is the question.

                     How will we "be" based or not?  

Holy Cow!!!

Should we take time out for a coffee break? 

Better and hopefully let's continue with Richard's meditation:

     Yet many are discovering that the Infinite Flow of the Trinity  -
     our practical, felt experience of this gift - offers the utterly grounded
     reconnection with God, with self, with others, and with our world
     that all spirituality, and arguably, even politics, is aiming for, 
     but which conventional religion and politics fail to access.

Let's be among those rediscovering that Infinite Flow of the Trinity.

It will give us a solid base, centers and rights us.

It will connect us to our true, fullest, freest self and to All that Is.

There is this absolutely divine inner cohesion, 

infinitely loving connection within God,

and God is The Ground of our Being.

That's where we want to be.

It's the only place where we can actually "be".

Awaken to this and we don't have to go back to bed, 

pull the covers over our head and wait to wake up in heaven.

OK, OK, I hear you!

How do we do that?

Well, check this out.

Way down deep in us and in all of creation 

there is already and forever bedrock 


It's what we are and what holds us in existence.

It's the Infinite Flow of Love.

It's the Infinite Flow of the Trinity

It's there, but are we?

We simply need to wake up to it,

accept it,

go deep into it,

be centered there,

live out from there.

That's not happening a lot for a lot.

The Captains of Empire have tricked 

so many so much into living on the surface,  

rendering them baseless, disconnected - chaotic.  

It also gives the Captains of Empire 

the power and money they crave 

and by which they disconnect us even more. 

They seduce with appeal 

to superficial satisfactions -

bread and circus, non-stop trivia, 

stuff, soul self sold for sensations,

trashing truth and each other.

It's a self and social stupor that blinds 

to the profound Godness at our core 

and at the core of all that is,

the core where in our very "being" 

we all are one, divinely


See it, celebrate it, be at home there, 

radiate out from there

and everything begins to go real and good.

So, that means:

     - being counter-cultural

     - often and deeply going quiet in prayer so God

       can show us ourselves and all else as one 

     - in that prayer letting God draw us 

        to the limitless depths where in reality we all are


     - practice to see that in right here, right now awareness

     - touching a rose petal unto felt oneness

     - looking at a really disgusting person and see yourself another way

     - look at a really gorgeous person and see yourself another way

     - singing a song with the wind and "winding" into oneness

     - walking along the beach and blending with the power of wave 

       and the immenseness of horizon

     - mixing it up it up with the marginalized and making margins dissolve

     - soaking in sacred writings as they reveal ever more all as


     - picking the politician of your greatest displeasure 

       and keep looking til you see God and yourself there

     - caring so much about others that we only take 

       what we need of food, vacations, clothes,

       entertainments, stuff, adult toys -  not what we want,

       and not what the Captains of Empire
want us to want and grap 

       so that we loose touch with the realness of being


     - have dinner parties or cookouts and invite others 

       who really aren't - Jews, Muslims, Conservatives, Liberals, ,

       the noisy neighbors with the trashy yards

     - find a spiritual home community that isn't fixated on

       Church ABC's (Attendance, Buildings, Cash)

     - find a spiritual home community that is focused on

       Church D and E's ( Discipleship and Evangelism) - 

       Discipleship as in learners of a way and life - that of Jesus, 

       Evangelism as in sharing that Good News 

       not by marketing but by lived to believable witness, 

       community and service.

     - when sick and suffering realize solidarity with the sick and suffering

       spanning globe and history and see that Jesus, The Suffering Servant,

       suffers in solidarity with all, and that in a redemptive way.

Maybe after all we've dealt with here today, 

it's time not for a cup of coffee, but rather for a glass of wine 

to celebrate our woven wholeness, our "being" together,
our  basic 



                             Grateful that we are 


                                  John Frank


                     FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION

Jean Vanier recently died. He spent his life connecting special needs adults 

and helpers in loving, family communities around the world.

Here's a little something he wrote about "being" blessed 

in a woven wholeness, about "being" 


        We feel small and weak, but we are gathered together 

        to signify the power of God who transforms death into life. 

        That is our hope, that God is doing the impossible: 

        changing death to life inside each of us, and that perhaps, 

        through our community, each one of us can be 

        agents in the world of this transformation

        of brokenness into wholeness, and of death to life.
                                            From Brokenness to Community 


(1) Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation, Center for Action and Contemplation, Tuesday, May 7, 2019


We are so fortune to have had new folks join with us this past week.
A special welcome to our first time participation from Taiwan.
You are welcome and we are happy to be CONNECTED.


The next posting will be online from Friday, July5, 2019 
to Friday July 12, 2019.
Postings are mid-day, east coast USA time each Friday.

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                     Thank You!






Friday, June 21, 2019


Dear All of Us,

In more than many ways
life is like river rafting.
You never stay put.
There's this flow to it.
It takes you, ready or not,
and right now.

It takes you to the excitement, 
the rush, the turbulence 
and sometimes the risk 
of white water rapids.
It takes you to stretches 
of river rock, boulder strewn.
It takes you to 
the sweeping swiftness 
of fast moving currents.
It takes you to the still serenity 
of calm waters.
It takes you.

River rafting is 
an experiential metaphor 
for all of life, 
and certainly so 
for our spiritual life.

The trick is to recognize 
where you are
and what's going on,
deal with it,
and go with the flow.

River rafting is 
an adventure for sure.
Not only do we never stay put,
but we need constant 
and vigilant flexibility
to negotiate its flow.
That flexibility means responses 
intense to gentle
and numerous sorts of adjustments  
and calibrations in between.

So it is with life, 
and ever so essentially
with our spiritual life
and its flow
right now.

Old Father Albert, 
our seminary rector,
told us that 
to successfully negotiate 
the waters of life's flow
    - Faith
          adhesion to God (Reality) 
    - Flexibility 
           spiritual and all sorts of 
           varied dexterity
     - And one hell of 
               a sense of humor!!

That old man sure knew 
how to row right,
how to flex and really 
go with the flow
in its right now!!!

Speaking of flow, 
the years certainly do
and now it's my turn 
to be an old man.
For a while 
I thought that meant
adjusting to old age 
and learning 
its unique spirituality.
Come to find out 
we don't get old.
What we do is 
get older and older 
and older.
Like all of life 
and its spirituality,
old age is not a set 
and settled thing.
It flows.
Decrepitude -
Dante's unbleached word for it -
is actually dynamic and progressive.
In its own way it calls for 
the asceticism of 
ongoing flexibility and embrace.
The specifics sure as heck
are particular to it. 
I'll spare you the details -
(well, ok, just one -
going to the restroom
at  restaurant only to discover 
you have your boxer shorts on backward - 
I know of what I speak!!!), 
For the old the ongoing flow 
is the very same one 
we all share, 
whatever the immediacies 
and circumstance of the moment,
whatever our age and stage of life,
whatever the flow just now.

Consider the launch.
It took us all nine months 
of rapid, evolutionary flow 
to go from a one celled being 
to the marvelous 
billions upon billions of celled being 
we were on the day of birth, 
that launch to a whole new span 
and way of life.

Whether it's birth, 
going to kindergarten, 
first job, 
mid-life and drift, 
we don't stay put,
we move to more, 
we are swept along in life's 
         FLOW NOW,
hopefully doing our best
    - to be faithful to God (Reality ) 
    - to be flexible
         spiritual and all sorts 
      of varied dexterities
      - to have one hell of a sense of humor.

Tell you what.
Let's all get out paper and pen
(opps, showing my age),
get to the keyboard
and detail what those three 
mean in our spiritual life, in its   
         FLOW NOW.

Let's pray and ponder 
right here in that
         FLOW NOW.

Let's compose a word picture 
of that
         FLOW NOW
and see how it reads,
what it shows and says. 
It's the only place 
and way we can
         FLOW NOW

It's where we experience 
God (Reality).
Are we  adhering to God (Reality) 
in our current 
         FLOW NOW, 
whatever the turbulence or peace of it?

How are we doing with flexibility, 
spiritual and all varied sorts,
given whatever we are going through in our
         FLOW NOW?

Are we having one hell of a good belly laugh 
after another one hell of a good belly laugh 
at the wonder, surprise, fright,
beauty, paradox, pain, mystery
of what's going on and most of all 
at ourselves, plunk in the middle 
and often muddle of our
         FLOW NOW?

Spiritually and much otherwise, 
we are constantly dying to what just was and
we are being born to what is just right now.
We are being born along in life's 
          FLOW NOW.

Do we recognize where we are,
are we dealing with it,
are we going with it,
or are we trying to stay put 
in a past that isn't present,
or are we trying to cascade into 
a future that just isn't right now,
or are we trying to ignore our present as is, 
or are we trying to embrace 
a present that sure is and as is?

The mystery in all this is that God is the 
                   FLOW NOW.

That's where and how we meet, 
mix and merge with God
right there in the flowing right now.

God is in the experience of living, 
the process of it all.

God is in the flow.

God is the flow.

Our spiritual river rafting 
is ongoing baptism. 
We find ourselves drenched in
     - ever changing experiences 
       of prayer and contemplation, 
     - new and demanding ways 
       of serving The Common Good,
     - Lectio Divina spinning 
       our head and soul,
     - the wonders of nature 
       slowing us to rapture,
     - straining to carry 
       the emotionally crippled,
     - stretches of spiritual confusion, 
       even disillusionment,
     - a rush of ecstasy,
     - the challenge of change 
       and adjustment,
     - hitting hard up against 
       our own rock rough ego,
     - being spun out in the turbulence 
       of a friend's betrayal,
     - cascades of love making,

     - surges of debilitating pain 
       as we strengthen forward,
       - being swamped by systemic evil
     - spans of inability 
       and utter dependency,
     - pools of peace.

Our spiritual river rafting 
speeds and frees us 
until we finally flow into 
 The Ocean of Fullness.


Before we go, a personal note:

              JOE CECE

Joe publishes a wonderful resource:

It is a rich and varied site supporting
an informed and vigorous living of 
the spiritual life in the tradition of
Vatican II Roman Catholicism.
Recently Joe offered counsel and guidance
for our little gathering here at

         "frankly speaking."

Joe's expertise and encouragement, 
shared in his generous and brotherly way,
is both helpful and  greatly appreciated. 

So long for this now. 
See you right here next week.
Have a great trip!!
Your brother
and river mate,
     John Frank


Our next posting here 
will be up from 
 Friday, June 28, 2019
 Friday,  July 5, 2019.  

The weekly posting 
goes online
by mid-day Friday, 
east coast USA time.

So good to have folks 
new to our gathering 
join in this week.
A special word of welcome
to our first time participants 
this week from Tanzania
    Welcome to all!


Please consider:

-bookmarking the online posting

-signing up for the automatic weekly 
 email version  (right column online)

-referencing the Blog Achieve 
 (right column online)






Friday, June 14, 2019



       This week there's a plentitude of words in this posting. 

     Hope they speak The Spirit to your spirit.

     In effect, this week's posting a "Two-Fer."

     So there are two sections to it.

     If you're in a hurry, section one is for you.

     If you've got interest and time for more,

     then treat yourself to an extra 

     cup of coffee/glass of wine now,

     or some other time this week,

     and enjoy section two. 

     It's an Addendum that follows.

     Just thought I'd give you a heads up 

     and that chance  for a second 

     cup of coffee/glass of wine!!

     Hey, glad you're here!!

              John Frank



               SECTION I

Dear All Of Us,

Among pastors there is an expression:

"That's a story looking for a sermon."

And those stories almost always find one by the next Sunday!

You know, something happens that's irresistibly engaging, 

humorous, poignant, parabolic, noteworthy -

somehow or "tuther" it gets you big time 

and you want to keep the "get" going.


A number of years ago
at Panera's one morning 

I was mistaken for Dick Chaney.

Really happened.

Dick Chaney? 

OK, I was a bit chubby, balding, slightly stooped, 

waring my best pinstripe, 

and topped off in rimless glasses.

But, come on!!

I know I don't qualify for a reincarnation 

of John F Kennedy, but Dick Chaney?

How about at least Jimmy Carter, or either Bush?

See what I mean?

That story just had to find a sermon to go with it 

and it sure did the very next Sunday!

In many ways the story is the sermon.

Somehow or other I saw a dimension of the divine in what happened,

a connect with our everyday spiritual living,

and that was the sermon the story was looking for.

By the way, 

a Secret Service agent

was in the congregation. 

He came up after church and 

offer to drive me over to Panera's 

in his big black SUV!!

No josh!!

How about we have a go 

at a variant of all this?

Please let me share another little story.

It's a gem looking for a good setting.

Then let's see what kind of a message, 

what kind of a Soul Story, 

it might shine on our spiritual lives.

So, let's see
what we can do with it

and what it can do with us?

It happened last Sunday. 

In our church children are about seven  when they begin

to receive Holy Communion.

Well, every Sunday whole families come up 

and knell together at the rail all the time.

That's a good start on a Holy Communion.

Our pastor is quite good and caring, especially with the younger set.

He takes time with each little one too young for the sacrament.

He bends over says a little prayer for the child 

and then makes the sign of the cross on the child's forehead.

Well, that was decidedly not enough Jesus 

for a frisky little three year old boy last Sunday. 

It was not good enough, either, for the boy's accommodating

seven year old sister kneeling next to him. 

The boy wasn't at all satisfied with just a prayer and the sign of the cross.

And he let it be known.

He wanted full communion.

His sister didn't go for it either.

As soon as she received the bread she quickly put her hands 

down low in front of her, broke the bread in half.

Then ever so subtlety and quickly she passed a piece off to her waiting brother, 

who's hand was under the rail (and radar) at the ready.

With gleeful relish and smiling delight he took Holy Communion, literally.

Yes, a gem!

It talks!

What does it say to our spirits?

In prayerful reflection this coming week let's soul savor this story.

What sermon is the story?

What does the Spirit share through it

with us way inside,

with us way down deep?

How does the heart of it interface with 

what's going on within us, 

what comes forth from us, 

what's stirring around us?

Let's be as personal and practical as we can be.

How does this story shed light on the sermon of our living?

If a few prompts might help to get us started, 

as well as some further reflections on a fuller sense of 

Holy Communion, they are include in the Addendum 

that follows in Section II.

Thanks for letting me share this Soul Story with you.

If you care to, I'd really appreciate hearing about one of yours.


                                   See you next week.

                                   Holding one and all in

                                   God's Dear Love,

                                        John Frank



                                        Section II

                                     Prayer Prompts

- Let's go slow and sense all the tones and touches (literally "touches") 

  of this holy communion between Jesus and children, and hopefully 

   our inner child:

And they were bring children to him so that he might touch them;

    but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant 

    and said to them, "Permit the children to come to me; do not hinder them; 

    for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, 

    whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child 

    will not enter it at all. And he took them in his arms 

    and began blessing them, laying his hands on them.

                                    New American Bible 

    Jesus handed himself off to the little children the way the sister 

    handed the Jesus Bread off to her brother.

    She wouldn't let anything stop her brother from a Holy Communion 

    as Jesus wouldn't let the disciples keep him from

    his Holy Communion with the children.

    Who/what is keeping me from a Holy Communion - the one in church 

    and the numberless ones out on the street of everyday life?


      How/when do I keep others from a Holy Communion 

    of whatever occurrence and elements?

    Who is handing off some form of Holy Communion to me

    "under the rail (and radar)"?

    How/when am I doing so for others, or afraid to do so?

    Children were the most under valued people 

    in Israel at the time of Jesus.

    Who are the most undervalued people in our society, right where

    I live and work, in my family, and among my friends?

    Am I Jesus-like, insisting on preference, contact, 

    and communion with them?

    How aware am I that "... it is to such as these 

    that the kingdom of heaven belongs."?

    Do I keep company with them?

    Am I one of them?

   Children are wide open to good.

   Then we grow up (?) and closed off to so much and many.

   Makes communion of all sorts difficult and limited.

   How about the brother and sister at the communion rail?

   They were so wide open to communion and determined to be so.

   Who's really grown up around here?

   How's it going with my growing "open"?

- Another story:

Paul Warhola and I were buddies back in graduate theology days 

  at Catholic University. Paul was eastern rite, I western rite. 

  He was also a lot of fun, and he was Andy Warhol's nephew 

  (lots of stories there for another day!).

  With a knowing smile he would often tell me 

  something like this:

 You damn westerners are trapped in your heads

 and so is your religion. 

 You measure everything by your brains.

 While brains are just fine thank you, 

 that's not our center and it's not where we live.

 We in the east know enough to use our brains 

 but live from our hearts.

 You westerners get all tied up in logic and concept -

 how many angels can you get on the tip of a pin?

 Well, what the hell difference does it make and by the way, 

 it's pathetically besides the point. 

 And so much of your theology and religion are as not so well!

 They just miss the point of the spiritual life.

 We easterners can out think the best of you,

 but home base is the heart.

 Logic, rationality, fine as far as the go, 

 and quite frankly that isn't very far down the road of reality.

 What gets you going and gets you were you're going is 

divine, holy mystery - and we have it in spades.

Divine Mystery: a reality so vast the human mind alone can't grasp it.

Like the ocean, you can't "grasp" it, but you sure as heaven can jump in 

and never finish, immersed in God's Love.

You say a child has to be about seven to take Holy Communion, 

because that's the age of reason (the brain stuff again!!)

The child
can then recognizes the presence of Jesus in the sacrament.

Come on now!

Child to elder w
e only know "about" Jesus,

just a little from/around/about the edges of the Divine Mystery.

But what we can do is mix it up with him in mystery.

So, we give Holy Communion to babies and children.

The good involved doesn't depend on their brains 

or our brains in later years.

The good
depends on what God is doing 

not on what is mentally grasped by us.

Sort of like holding a baby and loving it 

and not putting that kind of communion off 

til that baby has a Ph.d and can recognize 

a sliver of the love we have for them.


Over the years I more and more realize how spot on Paul was.

Roman and northern European theology

are a head trip and they trip us up.

So, our spiritual lives are like lovers more than academics.

We know a thing or three about the beloved. Just a bit.

The beauty and mystery is that there is no limit or end 

to our mutual melding, to our 

                   Holy Communion

Three year olds are into it and we can be as well,

and it is oh so well. 

"And a child shall lead them."

Let's go for it and let it get us!!

        Have a great time this week getting

        wrapped up in the limitless forms of

                  Holy Communion.


Greetings to all joining in here with us for the first time.

Thanks for the goodness of your presence.

A special welcome for our first ever participation 

this week from Malaysia.

       "frankly speaking"

- is posted mid-day Fridays, 

  east coast USA time at

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             Thank You!!