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!


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