Thursday, August 29, 2019


Dear All of Us,

Good gravy!

Labor Day's here! 

Summer's over.

It's back to work and school.

Speaking of work, let's.

Work is the setting, 

really the center piece, 

of our days.

It's the major span of our spiritual lives.

How do we do with that?

Is work a burden or a blessing?

Do we delight in it or do all we can to dodge it?

Is it a contemplative time,

a time of aware oneness with God?

How we do with work 

is how we do with our spiritual lives.

Good old St. Benedict pegged it just right:

            "Laborare est orare"

            "To work is to pray".

Prayer is oneness with God.

So is work.

"God is love," 

and in that love 

God is working out 

the magnificence of creation, 

and we're in on it as co-creators 

through our work prayer,

our labor of love.

So ok, what's this work prayer, this labor of love,

look like out here on the street of everyday living?

It means that everything we do, 

we do in and with God's love.

It means that everything we do 

is a moment and motion of God's work, 

of God's evolving creation forward and fuller, 

and we are actively part of it 

through our Labor of Love.

Everything means everything:

oing the dishes, plowing a field, sorting the laundry, 

investing our client's funds carefully,

dealing with commuter traffic on our way to work, 

teaching class, delivering the mail, 

developing a better program and product,

improving our company's service delivery, 

working the line with vigor and attention, 

pleasantly checking out our customers at the store, 

washing the car, cooking dinner,

mounting a principled political campaign, 

humanely screening passengers through the TSA process, 

stringing line, reporting the news, 

painting a picture or the house, 

installing internet connection, changing diapers - 


Work prayer is our part in the rollout of Reality.

Work Prayer is the joy of creativity in concert with the Creator.

It is a labor of love.

However, that rollout can be pretty rough at times -

working with a nasty boss, 

being pressured by capitalistic greed 

to rush and work excessive hours, 

company preference for profit over product 

and the people making the product, 

horrible working conditions, lazy co-workers.

Then there's things like removing that tree stump 

and it resists you right into frustration and pain, 

the truck that keeps breaking down, 

the back ache from all that heavy lifting.


Well it seems that from the get go of creation 

human arrogance 

has thrown sand in the gears.

Rather than work with God 

we people have tried to play God.

We just aren't up to it 

and that causes all sorts of discord, pain and chaos.

That discord, pain and chaos 

filter into human relations and into nature,

polluting, distressing and disturbing both.

Sad examples: the cremation of the Amazon rain forests

                      the white nationalist movement.

The Genesis Story of Adam and Eve 

attempting to be "like unto God"

and its sad consequences (Genesis 3) 

is a simple folk way 

of telling the tale 

of that spin out right from our start. 

So work is both a joy and a pain.

In both and all cases, though, 

it can be prayer, 

a holy, sacred experience,

a "Oneing" with God,

a divinely creative sharing,

a Labor of Love.

We go it with God 

as God goes it with us, 

bringing order to chaos,

harmony to dissonance, 

rolling out an ever more expansive 

and divine creation, 

be it a diaper changed,

a transmission repaired, 

a corn field harvested,

or a symphony composed.

I  learned that as a boy from Crainie. 

She was a warm, happy, vigorous farmer.

She was so matter-of-factly and genuinely spiritual.

She and God did everything together.

Milking cows, tending the garden, 

churning butter, making bread,

canning, collecting eggs, 

were delightfully unitive, 

creative encounters with the Creator, 

moments of marvel.

Mucking the barn wasn't a whole lot of fun, 

but it cleared things for healthy, fresh growth.

Crainie worked
with a playfulness, 

be that work easy or hard, 

and had one heck of a sense of humor.

While milking the cow 

she turned an utter my way, 

squirted my face and laughed:

"Have some fresh milk!"

I not only "learned" about work 

as prayer from her, 

I got to taste its good fruits as well, 

treated to the best ever home made bread

covered with farm fresh-just-churned butter 

and topped off with jam from the garden raspberry bushes.

"Taste and see the goodness of the Lord" for sure!!

Years later I learned yet more about our labor of love 

from dear old Brother John at the seminary.

This simple lay brother was an artist in all he did.

With God he created goodness and beauty

in the most mundane and practical ways.

Watching him fold laundry, repair a window, prune a bush

was to see and sense a contemplative oneness with God,

a oneness at work furthering order and creative evolution

in humble, immediate ways.

Jake showed me how to go about a labor of love 

under stress, while in danger.

He was on our local fire department.

With disciplined skill and self giving 

he entered burning buildings to rescue people.

He climbed ladders against burning walls 

to  reorder the flaming energy 

that had become destructive.

Like Crainie, Brother John and Jake,

be it easy or hard, big ways or little ways,

we get to team up with God 

and be part of creations marvelous evolution.

It sure is a

                 LABOR OF LOVE.

Here are a few prayer prompts as we reflect on our labor days:

- If our goal is to make a lot of money, we are working for a false god.

  If we are working in tandem with creation's evolution 

  we are co-creators with God.

- "Whatever you do, 

   work at it with all your heart, 

   as working for the Lord, 

   not for human masters."  

   (Colossians 3;23)

- "Americans live to work.

   Italians work to live."

    ("A Year In Italy" - DVD)

- "In life's work, bliss and sacrifice 

   are two sides of the same coin, 

   complementary opposites."

       (Lawrence Boldt)

- "One's true work is never merely 'my work,'

   but humanity's work.

   It's not really self-expression, 

   unless by 'self' we mean it with a capital S,

   and that self is the self within mankind."

       (Lawrence Boldt)

- "Where your talents 

    and the needs of the world cross,

    there lies your vocation."

       (Lawrence Boldt)

      This Labor Day and all the days of our labor 

"Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, 

      and prosper the work of our hands...",


                         LABOR OF LOVE.

                      See you next week.

                           John Frank


               (Psalm 34:8  and Psalm 90:17 above)


"frankly speaking" spirituality for the street is posted online

                       Thursday evening

                     east coast USA time.


Thursday, August 22, 2019


Dear All of Us,

You know, it's important to know what's important.

We sure don't want to get short changed by spending our lives 

on less than the important.

Plus, what's important to us says oh so much about 

who and how we are just now.

OK, so what are we talking about here?

Etymologically, the word important means, 

              "to import, to bring in"

           (L) in means just that, "in" 

            and  portare means " to carry," "to bring" -

            thus to bring in, import. 

No, let's not talk about tariffs.

Let's talk about what's so valuable that we do well to "import" it,

"to bring it in" to the living of our very selves whatever the cost.

So, what is truly important to this living of our very selves:

career, wealth, family, friends, sex, reputation, the spiritual/mystical,

education, exercise, entertainment, sports, politics, social justice, abs,

saving planet and civilization, the arts, community, smoking, popularity,

porn, power, alcohol/drugs,  trying to be stress and pain free, 

romance, health, - what?

About n
ow a little calm, quiet, honest reflection 

might just be a great big plus.

It'll give us some space and time as we review

what's important to us

not what we say is important, 

but what is actually, practically, 

functionally important 

in the living of our very selves 

as is and right now.

What are we importing?  

Let's pray for light and courage.

Let's pray that for each other,

and do that right here and now

for a little while.

             Let's pray.

Next let's focus on what is most important 

from someone who missed it for years.

Let's ponder the learned wisdom of Theresa of Avila.

For years she lived a rather shallow, superficial,

self referenced life as a cloistered nun.

Taking it easy, having it easy was important to her.

One day the cards got really shuffled on her big time.

That changed everything.

She played a whole new hand.

A friend gave her a painting of the Suffering Jesus.

It got to her like nothing ever before.

It was a break through.

It spoke limitless love to her,

limitless love for her,

limitless love for all people,

limitless love for all that is.

It opened her to a whole new awareness of what is important.

Import that love she did, and that to ecstatic, mystical heights.

She was in Love.

That's what was important.

This bright, well educated  woman shares what's most important with us all:

                 "The important thing is 

                   not to think much, 

                   but to love much;

                   do then, 

                   whatever most arouses you 

                   to love."

Thinking is just fine thank you.

It is also limited.

Do what thinking is necessary and helpful,

but don't get trapped in the head.

Go where there are no limits.

Import the Love Who Is God,

which really means let Love in.

Do that by "whatever rouses you to love."

It could be gazing at a picture of the Suffering Jesus.

It could be taking in a foster child.

Just do what opens you to Love, 

"whatever rouses you to Love."

If you will, please permit me to share some of the things 

I do that rouse me to Love.

In no way do I suggest they are universal, preferred or prescriptive.

They are simply and uniquely mine.

I offer them in the hopes of encouraging you to take time 

to see what are your wonderful, unique openings 

through which Love can enter in, can be imported, 

so as to see what's ultimately important and what opens you to it. 

Some of the rivulets through which Love pours into me,

some of the things that "rouse me " to Love are:

         - gazing at a child

         - reading a novel by Morris West

         - helping the hurt

         - holding hurters in God's Love

         - quieting up to the Still Point

         - caring for my family and friends

         - writing this blog for you

         - being swept upward in a Bach chorale

         - spending a day at the National Gallery of Art

           and the next one at the National Cathedral 

         - deep listening to others

         - immersion in sacred wisdom writings

         - spending an evening with its sunset

         - people watching with God in the supermarket 

           and at Holy Communion

         - letting the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins 

           take me to the deep down beauty of things

         - grieving the rape of Mother Earth and helping in her healing

         - having a date with a flower

         - feeling the passion in a Rodin sculpture

         - doing a road trip with nature

         - a retreat at The Abbey of Gethsemani

         - a wedge of sharp provolone wedded with a classic Chianti

         - happily and endlessly more.

Enough about me.

How about you?

What is it that "rouses you to love" and the doing of it?

That question is a helpful prompt to personal prayer and reflection.

That question is pen worthy for those who journal.

That question is discussion ready with a spiritual director or Soul Friend.

That question is action ready and ever so important answer actively.

However we notice and note 

"whatever most rouses you to love"

            may we 


            just that - 

         "love much."

          Of all that is, 

          it is the most


Thanks for doing this spiritual exercise together with 

all the rest of us whether we are in 

the USA, South Africa, India, The Neverlands,

Russia, Nigeria, India, , Australia, Canada, South Korea 

(the countries online for "frankly speaking" at the moment)

 and all the other homelands from which we gather here each week.

I pray for us all each day and hope you do as well.

                       In The Love Who Is God,

                              John Frank



A "Real Find" that links to numerous and varied sites and sources

supporting our spiritual life out here on the street of everyday living

is available at 


                      - click Topics of Interest 

                            the tag at the top

                      - click Spiritual Life/Prayer

                           elect you choice




                        "frankly speaking" 

               is posted every Thursday evening,

                     east coast USA time.

                        See you next week!



Thursday, August 15, 2019


Dear All of Us,

Summer fresh greetings.

Spirit fresh as well.

Nature and Spirit in tandem –

           the months of this summer season,

           the months of this Pentecost season –

a season of growth and fecundity.

An atmosphere bright, warm, expansive.

Nature and Spirit one in a profusion of life.

A moment of many sensing 

                      The Spirit of Pentecost,

                                        The Wholly Spirit.

The followers of Jesus got their second wind on Pentecost –

a rush of Spirit that propelled them foreward.

After a Soul Cold Winter frozen in fear, 

they were fired forth and free. 

So, Who, How, What is this Wholly Spirit?

Most of us image God as Father/Creator, Son/Savior.

These we can “go figure” just a touch.

But spirit, much more Wholly Spirit?

“Spiritus” in Latin means wind, breath, breeze.

Pretty hard to “grasp” such,

get your hands on it,

get your head around it!!

Hildegard of Bingen, medieval mystic, seer and sayer,

prayerfully breaths the Wholly Spirit into our spirits:

                           Holy Spirit,

                 making life alive,

                 moving in all things,

                 root of all created being,

                 cleansing the cosmos of every impurity,

                 effacing guilt,

                 anointing wounds,

                 You are lustrous and praise-worthy life,

                 You awaken and re-awaken everything that is.”


Let's stop right here and take ten 

to let ourselves be Spirit Swept. 


          Ten Later

I need a lot more than that,

so I’m taking a line a week

this Pentecost Summer,


pondering this Wholly Spirit Prayer,

contemplating it, 

applying it,

seeking a second wind,

breathing this in,

being refreshed in such a breeze,

open to a rush of Spirit,

grateful to be fear freed and fired forth –

summer fresh, Spirit fresh.

A season of growth and fecundity.

How wonderful if we all do this together.

What do you say?

                  Your Spirit Brother,

                      John Frank





           Edited by Samuel H. Dresner


"I did not ask for success; I asked for wonder.

And you gave it to me."

"How should I live the life I am?"

"The road to the sacred leads through the secular."

So many more and much from this mystic who lived on

the street of everyday life and did so in wonder.


How wonderful that we meet and share here each week.

It's even more wonderful because so many new folks 

join us each of our weeks. Blessing upon blessing!   


                   frankly speaking


           is posted Thursday evenings

                east coast USA time.