Thursday, November 28, 2019


Dear All of Us,

When you go to kiss a loved one, 

just how essential is it 

that the loved one actually be there?

you be ok with kissing, say, some symbol of the loved one?

Could you settle for
kissing a picture, 

a memento or even a memory of the loved one?

(If you are free enough, change the question to "make love with your beloved").

In any case, the preference and answer is more than clear.

Let's notch it up - really "up"!!

How about if that loved one is God

and you want a lot more closeness than some sort of a spiritual  kiss,

and sure can't settle for a
symbol, picture,  

memento or memory of the beloved?

You want the deepest possible communion,

center to center, heart to heart, person to person - 


Hang on!

Now let's notch it all the way "up"!!

How about if God wants you, all of you,

and sure as heaven wants 

a lot more than some sort of spiritual peck?

How about if God
wants to give Godself to you

in the deepest possible communion,

center to center, heart to heart, person to person - 


he preference and answer is also more than clear.

A good tag for this deepest possible communion is

The Real Presence.

It's  way, way beyond experiencing a union  

via a symbol, picture, memento or memory.

The Real Presence is a communion that is  

center to center, 

heart to heart, 

person to person. 

We're so "really present" to each other, 

so much closer then any marriage bed bonding, 

that we are two rivers flowing into an Ocean of Oneness.

In high church tradition,

The Real Presence 

means that Jesus 

is really present 

in the Eucharist.

Sure enough.

There's more not to be missed, though.

Much more!!

It's ever so much fuller.

God is really present in all that is.

We and all creation 

are from, in, of God.

We exist in The Existence.

We are present 

because we exist in 

The Real Presence

and that is both blessing and mystery.

It's critical that we don't try 

to contain the mystery of 

The Real Presence by definition,

but rather humbly, happily describe 

our experience of it, our joy in it.

hat matures over time 

in our personal and corporate consciousness.

The infinite cannot be defined, much less by the finite.

And finite we are so far and for sure!!

Religious leaders and groups distract by efforts at definition 

What's not to be missed is the marvel of awakening 

to the blessing of us all existing and being enfolded in

The Real Presence. 

One "presence" of The Real is to share 

the sacrament of Holy Communion.

It can be a time of the deepest possible communion,

center to center, heart to heart, person to person, 

Oneness with God.

It's way more than some sort of spiritual smooch.

It's way more than communicating through 

a symbol, picture, memento or memory.

Jesus is present.

He didn't explain how.

We can't.

We do well not to try, yet too many get caught up 

in the futility of trying to define this wonderful mystery

among a cosmos plus of them.

Mystery is a reality so vast the human mind alone cannot grasp it.

ut our deepest self can be drawn into and experience it.

It's like the Pacific Ocean.

It's real and really there.

Neither our eyes nor our arms can grasp or contain it, 

but we sure can jump in and enjoy it, and endlessly so.

So it is with the mystery of the Real Preance.

Our mind cannot grasp or contain it.

But our spirit, our deepest self, can experience it, 

get lost in the sheer and limitless goodness, "Godness" of it.

A metaphor that can help here is our experience of loving another.

Holding a baby, hugging you child at their college graduation,

making love with your beloved are better experienced than explained.

If point of fact, they can't be explained.

No one really wants to try for the sheer bliss of the experience.

Scripture reveals that

 "God is love."

  (I John 4:8)

It's in that Real Presence of God Love 

that we exist, experience - live and love.

It's a Holy Communion that happens always everywhere:

      - in the sacrament of the Eucharist

      - in being absorped into a Fall bouquet of color 

      - in feeding a homeless person

      - in moments of mystical oneness

      - in working a second job to get your kid through college

      - in refusing to hate a politician you consider dangerous

      - in befriending a lonely senior adult

      - in being a Big Brother/Sister

      - in looking through an atomic force microscopy (AFM)

        at the wonders, the mystery of the deep down universe revealed.

      - in being out front for social and ecological justice.

Yes, The Real Presence sure is a Holy Communion, 

one that happens always everywhere.

It's ours to be present to it.

When I was a little kid I was told 

that you could only go to Holy Communion once a day.

Well, come to find out it's way better than that.

We can be in immediate contact with God,

in the deepest possible communion,

center to center,

heart to heart, 

person to person,

always everywhere

because we live in 


Hey, right here, right now,

we just did that.

Thanks for your very real presence

and for inviting me in my little way

to  share mine - us united in 



At this time of Thanksgiving, 

a word of gratitude

as we from many nations

begin the fourth year 

of gathering here weekly

for spiritual sharing and support.

          John Frank


So how about this?

                      "Blessed are the flexible, 

               for they shall not be bent out of shape."

                                                        Rolf Gates

   Here's a Shout Out

to welcome those joing in 

for the first time here at

   "frankly speaking"

spirituality for the street.

   It is posted online 

each Thursday evening

east coast USA time at

and is available each Friday 

by automatic email delivery - 

Sign Up above right.

See you next week!!




Thursday, November 21, 2019


Dear All of Us,

"Makes you wonder!"

 usually means just the opposite of wonder. 

The  attitude and words bespeak

disappointment, discouragement, disapproval.

The joy of wonder cedes to frowny cynicism.

"Makes you wonder!" 

righted, though, means the opposite of the opposite.

The attitude and words bespeak

discovery, distinction, divine delight.

Frowny cynicism cedes to the joy of pure wonder at God's creative goodness.

That sure happened to this little boy when I was eleven.

It was two wonder filled to full weeks in Washington, D.C.

as  guest of my Aunt Dot.

Those two weeks began my coming of age in wonder's embrace.

It was a cascade of wonder after another, warming, exciting,

opening my soul, mind and heart to God's beauty in so many holy communions, 

even though I didn't have those categories or words then - 

just the fresh, naked wonder!.

On her way to work my first day there, Aunt Dot dropped me off at 

The National Gallery of Art for the day with change in my pocket 

for lunch in its wonderful cafeteria.

Yes, I was only eleven, but that was the summer of 1951.

Different time, different ways.

The sheer grace and expanse of the place,

the simple magnificence of the Rotunda, halls, courtyards and galleries

stirred a sense of awe, of the sacred, in a way and depth 

I didn't know possible. 

Tagging along at the edge of a guided tour 

(I didn't have the money for it, but I sure had great hearing in those days),

transported me to times and places across our world's history.

I was introduced to the person, style, and technique 

of artist upon artist, era after era. 

Their sense of beauty, their mastery of light, color, and expression,

their textured report of Reality, 

continued to open depths and expanses of wonder to my awakening spirit. 

There was the evening concert at The Watergate 

by The United States Army Band and their rendering of 

Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture complete with live cannon.

The wonder of its passion and pulsation penetrated through my body 

all the way to my soul.

There were the visits to The National Cathedral 

with its mighty Gothic arching to heaven, 

the stained glass, altar pieces, statuary, 

the music and liturgy 

transporting soul to divine mystery.

There was  the Capital and monuments of our dear land and people, 

the visits to the homes of Jefferson, Madison, Lee, and Washington,

Arlington National Cemetery, The Library of Congress, the universities

and days more of soul stirring connection 

to the felt wonder of history and heritage connecting us.

That's a touch of how it all got going never to stop for me.

All types and tones of wonder have dawned and drawn ever since then.

The arts, babies, countryside, learning, literature and poetry, music,

gnarled peasants, young lovers, science, scripture, 

sacrament, teachers, making love, autumn colorations, pasta and wine,

friends, a cup of coffee and a cosmos more of wonders 

transpose, transport us all into mystic oneness with 

All That Is - God.

It is truly divine wonder!!

How did your first make love with wonder?

Right now and together lets take time and give attentive sensitivity 

to wonder then til now.

Lets see and feel the gift given over our years and experience, 

and let awe and love have us.

Wonder is letting the deep down beauty and holiness of creation draw us 

into the Creator's Love Bed.

All we have to do is not a doing at all, but blessedly a being,

being sensitive, being gently still to awareness, being open to 

the wonder of Love's inflow then, here and now.

Given our socialized speed of everything these days,

we just need to go ahead and slow to sense and soul sensitivity.

"Be still and know I am God."  
         (Psalm 46:10)

All about and within is wonder filled full.

In our own way and word we get caught up in living the folk song

               "I Wonder as I Wander."

We live the prayer of the psalmist,

     "Remember the wonders God has done."

                   (Psalm 105:4)

We give the nod to good old Socrates:

      "Wonder is the beginning of wisdom."

Once we open up and catch on, so many and much simply

                   "Makes You Wonder!"

                    In God's Love.

                       John Frank


It's sure wonder full to be together here each week.

It's sure wonder full and we are blessed each week to have 

new folks joining in here at

                        "frankly speaking"

                    spirituality for the street

              posted online Thursday evenings

                      east coast USA time




         available weekly by automatic email

                          each Friday

                      (sign up above)

                        Be well!

                See you next week!



Thursday, November 14, 2019


Dear All of Us,

No sense pussy footing around here.

Let's get right to it.

Forget about playing it safe.

Who cares what people will say!

So, come on.

Let's get physical - real physical 

and right now!

Before you assume this is some sort of sleezy sex solicitation,

or an invite to fight, let's right the record.

his is not digital dirty or destructive. 

Just the opposite.

This is about the goodness of the body, the physical, the material.

his is about their centrality in our spiritual living

as presence of God, and our delight and care for them.

Sad to say, there's more than a fly 

in the unction of the physical - 

it's an evil trying to pass as a good. 

The spiritual life has always been fouled 

by all sorts of movements claiming 

the body, the physical, matter, are essentially evil.

In the West that has been Gnosticism.

From shortly after the get go of Christianity,

Gnosticism insisted that the matter is evil

and that only spirit is good and will last.

That led to Plan A and Plan B as responses.

They are still around to this day 

dragging people down dead end spiritual streets.

Plan A is to knock the hell out of your body 

by avoiding the material as much as you can,

beating your body to a barely passable pulp.

It means deadening, perverted asceticism.

Plan B is, well, since only the spirit is real and good, 

go ahead and
pig out, indulge fleshly desires with abandon

because matter/the physical really doesn't count.

When I was a young man in the seminary of the 50's, 

it was Plan A all the way.

We were taught that a real spiritual life 

required that you "mortify the senses".

In Latin "mors, mortis" means destruction, death.

So kill off, destroy, limit the five God given connectors 

with God's material creation as much as you can.

Live as if you were a soul without a body.

Only eat for survival, never allow for pleasure.

If you were a hundred percenter, eat your food cold. 

Don't look at an attractive person.

Practice "Modesty of the eyes" and look down at the pavement instead.

Don't ever cut loose and dance yourself crazy with popular music.

Always take cold showers and then put on coarse underware.

Use as few blankets as you can.

Knee by the hour on hard floors. 

Be focused and dedicated to non-physical, 

non-material "spiritual" preoccupations.

Every once in a while there was a "Tu Autum," 

which meant a break for a holiday, or a special occasion -

a concession to human weakness.

Plan B is somewhat a preferment these days.

God is spirit and doesn't sweat the material stuff.

It was created by a false god anyway and won't last.

So, "If it feels good, do it."

Eat and drink until filled past full.

Blitz your mind and spirit with surround sound and distraction.

What harm is a little porn?

Treat yourself to all sorts of comfy clothes, and oh the sneakers!!

The expense be damned.

All these help burn off discomfort so you can pray and meditate better,

so you can "be spiritual."

I thank God for my spiritual director back in those early seminary days.

Father Vivona put the lie to both Plan A and Plan B.

He helped me get focused on the loving God, who is present and busy 

in spirit and matter, who shares with us, connects with us in both.

Yes, we human folk are just starting to grow up and catch on.

We do slip and slide, more commonly labelled weakness and sin.

So, a balanced, temperate discipline is required in our spiritual living.

So also is free, full embrace of God present in all physical/material creation.

Drink wine. Don't get drunk. 

Balanced openness.

Creation is sacred.

It comes from, flows out of God.

he Genesis account of matter's creation affirms that.

To damn God given matter is to reject God and God's gifts.

"Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." (Acts 11:9)

So, we reverence the physical, let it be what it is in its purity -

a presence and connect with the divine.

We love it so much that we will not abuse or debase it.

That means sexual purity and creation care.

That means having the material things we need 

and making sure everyone else has the material things they need.

That means freely, temperately, appreciatively experiencing God 

present in all forms of matter - sunsets to homemade lasagna,

seasides to a tennis match, making love to hymn singing,

gardening to sightseeing, a cozy bed to hiking,

feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger.

To sharpen the senses and to reboot sensitivity to the divine in matter,

we occasionally fast and abstain from material good 

for a positive/purifying bit.

is indeed central to our spiritual living.

     - That's clear from the blue prints of Genesis.

       "And God saw that it was good."

        We and all about us are a wonderful synthesis 

        of what we call matter and spirit

        (I'd venture they are just different intensities 

        of the same thing), 

        and that by divine design.

      - That's clear from the Incarnation:

        "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us." 

        and that by the divine design.

        Jesus is a wonderful
unity of matter/spirit.

As an enfleshed spirit he often went off to a place and time for 

        intimate spiritual union with his Abba. 

        He experienced desert temptations and rejected the evil spirit. 

        He was well versed and practiced 

        in the scriptures and spiritual rituals of his people.

        He sure was plenty "spiritual."

        He also ate and drank, worked and went to parties,

        hung out with smelly fishermen, prostitutes, a cheating tax collector,

        disgustingly diseased lepers.

        He fed hungry crowds, made sure a young couple 

        had some really good wine at their wedding feast, cured sickness,

        brought the dead to life, shared meals with others, got tired, 

        experienced horrid bodily pain -

        he sure was plenty "physical." 

Jesus was a living integration of God's goodness  in matter/spirit.

May it be so for us.

So, we don't fall for the lie of Gnosticism, whatever form/extreme it takes.

By God's will and gift, like Jesus, 

we are and live a unity of matter/spirit, purely and freely.  

Yes, the physical/material is central to our spiritual lives

as it was for the historical Jesus.

We taste, touch, smell, see, hear God sensually and gratefully.

No sense pussy footing around here.

Let's get right to it.

Forget about playing it safe.

Who cares what people will say!

So, let's get physical - real physical

and right now  - 

just like Jesus!!!.

Thanks for this chance to use this digital matter to be spiritually together here.

                         Holding all of us in

                         The Love Who is God,

                         Matter, Spirit, Mystery,

                              John Frank


     A warm hearted welcome to all joining in here for the first time.

Our gathering was blessed this week with a large number of new folks from 

                             Uganda and Indonesia.

                 Delighted to have your good company!!


                          " frankly speaking"

                        spirituality for the street

               - posted online each Thursday evening

                          east coast USA time


               - available by automatic email delivery each week

                        sign up top above here.

           Looking forward to all of us being together next week. 

                               See you then.

                            Have a great week!!