Thursday, April 2, 2020


Dear All of Us,

We rail and rebel at the mere suggestion 

of being forced in any way.

Right now, and for a lot of "nows  to come,

We are being forced.

We are being forced like never before.

We are being forced individually and collectively.

We are being forced to go without.

We are being subjected to a

               FORCED FAST.

Strange that it happens in Lent.

Because of the global Pan Problem, 
we are denied, 
we have taken from us, 
all sorts of preferred/accustomed 
conveniences, consumables, 
and a wide span of things we 
"feed on" - essential to peripheral:
       food, freedoms, activities, products, leisures,
       finances, medical care, travel, entertainment, 
       social gatherings, clarity and assurance  of
       a safe, secure future, indeed of survival.

In solidarity with the vast numbers of people
world wide who live like this all the time,
we can't have what we want, even need.
We have to go without.
Our shared asceticism this Lent,
this global forced fast,
is not of our choosing or control.
That makes it all the harder for sure,
but there it is -a  forced fast.
We can rail and rebel all the way
to desperation and chaos.

Or, we can snap to,
"man up" -  "woman up"
and deal with the deal,
get real about it.
Yep, tough talk for tough times.

Richard Rohr talks tough,
the tough truth of what's going on.
Starting on Sunday, March 29, 2020
and for the following two weeks
Richard talks us straight -

        "Reality Initiating Us"

In all honesty, it is too tough for some.
For those who can handle it, 
it is a Godsend.
   Center for Action and Contemplation, 
     Richard Rohr's Daily Meditations

No matter how we frame it, 
we are suffering and 
likely to suffer more and longer.
It may be how are we going 
to get groceries all the way to 
am I going to die?

I am dealing with both.
The groceries are getting here for now.
I'll be eighty years old 
at the end of the month.
If I get the virus that quite likely 
will mean death.
Put another way, 
I could be dead in a week.
That's tougher than talk.

So where do I go? 
What do I do?
And not just me.
All of us.

At this point it's back to the basics.
Something beyond comprehension 
is going on - has been for as long 
as we can imagine and more.
We can comprehend neither 
the full beauty of it nor the painful terror of it.
We experience both.
           A baby is conceived.
           It's painful to birth.
That underlying phenomenon crisscrosses 
all time, people and places ,
every form of life and being
as creation works itself out.

Right now we are travelling 
a rough stretch of that reality.
We go deep or we go crazy.

Our aliveness, as Paul so often put it. is 
                   "En Chtisto"
So in Jesus the Christ, the Suffering Servant  
we find ourselves.
One in him, we see how he dealt
with the chaos and pain, the forced fasting of his Passion
back when and is doing so right now in and with us.
The time and place are different.
The experience is a timeless right now oneness.

Much was denied him.
Much was taken from him.
He was misunderstood, maligned, opposed,
betrayed, abandond, tortured, stripped naked,
mocked and murdered.
Jesus sure didn't just give up candy for Lent!!
He gave up more and more to fully all - to life itself.
It was a progressive and ultimately total fast.
Jesus not only accepted it.
He dealt with it in a divinely redemptive way.
That was transformative and salvific.
In him our dealing with the terror of
our forced fast can be as well.
In him we live the energy of Love Itself.

So, just how are we dealing with 
our right now, right here forced fast,
personally and as a people?

How are we dealing with being 
deprived and denied our list of 
needs, preferences and way more 
this forced fast, this Lent 2020,
a Lent like none before for us???

Paradoxically our forced fast provides 
a plentitude of food for thought:
why, who, how, what, when, now, future...?

We dare not stop there, though.
The deepest of prayer and meditation alone 
will open us to the embrace, support and strength 
of The Holy Spirit.

In tandem with this, it is essential 
that we reach to others,
seeing and hearing  how they are 
and how they are experiencing all this.
The Spirit will give lead to such care,
one to others.

     Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us
     ("...right now we are travelling a rough stretch of that reality…"),
     looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,
     who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross...                                                   
      Please spend a lot of deep quiet with Hebrews 12 and 13.
      Pray it, ponder it. It is tough talk for tough times.
      It says pain and it says promise.

                                 en Christo
                                 John Frank