Wednesday, July 28, 2021



Dear All of Us,

A young man I know

here in Washington

bumped into 

Barack Obama

as Barack came out 

of an elevator.

There was a short hello 

and a friendly handshake.

The young man's reaction

to the chance encounter:

"He's got presence."

     So does God, 

   so much so that 




Our whole spiritual life

is much more than

chance encounters

     with God.

Our whole spiritual life 

is living evermore in 





       that is


There's a fine point here.

And it's the point 

of everything.

It's the point from which

bursts forth all that is,

all existence, all being,

the point that ignited 

in what we call

 The Big Bang.

All that is present 

is a presencing of


      It's so 

 dynamically good,

 so infinitely good, 

  that we call it 




Our spiritual life 

is living our present 

and presence, in




That' so easy to do 

that we make it difficult.

In last week's posting 

I shared how 

as a twenty year old

I exhausted myself,

and no doubt 

gave God a chuckle,

as I contrived to 


The Presence of God


The problem in that picture

was me - yet again.

I was trying to be a saint,

with the emphasis on "I"

I was attempting to control

connection with God.

That attempt distracted, 

drew me away from,

where I was - 

already and always 

      present in 


The biggest hitch 

to free and full 

spiritual life is 

us trying to 

direct and control it.

    Living in 




is like what 

my grandson, 

Ollie, is doing 

very nicely thank you.

Every day he awakes 

a bit more to 

the presence of

his Mom and Dad.

And here's the kicker:

Ollie smiles and 

reacts to their presence.

He puts his arms and legs 

and head into joyous, 

vigorous motion. 

He gets excited about them.

He smiles.

He responds to their

words and sounds 

and songs and touches

with happy movement 

and the very beginnings 

of words and rhythm.

That's what 

real spirituality is -

awaking to the

Presence of God

with soul smiles

and reacting 

with all we've got 

so far in our present.

We are fully 

present to God.

We are fully in the 




As we awake to that

we respond, participating 

in joy and gratitude.

We delight in the 

companionship of


As we get older 

we delight to have God 

show us around -

God present in all that is:

    a good friend

    a great meal

    a fine book

    a struggle for social justice

    a scriptural insight

    a comfortable chair

    a shared Eucharist

    a work of art

There are times 

when we hurt,

when there is 

chaos within/about.



        of the 

death and resurrection

of Jesus happening 

in our present.

Easy or hard, 

we don't try 

to control it.

We let God set 

the pace and scope.

I don't mean 

to be flippant,

but as I got older,

I basically quit trying to 

      force focus

on the presence of God.

Well, ok, at least on 

Tuesdays and Thursdays!!

I just said:

    "Alright, God.

     You show me, I'll look.

     You speak, I'll listen.

     You wait, I'll wait.

     You kick into gear,

     here we go."

A baby asleep in 

it's mother's arms

isn't rationally conscious

of it's mother,

but it is very much

in the presence of Mom.

So. too, us busy at work,

having a good night's sleep,

dancing or singing.

Thinking isn't presence.

Being present to

whatever, however


 choses to be so 

for us in the present is.

Augustine said:

"God is closer to us 

than we are 

to ourselves."

We do well to

prayer chew

on that one every day.

There are moments, 

even seasons, of

immediacy and union

beyond thought.

Our awareness of



      A Cloud 



    in the head

       and a 

fullness to overflow

  deepest down.

On a day to day level,

to put it in the vernacular,

we pal around with God.



    present to union

    - savoring supper

    - catching up on the news

    - caring for a sick child

    - listening to Palestrina

    - taking a shower

    - swimming

    - straightening up the garage

    - going to work

    - greeting the noisy neighbor

    - gardening

    - putting out the garbage

We don't force anything.

We pay attention to


as God reveals GodSelf

in the creation all about.

In the years past 

there have been 

clarity, confusion,

pleasure, pain,

sin and straighten out,

dryness and ecstasy

for me - all sorts 

of experiencing,

or missing,


Here in the wrap up

of my presence 

in time/space,

I get nervous 

and jerky at times 

about birthing forth.

"How bad will it hurt

 me and mine?"

Yet at the deepest

I am already present

where I'm going.

It's awareness that I am

"Present and accounted for."

Brother Lawrence,

the humble monk 

in the monastery kitchen,

got it and gives it:

  " I have abandoned 

    all particular forms 

    of devotion, 

    all prayer techniques.

    My only prayer practice 

    is attention.

    I carry on a habitual, 

    silent, and secret 

    conversation with God 

    that fills me with 

    overwhelming joy."

        Present to


The best to us all

where and as we are.

For me the present 

means to head out

with God 

for a walk and 

then a nap.

       IN GOD'S 


       John Frank


This week we had 

our first ever partner 

from Georgia

 - the country of.

Speaking of country,

and not to crow, 

but to rejoice,

that marks the 

one hundredth country

from which we 

have gathered here 

over the past almost 

five years.

On any given week we 

are people from 

a dozen or so homelands.


  "Behold, how good 

   and pleasant it is 

   when kindred 

   dwell together in unity."

       Psalm 133:1


       "frankly speaking"

   spirituality for the street


     Wednesday evenings

     east coast USA time

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     See you next week.




Wednesday, July 21, 2021



Dear All of Us,

For all its stretch,

apparel made of

Spandex can only 

expand or contract

just so much. 

One size definitely 

does not fit all.

So it is with 

our spiritual life.

There is no such thing as a

Spandex Spirituality.

One size does not fit all.

Yet there is pressure

for many 

to squeeze into

spiritual practices,


and experiences

woven in a spandex 

of popular preferences. 

Trying to fit in 

is ruinous.

We are not meant 

to somehow or other 

force fit ourselves 

into a spiritually 

pre-set pattern

and sizing.

The Spirit of God

happens in us

in all sorts of 

varied and splendid 

spiritual shapings 

and styles.

Our wardrobe changes as 

we mature and change

over the years.

So does what fits 

just right spiritually.

At twenty I wore 

size thirty waist pants.

At eighty plus 

so is my waist

   (a "plus" that is, 

    but not sized eighty)

At twenty I tried hard 

to constantly live 

in the presence of God.

At eighty plus

(we've clarified that, right?)

I let God do the heavy lifting.

We are just together 

and that on God's terms, 

times and ways.

As we ware clothing 

that fits our 

basic body type,

so we want to be arrayed 

in a spirituality that fits

our soul type.

See types and fits 

as different as those of

Augustine, Teresa of Avila,

John Wesley, Dorothy Day, 

Howard Thurman, Gandhi

Thomas Merton, MLK,

and for many, our parents.

The texture and style of 

our personal spirituality 

is as varied as 

western denim is

from Mulberry silk,

as outfits from Walmart 

are from BNYK.

Some of us are 

rather cerebral

while others of us 

are highly emotional.

Some are introspective, 

others activists, 

some scientific, 

others artistic, 


many happily rather 

plain and simple.

God comes alive 

in and through us 

uniquely sized and styled.

I never found 

the rosary a fit.

Yet, I have seen people 

lost in mystical union

while praying the rosary.

I can fall into 

an experience of God

by getting lost in a flower.

A rose is my rosary.

A rose wouldn't do it 

for someone else, though.

One size does not fit all.

A soul squeeze

is a bad fit.

What's going on 

within us and around us

effects a good fit spiritually.

We need to dress accordingly:

 - going through changes like 

   puberty, menopause,

   old age

 - being in good or poor health 

 - going off to college, 

    the military, a different part 

    of the country

  - being single or marrying 

    and raising a family

  - having the benefit of 

    a wide ranging education 

    and cultural exposure, or not

  - living in poverty or

    being financially well off 

  - caring for a needful 

    parent, child, or spouse

 - realizing that our 

   religious institution is 

   flawed and failing 

- discovering a wonderful

   spiritual guide

 - our sexual orientation 

   and maturity

 - first fervor, mellowing, ageing

Our spiritual style 

and experience

isn't something to develop.

It is something to discover, 

to accept and live.

We do well 

to let God lead,

to tailor things 

just right for us.

At times that will feel 

pretty darn good.

At times that will be 

rather rough.

The first is an easy fit.

The second is not.

It takes grit and patience.

God is suiting us 

for spiritual life

as both life 

and the world 

are just now.

A thick woolen coat is 

heavy, confining 

and cumbersome.

For all that, 

it's what we need 

in a blizzard.

Think of Mother Theresa.

She realized 

her religious order

wasn't up 

to spiritual snuff

and that she didn't fit in.

So, she founded 

a new one.

She and her sisters 

lived in the midst of 

grinding need.

They served simply 

and lovingly.

For most of her life 

Mother Thresa did that 

by sheer faith.

She experienced 

no spiritual ecstasy 

or delight.

She had all sorts of doubts.

She just trusted,

loved and served.

She was a saint well "suited" 

to her time, place,

and circumstance.

While we're all 

cut from the same cloth,

we're all styled and sized

ever so specially, particularly.

No Spandex Spirituality for us.

God tailors 

a wonderful array of us.

Our life, to be spiritual,

is to dress accordingly 

and gratefully.


 God Bless Every 

Different One Of Us,

      John Frank


A hearty welcome 

to each and all of us,

first timers, many timers,

all sorts of souls that we are.

A special recognition 

of our regulars from


        "frankly speaking"

     spirituality for the street

is posted Wednesday evenings

east coast USA time

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"...put on a heart of compassion,

 kindness, humility, gentleness, 

 and patience..."

          Colossians 3:12

    Hey, you're looking good.

    See you next week.





Wednesday, July 14, 2021




Dear All of Us,

So good for all of us 

to be here together.

Really, really GOOD!


Going to have 

a try at posting 

"frankly speaking"

on Wednesday evenings

instead of early 

Thursday mornings.

In all honesty,

I hope to sleep better

Wednesday evenings

and later Thursday mornings.



About this posting:

A previously shared


is referenced. 

It is an apt, 

yet painful,


to fix our focus.

That focus is frightful. 

That focus is faithful.

For all the heavy lifting

this posting involves,

may we be refreshed in 

the joyous goodness

of our postscript.



Dear All of Us,

I had just celebrated 

the noon Mass 

and stopped at our 

local paper store.

A man garbed me,

put a gun in my face

and told me 

to shut up.

He shoved me 

to the back of the store.

Another man 

was pistol whipping

the owner.

There we were,

a middle aged woman, 

Doctor Jones,

the traumatized owner,

me a priest, and 

little ten year old Bobby.

Bobby had come to buy 

combo packets of

baseball cards

and bubble gum. 

He stood there 

and wet his pants

all over the floor.


Bobby showed it.

We all felt it.

That sad scene 

is for me an icon 

of what we all 

face and feel 

these days.

As a people 

we are in peril.

Some of us show it.

All of us feel it.


The world wide 

pandemic is

far from finished 

    with us.

Millions miss that.

Millions won't miss 

the consequences.

The Chinese are 

arming for war -

creating numerous 

new missile silos, 

expanding naval power

and sea reach, plus, plus... 

Wall Street is 

a lane of delusion.

Eventually a pin 

will prick the bubble 

of overreach 

and millions will be 

short changed.

Mass media pumps

lethal misinformation.

Phony conspiracy theories

pollute truth, confuse 

minds and hearts.

Donald Trump peddles 

The Big Lie 

and calls the January 6th. 

insurrectionists "patriots".

It's a culture war

morphing to a blow out

of who knows what 

dimensions and dangers.

"To be a democracy,

or not to be a democracy,

sure is the question"

and the answer is 

anything but clear.

The Russians 

and others taunt 

and jeopardize

a fragile cyber system.

World and corporate leaders 

dither and demure 

as climate crisis devastates. 

Institutional religion implodes.

Less than half of U.S. citizens

are even nominally left, 

with more and  

more leaving -

a spiritual drought.

Where do we go?


        How live a 

"spirituality for the street"

    in this stretch of 

    frightful history?

We respond by being


We settle into God,


    to God being


         to us.

As uneasy as we all are,

    we live trust.

We ban together 

and really live 

The Gospels.

  "And when 

   two or three 

   of you 

   are together 

   because of me, 

   you can be sure 

   that I'll be there."

    Matthew 18:20

     The Message

That's powerful company 

     we can trust.




We trade in a lot of 

ritual, feel good, 

institutional religion, 

for actual and genuine 

Soul Centered Spirit Life. 

  "But there's also this,

   it's not too late -

   God's personal Message!-

   Come back to me 

   and really mean it!

   Come fasting and weeping, 

   sorry for your sins!'

   Change your life, 

   not just your cloths.

   Come back to God, 

      your God"

    Joel 2: 12-13

    The Message


    A chance for 

  essential change,

    real change,

     rock real

    centered in 

    The Center   




  We relocate

values, life style,


 Soul Stance.

 We move in 

 with Jesus.

 "I've loved you 

  the way my Father 

  has loved me.

  Make yourself 

  at home

  in my love."    

  John 15:9

The Message

That's way more 

than a motel stay.

It's all the way in 

    moved into

    God Loved





We do a heads up 

   a hard hear 

"But since 

 I picked you 

 to live 

 on God's terms 

 and no longer 

 on the world's terms, 

 the world is going 

 to hate you." 

  John 15:19

 The Message

 No Comfy Casual 


        for us

  Picked by Jesus

  and paying for it

  living on terms 

    anchored in 

  God's Realness.





 We see straight 

 down the street 

"I've told you 

 these things 

 to prepare you for 

 rough times ahead."

     John 16:1

   The Message

Rough road ahead

  We're not going 

       to get 

    an easy go

     so we go 





Blessed Assurance 

is way more than 

a Sunday hymn.

  "I've told you 

   all this so that 

   trusting me,

   you will be 


   and assured, 

   deeply at peace. 

   In this godless world 

   you will continue 

   to experience difficulties. 

   But take heart! 

   I've conquered the world."

         John 16: 33

         The Message

All this is raw real.

I live in Washington, D.C.

January 6th. was a terror.

We came within an inch 

        of our

democratic process 

being destroyed,

of bloodshed ensuing 

across the nation, 

and world order 

being jeopardized.

   I was literally 

   on the street 

- Connecticut Avenue -

the later afternoon 

    of the 6th.

  when a black, 

government SUV

went racing downtown.

Something was wrong.

A few minutes later 

came the emergency

warning on the cellphone.

The Mayor had declared 

      a curfew.

   Got home and 

  on the computer.

 Heard and saw 

the violent storming 

of the Capital, 

forcing a halt as 

Congress was attempting 

to certify the 

presidential election.

Our whole family 

quickly came 

to our home 

for safety 

and stayed all night.

We feared a 

government take over

and consequent violence.

The streets were not safe.

I did what I could 

to steady my family.

I accepted the strength

and peace Jesus promises.

     That night was 


The way we are headed

the chance of more such is 


   Some of us show it.

      We all feel it.

The only way forward 

         is to face  


          and be 


     "...trusting me 

      you will be 


      and assured, 

      deeply at peace."

  Reporting from Washington 


        The Scriptures,

           John Frank



As it turned out, 

the two robbers

got what they could 

as quickly as they could 

and beat a hasty retreat.

The police said a priest 

in full clerical garb

walking in on their robbery 

threw them off. 

The police mentioned 

that they were dangerous, 

violent, drug addicts 

known to them.

The store owner

had to go to the ER

and eventually recovered.

We all were 

basket cases for days.

The store owner's wife 

came quickly.

She gave little Bobby

the complete 

supply of those combo 

bubble gum/baseball card



     A Heart Felt 


         to all.

 This week we had 

 our first ever visit 



    How wonderful


  "frankly speaking"

spirituality for the street


 early Thursday mornings

   east coast USA time

 please consider bookmarking


   automatic delivery

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   sign up top right

      online format


contains all past postings

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I love being able to share 

     with you all

     every week.

     Thank You!

     My goal is 

     to clarify


     to encourage

     as together 

     we live out 

     our spiritual lives 

     here on the street 

     of everyday living. -

 "spirituality for the street"


          POST SCRIPT

        New to my living is 

       Oliver Martin Minnich



           He is a wonder.

     Bright, Active, Relational 

               A Love

  Since there have been requests

           for a picture

 - and am I ever happy to oblige -

             Well, Enjoy!!




Thursday, July 8, 2021



Dear All of Us,

So what do you think?

Is God like 

  a comfy grandparent,

  a lover,

  a genius,

  a Commanding General,

  a best friend,

  a guru,

  a Teacher of the Year,

  an ace quarterback,

  a sage

  a magician,

  an architect,

  a friend,

  a coach?

The answer, 

 of course, 



That's because 

when we try 

to describe God 

we have no choice 

but to employ metaphor.

The part of us 

that is mystic/poet

gets that.

We're not trying 

to say 

who God is.

what God is

how God is.

We are trying to say 

a tiny little bit about 

how we experience God.

For us 

   "God is like..."

We know darn well 

that our metaphor 

is to God 

as a match 

is to the sun.

We experience 

a lot more 

than we can say,

and we know/sense 

that there is 

infinitely more than 

we can experience

just yet.

It will take forever,

and we're darn delighted 

about that.

This metaphor matter

was clear from the get go.

Genesis is an effort

to stammer something 

of God's exuberant 


God's vast creativity.

It used the metaphor 

of a worker/artist

as contemporary science 

uses the metaphor of

The Big Bang.

Now hang on!

Let's admit 

the whole thing 

      is so 

and at the same time 

     so is it 

exactly otherwise.

It's time to flip 

the paradox pancake.

Same pancake,

different side up.

God is infinitely 

more than all those 

metaphorical "likes"

mentioned above - 

    comfy grandparent,

    lover, genius,

    ace quarterback...

God is God 

and we do not have 

the lenses, circuitry,

spectrum nor span

to grasp or convey

who and how 

God is.

The startling thing is 

not that "God is like...,"

but rather that 

WE are "like" God.

What a flip of the pancake!

     Then God said,

    "Let us make


     in our image,

     according to 

     our likeness..."

     Genesis 1:26

We are a partial

of the Whole.

Jumping back to

more metaphor,

we are babies 

and spitting images

of our Parent.

What a "likeness."

And we have 

a divine set of genes.

It will take us forever,

endless eternity,

as they mature

to ever more fullness 

and excellence.

This side of the pancake 

is a mind blower,

a heart enthraller.

It shows that 

we are sacred.

And so is every other

coloration of person, 

those appealing, displeasing,

those similar, quite different.

We are all in the image,

in the "likeness" of God,

whether others know it or not, 

whether we know it or not.

The implications 

for our spiritual lives,

- our absorption in God -

for human relatedness,

for social justice,

for our practical,

     everyday living,

for communal sharing

will take all our earth years

to understand and live

and yet never finish.

In painfully too many cases,

it will mean to reorder 

to loving justice.

We are more than 

fellow anythings.

We are at core 

one in the Oneness 

of our creative God.

    Then the King will say, 

    'I'm telling 

    the solemn truth: 

    Whenever you did 

    one of these things 

    to someone 

    overlooked or ignored, 

    that was me -

    you did t to me.'


     Matthew 25:40

      The Message

    That's a "likeness"

    unto divine union.

      Here's a simple,

      rule of thumb 

      guide for behavior: 

      ask yourself 

      what you want people 

      to do for you, 

      then grab the initiative 

      and do it for them. 

      Add up God's Law 

      and the Prophets and 

      this is what you get.


           Matthew 7:12

           The Message

           What a "get"

  What a oneness in Oneness.

Here's a gift I received.

It all started long ago.

I was a teen,

trying to be real

and not having much luck 

with the endeavor.

The Joe McCarthy Pandemic

was infecting and distorting

the nation and me:

   There's a communist

   under ever bed,

   and certainly behind desks

   in the federal government,

   and reporting for the media,

   and menacing the military.

At that time

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

were sentenced to death 

as spies for Russia.

I hated them for

betraying my country.

Dirty, rotten Commies!

I wanted them executed.

My soul was in turmoil.


Also at the same time, 

I was hopelessly 

tossing about in 

the churning sea 

of puberty

with its flood 

of sexual energy,

most of which threw me 

into mortal sin more than 

a few times a week,

as per my RC context.


I was going to burn 

in hell forever

but I couldn't stop 

being sexually energized.

It just keep coming my way

in all sorts of new ways.

Tough to sort out.

Father Joseph Sheehan,

ever patient parish priest,

to the rescue.

He helped me see that 

absolutely every person

is created in the image, 

the very likeness of God,

even if that image 

is distorted or smeared.

That freed me to love 

and pity the Rosenbergs,

to move through 

the limit of hate 

to holy union. 



      What about 

      our now and

      Derek Chauvin?


Back to puberty.

How about

the sex sin stuff

(and burning in hell)?

Well, Father Sheehan 

helped me to see that 

a beautiful girl 

is not to be bedded 

in fact or fantasy

simply because both 

she and I were hot. 

Way better, 

we both are sacred,

created in the 

very likeness of God

and called to/capable of

much fuller and 

more genuine sharing.

Too darn good to mess,

to trivialize.

Father Sheehan 

helped me to see that

what we do 

with/to another 

we do to God.

As I grew, 

these adolescent insights

matured to realizing 

that yes we people 

are actually a "likeness"

of God way more 

than God 

is like a genius,

an ace quarterback.

a comfy grandparent.

We are a presence

of God to others, 

each and all of us.

People experience

a bit and more of God

through us.

We just need to let the

Divine DNA in us

function and flow. 

Each of us 

makes present God and

that in unique fashion.

I also learned that 

what attracts me 

to another person 

is their special likeness 

to/of God.

They presence God 

by their beauty, intellect, 

prowess, character, talent,

holiness, depth, warmth,

humor, ...

a vast array of divine

marvels and epiphanies.

That's even so when people

are twisted and destructive.

We have to work extra hard

to see through all that 

to their divine core

and God's presence.

Mystics and poets 

get all this.

They realize that

no metaphor 

shows more than 

a shade of God

and that we all 

presence a partial ray 

of the sun that is God.

These are helps 

as we happily fall into

the mystery of 

God Love.

      We don't yet 

      see things clearly. 

      We're squinting 

      in a fog, peering 

      through a mist.

      But it won't be long 

      before the weather clears 

      and the sun shines bright!

      We'll see it all then, 

      see it all as clearly 

      as God sees us,

      knowing him directly

      just as he knows us!

      But for right now,

      until that completeness,

      we have three things

      to do that lead us 

      toward that consummation:

      Trust steadily in God,

       hope unswervingly,

       love extravagantly.

       and the best of the three 

       is to love.

      1 Corinthians 13: 12-13

           The Message

We can only know 

so much now.

But nothing to keep us

from experiencing

way more and ever more

in mystical embrace.

Lovers entwined 

aren't bothering to know

because they are lost 

in the wonder of each other.

So it is with us in God

and God in us entwined.

God metaphor 

gets us to first.

Experiencing God 

in others

gets us to second.

Making God Love

is a Home Run.

It's not a 

limited metaphor.

We have it on good, 

on God authority.

We are wanted 

by what we want:

  "God is love"

   1 John 4:8

In that Love

and way more than 


   John Frank



to first timers and long timers,

with a special Hi Five to those


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and all elsewhere as the suffer

    the surge of COVIC-19

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In sheer clear candor,

all of then are 

a tiny touch like God.