Wednesday, January 25, 2023


Dear All of Us,

Please be patient with me 

because that's just what 

I am right now - a


This is day eight of the flu,

and it's been a test of patience

for my caring spouse practitioner

and for me: dreadful,

incessant night coughing,

watery eyes, stuffed nose, sore throat,

my wife sleeping on a cot 

in another room,

sinus headache, Netty Pot

using up a box of tissues a day...

Will spare us all more of the more. 

I don't mean this

to be a Pity Party.

I do mean it to be 

a reminder, 

an example of 

the call to be 


and not just 

with the flu.

That call to patience 

has many reaches,

textures, tones and hues.

It is woven deep 

in the fiber

our spiritual lives.

God is love and 

Love is patient.

  1 John 4:8

  1 Corinthians  13:4

Patience is a lot 

wider, higher and deeper

than putting up with delays

and difficulties.

In its fullness being


is Love purring 

on all eight cylinders.

It means we accept that 

we are not God,

we don't set the clock,

we don't orchestrate reality

as it unfolds.

It does mean we are 

one with God

as God works things out

in seconds and in centuries,

in ways and means beyond 

our say or ken - things 

easy to hard,

understandable to unfathomable,

things as varied as

sexual passion to cancer pain,

or plain old garden variety flu.

It means being with

and feeling with other.

Patience, patient, passion 

all have the same root meaning

(L) passio - passing, being with,

moving along, sharing,

feeling with as that happens.

Most basically there's 

a Creation going on.

It's dynamic and progressive.

Given sin and chaos, 

there is also a 

Recreation going on.

Letting God hold us 

close in on all this,

be part of it,

be active in it,

to feel it,

means in and with God 

being passionately


- in traffic

- as a church renews

- as bratty representatives

  act out in The House

- mourning with 

  a grieving colleague

- as we face our nation's fatal flaw

  and die to its racism

- with a child who straggles 

  to grow up and groove in

- with ourselves as we outgrow

  our false selves

- when supper is cold by the time

  it gets to the table

- when our soul is arid,

- when it is in a 

  Springtime of freshness

- with the aged infirm

One with and feelingly so.

May we all go deep in patience,

feeling, moving and being moved

    in action and reaction 

       one with God 

  as things are worked out.


       "By your patience 

    you will gain your lives."


            Luke 21:19

   "So let us not allow ourselves

    to get fatigued doing good.

    At the right time we will harvest

    a good crop if we

    don't give up, or quit."

           Galatians 6:9

           The Message

This week's posting is not 

all that well worked out.

It's the best I can offer just now. 

       Thanks for being so 


           John Frank



 to our visitors this week 

          from Israel.

 So good to be together.


        frankly speaking

    spirituality for the street

            BEST DELIVERY



              Sign Up

    top right online posting


  Scroll below current posting



         By mid-day

   .     East Coast USA time

         Every goodness.

         Love to all!





Wednesday, January 18, 2023


Dear All of Us, 

No matter the length 

of our living,

what do we want to be

when we grow up?



of all questions.

Our answer, 

clarified and realized,

literally makes 

all the difference

in a lot of the world.

The question calls for

response again and again 

until there is no "when."

Most likely my little Grand Son, 

     Ollie the Younger,

will voice an ever evolving 

litany of life responses

as he matures into his years.

His grandpa sure has 

and still does,

even moving in on 

eighty-three of his years.

Whatever our being and doing

in the span of our time,

may Ollie, his grandpa, all of us,

grow into this lived response:

       When I grow up 

       I want to be a


Now, most likely that's not 

the wording of our way,

but pray may it be 

the living of our way. 

Mysticism is not 

being in a trance

and chanting 


all day.

Mysticism is simply 

living the mystery of

    God's Love

  where we are, 

    as we are.


 is experiencing

    God's Love

deep in and real,

  as well as in

all the particulars of

our daily, evolving, 

life and consciousness.

It's not a cerebral achievement.

It's letting God fold us 

into a mystery beyond 

concept or articulation.

That mystery (thus "mystic") is  

The Love That Is God,

the Energy of All That Is.

The mystic is a lover

accepting unto to Oneness,

God being our Lover.

Mysticism takes us to 

      The Center

as we live its extensions

in the vastness of 


Lovers get lost 

in the mystery of love.

It's constant.

Sometimes it's 

clear and conscious.

Always it's the energy

of their union and doings.

Some of it is in bed.

Most of it is lived 

in the practicalities of 

love actualizing daily 

potential and service

in unity.

Same so for the mystical life.

We're already loved by 


We awaken to it,

we accept it,

we embrace it

over the times 

and ways and places 

of our life.

Mysticism happens as we do.


We all are invited 

over the next some days

to prayerfully personalize 

what follows.

We pray ponder:

     What's the inner meaning here?

     How am I with that?

     How can I be with that?

     What does all this mean

     in the living of my days,

     profoundly, progressively,

     practically, mystically?



A mystic is simply one who has moved 

from mere belief or belonging systems 

to actual inner experience of God.

A mystic sees things in their wholeness,

connection, and union, not their particularity.

Mystics get the whole gestalt in one picture, 

beyond the sequential and 

separated way of things.

A Christian is one who can see Christ 

everywhere else and even in oneself. 

If you want to find God, 

then honor God within you, 

and you will always 

see Gid beyond you. 

For it is only God in you 

who knows where and how 

to look for God. 

Saints embody goodness 

while mystics embody love. 

- Carl McColman 

The mystic is not a 

special kind of person. 

Each person is 

a special kind of mystic. 

   William McNamara 

    This Soul Search is from 

Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation,

          The Center for 

   Action and Contemplation,

    Saturday, July 20, 2019

  We are blessed and grateful.


The past weeks have been busy:

Hanukkah, Christmas, 

New Years and MLK Day,

three four-day work weeks, 

lots of travel and visiting.

If you missed a chance 

to join in here,

please just scroll down

for the last five postings.

If you don't mind a suggestion,

please be sure to spend

       Soul Time



It was posted last week

on Wednesday,

January 11, 2023

and is available below.



           Greetings to one and all -

           first timers, long timers.

           What a blessing to be 

           gathered together 

           in GodLove here at

             frankly speaking

         spirituality for the street

              BEST DELIVERY


              Arrives Fridays

 Sigh Up top right of online posting

            ONLINE POSTING

             Each Wednesday

             Before mid-day

          East Coast USA time







                 to all 

          who have shared

         "frankly speaking" 

             with others.


         consider the same 

      if you haven't yet had 

        a chance to do so.

 Your help is greatly appreciated.


            Looking forward 

  to being together here next week.

               Love to All.

               John Frank



Wednesday, January 11, 2023


Dear All of Us, 

If you want a treat,

a grounding that lifts, 

    A Soul Smile,

please do get with the 

    Pasta Grannies

Each delightful episode

on YouTube features

a different Italian nonne 


busy in her kitchen

kneading dough 

to its potential perfect 

      - pasta -

These weather worn,

long lived, endearing women,

with twinkles in their eyes

and chuckles in their words, 

offer a warm, freeing

show and tell. 

They share their 

experience and way,

vigorously and variously



They work the dough 

this way and that.

They pick it up and 

throw it down.

It takes shape only to be 

reworked into another.

They press, pull, push 

and roll the dough 

again and again.

Each time it mixes

better blended.

Finally the dough is shaped 

into a wonderful readiness 

for the transformation into

what it's ultimately all about 

         - pasta -

Our spiritual lives 

are a lot like that.

We get worked 

and reworked 

again and again.

Our Soul Scape 

  And Shape

is reshaped 

only to be reshaped

many times over.

It can be rough at times.

There's a lot of 

press, pull, push 

and roll out to it.

Just like the dough,

we sometimes 

get thrown down

pretty hard.

For all of that

we are being worked

to our potential perfect.

It's transformative.

There's a child's simple faith,

reworked through the

ups and downs 

of adolescence.

As adults, that gets 

a lot of push and pull

over the years

as we are blended,

kneaded ever more toward 

our perfection potential. 

We are worked through 

stages of doubt, delight,

enlightenment, aridity, 

ecstasy, deconstruct and 

blending re-formations.

Resist it and we are like 

a lump of unfished potential

spoiling on the kitchen table.

Be pliable, we are reworked, 

rolled ready for 

a matured newness.

We die to what was 

to live to what can be.

Paul puts it these ways:

    "For if we have died with Him, 

     we will also live with Him."

        1 Timothy 2:11

    "For to me, living is Christ 

         and dying is gain."

          Philippians 1:21

It's a progressive 

dying and rising,

a reshaping, 

a kneading 

to the ever more 

real, right and alive.

Watching those dear old

   Pasta Grannies

knead away gives us 

a delightful lift.

They are charming.

They provide us with

a kitchen class,

an at home example of

life's working and reworking.

I suspect if Jesus 

were sharing parables 

these days he'd switch on 

    Pasta Grannies 

        for us

  a pasta paradigm 


  needed kneading

      With Love 

 Next to you here in

     Life's kitchen,

      John Frank


If you have 

time and interest,

here's one man's

  - this man's -

sharing a bit of his

spiritual kneading -

so far anyway.

It's offered as an example, 

certainly not a model.

I have gone through 

well more than three quarters 

of a century being 

spiritually kneaded 

again and again,

all sorts of times and ways.

The early days as a little boy

were certainly a mix,

often a mix up.

My Dad was a good man, 

a damaged man.

He destabilized our family.

A lot of uncertainty and fear.

I wet the bed until I was eleven.

Mom was love in person.

Warm, stable, caring, giving 

and she believed in me,

secured and stabilized me

in the war zone of 

dysfunctional fathering.

At the same time there were 

the wonderful priests and sisters.

They provide a stabilizing 

warmth, welcome and wisdom 

at church and school.

I spent a lot of time there.

A wonderous, holy awe,

a God-Centeredness,

was born and grew.

There was a rootedness 

reaching from earth 


It's still here.

A lot of push, pull,

pain and progress.


Then came puberty 

and emotional, sexual, 

psychological, spiritual upset.

Father Joe Sheehan 

was my "father".

He stayed right with me,

steadied me stand-up-sure, 

he got me on my feet,

renewed, different 

and at home with

my emerging self.

A stretching for sure.

There were the splendid years 

at the Minor Seminary 

all through my teens.

Good men showed me 

how to be a good man.

Ideals abounded.

Lots of sports and physical work.

A classical education 

you couldn't buy today.

Most of all I was fathered

ever more and deeper by

Father Anthony Vivona.

He was counselor.

He was spiritual director.

He opened the wonders 

of the spiritual life to me.

He introduced me to 

the writings of

Thomas Merton.

Merton spoke God to me.

He still does.

Those years were a

monastic experience 

and blessing.

More shaping up.

As twenty came along

so did vocational 

questioning, confusion.


I spent a year and a half 

as a novice with the

Christian Brothers,

a religious community

dedicated to education.

Could this be a way 

to be family with children

in a celibate manner?

The Novice Master was

Brother Gabrial

and he was a master 

of the spiritual life.

I still feel his care and wisdom.

I really loved the community life.

It became clear, though,  

that pastoring was the call.

Definitely a reshaping,

a clarifying.

That got me to 

St. Mary's in Kentucky

for seminary college.

Again, wonderful community, 

marvelous learning,

spiritual deepening.

It also involved me with 

the Trappist monks at

The Abbey of Gethsemani

which was close by.

A lot of intellectual, community,

spiritual, vocational roll out.

On to the Major Seminary

at Catholic University 

in Washington.

The church and theology

were in flux.

It was the 1960's and

Vatican ll.

A lot of theological, 

ecclesial, spiritual,

vocational props

were knocked out 

from under many of us.

An uncomfortable gift.

I had to find new ways 

to move along -

new understandings, 

and approaches.

Huge reset.

I was ordained a deacon

in the midst of 

riot and martial law

here in Washington, DC

at the time of 

MLK's assassination.

It was frightening 

and emblematic -

ordained in chaos. 

The church and ministry 

have been rather that way 

ever since.

Repetitive reformulations of

theology and pastoral practice.

My Deacon Year was spent 

serving part time in two parishes.

The pastor of one was a nasty drunk.

The pastor of the other was 

a happy, warm, fun-loving man,

Father Charlie Wilk.

He was also the best

at pastoral ministry 

I have ever met.

He showed me how to pastor.

It wasn't so much taught as caught.

A push and a pull.

A slam down with one pastor.

A slam dunk with another.


Then ordination to the priesthood.

Served in a variety of churches

At one point I was assigned 

to teach full time 

at a diocesan high school.

That scarred the bejeepbers out of me.

Turned out to be a backwards blessing.

I feel in love with those crazy, 

wild, weird, dear and delightful kids.

I also discovered anew that I have 

a gift and enthusiasm 

for teaching.

Then BOOM!!

The Bishop made me

Assistant Superintendent 

of Schools for the Diocese.

We had close to a hundred schools.

I was good at it, 

but hated being a bureaucrat.

During this period, I realized 

I could not in conscience

continue to support and represent 

much of the church's stands

and practices.


So much roiling in my soul!

Mid-forties not exactly 

a comfortable time for 

a denominational change.

Transferred to 

The United Methodist Church.

John Wesley:

     "In essential we are one. 

      In all else we think and let think."

      The Core: Personal and Social Holiness.

                     Love God, neighbor, self.

It has turned out wonderfully well

these thirty-five years since.

I tease about being right at home

with the messy Methodists.

Much like Jesus and his original twelve!

Not at all perfect, very real and vigorous.

            A God Gift.

A fresh, new, good way forward.

It cost a lot. 

Many colleagues and friends

disowned me.

All of a sudden 

I was free to marry 

and did I ever!

Now there's change,

a rework and 

wonderfully so.

My wife is so good, 

generous and alive.

(and she is superb cook!!)

We've become 

Life Companions.

I am blessed, I know it and 

I am so grateful.

We have three 

dear daughters,

a fine son in love, 



"Ollie the Younger".

Lots of learning, 

give and take, 

stretching and being stretched.

My wife and I have served 

a number of good churches 

as a team.

Over the years I connected with 

Jerry May and Richard Rohr.

Great helps - wonderful spiritual guides,

a reframing and deepening 

of so much because of them.

There was the development of 

an extensive Men's Ministry,

one of the best things I ever did.

In all, a major and

Holy Reshaping.

I "retired" to 

teaching theology at

Centenary University 

and also to offering 

support to younger pastors.

Things shaped up in

surprising and 

wonderful new ways.

Now, the last lap.

Leaning the spirituality 

of old age.

Much different and 

a lot of change.

The body wares down.

My spirit and mind sore!

I get to do a little 

spiritual direction.

I discovered a 

ministry in writing.

So good to share here 

with you all each week.

Most of all, 

there's some final kneading

in the works -

just letting God have me 

       - all of me -

just being in Being, 

just being in Love,

simple and quiet,

waiting the final roll out

and transformation to 


 Well, there are some 

Snippets of Soul Kneading.

May they encourage you 

in yours.

In your ways may you 

be open, pliable, 

strong and responsive

as you are kneaded 

forth and full.

I pray for you and 

hold you all in 

God's Delightful Love.

      John Frank




       frankly speaking

  spirituality for the street



        Friday delivery

      Sign Up at top of 

        online posting


      Scroll down below 

       current posting



         by mid-day

    East Coast USA time

  If you can, please share 

    "frankly speaking" 

        with others.



     to our visitors

     this past week




      Love to all.

 See you next week.






Wednesday, January 4, 2023


Dear All of Us,

After the holidays,

moving back into our 

now normal abnormal,

returning to work or school, 

at church, the synagogue, 

the mosque, the coffee shop, 

the supermarket, it's often

"So, how were the holidays?"

Well, you didn't ask, 

but I sure as heck hope

you'll let me tell you about

our family's holidays. 

In a word, 


In two words, a


My son-in-love came down, 

really down, with COVID.

A few days later my daughter

more mildly so, but

handicapped in care 

of spouse and out of school, 

vigorously active and yet 

clingy toddler son, Ollie.

It gets thicker!!

Ollie then tests positive

and that was a big time 


for him and all the rest 

of his family.

It meant the worse part 

of a whole week with 

stung out symptom starts

and consequent strung out 

quarantine times.

This when all were 

fully vaxed/boosted!


Forget Channukah 

get togethers,

forget Christmas 

at church,

forget a week plus off 

for leisure and outings,

forget getting together 

for New Years 


the whole extended family

had been together the days 

before all this started.

Every last one exposed.

So, testing every morning,

wonder/worry that others 

would negatively be positive,

the whole family 

cloistered in place,


Down but not out.


We rescheduled the holidays.

We defaulted to our own

      Movable Feasts



       New Years

  TBA in the new year.

It won't be as early 

in the new year

as we hoped after Ollie got sick.

Yet another daughter 

came down with COVID 

midway between 

"Calander Christmas"

and New Year's Day.

For us both Christmas 

and New Years so far 

are four times over 

Moveable Feasts.

What we are dealing with

is what we all deal with

across the span of our days.

We make plans, 

we set dates 

and then life happens.

    So much of

our spiritual living

     is such so.

     It is more

  Movable Feasts


set, solid and stable

any and everythings.

The Buddhists are out front

with the awareness

that there is no such thing as


Physicists and astronomers

are catching on that 

all is relational flow.

Mystics in their own ways 

see and say that 

The Being we call God

is constant Communion,

giving and receiving,

more an active verb

than a stone set noun.

That's the Christian sense 

of Trinity.

Our spiritual living

plunges us into the 

     Spirit Flow

    It's dynamic, 




  cascading forth

     in creative

     God Love.

It seems The Spirit 

doesn't know the word

      or fiction 


We do.

We do well to undo.

In our tentativeness,

in our desire to stabilize,

set in safe cement,

to control and direct,

we often worship 

a faux god 

of our own making

and end up upended.

It's a no go when 

we try to damn up 

the dynamic of 

    The Spirit

        in a 

pool of predictable

safety and security.

    The Spirit

will have none of it.

Too darn delighted 


marvel upon marvel, 

 creating boundless

  good and beauty

and flow filling the gaps  

evils have as stirred, 

way too dynamic 

 to take an early retirement

and spend forever 

playing penuckle and

collecting coupons for 

Early Bird Specials.

Hum, wonder if perhaps  

Dante would care to use  

that imagery in his

 next edition of

   The Inferno


The name of the game 



Our bodies change, 

our consciousness, 

our evaluations, 

our relationships,

our circumstances,

our experiences,

our opportunities, 

our challenges,

our gifts and graces,

our spiritual maturing,

our religious practices,




 all and every 

    in flux,

 in Spirit Flow. 

To be current

is to be in free flow.

We are invited 

to forth flow from 

the birth channel 

    to being 

death channeled

    into the 

Ocean of Surprise, 

the one with 

    no bottom 

    no boundary

joyously immersed 



    Limitless Love

Between birth and death 


    sometimes as 

expected and planned,

    more often as 

    shift and adjust. 

Both/And it's 

the mystery of

 Flow Go Grow

When we or others

try to block

The Spirit Flow

it sets up whirlpools

of pain and chaos.

Damming is damming.

It hurts.

     The Spirit 

isn't stopped, though,

and we don't have 

to be either.

It can make for 

a rough ride,

a smooth ride.

Either/Both Ways 


  The Spirit 

     it's a 

  go get on.

 A Best Practice

in our spiritual living is

lighten up,

loosening up,

flow freely in

smooth or rough 

waters and times.,

flex for fullness, 

even if it means

Moveable Feasts  


movable much else.

So come on over

      for our

   date delayed



   New Years


 "the creek don't rise."

If it does we'll just flow

    to another

 Moveable Feast.

Your Flow Go Brother,

     John Frank


    Just remembered this:

    "No man steps in 

    the same river twice, 

    for it is not 

    the same river

    and he is not 

    the same man." 



 A Warm Winter Welcome

  to all of us gathered at

       frankly speaking

   spirituality for the street

             BEST DELIVERY


              Each Friday

         Sign Up at top right

            online posting


          Just scroll down 

         below this posting


       Wednesdays by mid-day

         East Coast USA time


     Pass on "frankly speaking"

                to others


   This Holy Day/ Holiday Season

   we had a large contingent 

   of visitors from 

   The Netherlands,






    among others.

    You are welcome and 

    a welcome blessing.

    See you next week


         The Spirit 

          so flows.

          Love to all.