Wednesday, March 27, 2024



Dear All of Us,

Two days ago 

my daughter called.

Work had been a heavy lift

and she was down.

Yesterday she called again.

Work took off, soared, 

and she was up.

She wanted to report the uplift.

There's plenty much 

of both for us all.

We live our spiritual lives 


There's the heavy lifts 

of things like

really growing up,

getting up from a letdown,

struggling with a put down, 

overcoming opposition 

  and rejection,

suffering injury/illness,

digging out from depression,

pulling free of addiction to

  gossip, media mania, 


getting an education,

career start up,

getting Soul Real,

springing free from an affair -

  one in fact or in fantasy,

striving for justice,

the drag of the day job, 

outs with the in-laws, 

a rocky stretch in marriage,

and ...and... and...

It's a long list of lifts heavy.

That list isn't the last word,

much less the last page, 

of our life journal.

Longer the list of uplift from

finding a life friend/mate


meaningful work,

maturing spiritually,

writing this blog for you 

   and you kind enough 

   to take time with it,

a week on The Outer Banks,

reconciliation -

   finances to family rift,

finding a for-real 

church community,

a Bocelli concert this month 

and The Boss next month,

cold water break 

  while bailing hay,

shrimp scampi,

a sunset beach walk,

loads and lots of life lifts.

Our life, with its 

ups and downs, 

is a lot like an elevator, 

or as The Brits have it, a


At times,

it doesn't lift us at all. 

It's such a heavy lift that

it drops us in 

the deepest, darkest

of depths.

We suffer it.

Life elevates to 

height and light.

The sky isn't the limit.

There is none.

That's because 

The Life Source

took on the dark downs,

suffered them,

mixed in the mess,

Love Lifted Life

Up, Free, Light Bright

All this is what 

Augustine called

      The Pascal Mystery

 the death and resurrection 


      Jesus The Christ

 His life outpouring is filling 

   the void that is evil,

   enlivening the deadened,

   lifting up, freeing all creation

   from every dreadful down.

In a cosmic way and fullness 

it did, does and will do

for all what 

the outpouring 

of the paschal lamb

did to mark the way to freedom 

and new life for the Israelites -

up from their downed, 

dreadful slavery.

For us all this gets 

personal, social 

and right now.

We're all in on it.

The Paschal Mystery 

was a then, is a now

and a will be:

   "Or do you not know 

    that all of us 

    who have been baptized 

    into Christ Jesus 

    have been baptized 

    into His death? 


    we have been buried 

    with Him through baptism 

    into death, so that as Christ 

    was raised from the dead

    through the glory of the Father, 

    so we too might walk 

    in newness of life."


          The Up 


It's a personal 

right now

and future:

   "I live now not I 

    but Christ lives in me."

       Galatians 2:20

In us Christ struggles with 

all the deadly 

hard heavy lifts in life.

It's messy, sweaty, 

bloody, painful.

So much for selective, comfy, 

casual, cafeteria Christianity.

In us Christ breaks free 

from all that deadens, 

all that holds down, 


   fresh and full 

"in newness of life"

Death and Resurrection




"Essential Christianity"

  So, how in our now 

         are we 

     each personally


     all as a people

     dying and rising 

        in Christ?

As it is, so it is.

That's how it is 

with our spiritual lives

right now.


List the heavy lifts.

List the uplifts.

Pray in naked honesty.

Journal candidly.

Share openly with 

a Soul Friend.

Consider, confer freely 

      within our 

spiritual community

    Open Souled

  We meet Christ 

    where we are

   Christ takes us 

    where he is

Trust  Accept  Recommit




      Now that's

  an all the way up 



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     Blessings this week of

          heaviest lifts



          Love to all, 

         John Frank





Wednesday, March 20, 2024



Dear All of Us,

Ever since she was 

a wee tiny delight, 

I've described

my daughter as 

"A Heart On Two Legs"

and she really is!

All heart!

Her name is 

Janelle Lovelle,

Janelle from the 

French for John, 

The Apostle of Love" 

and Lovell, 

a family name 

and heart hope 

for centuries.


So what do we here

   "just know"?

What names us

at our center:

- a sweet heart

- faint of heart

- hard hearted

- a sensitive heart

- a brave heart

- a dear heart

- cold hearted

- warm hearted

- all heart

- lonely heart

- heartless 

- a generous heart

- a whimsical heart

That's more than 

an idle question.

       It is 





who we actually are, 

how we really are.

The heart is our 

    True Self.

The heart is our core, 

our center from which all

radiates or darkens.

      It's central 

in way more than body. 

     The Desert 

Mothers and Fathers

found a place and way

- inside and outside -

to get to the heart of things.

        They freed up 

          to live out 


Richard Rohr and 

Thomas Merton

paint it picture perfect:

  The desert mystics 

  primary quest 

  was for God,

  for Love; 

  everything else 

  was secondary. 

  Merton writes: 

     "All through the 

      Verba Seniorum   

      (Words of the 

      Desert Elders) 

      we find a

      repeated insistence 

      on the primacy of love 

      over everything else 

      in the spiritual life: 

      over knowledge, gnosis, 

      asceticism, contemplation, 

      solitude, prayer. 

      Love, in fact, 

      is the spiritual life, 

      and without it 

      all other exercises 

      of the spirit, 

      however lofty, 

      are emptied 

      of content 

      and become 

      mere illusions.

      The more lofty 

      they are, 

      the more 


      the illusion." (1)

This is Essential Christianity.

Please, Please 

let's stop and stay here,

see it soul deep,

Feel it, well, 

in the heart. 

What does it highlight

in our basic thinking,

feeling, acting, serving  

   as an individual 

   and as a people,

   especially as


 "The Gathered" 


 The Kin Domain


     Love Lived

I'm going 

to stop here 

for those 

who need to go.

See you next week.

In the deepest

  of ways,


   to all.

For those able,

there's a lot more 

to share if you care.

Please scroll down to 




(1) Richard Rohr,

      Daily Meditations,

      Center for Action

      and Contemplation

      May 4, 2015

      Thomas Merton

      The Wisdom of the Desert

      New Directions



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frankly speaking

with others.




After getting a cup of coffee,

or a glass of wine,

depending on our time zone

and preference,

let's pray pause over the 

Rohr/Merton sharings above,

all of it, slowly and deeply.

In one way and many 

it all comes down 

to the up of:

 "Love, in fact, 

is the spiritual life."

Life these days is 

oh so complex.

Just try to 

seamlessly get through 

your patient portal and 

to your medical records.

Basic, for real life,

certainly spiritual life, 

isn't at all like that.

It's simple and 

straight forward.

Yet the young turks 

in Silicon Valley

and too many more, 

make their money 

complicating things.

In that bunch are 


church bureaucrats,

"spiritual" leaders 

and writers

(and pray I am not 

one of them!!).

They spin the spiritual.

They dizzy our heads 

and confuse our hearts.

The reduce God to 

definition and dogma.

God is simply 

to be experienced,

not explained.

Yet, they script one new

technique or tome 

after another -

a storehouse of 


spiritual hula hoops.

Admittedly I overstate, 

but less than an inch off 

from their complicating 

buzzy busies.

   The Desert 

Mothers and Fathers

do us so much better.

They caught on and 

happily got all caught up in

the sublime simplicity that

     "God is love."

We can't figure that.

We can live it.

So, every aspiration

and activity are

weavings in a fabric of 

    Love Lived.

Put better,

in all things the

Desert Mothers and Faters 

responded to 

the God in themselves

and the God of 

what was before them.

They danced God 

as God led.

In suffering, joy, 

patience, excitement,

moment and movement,

they lived a practical, 

everyday, often mundane



The Love Who Is God,

in solitude and in community.

They didn't find God.

They found themselves 

in God and we can as well, 

and well it is- 

in everything

and always -

breathing, working, eating,

sleeping, helping, hurting, 

crafting, making love,

cooking, cleaning, 

raising kids, 

easy, hard,

assisting the needy,

our day job,

being in community,

going into God's Love Tent

   and letting God 

   love us to life.

That's what our 

Lenten Retreat

has sought -

"Essential Christianity."

   "Love God, 



  where and 

  as we are.

It's all a matter

and a fullness of






    We have been blessed by

       large groups from

            HONG KONG



        joining in with us

         this past week.


 to them and all new with us.

        So good, really, 

             So God

         to be together


   See you next week,


As always and for sure,


           to all,

       John Frank



Wednesday, March 13, 2024






        * Method


Session I


Session II


Session III


Session IV 


Session V 


are available

by scrolling 

down beneath

this session


Dear All of Us,

Here in Washington

it seems just about

every other person

is driving a Tesla.

It's probably part

DC Shishi,

part climate care.

It's definitely dangerous.

A Tesla doesn't know how 

to pilot itself.

For all the pluses of Tesla,

Tesla's Autopilot 

has been involved in 

    17 fatalities

    736 crashes

across the land (1)

    In a different 

 time, place and way

    The Desert 

Mothers and Fathers

had to deal with a 

society's autopilot 

wildly out of control, 

totally unreliable -

manner and mode of life 

dangerously defective.

With all the attendant 

chaos, conflict and collision,

they sought 

a place and way

 to pilot life

 sane and sacred.

They ditched the toys,

tools and techniques

that held captive 

and compulsive

mind and emotion.

They fashioned 

approaches and practices 

piloting them free of both.  

    Different again, 

        but not,


     as we seek

  a way and place 

  sane and sacred.

    We calibrate,

  tone and touch 

our life navigation 

     as did the


Mothers and Fathers

     did theirs

 The immediacies 

    are different.

   The direction



one and the same.

We slow down 

to be caught up in

the sweep of

steady, strong


We just don't run 

rapid ruinous 

trying to keep up 

with the folly of 

incessant motion,

fad adhesion,

pricey real estate,

narcotic noise,

crowded loneliness,

paper thin priorities. 

in other words, 

things that are 

as real and reliable 

as the emperor's 

new clothing.


     The Desert

Mothers and Fathers

  wove baskets

  and gardened, 

  We are at work 

  quite variously.

  Just like them, 


we do our work 

as a participation 

     in God's 

continuing Creation. 

From the desert

Benedict points us 

right and real:

     "Laborare est orare"

     "To work is to pray"

 This is central 

 to navigating a

 Christ life.

        It informs our 

 attitude, selection, manner

          of work:

vacuuming the carpet,

driving a long haul,

developing public policy,

finance to farming and...


Like those dear desert folks,

we live modestly.

Our setting is different.

Our spirit the same.

Our housing, wheels,

wardrobe, recreations,

are tastefully sufficient,

not at all superfluous 

       or showy.

We keep things simple

as God simply is.

Our talk is what

is good and necessary.

Our schedules

are paced peaceful.

To help us 

steer straight

and appreciate

the journey 

as we travel life,

we do occasional

course correctives.

We fast from a good

to refresh appreciation.

Our prayer is sincere, 


In it we are not trying 

to achieve anything.

We leave that up to God.

Sometimes we're flying high. 

Sometimes it seems like 

same old same old,

flat on the ground floor

for that.

No obsessing about 

spiritual stages  

and strategies.

We simply show up.

God takes it from there.

We make sure to have 

a sturdy spiritual guide.

They don't need 

a lot of degrees, 

just a deep degree

of lived spiritual wisdom.


We're never loners

and we're not afraid

to be alone.

In our aloneness  

God shows us 

our naked self 


delights in us.

So revealed

and treasured,

we forth to others,

offering ourselves 

         for a

 Holy Communion


      The Love 

    Who Is God.

We are fully present.

It may mean 

simply caring,

generously sharing,

creatively cooperating.

We never hide in a herd.

We blend in community.

In our solitude

we come to see that 

we are anything but alone.  

God is all over the place, 

at the center of all that is:

  out in the back forty 

  beside a babbling brook,

  leafing through a collection 

  of art masterpieces,

  savoring wine,

  walking in the woods,

  in a blossoming

  cherry blossom tree

  enjoying a bowl of 

  homemade chicken soup.

In our silent solitude

we ache at faraway war,

hold in love a just widowed,

rejoice with graduates,

prayerfully support 

social justice advocates.

       All in all,

     Love leads,

 steers us straight,


    "God is love."

  More about that 

      next week.

This week in our small group,

or with a trusted spiritual friend,

let's focus on 

         Matthew 6

       The Message 



The Message Matthew 6

We soul sense:

       giving to the needy



       treasures in heaven,

       "not to worry"

as well as matters above 

in this posting.

As always, 

    what's what,

    how to,

  as we ask the 

   Holy Spirt 

   to be our



(1) The Washington Post, 

        June 10, 2023


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                   March 20, 2024

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                   March 22, 2024


     Coming Right After Easter

          A Special Edition



This week large groups from



          Hong Kong

     gifted us with a visit

.         WELCOME


       frankly speaking

   spirituality for the street

          Click title top left



    by scrolling down 

  beneath this posting


 frankly speaking


All the best 

on the road to 


 We have the 

 best possible


   See you 

  next week.

  Love to all.

  John Frank



Wednesday, March 6, 2024










        Session I


       Session II


      Session III


     are available 

   by scrolling down

   below this posting.



Dear All of Us,

Silence may or 

may not be golden.

It surely is sacred.

Silence clear cuts to 

realms rich real divine.

Silence clear channels

depth, breath, height



     The Desert

Mothers and Fathers

     were being 

  noised to death.

      in Dodge.

They got out of town

to quiet down desert.

They shut up

to open up.

They silenced

maddening mind,

cacophonous crowd,

the no-know-noise

  inside, outside.

In stillness they heard

the spheres sing sacred.

In silence they heard 

God utter them.

In the solitude of silence

         they heard 

    the deepest reality of



         all Creation.

     Wordless Wisdom

As for them, so for us, 

     deadening din




Somewhere or other 

Richard Rohr points out 

that our minds are like 

      a cage of 

constantly jumping, 

endlessly chirping, 



Our culture is 

on a noise bender.

It's like being at 

too many 

wedding receptions. 

The booming music 

makes it impossible 

to hear someone on 

the other side of the table.

Noise swamped.

        In silence 


soul and surroundings

 we hear simplicity -

       what is

        as is

 God Soundings

 God Uttering Reality

It's surprisingly so. 

Silence speaks volumes:

"When I am liberated by silence, 

when I am no longer involved 

in the measurement of life, 

but in the living of it, 

I can discover a form of prayer 

in which there is effectively 

no distraction. 

My whole life becomes a prayer. 

My whole silence is full of prayer. 

The world of silence 

in which I am immersed 

contributes to my prayer. "

    Thomas Merton

 Thoughts in Solitude

"Open wide the doors 

  of one's heart to 

  the infinite silences 

  of the Spirit, 

  out of whose abysses

  love wells up without fail 

  and gives itself to all."

     Thomas Merton

(Sorry, I can't relocate 

        the citation)

 So blessedly silenced 

         we can 


    vibrations toning


     Holy Communion

       So sacred

   Too precious to spoil 

   with surround sound 


     with sound swirls


Soul Sound Questions:

- what are we talking about?

- what are we listening to?

- how much Reality - Godness -

  is vibrating?

In our small group, 

or with a trusted 

spiritual friend,

we scripture soak in 

Matthew 12:33-37

   The Message



The Message Mathew 12:33-37

Hearing/Heading Jesus 

we listen to 

our sounds:

- what are we hearing

- what are we saying

- where is it coming from

- what does it do to us

- what does it do to others

- what does what Jesus says

  say about our soundings,

  what we listen to, 

  what we say?

A helpful view is to see 

Jesus in our right now:

How much time 

would he be spend

on the phone,

with the internet,

gumming it up 

in mindless chatter,

what news casters 

would he trust,

what politicians 

would he give a hearing,

how about religious leaders

and trend setters

  ( if any ) ? 

When hopefully all is said and done,

"Be still and know that I am God."

            Psalm 46:10 


            We listen to



Next Edition

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                   March 13, 2024

        Email:  Friday

                    March 15, 2024


This past week we were blessed 

by a groups from Vietnam and

Sebia joining in with us. 

So glad you are here!

             SPECIAL EDITION


            shortly after Easter






        frankly speaking

   spirituality for the street

        Click title top left


Please scroll

down below this one




 all who share 

frankly speaking

  with others

In the sincereness

that is simple silence,

we hold each and all

of our union here

in prayer.

Forward with our Retreat.

      Love to all

      God Bless,

      John Frank