My grace is sufficient

Today was one of those year ending days in school when it all got a bit overwhelming with tests, test results, people who needed help. I was down and shared that with my colleague and friend David who always has a good word or joke to share. His enthusiasm and kindness are legendary. Today while we were sharing, he told me that the important things in teaching and learning are not the test scores, but the impact that we educators have on our students. He related how he had seen students vying to be the first to enter my classroom each day. Later in the morning I received a scripture quote from him which helped to buoy my spirits.

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” Jeremiah 31:25

That’s one more way that he encouraged and strengthened me. It was a God send on a very taxing day. Our principal was equally kind to me and encouraged me as only principals can do. During the day as I walked the halls another of my favorite quotes kept me afloat.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10


Thank you to Dave and Tom and all who reminded me that we are brothers and sisters and that community is more important than anything else in the world.

Where to begin

This year has been busy and positive. A year ago I was thinking retirement and now, well let’s say that’s no longer part of my vocabulary. I planned none of it and have just gone where the spirit has led. We just spent a weekend in Rochester celebrating our little boy’s 26th birthday and enjoying the incredibly warm weather too. Good food and good friends too. Meeting Devin’s girl friend’s family and enjoying a special dinner with them too. Easter breakfast at Jines on Park Avenue and then a leisurely drive home through the Genesee River valley with a stop in Piffard at Abbey of the Genesee. Some quite time in the chapel and then a walk around the grounds. Time with Our Lady of the Genesee and then a quiet drive through Letchworth Park. All this topped off with a leek dinner at my wife’s parent’s home.

Today is yet another day of leisure as we reap the benefits of no snow days in our calendar this season. I’m planning a drive to St. Elizabeth’s Motherhouse in nearby Allegany and a visit to their gift shop. Looking for a medal of St. Anthony of Padua for Devin. Anthony has become Devin’s new patron. Happy Easter and Passover to everyone. Peace and all good too!

Mountain Road

Today was Trinity Sunday and I really needed to hear Fr. Lou McCormick, OFM homily which included the importance of doubt in our lives. So much time is spent defining what we are and what we believe that almost no one ever gives voice to doubt although you can hear it too if only you listen. Without doubt there would be no faith. In the past nine years since I’ve come to Mt. Irenaeus and become a Secular Franciscan I’ve gone through a series of stages, the latest has been one of intense doubt. I had been thinking of chucking it all because I’m a very non-traditional Catholic and a non-traditional Franciscan too. I am connected to the church more by mysticism than by any other thread.

Today following Mass and Brunch I took a walk along the path called “The Mountain Road,” which winds from near the House of Peace to the highest point on the property and close to my favorite hermitage, La Posada. Posada is the resting place and I’ve spent several nights in its grasp in the past nine years. I’ve also spent other times like this afternoon resting there and listening. Once inside today and seated in a chair by the window, gentle tears came to my eyes and once more I was home. At one time La Posada was a place and it was on top of that low mountain in Allegany County. Today, La Posada is in my heart, it’s a gift that I carry with me, but it’s still neat to come here to this land and to walk intentionally, mindfully slow, listening for my heartbeat, my breath and all the life that surrounds me. The Trinity is about relationship and so are these woods and this path that I am on.

Fear itself

I began this experiment with public sharing of my thoughts a bit over three years ago shortly after I suffered a pulmonary embolism. I felt a need to write and discovered that I can write and some like my sister and son believe that I should continue. It’s been an interesting and informative way for me to reflect on what’s going on. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on my ideas that I would not have received otherwise. Some of the discussions have helped me to better understand issues or gain some insight I might never have gained otherwise.

Lately, I’ve been without words but not without thoughts, just the inability or unwillingness to express them. I’ve been thinking about retiring for nearly a year now. Some of the events of the last year pushed me in that direction and others have pulled me back. On Friday another such event led me to strongly consider the retirement option again. Fear is the only thing holding me back. Franklin Roosevelt said, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Fear can cripple and it’s been crippling me. It’s in these moments that I am drawn back to the wise counsel of one of my spiritual advisors who years ago told me never to put limits on the power of God. Not the God of religion but God as I understood Him. This same guy gave me a book nearly twenty-five years ago which is still in my library, “The Conquest of Fear,” by Basil King. My friend’s wise counsel and King’s book have come to my aid many times and from it’s pages sprang the hope that makes even today possible.

It’s up to you to do this thing just as if you had all the facilities. Go at it boldly, and you’ll find unexpected forces closing round you and coming to your aid.–Basil King, Conquest of Fear

This morning finds me sitting in my hermitage, writing this reflection and reading the words of Basil King and considering too all of sacred scripture and all the other wisdom texts I know and love and what they have to say on this subject.

His agent

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, pondering and meditating lately. I live a life of active contemplation. Despite this or because of it I am blessed. My recent decision to apply to an MBA program has been born of this contemplation. At the same time I am given to pondering the imponderables and wondering if I’m doing the right thing. Everyone including one of my spiritual advisors have suggested that I should pursue this thought with more action.
Continue reading “His agent”