Wednesday, August 28, 2013

One Thousand Years

Dear LORD,


I made it to the Adoration Chapel with a minute to spare. It's funny, LORD, the things that make us nervous or the things that please us. 1,000 years from now, will any of this matter? Will the name Flannery O'Conner still be known and admired? Even Shakespeare hasn't lasted that long, and Jane Austen is just a baby at around two hundred years ... but I worry about making it to the Adoration Chapel in time, and am pleased when I do. 1,000 years from now, will anyone care? Will anyone even know? Will this page be preserved magically, digitally, like cunieform, and people will puzzle over the arcane script, the runic-sound-forms of the letters and wonder what the 'code' is that I was writing? For, obviously, the people in ancient times (now) write only to find the Lode Stone or for incantatory purposes. Is that, LORD, what will be remembered of this time?

Yet, LORD, You came into history and, quietly, shook the world. 1,000 years later, You are the most known, most talked about and debated thing in the world... and people doubt Your Divinity? 1,000 years before Your Incarnation, You declared Your intent. 2,000 years after the Immaculate Conception, Mary is the most common name in the world, and Your Name, at the sound of it, every knee in heaven bows and the angels fall on their faces in awe and worship.

And what is this all to You? Nothing. Nothing but the wind in the trees. You stoop to save your littlest ones, but the admiration of princes is but dross, the passage of time is but the blink of an eye.

And I worry about my temporal concerns, the problems I create in and for myself.

Please grant me perspective. Please help me let got of these things that worry me, and hold onto You. Please help me to save lives for You.

I ask these things in the Name of Jesus, the Christ.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Dear LORD,

Thank You, thank You, thank You for today.

Thank You for brining me help today in the form of my coworkers, Sri and Srini, who helped me to see what the problems were and to see where they were so I could apply myself to them properly and to fix them. Please help to bring these issues to a close so that the project can move forward and so that people can do their jobs and be happy doing them.

Thank You, also for helping me to lose a little bit of weight. Help me to stay disciplined so that I can eat rightly and keep this weight off and so that I can continue to lose weight until I am back at my ideal weight and can maintain a healthy outlook to live a healthy life.

Thank you for giving me clear vision and a burning heart so that I can see a way to do things no one else can and so that I burn until I accomplish the things I set out to do.  Please give me that zeal for myself. I've shown my worth, over and over, to my employers; please allow me to show it for myself so I amy prosper my business.

Thank you for giving me imagination and sympathy, so that I may write stories that others care to read, take to heart, and feel better about themselves and their day.

Please, LORD, be with our family the rest of this week:  my girls need me to shepherd them this weekend at the Richmond conference so my wife can be free to attend the conference, learn, contribute, share, and grow. Please be with her today and every day. She is so good for me and for us, and we love her.

I ask all this in the Name of Jesus, the Christ.



Dear LORD,

I offer this hour for the lives lost in Egypt. May those who have died and who will die be examples of Christian Witness and Charity. May you take them home to You, Your martyrs, and hold them in Your Divine Embrace.

I ask and offer this hour in the Name of Jesus, the Christ.


Saturday, August 17, 2013


Dear LORD,

Forsaken, Never-ending, Novenas.

So, I just got four text messages tonight saying I had to respond by the end of today for a contract/job opportunity or else it would go away.  Of course, I was asleep the whole time, in preparation for this hour. Was this Your Hand, LORD? Was it Your Hand that the Google job offer went to my junk email on my hotmail account? So that I didn't get the Google job? Was it Your Hand that we built a demo for the Gov't that worked, only to have Lock Martin sweep in and take the contract on false hopes to only say later that it couldn't be done? From our working demo? Was all this Your Hand? to place me, here, now, before You on bended knee but pride ever unbroken?

Just like Lucifer ... Auclair: 'in the light' and Lucifer: 'the Light bearer.'

Or is it Your Hand that I still stand up, morning after hopeless, dreary morning, lamenting what could-have-been instead of praising You for what-now-is? In this, what is called, the God-forsaken-hour. But You do not forsake Your people, and Your Promises are sure. The only think that is sure is You.

And I look at myself and my narcissism, my me-focus, and see You promise a Savior and 1,000 years later the Incarnation, and I see myself as Ahab, living, hoping, dying, never seeing Your Promise fulfilled. Am I Ahab, wanting something for me and mine, not seeing myself as a tiny-tiny step in a journey of 1,000 years? What is my request for today, when Your Love is never-ending? It's nothing to You. It's a drop in the ocean of time. Yet You care every hair on my head, and when a bird falls from the sky, You know it. Why are You like that, and I am like this? Why are You infinite, and I, finite? And what is the point of me striving if today I hear Your Voice, but one day is 1,000 years to You? What do I pray for when I pray my Novena, then? That I get a job that pays the bills? That my business starts, succeeds, and prospers? Health and spiritual well-being for my family and friends, those that I love? What is this to You? What do I pray for in my Novena? that I be ready when my time comes? That not my will but Your Will be done? Immaculate Mary, her praises we sing, was 14 when You told her Your Plan, and she didn't say one thing about what her plans were or what she wanted. She said, "Let it be done to me according to Thy Word." And I see her example and am not inspired but am terrified. I am not filled with admiration for her self-sacrifice so much as I am filled with disappointment with my own selfishness. 

Martyrdom is "easy," saith I who am not Edith Stein, just one "yes" to You to die for You. This mortification-stuff, however, is hard, and I don't like the sacrificial aspect of in in the cost to me in my daily life. It's inconvenient, LORD, a cross I begrudgingly carry, like Jesus did, dying once for all. But not, because He said, "Not my will, but Thine be done." He Said it for me and for all, because He knew I don't say it so often when I must.

Yet, there is You. And miracles, both great and small, every day. There is the miracle of every day, me getting up and going out, when You know how much I hate it, LORD, preferring to stay in at home and wallow. There is the blessing of me singing "all of Creation" as I got into the car to come to pray here, and while singing, turn on the radio to have that very song accompanying me down the road. Then have Toby Mac sing "me, without You" to let me know You're laughing joyfully at how funny I am and how fun life actually is.

Help me find it. Help me find You.

I as all this in the Name of Jesus, the Christ.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Life sucks and then you die

Nicki Elson frames a question: why are people scared of references to God and religion?

It's funny, in a sad way, that each person's answer to her question is a depersonalized one. They answered a clinical question clinically. What the question begs is "Why are you afraid of God?" Nobody answered that. They said: "Well, I don't know, but 'some people may' ..."


"Why am I afraid of God?" "Why am I afraid?" Why do I put down a book that dares to talk about God? I don't. I dare to dig deep down into me ... and that's my answer for you, Nicki. People fear God because it confronts themselves, very, very personally.

A confrontation very much like saying: I love you.

I love you.

Why are people afraid of saying that? Why are people afraid of what that means?

Because God and Love require everything I have and everything I am. And I know I don't measure up.

And you can sugar-coat that or depersonalize it, but God is God. "My life sucks. Why? DON'T ASK!" My life sucks because I suck and I hate God. And 'Good' King David (the 4th D?) life sucked when he turned from God. By putting God there, you pose the question noone wants to examine today.

So, I could do the same thing here. I could thumb my nose at the facile, unexamined responses, and thereby avoid giving a heartfelt response. After all, satirical criticism is hip. Or, I could ask myself that question. What disturbs me, irks me, makes me uncomfortable, about seeing God, well, anywhere?

And the disturbing, irking, fearful thing is this: if God is there, I have to be there. Am I there? Am I truly there? Or am I just trying to get by, unnoticed, and not cause trouble, and not get into any, either?

God is a challenge to which we have to respond. Job didn't question God. He couldn't. God questioned Job, and God questions us, and the only answer we can give ... is our very selves.

And the irksome, inconvenient thing is this: we don't measure up, and we know it.

So, the modern response is to ignore the question, and to ignore God. No God means no bothersome questions to ask, like: "Why am I here?" "Who made me?" "Why did God make me?" "Where is God?"

God is everywhere. God is here. God is in my heart.

Yes, even in my meek, weak, broken, unworthy, corrupted heart.

Ya remember the Baltimore Catechism and its very, very simple answers to very, very simple questions?

People don't want simplicity these days. They want full schedules, complicated lives, sound and fury.

Anything to blot out the silence and stillness.

Be still, and know that I am God.

But that requires I be still, and to know that I am me, and God made me, and loves me, just as I am, and wants the best for me, even though I don't. I just want to get by and read a smexy little romance novel so I can go to work, which I hate, so I can come home, and repeat that dull, pointless routine until I die, never having lived.

And not examine that the unexamined life is not worth living.

Examining a thing, me, and my life, reveals 'stuff.' And noticing stuff requires an action: either I do something about it (my 'stuff') or I intentionally ignore it.

So, if I don't examine it (my stuff), I don't have to become aware of that choice, and am choosing, every day, to ignore all of my stuff.

You put God in front of me, and, uh-oh, that all may just possibly come up. And then I have to deal with it all, including my very off-again relationship with God, and the shit that I know I am.

Then I have to ask the questions. "Why, God! WHY!"

And then, after I do that, God gets to ask the question: sheep, or goat? Or, specifically, "Did you feed me when I was hungry? ... Did you clothe me when I was naked? ... For whatever you did to the least brothers of mine, you did for me."

And I'm terrified I know the answer to that one already.

And you can be oblique as you'd like, and sugar-coat it, and indirectly reference it, or whatever, but you know, my dear, and your readers know, too, it all comes down to this: Why am I here, and what am I doing with my life?

God has a way of doing that ... cutting through all the bullshit, past the 'but I just wanted ...' ... to get what's really real.

People are so whacked today, that a dose of reality, even a little tiny gentle dose, ... might just be the wake-up call that they're terrified to answer.

They'd rather stay in the stupor of the nightmare that they're in: running, running, running so that it's all a blur, and being blurry, means nothing matters and it's not their fault they can't attend to you, me, or their own selves. Busy, busy, busy, always busy, but never completing anything. Running, but never arriving, just passing by, but not staying to visit and to be present.

The nightmare has it's comfort: it's all they know, it's all they can hold onto.

The wake-up call has no comfort. It only has you and God, face-to-Face. And what can He offer, but Faith, Hope, and Charity? And what do you get out of that, but Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the LORD ... you know, what everybody claims to want, but nobody has?

Not without God they don't.

But let's not talk about God. Religion starts wars and stuff. And it doesn't do everything that it does do, like feed and shelter and comfort the hungry or disenfranchised or poor. Government can do all that for us now. I mean, we've done a great job on our own without Him: Hitler and Stalin ring any bells, anyone?

Or were Blessed Mother Teresa and Blessed Pope John Paul II misguided fools who did nothing of consequence?

Like us, like all of us, like, personally, me ... without God.

Yeah, it's much safer with that God-stuff left to old fogey priests in Church on Sunday if I can make the time to make it this week, maybe. So busy these days.

Please don't mention it in your books. That God-stuff may make some people uncomfortable. So I hear. Oh, you mean me? Why are you making this personal? What's your problem, and don't you know that's not polite to ask me personal questions? Anyway, gotta get ready for work. 'Bye.



Do you mean: "Good bye"? Like "God be with ye"?

My confirmed name is Michael (מִיכָאֵל), after the archangel. The name comes from the Hebrew: "Who can question God?"