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Pater Noster

“Receive, O Lord, all my spirit. That which You have bestowed upon me. That which has become me, I give it all back to Thee. That which was in all of my memory. Take my entire will, all my desire, along with my fertility and whatever understanding that I possess. May Your hallowed name then accompany me, with Your Will and Your Spirit. Take my fertility along with my passion for living — that which has come from all of this liberty. Take it, and give me more.” – modified Suscipe prayer of Ignatius of Loyola

So may the love for God and the fellowship of His Holy Spirit be with us. Hallowed, on this day. May you become more than what appears, in your trans-missions. To accompany all of your short-comings. In the movement in the story of life, with all of your deficit spending.

And so the above fertility prayer, with the debt owed to all those who preceded me.

And so the above fertility prayer, like at the Offertory. With all that you have been given by the past, in your quest for discovery, to look upon, within, beyond persons and things … and discover the connection. Inside an institution which taught millions how to pray. Together. And you were thought to be a romantic, but hated to go to church or temple? The one which appeared to be crumbling. As the creed changed in the me-generation from “We believe” to “I believe.” In a world where the Muslim God was awakening Christianity and Judaism. Over Birthright, and human life. And all the conflict over public and private accommodation. As the largest church in the world lost its sense of mission, no longer appealing to distant people in their own languages. More like the days of the old Roman Empire or the Third Reich when people were forced to communicate in the manner of the dominant power. This is what is called the New Evangelizatin.

“I am in love with my God. And my God was in love with me.” The amazing thing was that day waking up in a true reality that my God was in love with me. And the deep feeling within. Over the connections. The feelings. When you were not in love with my God alone, but One Who was shared. With others.

So despite the interpretations of the New Missal with the new creed, as one poor example of this New Evangelization of Benedict XVI — with something lost forever, if not sacrificed — stealing my fervor if not my perspective, the wide-open lingering question to the Father of Faith, “Where is the lamb?” And note the translation of the Pater Noster is not MY FATHER, but OUR FATHER.

“Receive, O Lord, all my spirit. That which You have bestowed upon me. That which has become me, I give it all back to Thee. That which was in all of my memory. Take my entire will, all my desire, along with my fertility and whatever understanding that I possess. I return ‘it.’ ‘It’ being the sacrifice, yet in a much smaller way. ‘All’ is yours now, in a much smaller way. Dispose of ‘it,’ according to the birth right of forgiveness, because Your love and Your Grace are ENOUGH for me. May Your hallowed name then accompany me, with Your Will and Your Spirit. Take my fertility along with my passion for living — that which has come from all of this liberty. Take ‘it,’ and give me more.” – modified Suscipe prayer of Ignatius of Loyola

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A girl without any real religion background in her family life. It was not her fault. It was the way the cards were dealt. What she had written about her boyfriend could just as well had been addressed to God. Because those relationships really were not much different. When you felt as if you might be understood about 33 percent of the time:

“I wonder why I desire. For Him to know about me. I wonder why I desire His pity, for Him to feel sorry for me. I wonder why I desire for Him to have pity. And in that way, help me. It is a bit sickening to me. For this desire is not me. For it is not truly like me to desire so crazily.”

“It is okay that I am just releasing just a thought. The thought may be a feeling of insecurity. It is me stripping away delusions. They say it stems from low esteem.”

“Love and that strange mixture of enmity and esteem.” This girl acknowledges her desire stems from low self esteem. “Because in the end all that is necessary is connection. Because you cannot make anyone feel anything, you cannot make anyone do anything. Every soul makes a decision for itself. Connection is not about giving or taking. Connection is about everything. Connection is about extending. The decision is to extend, to connect. That is the choice. That is the purpose.”

Exposed to the secrets within, God did not understand true expression? God did not understand her prayer? When all that she asked was this connection. She was asking for His connection to her? From what she called low esteem which once had been named humility. “Why don’t you do it first? And I will follow.”

To have a claim to God. Through a tradition. “I have come here to love. It is now the time. The time to release myself. To release myself from all the hurt and anger, the pain and sorrow. It is time to commence life. Because I have a need to love and be loved.”


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The human struggle with identity. There was both an individual struggle and a communal struggle with this identity. Now more than ever.

I am nothing except what I have absorbed from my father. I knew what he liked, how he thought. He had passed on to me what was important in life. I share within me a part of his identity. All that was important. And a lot of what he liked and how he thought.

I spend a lot of time at ballparks, like my dad. With a certain edge. Last night I was asked a question about baseball. I was asked a question about the umpires by someone my own age. The questioner did not know the answer, but attempted to offer an answer. That answer was not close to the truth. I too bluntly asked what good it was to give an answer when you really had no idea.

I did not like the local broadcasters who purported to know everything. It made me think how poor the current generation of broadcasters were, as they tried to project a certain image. There was never a discussion on air about issues like this one, developing umpires. Are crews kept together season to season? The crew chief’s job was to work to make the rookie umpire better. The crew chief’s job was to make this an efficient 4-man crew. What I did not know was, since the day that the commissioner’s office had allowed National League umpires to integrate with American League umpires, whether these were one year gigs? Or whether the crews were dispersed each year with all new crews? If they ever get to keep working for a while with those partners who became a friend? A young umpire was nothing except what he had absorbed from his crew. And then what he did with it.

The new archbishop in New York City was quoted in February 2009 in the New York Times that a bishop’s success as a Catholic leader was to be judged in the numbers who elect to marry in the church, who attend Sunday Mass, or who join the priest or sisterhood. There were not many successful popes or archbishops anywhere, in an American perspective, based on this measuring stick, over the last 20 to 30 years. Statistics show that 25% of all Catholics have left the Church of Rome for another church. Surely those 25% were not attending Mass. And the rate of Catholics becoming priests or nuns had fallen off dramatically over the past 40 years.

One day the crew chief would die and in baseball, he had to be replaced.

All of this was a part of the human struggle with identity. That “becoming.” There was an excitement in all of this “becoming.” In the formation. Of this communal and individual “becoming.” Since I am nothing except what I have absorbed from my father and my mother.

Once a year I went away to this spot of Lake DeMontreville to look at what I had “become.” In that life journey, to actually stop to hear the “How’s it going?” question. To read those Genesis stories, where God asked, “Where are you Adam?” After he just ate the apple.

The journey. With its starts and stops. This year there was a retreat “master.” The crew chief, as it were, amidst the human struggle with identity. That retreat master’s opening remarks were “Pilgrim, there is no way. The way is made by going.”

My struggle. The pope’s struggle. In the journey. With an edge. In the simpleness of the morning, I had started once again on this “becoming” process, to grasp the reality of the earth. And to figure out how I fit into this story.

The human struggle, an individual struggle and a communal struggle, with identity. “Pilgrim, there is no way. The way is made by going.

Chilled & Stilled

Listen to the words of intimacy.

Ghosted? Concerning this “presence,” when I left you! Please come back! If only for the sake of the children. With the help of your grace, I resolve to share myself better.

I am sorry. I am heartly sorry. For having offended you. I detest everything I did. Most of all, for having offended you. You who are all good. You who are deserving of all my love. With the help of your grace and presence. I firmly resolve. To change. To share myself better. To communicate. To amend my life. To be more intimate. To merge my identity into yours. To do good. To offend you no more. And to seek to avoid the nearer occasion of things that made me selfish in the first place. I am sorry. I am heartly sorry.


Memorial Day. Remembering the past. The great tradition. Amidst all this change.

Amidst the change. Searching for God. And searching for love. Amidst all the change.

Was there honesty in my prayer? In my words? Which reflected my actions? Amidst the change in equity. In my house. The changing valuations. The fluctuating currency value.

About that sanctity of marriage. How many times?
There were commissions involved with security. And exchange.

Movies. The Russian Revolution. History was not an illusion. Nor was God.

Real fear. As an export.

The currency. Amidst the change in equity. In my house. The changing valuations. The fluctuating currency value.

Equity markets. Falling equity in my home. When everyone felt secure with equity. It was as if equity was the purpose of life.

Memorial Day. Remembering the past. The great tradition. Amidst all this change.

Beliefs. Opinions. Memorial Day. Prayer.

History was not an illusion. Nor was God. Slavery. Sex. Gentleness. That Filipino guy the other night. That guy, wanting to have sex. Just sex. The nightclubs were filled with people like this. Without concern with equity in a relationship. Without concern for real love.

How to teach the souls of the young? Graciousness. Teaching the “gentle” part of “gentlemen.”

Choice. The choice beyond just having sex with someone in a relationship. The choice to marry someone.

As to those outward signs: you had to be looking. A lot of people passed them by without a clue as to what was going on.

Some got lost in the search and gave up.

Learning the kind of God to believe in through religious education.

Was there honesty in my prayer? In my words?

Opinions? Or beliefs? Communal beliefs.

The Ascension Gospel: Why are you standing there? Go! Spread the news of God’s love.

Communal beliefs in action were more than just opinions.


The end. King Lear. Elizabeth Edwards. Health care. Teddy Kennedy. Capitalism. Graduations. Obama. Notre Dame. The restlessness.

Infidelity: Elizabeth Edwards on her husband. It was “as if he embezzled from the entire family.” Embezzling intimacy. The restlessness of a man.

Notre Dame. Graduation. Speeches. Classic religious education and graduation: how many kids today can look at the Pieta and see anything? How many adults? The restlessness, to do something. The restlessness, mine, at the age of 22.

Graduations. Obama. Notre Dame. The letter. About being engaged in the real world. Engaged not so much with suffering as with sin. Would all these American bishops come down on Pope Benedict if he elects to meet President Obama in Rome when he is there for the next G7, G8, or G20 meeting come July? Holy Gee!

The new world order. In a world without regulations. The restlessness, on display. Capitalism and the new business model. It was about scalping. Wanting the best price. Pure market conditions, without regulation. Scalping junk. Engaged in the world, but not seeing the cost of scalping.

Old ways don’t work in a world of cheaters. It was as if they had embezzled from the entire family called civilization. The human condition. In a world that no longer listens, nor is listening.

The sick. The elderly. Health care. Capitalism. Retirement. Redoing it all. Counting the cost. Leadership. Engaged. The restlessness, on display. But with actual collegiality and listening.

The restlessness in sickness. The connection of my body to my soul: when you are feeling bad. An eye disorder.

The restlessness in the elderly. The separation of the soul from the body at death. The restlessness, on display in Shakespeare’s King Lear.

The restlessness, on display at that party in Omaha with college classmates. Thirty-some years later. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

The human condition. Engaged in the world. The restlessness. The restlessness in the young. The restlessness in the elderly. Abram, with a new name.
The Pieta. On display. The restlessness in the elderly. Reconciliation. The restlessness of the artist.

“Pain is a powerful motivator.” The power in pain and suffering. Motivating people to do what? A powerful motivator even to people who are powerless. The human condition and restlessness. In search of something.

Leadership. Engaged. The connection of my body to my soul. The restlessness, on display in the connection of my body to my soul. In youth. In King Lear. In that sculpture, the Pieta.

Listening. Listening to the connection of my body to my soul. The part of praying called listening. Priesthood. Listening to the restlessness. Abram, with a new name. Making the connection of my body to my soul. Be still!

Graduation speeches everywhere. At a time of spring. It was a time to be still. The time to listen.

The equity in the knowing. The part of God, on display, revealed to me. On my knees.

What is it that makes this day holy? What is it that is making me holy? The attempt at it anyway? The education. Falling on my knees, in sickness. Seeing and feeling the inadequacy of it all. Of me. Of this human condition. In comparison to the Creator.

The part of God, on display, revealed to me. My share. Then sharing my share. Priesthood. Actual engaged leadership. In the world. Listening.

Graduated. Collegiality and listening.


Sunrise. Prayer.

Geography. Ecuador. We studied Ecuador in the third grade with Mrs. Wolfe. She taught about the affects of mountains. Of weather. Of rivers. Of language. And of religion. On people. On people as a group.

Afghanistan. Geography. I have not really ever studied Afghanistan yet. The affects of their geography. The Mountains. Of the politics and religion. On the Taliban. Of Moslems and Islam. Their faith binding on the community of believers yet related to a situation.

Sunrise. Prayer. Five times per day. I wonder what Moslems pray for. In Afghanistan. In the mountains. Amidst never ending war. Amidst the suffering. For the old ways? I wonder if Moslems pray for peace. For jobs.

In Afghanistan. War had a way of messing up a culture.

There is the UTube scene of a women getting beaten, not alone in a household, but amidst a number of men. By the Taliban. Deaths change history. Vacuums were created from the space left by people who have died. War stirred the emotions. The caring for the stranger, the love for the weak, the hope of “little” people, all get lost in war.

It was always about what you did when that prayer time ended. Awaiting a response. From the heavens. And on earth. In geography.

Crime & Punishment

I live in the city of St. Paul but have never been drawn much toward the man. This guy named Saul. I was still piecing together fragments. In this Pauline year.

“Give us Barabbas.” How were people changed?

“Give us Barabbas.” Saul. Young men like him, up all night who partook in the crucifixion. People like Saul. After political rebels suffered all those crucifixions at the hands of the Romans, finally the Jewish hierarchy got to crucify one of their own. It was not an anti-semitic thing. It was all about dogma. Here was a religious rebel. Ah, when politics and religion collide.

“Give us Barabbas.” I have spent time in the state pen in South Dakota. I was allowed in to play softball. I preached the importance of hitting the cutoff man. That day I was the cutoff man. A guy asked me for help when he got out. Then I found out what he had done. He WAS the cutoff man. I told him all I could do was preach the importance of hitting the cutoff man.

“Give us Barabbas.” Those 2 million black men in jail. What had they done? Why the disproportionate number? What was wrong with the system? Society? What was legal? Why did people commit crimes? And even on those who had not, in American society, what of those women who had abortions and the docs who had performed them. They were legal. Sixty years ago they would not have been. Fifty million abortions. If abortion ever becomes illegal again, the question was how to punish. No one had an answer. Not in Washington, not in Rome.

“Give us Barabbas.” About this punishment thing. The arrogance of politics and religion in the foreground of Good Friday. Piecing together fragments. In this Pauline year. The arrogance of the human species, determining punishment. Crime and punishment. Determining crime. How this all became alive. All creation. In 2009.

“Give us Barabbas.” Piecing together fragments. Work. The burden of work that destroys us. Day by day. By those who had no understanding. What was that Genesis quote about crawling like a serpent on this earth. To be made humble. In search of food. Jesus destroyed by his work as it were, by his mission. By those who had no understanding.

“Give us Barabbas.” Crime and punishment. How to change things. How to change people. The method of punishment? With capital punishment? With a crucifixion?

“Give us Barabbas.” Crime and punishment. Piecing together fragments. In my world. In the city of St. Paul. By those who had no understanding.

“Give us Barabbas.” How was I doing learning piety? How was I doing teaching piety? How to change people? Over time? With age. By example. To overcome crawling like a serpent on this earth? Only in death. When there no longer was a need for a search for food. Could only God teach piety? With a shocking crucifixion?

Crime and punishment.

Listen to the composer of the above liturgical music.

Living Tradition

I knew a teacher who had a conference with a student who begged mercy over a mid term grade. The teacher asked him about what it was exactly that he came to this place to find.

I went to high school at a place with a living tradition. My dad had gone there. His uncle had gone there before him. It was advertised to be a prep school.

Education majors and the “how” to educate question: methods of teaching were learned. In a world full of books and ideas, Socratic Questioning was used as a kind of questioning and in light of the progress of the discourse, into a new question with the original question responded to as though it were an answer. That was the living tradition of education.

Specialization was required to teach school. Teachers were all required to submit lesson plans, as if having to file a lesson plan would resolve the challenge of the day. It was one way to force a young teacher to be prepared for class on any given day. These teachers were required to learn not just a subject that was taught but methods of teaching.

How was it all working? This conveying of ideas? Success of a school, of the teachers, was now supposed to be judged, more so than the student. The insight was left to any one-time Little League coach, as to what politicians had done to the education process. The responsibility was taken from the student and parents, and placed on the teacher for failure. Somehow by tests given by state and local governments. Education has become politicized over the last generation, and actually given over to the impersonal portion of the world. Those tax collectors who just wanted your money and were not all so concerned about any of your personal problems.

This was not exactly the age of ideas in Washington. The Socratic method was supposed to stimulates discussion, in a modern world that never really listens any more to the implications of other positions. As a result, there was a cost to rational thinking.

The method of teaching. There was an importance to the liking. Liking teachers. Liking English. Liking History. Liking what exactly you had come to this place to find? How was it all working?

My high school English instructor was now the headmaster at the school in question. He has been at it a while, having spent most of his career administering a large public school district. But he had come back to where his career had begun. To this place with a “living tradition.”

What method of teaching exactly was it that you had come to this place to find? Was there a lack of meaning today? What was the response by institutions? Were the old ways still working? And after the conveying of ideas was done, how was it all going with this living tradition? I asked him at the last alumni reunion.

Passover. Generation after generation. Celebrating Passover. “Let my people go to worship me.” God’s review of His Chosen People. Of all the generations. Those examinations. Of the medical kind. There was the review of systems. The physical examination. The use of diagnostics, radiographs, to try and figure out what was going on inside. The assessment. The treatment plan.

Passover. God’s review of all of it. Today. How it all was working? Were immunities being built up? What no longer was working? The amazing statistic I heard in March was that within the state of Israel more than 80% of the people lived for the most part secular lives. Perhaps they kept the high holy days. It was only a travel show, so maybe the statistic was incorrect. But the Christian world was moving towards those numbers in the practice of religion. Maybe within Jewish dogma, people had begun to wonder why only people of certain blood were chosen in 2009. After the experiences of slavery and apartheid, of discrimination against women, and of the shock of the Holocaust. Maybe people had begun to wonder. A lot like what the Catholic world was questioning about the status of women. Maybe it was the questioning of the modern world to dogma, and the lack of response by institutional religion to suffering. The lack of movement.

Why is this night different? Passover.

The movement in the story. To be deeply moved. Passover. Look at the sudden movement. In the night. A lot like the pogroms. The first pogrom in Egypt. And all of the pogroms that followed.

The living tradition. The headmaster had written this month about teaching. My former English teacher said he like to give a demonstration what it was teaching was all about. He would ask for a volunteer to help him. That volunteer at this all boy’s prep school, would be asked, as an example, to recite the pledge of allegiance. And after that was done, before the volunteer sat down, he would be asked to recite, in his own words, the meaning of the pledge of allegiance.

Shock and awe. The economic collapse. Maybe next year my health would collapse. The real world. This creation. The polluted and the unpolluted parts of the world. In a world where mercy was begged no longer over a mid-term grade but over finances. What exactly was it that I had come to this place to find? Me! This was affecting me.

The shock at the movement. The awe of the meaning. Now I was being asked to recite one more time, in my own words, what all of this did mean in my words. So this is what thinking looks like? How was it all working? This conveying of ideas?

In a world full of books and ideas, the struggle of all teachers was how to convey not just facts but the meaning of all of this. In the modern world. The original question is reformulated with Socratic Questioning.

Too often with a resulting new suffering by kids who are now adults who just did not get the message for themselves? Education was really about nothing except meaning and significance of your life. The subjects that you liked. Your feelings about favorites was always so subjective.

But there was a lack of response, no real movement to all of the things that were supposed to be of great significance.

That living tradition of education, this method of teaching, the conveying of ideas, how was it all working? Why is this night, this week, different from all the rest?

Shock and awe operating in the real world. It was all such a shock. And the movement and response to all of this.

Passover, prayer, education was all about movement and response. How these kids would respond.

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A river. Forming boundaries. Rivers divided states and provided separated nations. Rivers have an affect on people and their lives.

River banks. The affect on people and their lives,over-flowing. Rivers are always changing. The Army Corps of Engineers is involved in monitoring rivers and their flow here. Because rivers form boundaries.

My first job out of college brought me to the Red River of the North. There is no other river like it. The Red River flows north to Canada. That first spring I heard a lot of talk about dikes and their importance. Every spring, with snow melt slower at the mouth of the river in Canada, where temperatures are always colder, floods are a threat. The dikes are built to keep the boundaries bound.

This week the National Guard was building dikes with the local people. Protecting property, in a land where is no protection. If the dikes burst, most people had no insurance. Those home-owner insurance policy do not provide coverage for the peril of flood damage. If you live in a flood zone, your local banker knew it. If your banker is still local. And if you did not live near the river, 99% of the people were not going to purchase flood insurance which had to be bought 30 days prior to a flood anyway. And contents cannot be covered by the National Flood Insurance program.

Rivers and destinations. The path taken. The people met. The effect on river flow. In all the places I ever lived, of the 5 Midwest states, the general public in North Dakota was the nicest I ever witnessed. I think it was due to the harsh winters that are beyond description. And the weather and the rivers never really change. The affect of river flow. It is, I learned in geography class in the 3rd grade with Mrs. Wolfe, the effect that mountains and streams have on developing character.

This week with the Red River 22 feet above the normal level, the Coast Guard has been monitoring dikes. If this was a building that would be more than a 2-story house, miles after mile. The people were holding their breath, after hearts had beat so fast exerting to get the dikes at least a foot about the projected flood level, in the ever changing world.

Is it 2 million sandbags that were protecting the boundaries of the Red River? Hastily built dikes. Those dikes and their hastily sent prayers were all that are left this week. As most of the exposed people wait, with no insurance. For water levels to recede. For spring to come to Manitoba. For life to return to normal. For things that the Coast Guard, the National Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers had no control over. People prayed for warmer spring temperatures that were not above average, for calm winds that would not wash out the dikes, that their lives would return to “normal.”

For normal. For what always had constituted peace time. With the National Guard. And the Army Corps of Engineers. So people could go about their work.

March in North Dakota is such a volatile time of year. When death gave way to life. In lambing season.