Wisdom of the Desert


I have spent the past few weeks working on my daily Franciscan blog for 2018, which has left me little time to do anything else. Next year, instead of the daily Franciscan wisdom that I posted for several years, I will be posting wisdom from the desert mothers and fathers each day. To pick a totally random day (okay, it’s actually my birthday) here is an example of what that will look like:

Amma Syncletica said, “Those in the world who commit crimes are thrown into prison against their will. For our sins, let us put ourselves under guard, and by willingly accepting it now we shall avoid punishment in the future.

“If you fast, you should beware of thinking that it is by weakening your body that you have fallen ill, for people who do not fast fall ill in the same way.

“If you have begun some good work, you should not be turned from it by the enemy’s attempts to hinder you, indeed your endurance will overthrow the enemy.

“Sailors beginning a voyage set the sails and look for a favorable wind, and later they meet a contrary wind. Just because the wind has turned, they do not throw the cargo overboard or abandon ship; they wait a while and struggle against the storm until they can set a direct course again.

“When we run into headwinds, let us put up the cross for our sail, and we shall voyage through the world in safety.”


The Big Apple



Chrysler Building from the Empire State Building

I just uploaded some (19) of the photos taken on a recent trip to New York City. Those of you who follow me on Instagram will have seen most of them although the Flatiron Building photos are there in their uncropped versions. If you wish to see more of the collection, go here: NYC 

Belvedere Castle in Central Park

Columbus Circle

Freedom Tower and full moon

Times Square




Other than flying in and out of New York City, I haven’t been there in nearly 20 years. Leaving today for a four-day visit. Meanwhile, I will leave you with this poem by Claude McKay:

Broken windows

On Broadway

About me young careless feet
Linger along the garish street;
Above, a hundred shouting signs
Shed down their bright fantastic glow
Upon the merry crowd and lines
Of moving carriages below.
Oh wonderful is Broadway — only
My heart, my heart is lonely.

Desire naked, linked with Passion,
Goes trutting by in brazen fashion;
From playhouse, cabaret and inn
The rainbow lights of Broadway blaze
All gay without, all glad within;
As in a dream I stand and gaze
At Broadway, shining Broadway — only
My heart, my heart is lonely.

10th Anniversary


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Today marks the 10th Anniversary of my Profession to the Third Order, Society of Saint Francis. What does that mean? I’ll let our brochure do the talking. You can click on the photo to see it larger:


O God, you have joined to the Society of St. Francis a Third Order, dedicated to your service: Grant, we pray, that being knit together in the spirit of love and unity, we your servants may glorify your holy Name after the example of St. Francis and win others to your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Operation Cleanup: Honey Creek


The clean up crew consisted of 6 priests, a deacon, 2 spouses of priests, Honey Creek staff, and a lot of student volunteers.

This past week was spent preparing for Irma, braving the storm in our home, and the clean up afterwards. It turned out to be a good thing that we remained at home. Otherwise, the gallon-plus of water that leaked through the bedroom ceiling would have destroyed the mattress on the bed. Instead, the bed was moved out of the way and I spent the remainder of the day listening the plink and plonks as water dripped into the five containers scattered across the floor.

Yesterday, at the crack of dawn, we headed down to Honey Creek to begin the clean up there. While most of the buildings on the campus were unharmed, there was still significant damage.

Wrack and ruin: Schussler dorm was flooded.

And reeds from the marsh were deposited all around the dorm. And, along with the reeds, the marsh crabs were washed inland away from their normal habitat. I saw crabs scuttling around in the dining hall, and if you know the camp, you know how far that is from the creek!

Cullum dorm was the only building to receive a direct hit from a tree.

These two trees missed hitting the Chapel by inches.

Frank works at de-limbing one of the 67 trees that were felled during the storm.

And I, along with others, start the process of carrying those limbs away to later be burned.

After a day’s work, a lot of clearing had been done, but it’s going to be a long process. As one of the Honey Creek staffers noted, “We had just finished cleaning up after Hurricane Matthew and now we have to start the process all over again.”


A Narrow Fellow in the Grass



Hopi and Black-tailed rattlesnakes

A narrow fellow in the grass
Occasionally rides;
You may have met him,–did you not,
His notice sudden is.

The grass divides as with a comb,
A spotted shaft is seen;
And then it closes at your feet
And opens further on.

He likes a boggy acre,
A floor to cool for corn.
Yet when a child, and barefoot,
I more than once, at morn,

Have passed, I thought, a whiplash
Unbraiding in the sun, —
When, stooping to secure it,
It wrinkled, and was gone.

Several of nature’s people
I know, and they know me;
I feel for them a transport
Of cordiality;

But never met this fellow,
Attended or alone,
Without a tighter breathing,
And zero at the bone.

~~Emily Dickinson