Thursday, March 9, 2017


"Please make sure your seat belt is fastened. 
We're beginning our initial descent." 
a typical flight attendant


Entropy is the spontaneous and unremitting tendency in the universe toward disorder unless there is an opposing force working against it. People, like homes, when they are left alone fall into decay. Even fruits and vegetables, unless something is done to “preserve” them, start to rot! 

"The trouble with beauty, it's the maintenance that kills you!"
Blanch on "The Golden Girls"

All my life I have been healthy. I was hospitalized in the third grade for a kidney infection caused by bad tonsils. I had them removed in a clinic. Other than that, the only time I went to the doctor for about 44 years was for routine physical exams till I was hospitalized for rotator cuff surgery in 2010 and a blood clot in 2013.

About the blood clot hospitalization. Man did I ever dodge a bullet! I almost got on a plane to France with it.
If I had, I would probably have died on that plane. Again, I took a "selfie," drove myself to the hospital, stayed three days and drove myself home. I only told one person. I didn't want visitors. How's that for independence? My sisters threw a fit.

I am in really good shape for 73, but now I have an internist, a dermatologist, an ophthalmologist, a periodontist, a dentist, a urologist, a hemotologist and a gastroenterlogist.

I am almost embarrassed to go to the drug store without a mask and floppy hat.

My former internist summed up what I hear from all of them when he said, "Well, I didn't find anything, but I will keep looking until I do!

This is a "selfie" I took for my family when I had the flu and wanted to die! I am waving "goodbye."
Obviously, I recovered and didn't need it.

Sunday, March 5, 2017


Sunday Night Shipping Container Cocktail Reception
St. Vincent and the Grenadines

A Catholic Second Wind Guild fund raiser for getting surplus medical supplies to several Caribbean institutions that can use the help.

Thanks so much to Dr. Catherine Newton, Event Chair

Thanks to Paul Bluel, in the back, who was co-chair of this event.

You can still be part of the project. Send your  tax deductible donation to:

Fr. Knott's St. Vincent and the Grenadines Project
1500 Arlington Aveneue
Louisville, KY 40206



Rev. Ronald Knott
March 4-5, 2017

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert where he remained for forty days.
Mark 1:12

Last Wednesday, we opened the holy season of Lent by receiving ashes as a traditional, sacred, outward sign of our willingness to get serious about conversion of life. It is a very old and public sign that even some of our Protestant friends are chosing to use. It is meant to be seen by others.

The rector of the seminary at St. Meinrad, where I used to work as a staff member, is a a former Baptist who loves the signs and symbols of the Catholic Church. He is more than a little dramatic by nature, so he tends to get carried away sometimes. Those who lined up to receive ashes from a priest who was a life-long Catholic got a modest cross in the center of their foreheads. Those of us who got in his line, got a cross that went from our hairlines-to-the-top-of-our-noses and from ear-to-ear! We looked like we had been hit by a coal truck! We were the talk of the lunch line!   

Over the next five weeks, during the Sunday readings of Lent, we will go with Jesus to a desert, to a mountain, to a well, to a doctor and to a grave to get the insights we need to be created anew.

On this first Sunday of Lent, to be created anew, Jesus invites us to go to a desert with him, to an empty place where there is nothing to distract us, a symbolic place of laser-focused attention.

If we are to be serious about conversion of life, we must first be willing to withdraw from the noise and pace of ordinary life, at least once in a while, in order to hear ourselves think and to receive direction from the Holy Spirit. As the ancient Chinese proverb puts it, “Outside noisy, inside empty!”

Most of us cannot afford to take a traditional forty day “retreat.” We don’t have the luxury of heading off to some monastery or even to a secluded cabin in the woods. We have to “make do” with an hour here, an afternoon there or, if we are really lucky, a whole day.  

Most of you are so busy that fitting in a few hours of quiet time might sound impossible, so in preparing this week’s homily, I read a few articles about multitasking. What they seemed to agree on is this: we all have an ever-present pressure of trying to cram more and more into each moment. We are inundated with faster and faster gadgets to do more and more in a shorter amount of time. Ironically, my research said that the more we use such gadgets and the more we try to handle at one time, the more inefficient our brains become.

I learned my lesson a few days ago. In a fifteen minute span I got a face-time call from the Bishop of Barbados, while I was writing an e-mail to a priest in Ontario about a retreat that I will be leading, while waiting to Skype a fellow island volunteer who was home visiting in Ireland. As a result, I realized that I had booked a wedding on a day that I would still be in Canada for another priest retreat. After two sleepless nights and a whole lot of trying to cover all bases, I finally unraveled it. Trying to do too much at one time actually caused me to waste time.

Multitasking is an illusion. There is evidence that our brains cannot concentrate on more than one complex task at a time. The more information our brains are forced to handle simultaneously, the more they slow down. Tasks take longer. Mistakes multiply. Real efficiency is found in mono-tasking, not multitasking. For this very reason, more states have prohibited talking on cell phones and texting while driving.

What is even scarier is the theory that bombarding our brains with bursts of information is undermining our ability to focus. These bursts of information play into a primitive impulse to respond to immediate opportunities and threats. This stimulation provokes excitement – a dopamine squirt – that researchers say can be addictive. In its absence, people feel bored. I know at least two younger priests whom I consider to be addicted to technology gadgets.

I noticed an advertisement on TV some time ago that captures the spirit of “going to the desert.”  I am sure some of you have seen it. Chevy Trucks has a commercial with “the guys” going deeper and deeper into the woods until they finally get a “no signal’ on their cell phone! With that, they let out a yelp of delight! Maybe one of the best things people can do during this season, and probably a very hard thing to do, is to go somewhere for an hour or two where your electronic gadgets are turned off or somewhere where you can get “no signal” and just “be!”

I guarantee you that it will be harder than you think! For some of you, one hour without being technologically connected will be as hard as trying to go without oxygen! That’s the point of all the disciplines of Lent – to find out who and what is in control of our lives. Is it over-eating, over-drinking, over-drugging, over-scheduling or even over-texting and over-posting? When we “give it up for Lent” we find out how much power it has over us and how little power we have over it! The whole point of “giving things up things for Lent” is not to punish ourselves, but to test ourselves, to find out if we are really in control of our own selves. The idea is to enlighten ourselves about ourselves, not simply to punish ourselves. God is more interested in us knowing ourselves, than us punishing ourselves!  Lent, really, is not so much about doing more, but about doing less. Doing less, for many of us, is actually harder than doing more.  

Friends, it’s time to go to the desert, to re-learn how to be fully present to ourselves, to each other and to God! Are you brave enough to face your relationship with yourself, your relationships with others and your relationship with God? If you are, let’s really “do Lent” the way it is meant to be done - seriously, with thought and with spiritual maturity!  Forget all that childish stuff like giving up candy bars. God’s not impressed! It’s a waste of time!  Do something serious!  Do something worthwhile or it is probably better to do nothing at all!

After being invited this weekend to “go to the desert” for a new insight, next week we will be invited to “go to the mountain” for a new perspective!  However, between now and then, I invite you to go on a mini-retreat here at the Cathedral on Monday and Tuesday night of this coming week. I am presenting a two-night Parish Mission called, “Watch Carefully How You Live.” On Monday, I will speak about “A Passionate Commitment to Human Excellence - To Who You Are As a Human Being.” Tuesday, I will speak about “A Passionate Commitment to Spiritual Excellence – To What You Do As a Disciple of Jesus Christ.”

I am bringing my gospel music group – REFLECTIONS – with me! I believe you will be challenged by the talks and energized by the music. Come yourself! Bring your fellow Catholics, especially those who may have drifted away from the Church! Bring your non-Catholic friends and friends who belong to no church at all! We are going to have a great time! It will be an opportunity to begin Lent spiritually renewed and energized.