Friday, January 24, 2020


                One good thing.
      I don't need to buy an expensive  STAIRMASTER. 
              I get plenty of exercise this way.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2020



Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.
Mark Twain

There ought to be a room in every house to swear in. It's dangerous to have to repress an emotion like that.
Mark Twain

I don't have a room in my house where I can "let it out," that's why I own a car! It's private in there. The windows are rolled up. The radio is on. Nobody can hear me, but me. I hold my head down in case somebody can read lips. I hope God understands that sometimes I need a little of the "relief" that Mark Twain wrote about so eloquently! 

Are you shocked? 
Well, get over it! 
I don't care if you approve or not! 
I'm retired! I'm old! I don't need permission! 
It's the cheapest therapy I know of! 
It has helped me through many a tough spot!
I think it may even be an inherited condition! 
I always feel much better afterwards! 
Besides, when I am finished, I usually go back to trying to be pious!

Sunday, January 19, 2020


Because of a schedule change at the Cathedral today, in place of a Sunday homily on today's readings, I offer instead a reflection on

the fear of silence

Rising very early before dawn, he left and
went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Mark 1:29-39

I love this story about Jesus getting up early in the morning to go off by himself for some silent prayer. Notice some of the things it says right before he got up early, before dawn, to be by himself in silence. “Everybody was looking for him.” “The whole town was gathered at the door.” “They brought to him all who were sick or possessed.” “He cured many of the sick and drove out their demons.” After all that, it says he rests, prays for direction and then moves on to another town to minister to the people there.

This is the pace and pattern of Jesus’ ministry – frantic activity, withdrawal and rest, prayer for clarity and then back to work!  We see it here and we see it again and again. In chapter six, after an especially busy time, it says that Jesus took his apostles to a deserted place to rest and pray before going back to work. “People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat!”

For many people today, this kind of silence can be downright scary. There is a term for it – sadatephobia. This “fear of silence” was relatively unheard of  fifty years ago, but today psychotherapists are seeing large numbers of individuals with this fear and they believe the numbers will continue to rise in the coming decades.

Many experts believe that technology has given rise to the constant need for sound, therefore producing a greater number of people suffering from sadatephobia. For many more people, not just the young anymore, it is impossible to sit in a quiet room for even a few minutes without their phones, music, TV, constant talking or even the noise of traffic around them.

I have suspected for a long time now that there is, as well, a connection between the noise level of the world and the loss of our sense of the divine.  Simply put, it seems to me that the world is so noisy today that even God can’t get a word in edgewise!

There is a beautiful moment in the Bible when the prophet Elijah feels God’s presence. The Scriptures say that a powerful wind tore the mountains apart, but God was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but God was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. It was the whisper of God. God doesn’t yell, he whispers. Maybe that is why we can’t hear him too well these days.

Maybe the best Lenten resolution we can make, and maybe the hardest to keep, is to deliberately embrace some real extended silence.