Saturday, March 20, 2021



Seminarian J. Ronald Knott

present owner

Patrick Murphy
Indianapolis, Indiana

I did not know this painting existed until it came up in a conversation with my classmate, Pat Murphy, up in Indianapolis. When he sent me a picture of it, I asked him: "Who did it? When he answered: "You!" I was amazed! 
 I don't remember painting it, but it had to have been in art class at Saint Meinrad College. I attended college there in 1965-1966 and had Father Gavin Barnes OSB as our art teacher. I must have given it to Pat about 50 + years ago and forgot all about it. It hangs in his house today. 

A couple of years ago, another friend down in Monticello told me that he had bought a framed pen and ink drawing in a second store that I had signed. I drew it about the same time as the oil painting above. I do remember drawing it in that same art class, but I had forgotten about it too. I had obviously given it to someone in Somerset or Monticello between 1970 -1980 who gave it away or sold it. My friend recognized my name and bought it and still has it on his walls. 

I was very interested in art during that period of my life, but other interests took priority as I got older. Maybe art is something I can go back to when I get really, really, really old? 

Thursday, March 18, 2021



I mistakenly posted a "blog posting" last night that I was working on for much later down the road about an upcoming project. It was way too early to advertise something I have not got complete clearance for yet. I tried to bring it back to "edit" but I do not know whether I was successful in "unpublishing it." 

If you received it, please ignore it for now. I apologize for being so careless with my computer work. It is much more complicated than I am aware of sometimes. 

Fr. Ronald Knott


   Random Post-Panic Pandemic Reflections




"Think left and think right and think low and think high.
Oh, the thinks you can think if only you try!
Dr. Seuss

I can't wait till spring! After isolating in this condo much of the time since last fall, I cannot remember looking forward this much to the spring season. 

I want to go walking in the sunshine and air again - even if walking in the cemetery behind my condo is one of my favorite places to walk. It's a favorite because I can usually walk uninterrupted by stop lights, street intersections, bicycles, baby strollers and others who like to walk. Yes, there are acres of dead people lying around everywhere, but in the spring there always seems to be something blooming to distract you from that grim reality. 

Yes, there is nothing to make you appreciate your life more than walking among the dead on a spring day with its fresh air and sunshine! The stark contrast between those of us who are long dead and those of us who are still living, will make you appreciate being on this side of the turf all that much more. For that very reason, I firmly believe that cemeteries are not only for the dead, but they also serve an important purpose for the living. If you are battling "the blues," "feeling sorry for yourself" or simply recovering from COVID "cabin fever," take a nice long spring walk in a cemetery. It could certainly cheer you right up!

My time walking in the cemetery is never wasted. I read in an article recently that one of the benefits of fresh air and sunshine is that it can help spark creativity. Taking a break from intense thinking and relaxing our mind can help us to generate new ideas and have a new perspective on things, thereby making us more productive.

Last summer, as I was walking, reading and admiring the hundreds of crumbling, moss-covered tombstones, I was reminded of an idea that I had several years back that has gone nowhere. The only explanation I have for such a good idea going nowhere is that it is probably an idea ahead of its time! That's sad because it would resolve one of society's biggest struggles and that is what to do with the dead without creating more problems for the living. I agree that we can't keep taking over more and more acres of property to build new cemeteries with huge monuments that need an army of workers to mow around and "keep up.". Neither do I think we should be using tons of precious fuel to turn bodies into ashes and then throwing them into the sea or out of airplanes (or worse having their mantled urns show up in yard sales), never to be remembered again! 

Yes, we have the technology to solve the ecology problem that more cemeteries would create and the problem of an ever expanding number of human corpses coming down the line while keeping our tradition of visiting their "resting place."  I think we should be buying up more public park land where we can bury the dead. This "new cemetery" model would not use headstones to identify whose lot is whose. No more using huge amounts of precious fuel to "cremate" a body. Everything that goes into the ground would be biodegradable. All you need would be a GPS to identify the "very spots" where your loved ones lie. You could then go to that very spot when you wanted to visit their "resting place." As more and more people die, more and more open park spaces for the living to enjoy would be created, while the "remains" of the deceased would continued to be respected. 

OK! I understand! It's an idea ahead of its time! When the breakthrough does comes, remember that I had this idea! The sign at the entrance to this new burial park will read "This is Knott a cemetery!"   And again, maybe Knott!

Tuesday, March 16, 2021


 Random Post-Panic Pandemic Reflections



Recently, while trying to maintain my sanity during this COVID-19 pandemic, I had time to post a list of some of my "life's unanswered questions."  I listed (11) questions altogether. Well, you should have suspected that there would be more! Let me start where I left off! 

(12) Why do so many people pronounce the word "asked" as "axed.?" If a person "axed" a question, did they take a hatchet to it and chopped it up? 

(13) Why do people park their grocery carts in the middle of the isle and then go off and look for something until you drag their cart out of the way and they come back to it and say predictably, "Oh, sorry!"  "If you are so "sorry," why do you repeat the process in the next five isles before you check out?"  

(14) Why do some of those poor guys who hold up "homeless" signs in the intersection insist on smoking a cigarette for the world to see while waiting for people to give them some change? I want to stop and give them a dollar and this free tip on fundraising. "Look, friend, people know that cigarettes are expensive! They are not going to give you money for food if they see you wasting it on cigarettes! At least go somewhere out of sight, maybe behind the bushes, for a smoke! That might help you bring in more cash!" 

(15) Does anybody ever actually win a Readers Digest Sweepstakes? Really, would you open your front door to a bunch of giggling strangers carrying roses and balloons and expect them to hand you $5,000-A-Week-For-Life? Would it not be better to call the police? 

(16) One of the downsides of using a treadmill in front of the TV in the afternoon is what's available to watch! Why do so many lawyers advertise during the afternoon when there are so many shows like "Maury" and "Jerry Springer" showcasing simpleminded people who are so willing to have their stupidity "used" in front of an even more half-witted audience willing to cheer them on? 

(17) Why would anyone fall for an on-line scammer offering to give them $10,000,000.00 on their deathbeds if they would just send them their bank account information and Social Security number so they can "deposit" it? Are there that many stupid people out there roaming our streets? Never mind! I think I already know the answer to this one! 

(18) Another one of the downsides of using a treadmill in front of the TV in the evening is again what's available to watch! I am still waiting for just one successful marriage on "Love at First Sight" and "Forty Day Romance." With that much gullibility and naivete going around, maybe the old "arranged marriages" were not such a bad idea after all! Shouldn't they just let people with more sense find them a life partner! Wouldn't that cause less hysteria, heartache and ruin? 

(19) What makes us fascinated with "train wrecks," "car crashes" and other horrible disasters that other people experience?  Whoever thought we would have popular TV programs today like "Doctor Pimple Popper" where we can watch a dermatological surgeon remove huge lipomas, cysts and blackheads from other people's bodies? Who ever thought we would have popular TV programs like "Ridiculousness" where we can watch people being set up for possibly life-threatening falls, crashes and misshapes for others to laugh at?  Who ever thought we would have popular TV programs today like "My Feet Are Killing Me" where we could watch two podiatrist surgeons tackle the extreme and bizzare foot deformities of desperate patients? They all seem to be associated with "schadenfreude," "the taking pleasure in the sufferings of others." Why are these kinds of TV programs proliferating in such numbers? 

(20) What's wrong with me that I would even notice such stuff, much less write about it? Maybe that's a question none of us should touch?  No, don't even think about it! 

Sunday, March 14, 2021



Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

John 3:14-21

If you have ever been in the hospital or flipped through the phone book looking for a physician, you’ve probably seen the image – two winged serpents wrapped around a staff. It is known as the caduceus. Even though there is some confusion with another "one snake" Greek symbol, the two-serpent symbol wrapped around a pole has been the symbol of the American medical profession for nearly a hundred years – a decidedly odd symbol for doctors until you begin to investigate where it came from and its underlying meaning.

This ancient symbol of healing is mentioned in the Book of Numbers and referred to in the gospel today. On their trek across the desert from the slavery of Egypt to the freedom of the Promised Land, the People of God underwent all sorts of trials and troubles. The one mentioned today is their plague of biting, winged serpents. After praying for delivery from this awful plague, God instructs Moses to make a bronze image of the same serpents, put it on a pole and invite the people to take a good hard look at it. When they looked at it long and hard, they recovered.

Now this may sound like some kind of voodoo magic, but it isn’t! It’s primitive psychology! All you who benefit from the services of nurses, doctors, psychologists and mental health professionals, listen up! What Moses did here is still good practice! What he is saying here is that the road to healing is always through facing the problem and looking at it squarely. Looking away and failing to look at problems squarely is the best way to keep those problems going and even worsening!

As the comedians say, "Denial is more than a river in Egypt!" The worst thing you can do, if you have a mysterious lump on your body, is to pretend it isn’t there! You need to pay close attention to it and have a professional examine it carefully - and as soon as possible. The worst thing to do is to look the other way and pretend that it isn’t there! Healing begins with noticing - whether it is a health problem or a relationship problem. 

The worst thing you can do, if you are having financial problems, is to keep on spending and pretending that the problem doesn’t really exist! If you are having such problems, you need to face some hard facts and get some help as soon as possible. The worst thing to do is to look away and pretend the problem does not exist! Recovery begins with squarely facing that which is painful to face!

The worst thing you can do, if you or one of your friends has a drinking or drug problem, is to look away and pretend that it isn’t there! Reality must be faced squarely and help must be sought as soon as possible. The worst thing to do is to look away and pretend the problem does not exist! Recovery begins with facing facts squarely! That’s why people in AA must first be able to say to themselves and others, “I am an alcoholic!” After that, their healing can begin!

We live in a world that has avoidance down to a fine art! If we don’t like something, we look away! Nowhere is it more obvious than mushrooming credit card debt, when people spend and spend when they can barely pay the interest, even using one credit card to pay the interest on another!

Nowhere is this tendency more obvious than in our national obesity problem. I read the other day that more than 70% of all Americans are overweight or obese! Instead of facing this problem, every time we sit down to eat, we keep stuffing our faces with massive amounts of bad food, while we wait for that magic pill that will "melt fat away as we sleep." According to Dr. Phil, for the first time in our history the next generation will die younger than their parents because of obesity related problems.

Moses didn’t put it this way, but this is what he meant – all of us need to “wake up and smell the coffee” in several areas of our lives! As a culture, we are addicted to our denial. Whatever it is, we need to open our eyes and take a good hard look at reality and quit going to sleep just because it is more comfortable and because it feels good for the moment!

On a spiritual level, as the gospel reminds us today, we also need to look at Jesus dying on the cross. We need to take some time to look at it intently this Lent and try to  understand what it means for us and the rest of the world. We do that quite dramatically on Good Friday when we uncover the cross and we are traditionally given the opportunity to come forward and kiss it! 

Lent, my sisters and brothers, is about facing ourselves, facing our addictions and owning them, facing our wasteful habits and owning them, facing our shabby treatment of others and owning that and facing our sins and owning them. Lent is about taking a long, loving look at reality as a path to healing and forgiveness! Anything else is just a silly waste of time!