Saturday, April 27, 2024


Simply Amazed - Forever Grateful 


  1. Looking 50 is great if you’re 60. ~Joan Rivers
  2. Age is a high price to pay for maturity. ~Tom Stoppard
  3. No man is ever old enough to know better. ~Holbrook Jackson
  4. Time may be a great healer, but it’s a lousy beautician. ~Author Unknown
  5. When I was a boy, the Dead Sea was only sick. ~George Burns
  6. A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams. ~John Barrymore
  7. You’re only young once, but you can stay immature indefinitely. ~Ogden Nash
  8. Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative. ~Maurice Chevalier
  9. You know you’re getting old when you get that one candle on the cake. It’s like, “See if you can blow this out.” ~Jerry Seinfeld
  10. Regular naps prevent old age, especially if you take them while driving. ~Author Unknown
  11. Old age is when you resent the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated because there are fewer articles to read. ~George Burns
  12. A stockbroker urged me to buy a stock that would triple its value every year. I told him, ‘“At my age, I don’t even buy green bananas.” ~Claude Pepper
  13. You know you’re getting old when the candles cost more than the cake. ~Bob Hope
  14. He’s so old that when he orders a three-minute egg, they ask for the money upfront. ~George Burns
  15. By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he’s too old to go anywhere. ~Billy Crystal
  16. True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country. ~Kurt Vonnegut
  17. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. ~John Mortimer
  18. You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred. ~Woody Allen
  19. As you get older, three things happen. The first is your memory goes, and I can’t remember the other two. ~Sir Norman Wisdom
  20. I don’t do alcohol anymore. I can get the same effect just by standing up fast. ~Author Unknown
  21. None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm. ~Henry David Thoreau
  22. Talk about getting old. I was getting dressed, and a peeping tom looked in the window, took a look, and pulled down the shade. ~Joan Rivers 
  23. Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest. ~Larry Lorenzoni
  24. It’s not that I’m afraid to die; I just don’t want to be there when it happens. ~Woody Allen
  25. If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself. ~Author Unknown 


"Lord, thank you especially for sending all those Hearing Aids, Body Contouring, Life Alerts, Walk-In Tubs, Hemp Gummies, Dementia Warnings, Sono-Bello Liposuction, Neuropathy Help, Free Stroke Screenings and Final Expenses ads to my SPAM folder! 

Just let me know when I actually need them and I'll start using the "NOT SPAM" button from that point on! I promise!
Your old friend, Ronald




Thursday, April 25, 2024




The Pharisees began to argue with Jesus, seeking from him a sign from heaven. Jesus sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, "Why does this generation seek a sign? Then he got into a boat and went off to the other shore.
Mark 8:11-13

Like today, during the time in which Jesus lived there was a tendency to look for God in the abnormal. It was believed that when the Messiah came, the most startling things would happen. In fact, in the temptation story we read at the beginning of Lent, this was the first temptation Jesus resisted – the temptation to play into this need for stunts and dramatic shows of magic-like events. The first temptation was to turn rocks into bread so he would have “proof” that he was the Messiah. It was a sign like that that the Pharisees wanted to see.

To Jesus, such a demand was not their desire to see the hand of God; it was due to the fact that they were blind to God’s hand already working in the world. There were signs everywhere of God’s goodness and generosity. All they needed were the eyes to see it! Jesus knew that there was no need for magic bread. There was already enough bread to feed the people of the earth, if each human had the heart and the faith to share it instead of hording it for themselves. A truly religious person does not have to go to a church to find God. A truly religious person can find God active everywhere!

The great poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning out it this way:

“Earth’s crammed with heaven.
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes.
The rest sit around and pluck blackberries.”

You don’t have to walk far to see the dramatic signs that the Pharisees craved to see. Over in Audubon Hospital, there are heart surgeries, organ transplants, hip, knee and shoulder replacements and corrective surgeries going on right now! Some of you are walking miracles of their medical procedures and successes.

Instead of people kneeling in wonder, praising God for his mercy and goodness, we have people running around talking about the absence of God or dismissing his existence altogether. We even have some Catholics running from shrine to shrine looking for the latest “miracle.”

Exasperated by the blindness of the Pharisees’ inability to see the evidences of God right under their noses, and sighing loud enough for all to hear, Jesus gets in a boat and leaves them standing there scratching their heads!

Tuesday, April 23, 2024


 After surviving my recent surgery and accompanying health crisis in January, I think enough time has elapsed for a bit of humor about the situation.  Being sick isn't funny, but some of the things that cross your mind when you are sick can be scary, a little paranoid and even curious.  

While I was sick, my dryer broke down, the folding closet door in the guestroom fell off its hinges, the battery in my car decided to die, my washer acted up, the electricity went off for about 30 minutes one cold night before it came back on, one of the plastic panels on the sliding glass door broke and the whole valance fell to the floor while trying to reattach it, the heavy platter on top of my kitchen cabinets finally twisted the whole row of trim and caused it to fall off and onto the floor.  At one point, it was starting to get humorous! 

Sunday, April 21, 2024


I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves
the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. I am the
good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me.
John 10:11-18

The Latin word for a “shepherd” is a “pastor.” As you await the arrival of the who will be shepherding this flock as your new “pastor,” it might be a good time to talk to you about the qualities of a “good shepherd” – the qualities of a “good pastor!”

As some of you know, I used to teach seminarians about “spiritual and pastoral leadership” who were about to be ordained priests, over at St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana. When I began to teach that course, I looked around for texts that I could use on the subject of “spiritual leadership” only to find out that there was a shocking lack of material on the particular subject. Most of the books I came across focused on personal spirituality (mostly Catholic) or parish management (mostly Protestant).  As a result, after several years of teaching that course, I decided to write this little text book for my class entitled The Spiritual Leadership of a Parish Priest: On Being Good and Good at It. The thesis of this book is that personal holiness is essential for a young priest, but it is not enough for becoming a “pastor.” The skills and ability to lead others to holiness is also needed. Even Pope Benedict XVI noted that it was easier for him to define the truth in the CDF than it was to inspire and motivate people to want to live it as the Pope.    

I define “spiritual leadership” in this book as the ability to influence people to move from where they are to where God wants them to be through invitation, persuasion, example and the skillful use of the Church’s rites, rituals and rules. The focus of “spiritual leadership” is on an internal movement to deeper discipleship.  The focus of “pastoral leadership” is on an skillful use of the external tools of the Church and the ability to coordinate the charisms within the community in making that happen.

This idea is confirmed in Scripture in Jesus’ teaching today on “the Good Shepherd.” In that Greek text, there are at least two possible words for “good,” agathos and kalos. Agathos means “good” as in “morally good,” while kalos means “good” as in “good at” or “effective at” something. The “Good Shepherd,” in the gospel” is said to be kalos, “good at shepherding.” Personal holiness and goodwill alone in a designated spiritual leader will not suffice. He must also be effective if he is to be a real spiritual leader.  In other words, today’s “good shepherds,” must not only appreciate and value green grass and flowing water and have their own supply, they must be able to seek and find it for others as well as to be able to lead their flocks to it!     

Spiritual leadership, the ability to influence people to move where they are to where God wants them to be, is critical today. Surely, there is no doubt that organized religion has lost its ability to impose unquestioned rules on behavior on our people and that one of the most pressing needs facing Catholicism today is the quality of its priestly leadership. No amount of ranting and raving about how we ought to be listened to will change this situation. We simply must get better at our ability to influence and persuade instead of blaming the victims for their lack of faith and the culture for its secularism and moral relativism. Nor can we merely collect good tools by simply writing new editions of the rule books, we must be able to use them effectively to persuade people to follow the rules in those books. 

Over the years, I have observed at least two very different ways to herd sheep. One way is to walk in front of them, gently calling them with a convincing voice, while they willingly follow to where they need to go. The other way is to bark and snap from behind, like a sheep dog, chasing and intimidating them into going where they need to go. Good shepherds lead by invitation. Sheepdogs drive the sheep through fear. It is no surprise to me, that in a time when we are losing more and more credibility, the barking and snapping seem to be growing louder and louder and gaining more popularity, especially among those newest to spiritual leadership. When one cannot influence people, with convincing voices that our people want to follow, in the style of the Good Shepherd, mark my word, he will end up becoming a barking sheepdog. Such pastors may be able to drive some sheep into the pen, but more and more of our people will, no doubt, run away from us or simply become more irritated by our barking and snapping.

Instead of facing our spiritual leadership crisis, there seems to be a growing avoidance response in the Church that seems downright curious to me, at least. I would call it a “theme park” response in which people are driven to put on period costumes of nineteenth century Catholicism and build realistic stage sets from some imagined “good old days,” while pretending that nothing has changed and attempting to convince themselves that this will somehow make all the confusion go away.

Any formation of “spiritual leaders” assumes reasonably integrated individuals, but some professionals have noted that because of the shortage of seminarians, screening and formation programs have tended, at least in the recent past, to accept and tolerate candidates with demonstrable personality traits such as dependency, avoidance, narcissism and obsessive/compulsive behavior.

Priesthood, even today, offers seductions of power, prestige and flattery. These seductions attract those who are drawn to the status and practice of ministry because it helps satisfy their need to be the focus of attention and affirmation. Is this not manifested in a new exaggerated emphasis on the theology of the priest as “a man set part,” the need to wear cassocks even in public places like airports and at sporting events and the rise in the numbers of young priests sent to treatment centers or pulled out of ministry simply because “they cannot relate to people?” This focus becomes even more pernicious if it is couched in religious language about “orthodoxy” and being “servants.”

My sense, from years of pastoral experience, is that most Catholics want to be good and serve God, but many do not know how and many of us do not know how to lead them there. It seems that the more we try to define truth for them, the more they feel uninterested and bored by it. Some leave the Church to look for greener grass in other denominations, while others simply give up the search. This crisis will, no doubt, get worse in the next generation. We have a spiritual leadership crisis and seminaries must find better ways to rise to the occasion in meeting the need for more real spiritual leaders. Our people need competent and effective spiritual leaders and they deserve them. Our whole raison d’etre as priests is to “…help the People of God to exercise faithfully and fully the common priesthood which it has received.” As priests, we must more become who we say we are. We must, more and more, “walk our talk.”  Yes, we need to be personally “good,” but we also need to be “good at it!” Yes, we need to be competent as well as holy!