Editorial Note: I have been asked by a small number of people over the last few years if I were going to write a book with my pithy thoughts and aphorisms. I probably won’t because books are expensive to produce and I would like what I’ve learned from my mistakes to be freely available to anyone who wants to use it or to critique my youthful and not-so-youthful stupidity. So I’ve collected some of my thoughts from the past year for those who are interested to review them and ponder or laugh at how silly I am. Whichever. See my thoughts from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 if you care to.
January 6th, 2016 – It’s a very easy thing to reflexively disagree with someone. It’s a much more difficult and worthwhile thing to reflectively disagree with someone.
January 9th, 2016 – On the mountain, we can see far more than we could see before we reached the peak. We can look back and see the desert in the distance, remembering the long journey across the barren desert that taught us that reaching our destination requires sacrifice which gradually separates us from our compulsive reliance on comfort. We can look back and see the garden in the valley that lies below the foothills, remembering our simple and serene life in the garden that taught us to take the time to cultivate the best food for those we love, dedicating our lives to tending the land we have been given and growing in the soil watered by the river.
So too on the spiritual mountain, we can see far more of the spiritual life than we could see before we reached the peak. We can look back and remember our journey through the spiritual desert which began the process of separating ourselves from our fleshly pleasures so that we could have room in our hearts for divine joy. We can look back and remember our time in the spiritual garden during which we began the process of cultivating love in our hearts so that they would bear the fruit of divine love watered by the river which springs from the summit of the spiritual mountain.
January 10th, 2016 – On the mountain, the moon seems to loom larger in our vision at night when the sky is clear. Her light shines upon us so brightly, a necessary reflection of the light of the sun upon us even when the sun is not visible to us because the earth has turned the other way, always drawing our gaze to the sunlight even in the cold dark night.
So too on the spiritual mountain, Mary the Mother of God seems to loom larger in our vision during the dark night of the soul, reflecting the light of the Son upon us even when we cannot see Him because we have turned to look the other way. Oh, how delightful it is that her light consoles us through the cold dark spiritual night and allows us to see His light!
January 11th, 2016 – On the mountain, the sun is even brighter than in the desert, its rays reflected more powerfully by the snow and ice, saturating our vision with light. In the cold mountain air, we treasure the warmth provided by the sun even more, knowing that its rays are sustaining us quietly while we climb higher toward the peak where its rays can reach us from every direction.
So too on the spiritual mountain, the Son is even brighter than in the spiritual desert, His light saturating our vision and filling our mind with the things of heaven. We treasure the warmth in our hearts provided by the Son more than ever, knowing that it is His light showering upon us always from every direction, a divine light which sustains us while we climb to the peak on the heavenly heights to meet our Love.
January 11th, 2016 – In the end, the end is the beginning.
January 12th, 2016 – At the peak of the mountain, there is nothing to hide us from the view of anyone who might be looking; we are exposed to the wind and sun and to the vision of all, whether they love us or wish to do us harm, and yet we are not afraid. The joy of reaching the summit overtakes all our doubts and fears, and we delight in drinking from the mountain spring from which came the waterfalls on the mountainside and the river in the garden.
In the same way, at the peak of the spiritual mountain we do not attempt to hide from anyone who might seek us because we know that we are ever visible in the light of the Son; we are at peace while we welcome both friend and enemy into the embrace of Love. The joy of reaching the spiritual summit fills our hearts so that there is no room for doubt or fear, and we drink reverently of the Living Water which springs forth from the mountaintop to fill the world with the chance for life eternal in the garden of Paradise with God’s Love.
January 23rd, 2016 – It’s important to be confident that we can navigate life, but it’s dangerous to be confident that we have made the right decision simply because it was the decision we made.
January 25th, 2016 – Discipline without love is like taking a walk of a thousand steps through the beautiful countryside without ever delighting in the wonders of the scenery. Love without discipline is like admiring the scenery from a distance without ever taking the thousand steps through the countryside to reach it and experience it fully.
February 8th, 2016 – Let us not allow our care for a person to turn into despair for a person.
February 21st, 2016 – We should plan to do good things in our lives, and remain open to God’s plan for us to do even greater things with our lives.
February 21st, 2016 – We begin the process of dying every time we stop the process of loving.
March 13th, 2016 – Lent should be challenging in such a way that we are transformed gradually by self-denial into people who affirm the lives and love of others, delighting in them and lifting them up to the Father in the heavenly household.
March 24th, 2016 – Sometimes it takes being sick to remember what it takes to be healthy.
March 30th, 2016 – To delight in friendship first is not to love less, but rather to love more.
April 16th, 2016 – If we believe that the highest form of human relationship is the sticky collision of sex, then we are very wrong. And if we believe that the lowest form of human relationship is the sticky collision of sex, then we are very wrong. Fortunately, these are not the only two options, despite what many people seem to think.
April 18th, 2016 – As icons of the living God, we fulfill our purpose most fully when we present His image and likeness most clearly.
April 21st, 2016 – Some people say that it’s not about the rules, but rather the relationship. I say that the rules are there to support the relationship and help it to grow in strength and beauty. In the end, the rules exist for the sake of the relationship.
April 22nd, 2016 – We aren’t here in this life to win. We’re here in this life to grow in love. And to grow in love means to lose in many other things in order to make room in our hearts for more love.
May 1st, 2016 – Your body is not a problem to be solved, whether by covering it with yards of cloth so that you cannot be sexy or by the ubiquitous tanning and exercise packages promising to make you sexy so that you can uncover it without worrying that it might not be good enough to objectify. Your body, dear woman, is a gift which has the power to give life to another by participating in the act of creation. You are in spirit an icon of the Creator, who in the Temple is veiled in the Holy of Holies, a sign of honor to the Living God. So too you should have the honor of being veiled, as your body is a temple built for your spirit, a spirit made in the image and likeness of the Holy One.
May 4th, 2016 – As with many things in life, we can do what works or we can do what feels so very good by blaming others. Only rarely do those things intersect in the world of human relationships.
May 24th, 2016 – Spirituality can be both personal and universal at the same time; indeed, spirituality is inherently both personal and universal.
July 4th, 2016 – We inevitably teach others by our actions, whether we intend to do so or not. The only question is: what will our actions teach those who look to us for learning?
July 19th, 2016 – God isn’t intangible. He’s just difficult to see and touch when our hearts are filled with everything else.
September 15th, 2016 – If you gaze long into your enemy’s errors, you may not notice that they are your own errors.
September 27th, 2016 – The ocean of Love’s tides carry us out into the deep and sing to us of divine compassion.
November 2nd, 2016 – Let us be bold not in overcoming the challenges necessary to find comfort, but rather in overcoming the challenges necessary to give selflessly to others out of the great love we ourselves have received.
December 20th, 2016 – Evidence is the faith that things seen are as they appear to be.