The Creative Act of Our Time

In 1962, Pope John XXVI opened The Second Vatican Council with this image: “throw open the doors and windows of the Church to let in the fresh air.”

In 1979, Pope John Paul II, a champion of love for humanity, began to call for the “New Evangelization.”

In 2008, Pope Benedict XIV, deepening our understanding, began to call for the “New Pentecost.”

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. (Acts 2:1-4)

And in 2015, my pastor presented us with the following question: How have you encountered communion with God and others? My first thought was the sacraments – the Eucharist, Reconciliation, and Marriage. My dear friend described how she recently gave a talk at a marriage conference with her spouse, and after that experience of publicly praising God and each other, she feels the bond between her and God and her and her husband is incredibly strong. With them as her rock, she feels unstoppable.

The work of the Holy Spirit came to the front of my mind as her words stuck with me over the next few hours…

There is something about verbalizing that creates communion.

What do we get when God speaks? Jesus. Jesus is the Word of God – our only way of communion with God.

What else do we get when God speaks? All Creation. The heavens and the earth were spoken into existence. (Gen 1)

How about the Great Commission, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16)

On the road to Emmaus, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?”

Another big one – PRAYER! According to the Catechism, prayer is a battle against “the tempter who does all he can to turn man away from prayer, away from union with God.” (CCC 2725)

The sacraments all involve very important words, “The Body and Blood of Christ,” “Amen,” “Forgive me Father, for I have sinned,” “I promise to be true to you in good times and bad.”

Someone wounded by abortion, abuse, or other evils can find true acceptance, communion, and healing because of the witness of others who have walked that path.

If your marriage is going through a difficult patch, the best advice I can give is keep talking, keep connecting, keep the bond intact.

When we verbalize faith in someone, affirming them, in truth and love, we are creating unity. If Jesus is the Verbalization of God, the Holy Spirit is the Unity! This is what makes for deep and lasting friendships and marriages.

Our pastor also said, if we love as God loves, no one should be afraid to come to us with the ‘stuff’ that is deep inside of them. They must know from our every action, “I forgive. I heal. I don’t hold anything against you. I know who you are and I choose you. I call you higher.” God has more good things to say about us than we do. Always leave room for what He has to say about you – it will always be deeply good, profoundly true, and incredibly beautiful.

So, channel your inner extrovert – get out there and CREATE communion. Through WORDS, tell people the good you see in them, especially your spouse. Tell them what you value about your relationship with them. Tell them how they bring you joy or make you think. Don’t let your mind dwell on their faults or sins. Affirm the light in them – God put it there – give Him glory by using your Creative Act of Speaking.

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By the Well

Samaria Elle, a vivacious belle,
Could not compel her only friend Nell
To walk to the well and vent about Mel.

Oh well, thought Elle, it’s just as well
I go myself to the well
To fume about Mel
Who went with Danielle
To that sleazy motel…

How do you do? Said the Jew.
She almost withdrew –
A drink, Said the Jew.
And he meant it too.

What else could she do
But question this Jew?
Jew, did I misconstrue
Your odd point of view?

Elle if you only knew
The gift of God,
said the Jew.
You would ask for the dew
Of the well I hold out to you.

What well? Asked our Elle,
The vivacious belle,
Of the Jew by the well.
(She’d forgotten about Mel.)

Drink of this water first
And again you will thirst.
But the water spring I will give,
From within you will burst!

Sir, give me this water,
Said our Elle by the well.
Bring me your husband,
Said the Jew, ever gentle.

I have no husband, Said Elle,
As her heart fell.
So true! Said the Jew,
For he knew Elle and Mel well.

You’re a prophet, Said Elle,
Ready for farewell.
She’d had enough of this Jew by the well.

Our worship is different, Said Elle to the Jew.
Said the Jew to our belle, The Father seeks you,
To worship in spirit and true,
For you will soon know salvation is from the Jews.

I know the Messiah is coming,
Said vivacious Elle,
He will proclaim all things!
Her heart beginning to swell.

I am He, said the Jew,
The one who is speaking to you.
And He meant it too.

She ran home with the news,
Our belle by the well.
For what else could she do
But put her trust in this Jew?

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John 4: 4-42 The Woman at the Well

In the heat of the noonday sun, Jesus sat down at Jacob’s well, tired from his journey.  He was thirty miles into a 70 mile walk.  His disciples, presumably just as tired, had gone into town to buy food.  Sychar was a town in Samaria, a place charged with tension from a long-standing feud between Samaritans and Jews.  But He was just a guy, resting by a well.

His disciples probably felt more than a little awkward going grocery shopping in this town, but I imagine their hunger pangs and Jesus’ preparation on the way there gave them the courage to leave their comfort zone, to put themselves at the mercy of Samaritan merchants, to risk confrontation in ‘enemy’ territory.

A Samaritan woman, an outcast, an ‘enemy,’ came to draw water.  She no doubt notices him there, notices he is a Jew.  Maybe she wonders why he was not with the other Jews that she passed on her way out of town.  Was she concerned for her safety?  Did she find him attractive?  Maybe she was lost in her own thoughts and didn’t care one jot that he was there at all.

I imagine Jesus was looking at her, watching her draw the water from the well, waiting patiently to look her in the eye when she was finally bold enough to look at him.  What an amazing moment. Jew to Samaritan was totally irrelevant. Person to Person.  Man to Woman.  Merciful God to Sinful Woman.

He made this woman.  He made her soul.  He knew her past, her heart, her yearnings, her choices.  He knew every tear she ever cried, and how many hairs were on her head.  He would die for her.

I am always amazed at the restraint of God.  Every moment of His life, He must have been bursting with love for each soul he encountered, desperate to bear hug them, kiss them, pick them up and spin them around, heal them, protect them, assure them of the Father’s unfathomable love and mercy, and the freedom He longs to give!

He is the Word of God, sprung forth from His mother’s lips in the Magnificat, His Soul a raging fire that proclaims the greatness of God! … but what meek, gentle, non-thunderous Godly sentence does He who made the oceans say to this lonely woman?

“Give me a drink.”

She is confused… Huh?  You looked at me?  You spoke to me?  Aren’t we supposed to hate each other?  Where is your wall?

Jesus dives deep right away.  No small talk, no chit-chat, no time to waste.  “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

I like that.

Keep that sentence in your pocket today as you feed a poor person, care for an infant, or visit someone in prison.  What can this person, who is so in need, so vulnerable, perhaps even repulsive and undignified, what could they possibly have to offer me?  How could my giving to them actually give life to me?

By asking God for it.

And after you have asked and been given life, you will have more life to give, which will yield more life for the asking, which you give, which yields more life until you have an abundance to live and share!

Anyway, on with our story:

J:  Dear Woman, I know you just met me, but I can tell that you want life, living water, freedom, the Holy Spirit.  This well water is just a temporal taste of the true life-giving water.  I want to give it to you.

W:  Even more startled and confused; this man is blunt!  I know where he’s going with this!  How presumptuous!  How preposterous!  Her defense mechanism kicks in – how do I upset a man?  Doubt him, question him, get his ego riled up to end this uncomfortable conversation.

Jesus, Patience Incarnate, is unruffled.

J : “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Look lady, I’m serious.  I want to give you life.  I would die for you.

W:  Okay, she thinks, He seems serious… I’ve heard promises from men before.  I don’t expect much, but I’ll go along.  “Sir, give me this water.”

(So, if you’re like me, I’ve been taking notes this whole time on how to evangelize, how to interact with sinners who don’t know and don’t much care about the gospel.  And at this point in a conversation, I would expect Jesus to go all ‘Emmaus Road’ on her, spin around and put on his Super Apologist cape, bringing out the New Testament and the Catechism, giving her a Scott Hahn CD or a Catholic Answers tract.  Nope.)

J:  “Go call your husband and come back.”


W:  “I do not have a husband.”

J:  You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’  For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true.

Say wha-?

What a bold, risky, intrusive thing to say to someone. What if she had lied?  What if she had dumped that whole bucket of water on his head?  We live in a culture that would applaud this woman’s sexual ‘freedom’ and greatly dislikes anyone prying into or questioning the morality of our supposed ‘private’ affairs.

What’s interesting though… he didn’t actually make any statement that could be considered condemning.  He just stated the facts in a neutral, truthful way, and let her work it out for herself.  He doesn’t even seem interested in talking about her and her sins, He really just wants to talk about His Father…

For further discussion, has a good article on this Scripture passage.



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‘Tis a Log, ‘Tis a Spec

Friend! said I,
You’ve something in your eye!
‘Tis a log of great size
You’re so lucky that I’m wise.

‘Tis a spec, said my Lord.
Whatever do You mean?
For everyone can plainly see
‘Tis a log, and my help is free!

‘Tis a spec, He spoke again.
(That crazy guy, I’ll just explain),
My Lord, my Lord, ’tis obvious,
He’s not as holy as both of us!

That may be true, but it’s not for you
To be judging souls from your limited view.
Your sin’s a log, in your eye,
His sin’s a spec, by the by.

Continued our dear Rabbi.

First make your deeds righteous
And form properly your conscience.
Interpret actions favorably;
Lead with friendship and mercy.

Culpability is tricky business,
Focus on your role as witness
Hypocrisy or condemnation, be careful what you do;
For the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.


Further reading:
Judge Not? by Jim Blackburn
Matthew Chapter 7
Luke Chapter 6

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The Bad Luck Penny

“A penny for your thoughts?” You say.
A penny for my thoughts? Ha! Long overdue!
For ever since we met that day
I can’t get rid of You!

When we’re here, or there, or anywhere,
Things just go awry.
Trouble began to follow me
And I think I know why.

You took me underneath Your wing
and hushed my frightened tears,
So I could face with fragile courage
a whole new set of fears.

In the middle of the night
When nothing is going right,
There You are.

In the middle of the storm,
When worldly wasps are in full swarm,
There You are.

Living in this narcissus world
Where good is bad and bad is good
It’s unreal! And You so simply say,
“Peace; I am your food.”

If I proclaim Your Truth, I must,
then they will scorn and boo!
Ignorant, hypocrite, hater, bigot!
Quickly forgotten that they are too.

It seems you are a bad luck penny
That just won’t go away.
Trouble finds us, attacks us, binds us,
Yet by my side You insist to stay.

Your standards high, my sins too much
The devil’s in my head.
Preying upon Your prideful servant
Like a tasty spot of bread.

Perhaps if You just let me be
I’d be much better off, you see?
Take no offense, it’s You, not me.
Without You here, I can be free!

Satanic lies! I scream inside.
Be gone you rotten rebel child!
Heavy penny cross a target,
Lord make my love for Your love wild!

The Eucharist! The Eucharist!
Multiply my manna,
A penny loaf, a sacrifice,
As cheerful as I can-ah.

And then when at my very end
When facing Father, ’tis You and me;
Not a penny, but a friend
by my side eternally.

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