It hurts when we are rejected or forgotten.  It hurts when we are disappointed by friends, co-workers.  You can hear the hurt in Paul’s words to his brother priest, Timothy: abandon

Paul’s Loneliness. Try to join me soon, 10 for Demas, enamored of the present world, deserted me and went to Thessalonica, Crescens to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Luke is the only one with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is helpful to me in the ministry. 12 I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak I left with Carpus in Troas, the papyrus rolls, and especially the parchments.

14 Alexander  the coppersmith did me a great deal of harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15 You too be on guard against him, for he has strongly resisted our preaching.

16 At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them! 17 But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, (2 Timothy 4)

Paul is sometimes called the “abandoned apostle.” We all feel abandoned at times, and it hurts.

Looking at St. Therese of Lisieux, perhaps the Little Flower will shed some light on how we should become the “abandoned apostle” too.

The Imitation of Christ says, “It is my will, therefore, that ou learn to have a perfect abandonment of yourself and a full resignation of yourself into my hands, without contradiction or complaining, and follow me, for I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

This is the goal, but like Saint Paul, we are weak. Where can we find strength in this weakness?

In 1887, at the age of 14, Therese was writing to her sister Pauline (who was in the monastery) about abandonment. She used the analogy of the “little ball” of Jesus willing to “Roll where he wills.” therese-1

Another image Therese used was in a letter written two months before her death, to her spiritual brother, Pere Maurice Barthelemy-Belliere. She wrote:

“I picture a father who has two children, mischievous and disobedient, and when he comes to punish them, he sees one of them who trembles and gets way from him in terror, having however, in the bottom of his hear the feeling that he deserves to be punished;

And his brother, on the contrary, throws himself into his fathers arms, saying that he is sorry for having caused him any trouble, that he loves him, and to prove it he will be good from now on, and if this child asks his father to punish him with a kiss, I do not believe that the heart of the happy father could resist the filial confidence of his child, who’s sincerity and love he knows.

He realizes, however, that more than once his son will fall into the same faults, but he is prepared to pardon him always, if his son always takes him by his heart….I say nothing to you about the first child, dear little Brother, you must know whether his father can love him as much and treat him with the same indulgence as the other.”

So abandonment is not something negative, letting go, but rather it’s the joyous response that arises out of confidence in the love of God.

This “joyous response” or abandonment has at its foundation LOVE. God’s love for us, and our love in response.  Therese wrote in the Story of a soul, “God has no need of our works, but only our love.”   Love is paid by love alone, was her motto.

Today, this week, this evening, perhaps we will feel abandoned, no one cares, sorry for ourselves. Abandonment is the key.  We pray we might have the attitude of Therese who wrote to her sister Celine, “Oh, Celine, how easy it is to please Jesus, to delight His heart, on only his to love him!”

Seems quite simple doesn’t it. Why do we make it so complicated?

Father Ken



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Recently at the Retreat Center, we focused several retreats on nature.  Is seeing our Lord in nature a “new age” thing?  Non-Christian or Catholic?

Absolutely not!  It is a human thing, and the Incarnate Word (Jesus) entered into our nature to be one with us!

merton-outsideDuring this autumn season (autumn sounds neater than ‘fall’), I offer some of the following thoughts on nature:

“I have a new level in my (elementary) star-consciousness. I can now tell where constellations may be in the daytime when they are invisible.” Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton was speaking about a “star consciousness,” but this is a great parallel to God-consciousness…telling where God may be when not visible.

How can you find God when He is invisible?  Let’s look at two ways: 

Jesus –


Colossians 1:15 “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.”  Jesus himself, in his human nature, makes the Divinity visible.


Nature –


“Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:7-10


Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse; Romans 1:20


fa-027_v1So this autumn, get outside, smell the moisture in the wind, feel the coolness of the air, and experience God!

Father Ken



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How to increase faith

Dear Friends,

How can we increase our faith in Jesus?

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
The Lord replied,
“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. Luke 17


Continuing the analogy or metaphor Jesus began in Luke 17, I wonder if gardens and growing would be a good way of looking at it all.

A garden (our faith life) needs:

  1. to be weed free.  Weeds could be a metaphor for sins.  Uprooting sins. But sometimes garden-weedswe must accept that the weeds will grow along side the wheat, meaning some of our weaknesses will remain with us, and the Lord will uproot them in due time.  We can find our strength and salvation through our weaknesses which humbles us.
  2. to be feed.  Plants need water and nutrients.  We receive this through the Sacraments and prayer, especially the Scriptures.
  3. light.  A garden needs light.  We understand there is darkness too, but without light, a garden would not grow.  In our lives there is both light and darkness, but we must be a people of the light.  We must allow Jesus to expose in His light both our good and bad.

garden-produceLord increase our faith.  “I do will it,” Jesus says, “but do you?”  Sometimes we want an increased yield of faith, but are unwilling to do the work in the garden!

Father Ken




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Laying on a what?


The prophet Amos says:

Thus says the LORD the God of hosts:
Woe to the complacent in Zion!
Lying upon beds of ivory,
stretched comfortably on their couches,

bedIn past posts, I’ve asked “What’s in your wallet.”  Today I might ask, “What kind of bed do you have?”  When we think about the amount of time we spend in bed, our bed’s might say quite a bit about our priorities.

The beds of the Old Testament times would consist of a mattress comprised of a mat or of one or two quilts.  The covering of the bed might be nicer quilt or even the outer garment you would wear during the day.

bed-2The bed frame or foundation would be made of wood or of the ivory referred to by Amos.  Poor individuals would find themselves on the ground.  So, the type of bed might reflect your status or priorities.

Most of us have decent beds, so what would be our “ivory beds?” What would we how which might reflect that our priorities are not aligned with the Lord?  Perhaps our cars, cell phones, entertainment choices?

bed-jumEverything is a gift from the Lord, even ivory beds.  It is how we choose to use them which determines whether we are merely following Jesus with our lips or with our lives.

Father Ken




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Our Lady of Sorrows


Our Lady of Sorrows brings great comfort to us.  “Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.”  Mary firmly stood by her son.

She reminds me of a house set upon bedrock.  In studying house foundations, perhaps there is a metaphor between a house foundation and the faith of Mary and our faith.

foundationFootings and foundations are to homes what feet and legs are to the human body: footings anchor the home to the ground and they support the foundation, which in turn carries the weight of the home.

Foundation:  1 Co 3:11  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.


  1. I am reminding you, brothers and sisters, of the Gospel I preached to you, which you indeed received and in which you also stand. Through it you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you,
  2. For I am the least of the Apostles, not fit to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am,

pisa-2On December 2001, the “Leaning Tower of Pisa” was finally reopened to the public, after having been closed for almost a dozen years. During that time, engineers completed a 25 million dollar renovation project designed to stabilize the tower. They removed 110 tons of dirt, and reduced its famous lean by about sixteen inches. Why was this necessary?

Because the tower has been tilting further and further away from vertical for hundreds of years, to the point that the top of the 185-foot tower was seventeen feet further south than the bottom, and Italian authorities were concerned that if nothing was done, it would soon collapse.

What was the problem? Bad design? Poor workmanship? An inferior grade of marble? No. The problem was what was underneath. The sandy soil on which the city of Pisa was built was just not stable enough to support a monument of this size. The tower had no firm foundation.

Our Lady of Sorrows.  Mary had firm footings in a solid foundation. So can we!

Father Ken


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