Sunday, November 17, 2013

Monday Morning Meditation #99: The Ezekiel Experience

Apologies for missing last Monday Morning's Meditation. (I wonder if anyone noticed!!) Unfortunately, I had a blood pressure urgency and ended up all morning at the medical clinic. My BP rose sharply overnight to 208/117, and this was with medication, not without it. Doctors do not like BP in that range, so I had to spend time with a doctor who kept scratching her head because she could find no reason for the BP, which was registering the same on her cuff as on mine. (I have had these peaks come for a couple of weeks at a time, then totally disappear and be perfectly flat with mild medication for a couple of years, then another two weeks of nonsense. The doctor finally just doubled the med and sent me home. The peaks continued until yesterday; the amount of meds did not seem to matter. Now, back to normal. Dunno how to interpret any of that. Nothing in my behavior -- eating, stress level, etc. -- has changed. Anyway, so for the long diversion. Now, back to Ezekiel, which I did finish this week, ending with a strong curiosity as to why God gave all these specific design instructions if the temple described was never built.

Reading: Ezekiel 45-46
Meditation: I have recently experienced what I might describe as an Ezekiel experience. Or rather, a combined Jeremiah/Ezekial experience. I have described it in pieces on both on this blog and, in more detail, on Modern Mysticism (the Goliath stories). It also forms one of the stories in my latest book, A Believer-in-Waiting's First Encounters with God. It appears that God gave me to take on the task of bringing to light the evil roaming through our local chapter of the Secular Franciscan Order. No matter how I did it (obviously, not with the greatest finesse), I would come off as nutty at best and carpy at worst. Finally, having spent a great amount of time recently in prayer and discernment, I felt (hopefully, correctly) that God was not asking me to stay any longer with the SFO, and I so I left, as I also related on these pages.

After leaving, I made one last effort to point out the problem of evil to the council, the result of which was that the head of the council, called the "minister", who is part of the problem, gave orders that no one was to talk to me again. (Shades of a children's club!) However, one of the council members came to me in secrecy and told me that she had observed everything that I warned about but did not feel strong enough to fight against. (This is a new council; the previous council saw quite clearly what I had seen and been told to state overtly, but they are now being ostracized because of the formation director, who, in my observation and the observation of several who have left formation because of uneasy feelings -- a sense of the unholy -- appears to be the conduit for the evil; the minister is quite taken with him, unfortunately.) So, like Exekiel, I ran around, saying "bad things are happening; there will be repercussions," while contemporaries were saying, "isn't life hunky dory?", i.e. telling people the nice things they preferred to hear.

Now, as with Ezekiel, nothing seems to have changed -- no temple built, no evil conquered. Being human, I wonder why God put me in this awkward position vis-a-vis peers. That there is evil in the organization, there is little doubt. I no longer have to rely on God to point it out; a number of people have approached me now that I have spoken out, discussing in confidence their uncomfortable experiences, which they have put up with because they believe in the values of St. Francis and hope that this will pass. What I hope (and assume) is that God will send another. I do not believe that God ever abandons anyone to evil who loves God.

Sometimes I wonder if I was too fervent in my taking on this task. On the other hand, Jesus was never gentle with evil, and I think it is reasonable to use Jesus as a model in such cases.

The lesson, I suppose, is one I will only learn over time. I have found that taskings given to me are not only tasks for helping others, but they are also lessons for me -- often in how well or poorly I carry them out, but also the outcome is often surprising. As in this case, where there does not seem to be an outcome (yet).

Contemplation: That is far as I can go with you this Monday morning. I now retire to private prayer to praise God for His constancy in being with us, directing us while not encroaching upon free will, loving us. I will thank God for this task even if I do not understand why I was given it and do not see a positive (or any) outcome, and I will ask forgiveness for any and all mistakes I made in carrying out the task. I will also pray for the spiritual safety of all the good people who remain in the organization. Then I will move on to contemplation, my favorite part of the day, letting God take over the direction in which my relationship with Him moves.

I will leave you now to your prayer and contemplation. First, though, I would like to bring to your attention a Monday morning prayer post that you might enjoy:

Fr. Austin Fleming, priest of the Archdiocese of Boston and pastor in Concord, Massachusetts, posts a prayer each Monday morning that he calls "Monday Morning Offering." I enjoy his prayers very much. I think you also will find them inspirational. He has graciously given me permission to include a link to his blog on my Monday Morning Meditation posts. (During the week, he also posts great homilies and other thoughtful discussions. I enjoy reading those, too, as do readers of this blog who have taken the stroll over to his blog.)

For additional inspiration throughout the week, I would point out two sets of blogs: (1) the list of devotional blogs on my sidebar and (2) my blogroll, where I am following a number of inspirational priests and writers about spiritual matters. I learn so very much from all these people. I highly recommend them to you.


  1. I don't know what you wrestled with before you left the SFO, but I understand how hard it is to buck the culture --- everyone is doing it. I left my last parish the week before I was to assume head of the parish council when I found out and talked to the pastor about some of his sacramental "personal" rites, which were totally contrary to Church teaching. He informed me it was "his parish" regardless of what the Church said. My talk and leaving were a private matter, and I never publicly chastised him. Chastising one bad egg may cause some to think the whole package is bad.

    It must be done, and it must be done right. The spiritual works of mercy are among the hardest things to do as a Catholic.

  2. Sorry about your bP. I have hypertension problem and had to get a change in medication a month ago