Faceplants on the Path

I have issues, man.  And every now and again I take a faceplant on the path to holiness.

See, every now and again I’m reminded that I need to head to Confession.  Priests are only human; those to whom much is given… etc.  The burden of conscience is higher since we’re trained in such issues to begin with and go through years of ‘formation’ so that when anything which might cause us to fall into sin, (be it mortal, venial, whatever) — anger, pride, envy, lust, gluttony… is experienced, we have the experience and tools necessary to manage and cope with the stresses which lead to that.


In reality we live in the community of believers, and often have to rely on them for insights and help when things get sketchy. As King David wrote (and for all the Biblical scholars out there who debate whether or not it was David who actually wrote the Psalms, I can only say that it doesn’t matter, and  you don’t know, )  “I know my transgressions; my sin is always before me.”

Practically, sometimes we just fall into the trap of worldliness.  And while some things may not be sin for others, when you have an informed conscience and know better, you just join the ranks of sinners and fall into line for the Confessional.


The Catholic Encyclopedia has some great writing on concupiscence, (noting as well that it does not refer to simply lust, in case you’re wondering what area of sin we’re talking about here, which is really none of your business, but moreso not germane to the point.)   Basically, it sums up what Paul writes to us in his Letter to the Romans — that I don’t do the good that I want to do, I do the evil that I do not want to do.   Try this on for size, from the Knox translation of Romans 7:15-23:

“My own actions bewilder me; what I do is not what I wish to do, but something which I hate. 16 Why then, if what I do is something I have no wish to do, I thereby admit that the law is worthy of all honour; 17 meanwhile, my action does not come from me, but from the sinful principle that dwells in me. 18 Of this I am certain, that no principle of good dwells in me, that is, in my natural self; praiseworthy intentions are always ready to hand, but I cannot find my way to the performance of them; 19 it is not the good my will prefers, but the evil my will disapproves, that I find myself doing. 20 And if what I do is something I have not the will to do, it cannot be I that bring it about, it must be the sinful principle that dwells in me. 21 This, then, is what I find about the law, that evil is close at my side, when my will is to do what is praiseworthy.[3] 22 Inwardly, I applaud God’s disposition, 23 but I observe another disposition in my lower self, which raises war against the disposition of my conscience, and so I am handed over as a captive to that disposition towards sin which my lower self contains.

This is my life, people!

Or if not my life, at least a part of it.  But if the Apostle went through the same experiences, I can’t be in bad company when I strive for holiness and intend to live victoriously over sin.

Advent, starting this evening, is a great time to root out the things in our lives tempting us to sin, in whatever form it takes in our lives.  We’re all tempted and give in to sin in various ways, yet the struggle for holiness is what we’re given grace to accomplish.  Pray for me, I’m certainly praying for you… whoever you are.

On Another Stormy Afternoon


A brief bike ride as Isaac fell apart, and this is the memorable pic. It’s right there by the bike path all the time, I just haven’t had my camera with me until the hurricane hit.


And this.

It’s what happens during hurricanes, since they last forever and a day. And then they go on and on and on.

One moment everything’s grand. Eventually, you’re napping on a sofa, cooking on a camp stove, sleeping on a chaise lounge in a dining room, or photographing water as it pools on the lawn.

And then you’re exhausted, and need to sleep.

Lord Jesus Christ, send your holy angels to watch over us as we sleep. Help us to be victorious in the battles we accept in your name. Help us to know you, and to help bring healing and wholesome, abundant living wherever we are. Amen.


Travis Clark Preaches
The Rev. Mr. Travis Clark ~ Newly Ordained Deacon

Here at Mary Magdalen, we were truly blessed to have Deacon Travis Clark preach for us this weekend. You can read all about his ordination over at the Clarion Herald’s site.

The good Deacon grew up in this Parish, and everyone just loves him. I was impressed that he used no notes for his Homily, as I usually have, well…. some printed materials and an outline with me, to put it mildly.

Leading up to Pentecost I was doing some Scriptural meditations on a life in the spirit, vs, a life in the flesh. Here are just a few of them, to help focus our minds more clearly

Romans 8

For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed you from the law of sin and death.a

For what the law, weakened by the flesh, was powerless to do, this God has done: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for the sake of sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,so that the righteous decree of the law might be fulfilled in us, who live not according to the flesh but according to the spirit.

For those who live according to the flesh are concerned with the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit with the things of the spirit.

The concern of the flesh is death, but the concern of the spirit is life and peace.

For the concern of the flesh is hostility toward God; it does not submit to the law of God, nor can it; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you. Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is alive because of righteousness.

If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you.

Consequently, brothers, we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.

For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.


Ephesian 4: 30

Therefore, putting away falsehood, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun set on your anger,and do not leave room for the devil.

The thief must no longer steal, but rather labor, doing honest work with his [own] hands, so that he may have something to share with one in need.

No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear.

And do not grieve the holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption.

All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice.

[And] be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

What is “Living in The World” vs. “Living in The Spirit”

“For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world.”

And finally…

1 Corinthians 6:9

“Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes* nor sodomites.”

Galatians 5

Now the works of the flesh are obvious:
immorality, impurity, lust, idolatry,
sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy,
outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness,
dissensions, factions, occasions of envy,
drinking bouts, orgies,
and the like.
I warn you, as I warned you before,
that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Against such there is no law.
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh
with its passions and desires.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.

Pentecost Flowers

Flowers in the Night Haiku

Kooky Vase

Flowers in the night
Strange vase of agapanthus—
looking cool in delft.

I don’t know why haiku is such enduring and endearing poetry. But I fell in love with it way back in the day when I took a 20th Century Literature class and we spent some time with haiku. It was because of Ezra Pound we spent time with haiku, not because it was a 20th century thing, although evidently it took the name haiku in the late 19th century. And ever since then I’ve written bad haiku on whims. I even think in it sometimes.

I must get to Church
to say morning Mass for all.
the faithful gather


The Vatican ‘note’
on the economic mess
is ridiculous.

Not that that’s genuinely haiku of course.

Technically there should be two contrasting elements, and 17 sound units which in English is usually just three lines, five, seven, and five syllable. And of course in modern haiku, as with most things modern, you can do whatever you want.

So, if I contrast bright cheery flowers with the darkness and drear, then there should be a cutting element, which brings the two together somehow. Every now and again it turns maudlin.

Flowers in the night
cheerful lights midst the darkness
breaking up the gloom.


Agapanthus bright,
night filled with darkness and drear
lift my spirits please.

It’s a good thing I didn’t take up poetry as a career. Life would have been very painful.

Dear Lord, Jesus Christ.
a mere sinner needs your love
grant me wholeness, please.

Weekend Outlook: Busy

In between Masses (4), Funerals (1), Fair Set-Up (All Day Saturday), and Organizing a Petition for Sainthood (1), it’s shaping up to be a busy weekend. In fact it’s shaping up to be a busy month.


So that’s why I was out snapping pix of an orchid this morning. I think it’s a small dendrobium, but what do I know?


Next a good bike ride (20), to get some air.


A friend gave me this a few months ago, and it’s coming along nicely, don’t you think? St. Cornelius and St. Cyprian, pray for us!

The Rev. Kenneth Allen