Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
June 12th, 2015



In the olden days, before people were so busy being entertained that they had no time to think, there was a sin called “covetousness.” Covetousness? Who knows what that means anymore? It has nothing to do with need and everything to do with want. We seem no longer to have the concept of enough.

We have to have an iPad, a smart phone, and a computer, all online at lightning speed. A cashmere sweater will not suffice; we need one in every color, with shoes to match.

Covetousness is intimate with the other capital sins, like pride. For some strange reason we are proud to have the best and the most. We are envious of those who have more and never content with all we need. Our palate is always seeking new taste sensations because we are surfeited by the abundance at the table which does not satisfy because we never sit down really hungry.

We grab and grasp and buy and accumulate with nary a care that we have too much and the other guy has too little! Isn’t it time to look at some of those old sins and see if they are at home in us?

Lord, have mercy on us. Help us once again to look inward and learn the meaning of sin, to look outward and learn the meaning of love.

August 26th, 2014


Leona Choy is an old friend (only 89) who I have never met personally but who is stitched to me with invisible threads. She writes so well, so clearly, that every now and then I just lift something from her blog because I think it belongs here, on mine. God bless Leona. We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord. Herewith:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014GOD’S INVISIBLE THREAD
It continually amazes me that some of my closest friends are people whom I have never met, who live across the country or even across the world. In most cases I’ve never even seen their photo. We have become invisibly bonded, I know their spirits intimately, and they know the essence of me.

We have connected through some incredible ways: at at crisis moment in their life someone gave them one of my books, another friend whom I never met introduced me, someone came across my blog, or saw my interview on TV. Like a needle and thread sewing into my life-cloth, God brings them in and also out through every season of my life as if sewn into my life-cloth with a needle and invisible thread. Our lives are made up of relationships invisibly interconnected.

The Invisible Thread is the title of a book whose author I saw interviewed on television. It’s the true story of two unlikely people whose lives seemed to be coincidentally brought together. The author referred to an ancient Chinese proverb: “An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.”

I believe this is more than a wishful concept. It echoes the outworking of the promise in Romans 8:28. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” It mirrors God’s networking in our lives like a weaving which we see only from the underside. God plans the unique design from above and connects the threads that will make it beautiful. The completed weaving may not be visible now, but we look forward to seeing the whole when we finish our life journey, when all things are made clear in God’s presence. Then we’ll understand the reason for the stretches and tangles and dark threads as well as the bright colors.

Some people come into our lives only briefly but always for some purpose that God might intend differently for each of the persons involved. I am part of all whom I have met and they are part of me. Some people have come into my life for longer periods, even for a lifetime. Some are not meant to stay after their purpose for coming is fulfilled. I must be willing to let them go.

I begin my prayer each morning as I present myself to God according to Romans 12:1 by asking the Lord, “Bring into my life today everyone and everything that is in Your perfect will—whether by phone call, email, thought, in person, by a reminder to pray, through a chance meeting, scheduled appointment, letter, an obligation which I must fulfill, my routine responsibilities, or any other means. Please keep out of my life anything and anyone not in accord with Your purpose. I want to do Your will on earth this day as it is done in Heaven.”

By melding my will with God’s will and speaking it aloud, I remind myself, and God, and Satan and his scheming minions, that I am committed to obey God. I can then accept whatever and whoever the Holy Spirit will thread into my life. If unexpected and unwanted things happen and my own plans and schedule are disrupted, I can still be at peace that God’s invisible thread is sewing into my life the better plan for His sovereign purposes.

This close relationship with God gives me a reason to put my feet on the floor when I wake up in the morning because I anticipate a daily adventure with God. He is full of surprises. Sometimes His serendipity blessings are visible and tangible but sometimes invisible and spiritual. Sometimes they are blessings in the disguise of negative events. Nevertheless, I can accept them all because they are God-woven with His invisible golden threads.

(Excerpt from Chapter on Relationships from Leona’s forthcoming book)

June 16th, 2014


Every year there used to be a time when people sought to make others happy by buying cards, giving gifts, and wishing each other Merry Christmas.  There seemed to be a different Spirit abroad…..the stores were alive with Christmas music.   Remember?

Silver bells, silver bells, it’s Christmas time in the city,

Hear them sing, ring-a-ling, soon it will be Christmas day.

Well, that was then.  More recently, celebrating Christmas has become politically incorrect.   Store employees are asked to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas.  No more Christmas trees.  We have holiday trees and holiday sales.  Atheists are “offended” by any reference to God, and, especially, by any reference to Christ,  Because they do not believe in God they want to censor any reference to Him, or, at least have “equal time.”  Of course they cannot have equal time because you can’t really celebrate NOTHING,  Instead they attack our God and our intellect and our crosses and our statues.  You’d think they would wonder why so many seemingly smart people fall for the God-myth,  You’d think they might look into St. Thomas’ five proofs for the existence of God or wonder if it could possibly be true that some saints have been exhumed incorrupt, if Padre Pio really bore the wounds of Christ (stigmata) for fifty years, whether there have been verifiable cures at Lourdes, how the Shroud of Turin happened to bear a photographic negative of a crucified man before photography was invented.  And the appearances of Mary all over the world – ! –  how can so many people be hoodwinked into believing such nonsense?  Better to call us names and ridicule us.  How could it happen that Christians such as Paul and Jan Crouch, Pat Robertson, Mother Angelica, Wendy and Rory Alec not only have millions of followers but actually started TELEVISION NETWORKS?   Without funding!

The truth of the matter is that they don’t dare to look into it so they can show us how  gullible we are.  I think they are afraid of what they might learn.  They might say kind things about Jesus because he said we should love one another but don’t really want to know that he said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”  They want to do what they want to do and don’t want to believe what they don’t want to believe.   Reason, logic, evidence be damned!  You could line up hundreds of people who will testify to what God has done in their lives and they will have none of it.

I have to feel sorry for them.  They have no loving Father and no purpose in living.   “Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.  It is a tale, told by a idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”   They believe they are a mindless accidental jumble of molecules and think that is much cooler than being a benighted troglodyte who thinks God actually visited this earth and had things to say.

For them there is no Alleluia, whether Handel’s or Cohen’s, no O Holy Night, no Away in a Manger..  What’s to sing about?    Steve Martin tells us why atheists have no songs!

In contrast, Catholics sing Vivo Jesus el Senor with Pope Francis in Rome, June 3, 2014


Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,   l Peter 3:15

June 15th, 2014


There comes a time when others in one’s age bracket seem to be dying right and left.  Oh, they may be five years younger, or five years older, but famous people, friends and acquaintances not far from my age are leaving this vale of tears.  It’s a case of now you see them, now you don’t.  It gives one pause.

These passings bring to mind intimations of immortality along the way.  Like the time at a charismatic conference in Providence when we are asked to reach out to the person next to us and sing, “Here I am, Lord…I have heard you calling… I will go, Lord, if you lead me,” as a prayer.  The woman at my right rested in the spirit in my arms.  Later she asked me if the Lord had revealed anything to me.  “No,” I said.  “I guess the Lord is working in his mysterious ways.”  We kissed, lip to lip, looking into each other’s eyes.  I did not know her from Eve and never saw her again.  A sob welled up within me from some subterranean place which I stifled, not being used to such intensity of feeling.  What was the source of this deepseated existential angst?  Some longing for what was not?  Some grieving for lost love?  Or a yearning for a time and a place where people really love one another?  The whole experience was a cause for wonder,  I had capacities I had not suspected.

Consider my “born-again” experience.  Always a “good” Catholic, I started to say the rosary every night because the mother of God had asked for rosaries.  One night before bedtime I was having trouble concentrating–the television was too loud and I was tired.  Suddenly my mind focused on the words of the Lord’s prayer I was saying, and especially  on the words, “Thy will be done.”  For the first time I really meant what I was saying, Thy will be done, come what may.  I was flooded by a feeling which I immediately identified as sweetness although I had never had such a feeling before.  “Taste and see that the Lord is sweet.”  It was a gift to be always remembered and never recaptured.  But it showed me another capacity I did not know I had.

Capacities for sorrow!  Capacities for in-filling!  What else?  We are remarkable creatures with possibilities only hinted at in this world.  “Eye has not seen nor ear heard…nor the heart of man conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”  (I Cor. 2:9)  “Now we are children of God but what we will be has not yet been made known….but we shall be like him.”  (1 John 3:2)

A baby in the womb has no idea why he has a mouth and eyes and hands and feet.  He cannot begin to imagine that one day he may speak and sing, enjoy art and nature, work and dance, and a myriad of things that are only possible when he moves on to the next stage in his life.  Likewise, we in this valley of tears cannot imagine what it will be like when our capacity for love is filled.

St. Thomas Aquinas, we all know, was a genius with such a gift for logic and reasoning about his Catholic faith that he filled volumes with his insights and was named a Doctor of the Church.  Toward the end of his life it is said he had a mystical experience after which he considered what he had written as “all straw.”  Not that it was wrong, mind you, but that it didn’t begin to reflect the realities which God had made him understand in a mystical way.

What has God prepared for those who love him?  I look forward to finding out.  Don’t you?

January 23rd, 2014


My first episode of vertigo occurred in 1976 when, out of the blue the world spun around, I could not stand, and I was nauseous. By the time I saw a neurologist (who I just happened to work for) that same day, I was fine. Subsequent episodes occurred over the years, the last of which I wrote about after starting this blog. It is certainly bothersome but not life-threatening.

A few weeks ago a different dysequilibrium started which I described as follows for the benefit of medics and relatives.

Today is January 5, 4 AM, 3 degrees outside, and I am thinking it may be of some value to chronicle the progression of my disease.
About two weeks ago I felt unbalanced on a Monday evening, December 23, and called Jack to say not to pick me up for the prayer vigil the next morning as I was feeling dizzy. The next day I felt better, went to mass at St. Peter’s. Called Annette for her birthday. Christmas morning had breakfast at Martha’s and a bunch came here in the PM, Terry, Sierra, Sage, Jeremy, Susana, Selva, feeling pretty OK. Fell on Dan’s back step Christmas morning striking right forehead, slight bruise and abrasion. December 28 was brutally cold and windy but we picketed and I went inside early for coffee, then we all left early for our monthly lunch at Nicks. Felt OK at Nick’s, ordered usual Capellini Florentine. Went to 7:30 AM mass Sunday morning and felt somewhat unwell but followed mass with Keurig Kahlua coffee and waffle at Peg’s. Monday night again called Jack (Dec 30) saying I would not join them in the morning because of unbalance.

Tuesday afternoon went to Dr. Curry with Dan, had an EKG, referred to neurologist, Dr. Habibi, then CAT scan at Medical Arts on way home which was normal. With Dr. Wirz’s help got appt with Dr. Mashman on January 3, referred to Lisa Dransfield same day for evaluation and physical therapy appointments.

When all of this started I assumed it was a return of my usual benign positional vertigo but it is not. It is an all day thing, not just in morning, no vertiginous eye movements. I only feel OK when lying down. Of course, as all of this was going on, Dan also had to buy a new hot water heater to replace the old one that decided to leak all over the place and plow the snow that decided to descend on the driveway. A very busy time for all.



That’s how it all began. Then January 6 I had the beginning of good old-fashioned vertigo with rotation of the ceiling, a sinking feeling in my stomach, and these symptoms would start if I rolled over onto my left side. At least I knew what to do for vertigo and I printed out a copy of the Epley maneuvers from my post ME AND VERTIGO. I did them once a day for three days at which point the vertigo disappeared and I began to feel more like my usual self.

Dr. Mashman had referred me to Lisa Dransfield in the vestibular therapy department and she provided me with daily balance exercises. Dr. Mashman had  also given me a follow-up appointment and although I was feeling better I was not back to my usual pre-episode self.   He prescribed an MRI of the brain to rule out the possibility of a small stroke, which will take place on January 23.  Being claustrophobic I am not looking forward to 45 minutes enclosed motionless in a noisy tube but I’ve been prescribed alprazolam to take ahead of time to help me cope.  That is where were are now.  I would appreciate prayers, dear friends.

January 18th, 2014


Once upon a time I had a good friend, about my age, who had one hip replacement and then another. Then a hip replacement was replaced, and tweaked, and the other one went bad, and it seemed she was forever in the hospital, relearning to walk, with one bad hip or another. One day as I was visiting I commented: I don’t know how you stand it, all this surgery, all this time hurting, all this time in the hospital. All she said was: “I think there are levels of acceptance.”

That was all she said, but those few words told me how she was getting through the long days and the even longer nights. She was engaged in a dialog with her God and saying, as best she could, “Be it done unto me according to thy will.”

The day came when we were told she would soon die and we gathered in her hospital room. She was quiet, peaceful, conversing lucidly, and in a few days joined her maker. All heroism is not on the battlefront. Day after day lives of quiet heroism are lived out around us, unhonored and unsung.

Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commit my spirit.

Well done, good and faithful servant.

January 7th, 2014


Leona Choy is only 88 years old but she speaks from years of experience and seems to be once again taking over my blog!  Leona and I have only met online but I consider her a dear friend.  Once upon a time she ministered in China with her husband, she has written numerous books and is working on yet another.  Still she has time to write to me and pray for me.  Leona writes:  “When I say “Happy New Year! Is it a declaration? a wish? a question? a hope?  a superficial salutation? or simply a cultural cliché?  My true riches are my friends to whom I say this.  I thank God that in His plan for our lives, through the invisible needle and thread action of the Holy Spirit, He has sewn you, Dot, into the weaving of my life.  Although we’ve never met in person, we bond before the Lord in spirit.  Wouldn’t it benefit you more if I turned that greeting into a PRAYER for you?  Whatever season of life we are in, we have problems, face decisions, go through changes, confront obstacles, and struggle through life’s inevitable adjustments. You and I have physical, material, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual needs to greater or lesser degrees. And because we live in the mortal flesh of our “earth suits,” as time goes on we can’t avoid health issues.  SO I PRAY the following for you in the Name of Jesus. Then I leave God’s unique and wise answer up to Him. Father-God knows best.”

I pray that you will joyfully let our loving God be God and let Him navigate your life in whatever way He chooses for your good and His glory.

I ask that the Lord will help you and give you His counsel in whatever matters are on your heart and in your mind. I pray for your willing acceptance of His guidance and your obedience.

If there is any disharmony or lack of order in your private life, I pray for you to be open to the grace and peace of the Holy Spirit’s touch to displace any confusion, indecision, restlessness or resistance. May you realize that His grace is sufficient for you and “you are complete in Christ.” (Colossians 2:10) I pray that God will make you whole.

I pray that you may not focus on health issues nor let them define you. May you keep them in eternal perspective as by an act of your will as you set your mind on things above, not on the temporaries of this life.

I pray that you will keep open to the Lord’s healing balm to harmonize any relationships that may be troubling you in your daily round of life. May you be willing to make the first move toward any restoration.

Where you feel weakness or weariness by the length or difficulties of life’s journey, I pray that you will allow the JOY of the Lord to infuse you with His strength both for your sake and for your faithful witness to others. May they see the beauty of Jesus expressed through you in all your circumstances.

I pray that whatever adversity or suffering or challenging experience (or joyful one!) you might go through, you will seize it as an opportunity for deeper spiritual transformation into the image of Christ and growth in your personal faith.

Although we live at a distance, that does not diminish the supernatural power of prayer. I don’t need to be present to touch you and bless you or you to bless me. The Holy Spirit transcends space and time. My prayer reaches easily to Conn. My prayer for you offered in Jesus’ Name is only a conduit. The power is not in the prayer but in the action of the Holy Spirit in response to it. Once prayed, a prayer is heard immediately by God and lasts until God answers it in His own way. It never ends up unanswered in a “heavenly wastebasket” or “divine shredder.”

I am confident that if my prayer for you is off target of your situation or doesn’t cover your need or God’s desire for you, the Holy Spirit will run ahead and edit it so it will reach God perfectly when presented to Him and therefore is sure to be answered! (Romans 8:26-28)

Xin nian kuai le! (Happy New Year in Chinese)

Your friend in the love-bonds of Christ, Leona

Thank you, Leona. I treasure this prayer.

November 14th, 2013


Bill Maher had plenty of material to work with on “Real Time” last week considering the fact that both Rep. Michele Bachmann and Justice Antonin Scalia publicly addressed their concerns about the end  days and the devil (respectively) in the same week. Maher does not hesitate to ridicule such idiotic nonsense as shown in the following video. He clearly thinks he is much more intelligent than they are.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 (UPI) — Did Justice Antonin Scalia have to announce his belief in a literal Satan less than a month before the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear argument on government-led prayer? Yes, he probably did.

Someone asked him.

In a semi-playful interview in New York magazine conducted by Jennifer Senior, Scalia expounds on his judicial philosophy — including his lonely 1988 dissent in a case upholding the Independent Counsel Act — but public interest in his comments focused on his belief in the devil, heaven and hell, and on his remarks about popular culture.

Scalia, 77 and a devout Roman Catholic, has been on the Supreme Court for 27 years. He’s known for his bluntness, and his lack of concern about how people react to it.

He also has a political tin ear. In 2009 Scalia and Vice President Dick Cheney spent part of a week duck hunting at a private camp in southern Louisiana — just three weeks after the court agreed to take up the vice president’s case involving lawsuits over secrecy and his handling of the administration’s energy task force.

In the New York magazine interview, Scalia said he believes in heaven.

As for H-E-double hockey sticks: “It doesn’t mean you’re not going to hell, just because you don’t believe in it,” Scalia said. “That’s Catholic doctrine! Everyone is going one place or the other. But you don’t have to be a Catholic to get into heaven? Or believe in it? Of course not!”

At one point, Scalia leans in and whispers, “I even believe in the devil.”

Asked to elaborate, Scalia said, “Yeah, he’s a real person … that’s standard Catholic doctrine! Every Catholic believes that,” rejecting a suggestion that many Catholics do not.

But he adds, “You know, it is curious. In the Gospels, the devil is doing all sorts of things. He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn’t happen very much anymore. … It’s because he’s smart. …

“What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.”

The justice tells Senior he’s in the “mainstream.”

“You’re looking at me as though I’m weird. My God! Are you so out of touch with most of America, most of which believes in the devil? I mean, Jesus Christ believed in the devil! It’s in the Gospels! You travel in circles that are so … removed from mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the devil! Most of mankind has believed in the devil, for all of history. Many more intelligent people than you or me have believed in the devil.”

Scalia’s right. One of the more recent surveys, a 2007 Gallup poll, shows belief in the devil rising, with a huge majority saying Satan is real.

Only 55 percent of the U.S. public believed in the reality of the devil in 1990. By 2007 that figure had risen to 70 percent, not many fewer than the 86 percent who said they believe in God.

Gallup News Service said the results are based on telephone interviews “with a randomly selected national sample of 1,003 adults, age 18 and older, conducted May 10-13, 2007.” The margin of error was 3 percentage points.

Nevertheless, a 2008 speech by former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., caused a stir when it surfaced during the 2012 presidential election. Santorum, like Scalia the son of an Italian immigrant father, told a Catholic college audience in Florida that Satan was targeting American institutions, especially its colleges and the realm of politics.

The Catholic Church “has always held that the devil is real, not a mythical personification of evil,” said.

“The church’s teaching on the subject is clear from its liturgy. At baptism, those to be baptized are called upon to reject Satan, his works, and his empty promises. The church provides an official rite of exorcism, which presupposes, of course, the existence of Satan.”


Maher was quite right in saying that Scalia and Bachmann are the same kind of idiot. But they are not part of  a lunatic fringe. They are mainstream and there are millions just like them – people who think the world did not make itself, that there is a God, that God came to earth as Jesus Christ and taught us how to live. (Indeed Bill O’Reilly just wrote a book, Killing Jesus, which he says is not a religion book but a history book.) Is there any doubt that our country was less coarse, less violent, and more moral in previous generations when Christianity held sway? Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family recently stated that we are “absolutely awash in evil.” We do our nation no favor when we soft-pedal our Christianity and fail to appreciate its need and effect on our culture.

The Tea Party stands for fiscal responsibility, a constitutionally limited government, and a free market, which is all well and good. If you look deeper into Tea Party patriots you find that many of them are also pro-life, believe in God, and appreciate their country’s Christian roots in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Yet they are wary of taking a stand on the so-called “social” issues like homosexual marriage and abortion  fearing it will be off-putting. If you love the good, the true and the beautiful, if you think there is a God who has given us guidelines for living, I say to the Tea Party and true Christians of every stripe stand now with Scalia and Bachmann and their ilk. There are millions of Catholics like Scalia and millions of Christians like Bachmann, good and honorable people, first class American citizens.  We need to stand strong and unapologetic about our Christianity.



The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, “Lo, here it is!” or “There!” for behold the kingdom is God is in the midst of you.  — Luke 17:20-21


October 6th, 2013


Orson Bean is a personal friend of mine. He wasn’t last month but he is now. It all started when I heard Orson interviewed by Dennis Miller on a late night radio show.. In the wee hours of the morning I heard Orson proclaim his love for Yeshua (Jesus). Most people are familiar with the name of Orson Bean. Now 85, he has made such a mark in the entertainment world that he must have hundreds of credits on his Wikepedia bio, among the latest being Two and a Half Men, and Despserate Housewives. It has seemed to me of late that most committed Christians have had some sort of experience or encounter with the living God that bolsters their faith and gives them conviction. Orson had just come out with a new book Safe at Home, and I wanted to read it to find out what kind of experiences he might have had. I write more about the book in my post, Mystical Moments.

In this 2011 video Orson is thinking about writing a book.  I don’t know if he ever actually came out with the “funny, raunchy” book he talks about in this clip.

Since I had written about Orson’s life and even plugged his book, I thought he might find my post of interest. I wrote him a letter and he was kind enough to reply:

Hello babydot. I thought it was because I’m 85 that computers confuse me. My grandkids of course, even the littlest ones, can do anything. But if at 90 you’re such a pro I guess it’s not an age thing. Thanks so much for the note and your kind words. I’m not doing much of anything to promote the book, just leaving it in the hands of Himself for it to reach anyone who might be influenced by it. I’ve already heard from a couple of non-believers that they are getting down on their knees and asking if there’s anyone there. A guy named Frank Sontag who does a broadcast on a Christian network asked me to come on his show and I’ll do so next Monday. I enjoyed your blog. Again, thanks. O.

So, though I had barely heard of Orson Bean a month ago, today we are friends, even family. We have the same Father, Brother, Spirit, Mother — it’s funny how that works.

Safe at Home is a quick, enjoyable read about a full and fascinating life, especially for folks who lived through the thirties, forties and fifties.   Scripture tells us that if we seek God we will find Him and Orson sought Him in all directions. To me it seems obvious that the world, the universe, did not make itself, or, as some have suggested, “burp itself into existence.” Man with all his scientific information and technical know-how has never been able to put together a single living cell — a single living, assimilating, growing, reproducing cell! DNA had not yet been discovered in Darwin’s day and I’d love to know how he would explain the volumes of information packed into the double helix in each human cell. Would he really have believed inanimate atoms and molecules over the ages could have accidentally joined together to form baby.exe, the program that brings a baby into existence when the germ cells in a man and a woman unite? I mean really?



Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.… — Matthew 7:7

September 15th, 2013


My friend and I sometimes talk about life and religion after mass. I asked him recently if he had ever had a mystical moment. His instant reply was, “Yes. And it changed me.” The way was open for him to tell me all about it but he didn’t and I didn’t press him. Actually, I thought I had been a bit forward in just asking the question. I have written before about my one and only mystical moment, when I was flooded with a overwhelming feeling of sweetness one night as I was saying a rosary.  I don’t know how I immediately identified it as sweetness (as, I suppose, in “taste and see that the Lord is sweet”). The first thing I did was to look in the mirror to see if I might possibly glow–it was that amazing. My friend, Dolores, tells me of a one-time-only experience of incredible joy as she was taking a shower! I recall another story of an attendee at a Christian conference, listening to a lackluster speaker, when he, too, experienced incredible joy. Many people tell of experiencing God’s love when someone prays with them. I love hearing about such anecdotal experiences which are multiplied thousands of times in the lives of sincere Christians.

I recently read Nowhere But Up by Justin Bieber’s mother, Pattie Mallette. As a lost, addicted, single Mom she had an such an experience of God  that she went around telling everyone “God is real!” whether they wanted to hear it or not. It changed her. Such experiences seem to have a profound effect. Somewhere in my past I read something to the effect that one will not lay down one’s life because of a theory but one may be willing to die because of an experience. We know that all of the apostles but one died a martyr. They had experienced Jesus and knew he was real.  Nothing could shake their faith.

Everyone knows of Mother Teresa, that she was a nun in Calcutta who received a “call within a call” as she was riding on a train going to a retreat.  It seems that she had an experience on that train in which Jesus told her she was to leave her convent and go about Calcutta ministering to the needy herself.  Eventually others gathered about her and her Missionaries of Charity still care for the abandoned, homeless, sick, orphaned, AIDS patients, and the like all over the world.  What was never known until her private writings were revealed after her death was that she had no further  experience of God for FIFTY YEARS after her profound life-changing experience on that train.   Yet she never doubted she was doing God’s will.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI tells us he made his very unusual decision to resign as Pope because God told him to in a “mystical” way. Not a voice, not a vision, but mystically. “Asked why he resigned, the pope emeritus said, ‘God told me to,’ but added that he had not received any kind of apparition or similar phenomenon. Rather, it was a “mystical experience” in which the Lord planted a seed of “absolute desire” in his heart “to remain alone with him, secluded in prayer.”

With these two praying for us, how can our church go wrong?

Pope Francis, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI


Everyone who has been around for awhile knows the name of Orson Bean.  As a child he did magic tricks, became a stand-up comic, and he has been an entertainer in clubs, movies, and on TV for the past 70 years.  Now 85, he was interviewed yesterday by an early morning radio talk show host where he enthusiastically proclaimed his love for Yeshua (Jesus).  He had also come out with a new book  Safe at Home.  Intrigued, I looked it up on Amazon where I found this quote from Bean:  “When I take communion (ritualized cannibalism) tears come to my eyes. This happens because during that rite I remember that the two thousand year old man (sorry Mel Brooks) whom I believe (in some way I can’t explain) to be the Son of God (Whom I also can’t explain) instructed His followers (one of whom I have become) to symbolically drink His blood (sorry Bela Lugosi) and eat His body (sorry Jeffrey Daumer) and by doing so to become a part of Him. I find that deeply moving.”

Thinking that there were reasons behind this rather odd statement of Orson Bean’s faith I wanted to read his book.  The quickest, cheapest way to do so was to download it to my Kindle, and he did not disappoint me.   I find the true story of anyone’s life fascinating, but Orson Bean’s was especially so since he describes the long-ago America we old folks remember and does a lot of famous name dropping along the way.  I read the whole thing in one day, lickety-split, looking for his religious “experiences.”  As a child he would go to the coal bin and put a smudge on his forehead so he would look like the Catholic boys in the neighborhood but he never had  much religious education.   He was pretty much adrift after his mother’s suicide when he was 16 and while the ups and downs of his life make for fascinating reading, his experiences during the war years, for example,  they just led up to the time when “I should have been on top of the world, but I wasn’t. I would go to my shrink, lie on his couch, and tell him that life was “just OK.” There was a hole in me that just never got filled.”

After ten years of analysis Bean  tried a number of other new age type therapies.  He even, actually, walked on burning coals!  This man was really seeking!

After his divorce, at a time of despair, he writes:

I’m sitting on my couch, trying to decide whether it’s too early to go to bed. I glance up and whom do I see, standing in the hall between the kitchen and the living room but our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He doesn’t say anything to me, just stands there in my hall, with the slightest trace of a smile on his face, radiating unconditional love. I recognize him at once . The experience is as real as any I’ve ever had in my life. I don’t question it for an instant. I know the difference between real and imaginary. I’m a magician . Christ graces me with his presence for twenty minutes. Then I look away and when I turn back, he’s gone. The next night, he comes again, standing in a different part of the room, visits for fifteen minutes or so, and then leaves. Oddly enough, I don’t feel particularly changed by the experience . I just think to myself, “So, He’s real and alive and living in New York.”

Another time when he had a problem with alcohol he was advised  to turn to a higher power and say a little prayer of gratitude morning and night, which he did.   Still later, still questioning the existence of a higher power, he got some religion books from the library, including C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. Slowly he began to believe there was a God who made the universe, who cared about him and, thirty years after his visions, he was baptized. He wrote: “There was never any doubt in my mind that on the two evenings in question, I had been in the physical presence of the living Christ; and if He was there then, He is surely here now, standing beside me.”   This is truly a fascinating tale.

When I started writing this post I had no idea I would have so much to say about Orson Bean. but things do not always go as planned.  Indeed, everyone who finds Christ has a fascinating story. I will not multiply stories about mystical moments — surely there are millions. But I’d love to hear yours — why do YOU believe?

Email from Orson Bean:
Hello babydot. I thought it was because I’m 85 that computers confuse me. My grandkids of course, even the littlest ones, can do anything. But if at 90 you’re such a pro I guess it’s not an age thing. Thanks so much for the note and your kind words. I’m not doing much of anything to promote the book, just leaving it in the hands of Himself for it to reach anyone who might be influenced by it. I’ve already heard from a couple of non-believers that they are getting down on their knees and asking if there’s anyone there. A guy named Frank Sontag who does a broadcast on a Christian network asked me to come on his show and I’ll do so next Monday. I enjoyed your blog. Again, thanks. O.