Category Archives: Prison

While Waiting = Time = Opportunity for the location Key :

A people in Waiting:  The Roman Catholic Church:

August 2022.  Went to prison.  Arrived on time and arrived in my designated room.  Waited.  I have been getting acclimated to waiting.  When I arrive I advise the guard who calls the dorms to notify inmates I have arrived so they can be released to attend.  The men I visit are in dorm M.  I put my stuff on the table and sit down to wait.

A time to just Wait – What to do with a Wait- Spiritual Sharing during a Wait :

As I am waiting, a young man sitting in the room ask me a question?  For the next hour I begin explaining who I am, why I am here and ask him a few questions about his situation.

Suffering – any suffering?  Suffering can be a non verbal method of communications for those with eyes to see.    Could Jesus have been speaking the whole time he was nailed to the cross?  Was there blood coming from his head and into his eyes?  Could it have been very painful?  You bet!

Holy Smokes an hour evaporates:  Then the young man tells me the inmate I am waiting on is in dorm K!  I go to the guard and provide the name and dorm.  Lord have mercy – the inmates shows up in less than 5 minutes.  What you been doing?  Evangelization is my description.

I change the subject to what has been going on with the inmate since I last visited?  Oh boy did he have a story to tell.  He checked out of his dorm signing out with the guard.  Another three guards where near the exit and talking.  One of the guards was assigned to his dorm and advised him to sign out.   He responded that he had signed out.  Apparently a misunderstanding took place resulting in some confusion and triggered human emotions for both men.  Well bottom line it didn’t bod well for the inmate I came to visit.  He ended up in a place called the hole.  When he first was incarcerated he frequented the hole.  But several years ago after finding his way back to practicing his faith – his behavior changed for the better.  He shared although he was not happy about being placed in the hole he was calm.  In fact he said the warden, deputy warden, chaplain and three other officers came to visit him in the hole.  They wanted to know what’s up since this was not his recent behavior.

What to do with a Wait – Spiritual Sharing follows:

My question?  I was there an hour before the young inmate reveled to me he knew where the inmate was I came to visit.   Then the inmate arrives and tells me the story of his waiting in the hole and while he was waiting the visitors who came to check on him.

Waiting can be Spiritually Productive:

Seems to me the Holy Spirit was working through all the encounters that took place.  And if I hadn’t been willing to take a risk and share my spiritual ministry with a stranger who does not attend church – well the Wait would have been just a Wait and then go home.

 

Woke or Awake — Hello world!

Have been visiting a State Prison for over ten years. When I first began I was very uncomfortable for many reasons. I had a million questions about just what was I getting myself into. I would go so far to admit the Good Lord really had to trick me before I volunteered. And it took me almost a full year to complete the necessary prerequisite work.

  1. Submit Back ground paperwork and wait!
  2. Attend an approved volunteer training session which I did.

It took so long that at one point I finally told the Good Lord — “you must not really want me to do prison ministry – I give up!!!”

Proof the Lord really does work – the following day the Chaplin from the prison I wanted to visit called me on the phone. He asks? Are you still interested in visiting the prison? Well yes is my answer. He gave me instructions to go to a local Sheriff’s office and ask to be finger printed and have them sent to the Department of Corrections. Done!!!

Hoops = Insult to Injury:

Hoops to jump through I call them! Paid for my own fingers to be printed. Yikes, I served four years in the military where they finger printed me. Then I spent another forty plus years working for the Federal government where I was finger printed and passed a background check. As if that wasn’t enough I have a back ground check done every year by my church! That’s the reason for the YIKES!!! Enough is enough!

I admit applying through State prison process was a test! But that wasn’t what tricked me! What was it that gave me the resolve to persist – that was the trick.

Lesson right our of scripture: We are a people in Waiting:

Patience my dear! Haha on me! Lesson learned. Persistence! Oh yea you want to know what the trick was!! Well you see there was this lady I know from church. She is a wonderful and joyful Lady. You see her husband was accused of taking funds illegally. He was charged and taken to court. The verdict was he was found guilty! Yes he was!

There was nothing I could to help this woman with her agony and her belief her husband was not guilty. I asked myself? What can I do to help? Prison ministry pope3d into my head and the journey began to find my way into prison ministry!

Here I am Lord send me come to mind!

You thought I was done: Haha on You!

I was taught many lessons in prison. The lesson I write about today is simply many living in freedom outside the prison choose to create and build prison bars around themself and do not realize they really could escape. Another scripture lesson driven home. Human nature would rather remain in bondage and slavery (to sin) than be free. Freedom is in fact a scary reality for us humans!

Every time Jesus walked into a room his first words were – “do not be afraid.

The Pandemic – The Pandemic:

As always the Truth is always the Truth and eventually will escape the clutches of the corrupt! Happening Now! Wow the heavy cost to a free people – fear used as a weapon to build bars and imprison the masses. Shut down the small business owner while allowing the mega corporations open doors!

Do our Politicians believe in our Republic – No! Dictatorship Yes! Corruption Yes – Freedom No!

I ask the Reader – do you want Freedom and Liberty or do you want to empower to replace the Declaration of Independence, the constitution and the Bill of Rights with Communism?????

This is a heart attack City moment in the History of the Nation built upon self governance, principles and values that do not change over time or the technology advancements. Truth awaits your answer!

Visiting Prison

Went prison on Friday. Arrived inside prison at 09:30 AM. Guard announces Catholic Service building ##! No one shows up! Sitting in chair by a large glass window looking out into prison yard with multiple walkways. Individual inmates keep checking in – reporting for a multitude of reasons. So what would you do?

Man Oh man don’t I have a lot of things to do?

Well I have been doing this for a few years! Most days I just tell the Lord I have a lot of things I would rather do! Through the years I finally learned the lesson I surrender – I was sent to learn!! OK Lord -,just what is it you have in mind for me today???? Should I stay or should I go? If someone had come I would surely stay!!

Just sitting quietly in silence: No talk-en! Non Verbal!

So I just sat, watched and prayed funny prayers – like – so what you trying to teach me today Lord? I look up at the clock – 11:00 AM. Then I zone out! – haha – day dreaming – next thing I know I look up and there stands the inmate I came to see! He tells me I didn’t know you were here. I have a court appointment I have to make – (in prison video zoom court) appearance. In the blink of an eye he’s gone!

Just watching behavior in the Yard – Guide Dog Training:

Been watching inmates training guide dogs! Did you know they do that? After a while one of them brings his dog into the building I am sitting. Walks up hall and comes back. Stands at door looking down hall. Then he asks me! Hey are you a priest? Oh shucks – I forgot I was wearing a black shirt with a white Roman collar! I realized my presence was talking while I was silent. Non verbal communications is working all the time. Careful what you do cause people are reading your message all the time. So respond – no I am a deacon but want you to know I will be coming every Friday at 09:30 AM. Are you Catholic? The guys says yes and I have been waiting for you! I will be there next Friday!

The Spirit of God is working full time – yet

Did you know dog spelled backwards spells God? Not just any dog but a guide dog! What do you have in mind for me today Lord comes to mind! I am just sitting there waiting, doing nothing and the spirit that has many hiding places is working in ways we can seldom see. Was I being productive I ask??? Well before can I stop thinking about the dog inmate – the first guys shows up again and the prison guard (human) opens the library so we can pray!

A Room Full of Books – Full of Words – Just patiently Waiting:

Do you know a library is room full of books full of words just waiting around for someone to pick them up so just maybe the spirit hiding the words can be set free to reveal a message spirit hidden within? The first inmate shares a little about his court date. Still on track for a release date March 1, 2022. He will have been 34 years incarcerated by then. He tells me he is afraid of freedom! And he shares he hates the word discipline! Oh boy I am in trouble! I had just told him the word discipline meaning is love! Wow are we on different pages! I ask him what did it take for Jesus to go to Jerusalem where he knew they would crucify him! What did he exercise? And I asked him to consider it’s not the word – one must search the spiritual meaning of the word is hidden in the spirit of the word! Jesus didn’t have to go to Jerusalem and he could perform miracles! So why did he not rebel! Ahh ha! Maybe He wanted to teach us the secret hidden in discipline is communicated through an act of love – to do what he didn’t have to!

Could this be for you and me?

For each of you and me! The inmate told me he would reflect and pray about the word disciple! You know while I was in prison I didn’t suffer crucifixion! I just sat waiting and the spirit hidden in the wait was working the whole time!

Sign, Symbol, Message or Chance – Hidden Message

Anyone care to help me reflect upon and try to solve a message hidden in a messenger? A few days ago a white pigeon showed up at my back door. It was wondering around near the steps pecking at the grass, greens and the ground. It was pecking at plants and the ground obvious to me the bird was searching for something to sustain it’s life!

A Pure White Pigeon – a Dove – a Messenger with a Hidden Message:

The arrival of this bird created for me a thirst for answers as I found myself being pulled into deeper and deeper reflection. These are not ordinary times are they? And this was no ordinary bird. In fact it was a white homing pigeon. And just why did this bird choose come to my house of all the homes in my neighborhood to stop? There are at least fifty plus homes just in my local neighborhood and many others in the local city area.

Why My House?

Let me help you a little and explain my what caught my interest and curiosity. I am an unusual man of sorts. I have raised and raced homing pigeons from the time I was boy all the way to the 1950’s. But not only that, but I am rapidly approaching my 25th anniversary as an ordained Catholic Deacon. Perhaps one can begin to detect that I may see things in both a spiritual and physical perspective light that many folks wouldn’t necessarily have a clue exist. And I must admit that I have been reflecting more than a little upon this chance arrival and even this may an understatement.

Discern – Write it down – Reflect:

Fact is something is pestering me to write this down and ask for help! I wonder if there is anyone out there with who is willing to take the time to join me in reflecting and discerning the message hidden in this unexpected arrival? And then — is there someone brave and with the courage to take a risk and share the message this reflection triggered?

I already knew what I needed to know but didn’t know it:

Like the rest of you living life, teaches many lessons and often one can not digest at the time they are first learned. What I will share has been learned and taught through nature and in numerous spiritual reflections. In 2011 I discovered I had already been taught as a kid what I need to know, but I just couldn’t connect the dots to know, I already knew what I needed to know – I just didn’t know I already knew it!

The Sign and symbol of the bird. So what is it? It is white pigeon. It has wings and has the freedom to fly away. And it is a symbol of a dove spoken about in the stories of scripture from almost the beginning. Hidden to many are the symbols of scripture in the creation of the bird itself. Noah’s ark, angles with wings appearing such as Gabriel, Rapheal, and Michael. The spirit of God descending like a dove upon Jesus as he came out of the Jordan river.

Multiple Secrets –> Hidden in the Symbol yet easily available for deeper inspection:

Long ago I knew a Pigeon has ten primary flight pins (feathers) that serve to propel it through the air and with the velocity to escape it’s enemies gifted with stealth techniques. Could these feathers represent the ten commandments if kept can save one from an enemy stealthy hidden in the consequences?

Power of 12 – Hidden Message:

These birds have twelve tail feathers. Takes just a little more than a casual look to learn this fact. Hum – the number twelve – twelve months, twelve tribes, and yes the twelve apostles the leaders of the church a very rich symbol. And one who studies flight knows the tail feathers have a purpose. They serve as a rudder that guides. Combine the realty of the dynamics of flight, make possible unbelievable maneuvers which enhance the birds ability ability to escape it’s enemies.

Oil – Anointing – Hidden Message:

Yes, there is more! The bird has an oil gland at the base of it’s tail. Almost everyone has seen a bird preening but do you know how important that is? The birds uses it’s beak to rub the oil gland and thereby is able to spread a thin layer of oil all over it’s feathers. This reality offers another opportunity for an in-depth reflection. The bird is preparing for survival, a real kind of War – like the the oil of salvation, the oil of the early Christian catechumen’s who used oil to cover themselves before entering the coliseum in preparation for the fight of their life.

This oil also provides some degree of water proofing and more importantly enhances the bird’s ability to slip through the air most efficiently again enhancing it’s ability to escape it’s enemy.

Hang in There:

Hang with me a while longer. The bird has a white wattle on it’s nose or beak. It is in the shape of a heart. The color of the wattle immediately communicates the health of the bird. When a bird is healthy the color of the wattle is egg white – no yellow shade – the color of a fertilized egg. Nature – God’s creation is amazing!

The Heart of the Matter – Hidden Message – Search for Home – The Promised Land:

Scientist theorize the wattle is the primary organ the bird uses navigate and find it’s way home. I can testify that almost anywhere you take the a homing pigeon it will find home. It just needs a little practice while growing up. Homing pigeons in fact have a rich history of being willing to sacrifice their life to find home and they mate for life! They have been used in many past wars to communicate critical information upon which troops lives depended.

Now that I have taken you back to the 1950’s lets start from the beginning!

Messengers with Wings:

In scripture Angles appeared to many and they served as messengers with wings and came in the form of a dove. Why again did this bird show up at my back door? Of all the homes in the neighborhood it came to my back door. My back door happens to be the doorway through which many pets who are not our pets arrived and took up residence.

I am also the only ordained preacher in the neighborhood who also currently raises and races homing pigeons. Could this bird have known I was the most likely to recognize it’s need and it’s message?

Have I presented sufficient details that someone will be willing to embark upon a reflection journey to discover the message hidden in this story?

Use it or Lose it – Message Hidden:

I was easily able to pick the bird up though is was capable of flying away. Could this be a message I was chosen and trusted to care for the birds life?

I could now inspect the bird more closely having developed skilled hands at detecting the health of the bird almost instantly. I forgot to mention a healthy homing pigeons breast feels like one of those small footballs we boys used on the play grounds in the 1950’s. It has a supple feeling – not hard – but firm. Funny a healthy homing pigeon in your hand feels like a football you could throw and it would fly!

Well, this bird breast had suffered atrophy. Atrophy is what happens when one stops using a muscle or has overused the muscle without sufficient nourishment and rest. One just becomes weaker. A sure sign the bird was in trouble and needed some tender loving care! The flight feathers were in good shape and all ten were there.

Hidden Message = 12 Tail Feathers – Rudder – Guide – (12-4) Oh Oh!

Oh Oh, there were four tail feathers missing! Four of Twelve were missing! How to interpret the mystery. I have been involved in racing pigeons over 60 years! It is a sure sign the bird has been attacked by it’s enemy who seeks to take it’s life! A hawk during an attack will extend it’s claws and often only gets the tails feathers which then become detached from the bird saving it’s life!

Confusion here! Four tail feathers are MIA! Four of Twelve is a third. What message does this communicate about the Twelve? The Hawk got them? Yet the bird survived without them! The voice in my head says please pay attention! Where are the twelve today? Where is the Hawk? Are 1/3 of the Bishops MIA?

One is Black as in Sin – Hidden Message:

The next finding was a little more disconcerting. Oh Oh! Of the eight tail feathers remaining one was about half black. The only feather on the bird with black was a tail feather. This sign is perhaps more difficult to discern. Could this be a which do you want first message? The Good news or the Bad?

I must confess, even I have been challenged with some black markings from time to time. Sin can not be denied even in the church! And the Good News is still the Good News. The one who was sent came for the sinner so the sinner would come to understand the message that the sender treasured the sinner so much the sender was freely willing to sacrifice the greatest treasure.

Now that was what I learned in Catholic grade school in the 1950’s. A run on sentence!! Oh my!

So again why did this bird show up at my house??? Does anyone have a clue?

Who am I? I was called to follow a man who came to testify to the truth and people didn’t like the way he preached. I was called to follow a man named Steven who served at tables and the next thing you hear he is out in the street preaching and the people liked his preaching so much they stoned him to death!

“No more sermons from the deacon” = “Shut Up”. Did this bird come to my house so I would stop talking and be quite?

And just what about you? Why does it appear my church is in hiding? Why are we afraid?

I took the bird to my pigeon loft. It is located on 220 acres! I go to care for that bird every day! Every day the wind whisper’s in my ears God’s creative genius and that everyone of us was created in the image of God with a creative nature to adapt and change even as the war rages around us!

And you Say?

What message is that white bird bugging me to speak? What has happened to the tail feathers that are supposed to guide and show us how to use the creative gifts of imagination, truth, sacrifice, courage while the muscle of the bird has suffered atrophy?

So what say you?

Time = Treasure – Give it Away:

Went to prison today. It has become a routine event for me. I always wonder what do I have to offer?

Can’t take my cell phone or wallet or keys and such into prison. Pretty much all I have is me and this spirit hiding in a small piece of bread and somehow talks to me. Real presence is really real!

Time: A gift: A Treasure:

Yep! All I can say is I have something for you and that I believe! Hope and grace are transmitted without speaking a word! Love is communicated in the gift of time!

Finding Truth is Hard Work – Tools are Needed:

Truth is found when a search begins in earnest to find the depths of ones soul! It hides itself from automatic detection – one needs a pick, ax and shovel to dig into the muddy mess below the surface!

What News Media Do we Look for Truth?

A thirsty soul can detect the smell of water hidden below the misleading chaos of the earth. And when one finds it they will roll for joy in the mud of freedom found in the truth! And amazingly they will be ready to die as they proclaim that truth! So what News Media do you think I depend upon to help me find truth???

Prison Bars – World in Chaos — Reaching beyond the Bars

Went to prison today – oh so hot- and – wheres the rain — ready for fall! Got there and sitting waiting patiently for some one to show up – the count is on – no one can come until the count is done! I lay my head in my arms on the table waiting! I go sound asleep! About 20 minutes later I wake up and wonder where am I? Can you believe it – behind bars and asleep. Something about being cradled in the arms of one who loves you! Can you pass that – like your own home?

So one might wonder why the nap of peace? Well the 1st inmate shows. We talk about me sleeping and what’s going on in the world where chaos reins! How anger in the world manifests wounds buried deep in ones soul that can not rest it’s head on a table! How to heal wounds unseen? So he tells me he has one. He talks to his wife every week and she talks about suicide due to the stress generated from the stress of inheriting the head of the family from many many relatives! Wounds hiding behind behavior unfriendly – stress! She has taken the role of head of family – what to do – what to do hiding the unspoken where are you!

The unspoken question – what can I do from prison? The 1st reading Sunday is a cry – how long Oh Lord must I endure this trial – have you abandoned and forgotten me Oh Lord! I am with you always and everywhere – trust in my promise and rest in my arms!

How do we do that? Every time you talk to your wife, pray with her – speak the words of distress, anxiety, uncertainty, frustration and hope overextended! Then thank the Lord for the gift of a willing spirit standing in the midst of chaos, anger, woundedness and ebbing hope with the knowledge that grace comes out of the light darkness seeks to extinguish! Though you can not be where she is when the crises comes your joining prayer reveals and makes present a spirit of unity sealed with blessings one never stands alone when darkness seeks to extinguish the light!

Consistency of prayer provide the building blocks to endure the trials and begin to penetrate the barriers carefully constructed and wrapped around the wounds unseen. Yes – we are one, yes I am with you, yes we will overcome, yes we are never alone, yes we are hope where Hope appears spent, yes I love you, am proud of you and know you are stretching to fill a void for which forgiveness holds the key that opens the door to healing wounds unseen and embracing the healing power hidden in tears joined together to form an unexpected living waters to quench the thirst of voyagers through a lifeless desert! We are one in spirit and life!

Blood the Connecting Thread!

Pestering, Ornery Issues and People

Went to prison Friday 1 PM. Needed to get skid steer in for maintenance, spent too much time at church on way where ornery old woman I know was working. Gave her a hug and told her so! Worked up a sweat on a hot day trying to start skid steer! Finally forced to give in and do what I planned to do at start of day! Thought – Oh I could skip – but sensed the spirit was pestering me! Gave in! Took shower – got dressed – presentable – clergy! Went to prison!

Divided – so what do we have that links us?

No one was there! What do you have in mind for me today Lord? No one in prison comes until the “count” is complete and every inmate is accounted for! Then they came! A Georgia Tech grad, a drug runner, a Mexican Father and a boot camp young man. We talked the many issues of our day and the division! So what do we all have in common even those most radical- so what is it? Everyone bleeds the same red blood – without which life ceases to exist! And it is the willingness to shed ones blood for others the secret and mystery of new life lives! The life blood of the water of life changed into the finest wine – the only medicine with the potential to wash away causes of division and bring healing to wounds buried deep in the bones where blood is created!
We changed to Friday in hopes the boot camp juveniles could attend. We got our first one to attend and as we parted he said – please make sure they announce your service so I can come again and some others!

So now I understand the persistence of the voice that spoke to me as I debated all I wanted to get done!

War – Hate – Cost – Blood – Healing:

Our nation is divided and broken by a language of Hate! We are in a war without bullets – a war against God’s design – attack & destroy anyone who disagrees with self declared design – who among us is willing to shed blood to heal the many self inflicted wounds human nature’s willingness to listen to the voice of the one who seeks our ruin ?

Awesome – Word for God!

Awesome, Awesome, Awesome a word used again and again by young people for everything!!!! Do they know it is a word that should be reserved for God and spirit of God. Does anyone think the Devil knows it’s a word reserved for God? Humm would the Devil seek to temp people into elevating themselves to conclude without thinking they indeed can do the things of God. I can re-create myself and be what ever I want to be! I can define myself and I have no limitations.

Happiness is found the world says – all I have to do is redefine myself!

Anyone suppose this thinking process could be used to defeat God’s design and prevent humans from ever finding happiness?

Pretty sure God gave us who we are and didn’t make a mistake! Seems that I found happiness was hidden while I was being created in my mothers womb. Our birthday is the day we began the journey to discover the plan God designed for us before we were born! Could it be be part of God’s plan parents, a mom and dad might be designed to help young people find truth in the places the world doesn’t want them to look!

Oops!!! How did I get here? Socialism isn’t Self governance. Self-governance can only work when people recognize there is a higher design, law and moral authority than themselves which possesses the only spiritual power for people to find themselves and unite as a people. Whereas Socialism must seek to destroy and replace that higher authority.

Forgive me for the sermon – but self actualization is man’s word to explain God’s design as man seeks to describe the place where happiness is found. A place when one begins to use every God given gift and talent! That’s exactly what a real leader wants to help achieve in every human being! As for me –> Yes – we hold these words to be self evident!

Hidden in the Prison Story:

I never know what I will encounter or learn when I visit the prison. 5:30 nobody shows, 6:30 nobody shows, Well Lord why am I here today? I guess I am here so you can teach me to wait and wonder why am I here? Some special am I with no one to share and fewer who care! So what is it you have for me today? 7:10 PM and arrive 2 inmates I have never seen before. One so nervous he couldn’t sit still! The other stumbled all over his words. Are you Catholic I asked? Maybe, said the stumbler, but I don’t remember much, I have done so many drugs! So I asked and listened! What are looking for? Words jumping out of a frying pan I began to discern he was looking and searching to find in a mixed up puzzle who the heck am I? So many gather in big groups in religion but are unable to get answers calling from within the scrambled mess life, drugs and people, especially those who profess faith yet unreachable from the whirlwind holding the mind captive! A fried brain cannot stop the spirit within from crying out – who am I, why am I here, and what am I searching for? The image of God, no matter the darkness surrounding cries out as it seeks to be reunited with the source of it’s creation! The nervous one could not stop wondering around as in a search for a place to rest! Lord Have Mercy – who am I to even hope somehow I penetrate a darkness consuming those who seek escape, freedom, and find a purpose formed while traveling through the fire which seeks to extinguish the flame of life more abundant! Hidden in this story is the hope hidden in your soul with the saving power of love as you wait for the opportunity to set love free to heal wounds unseen!