Well have you given this any thought?? Funny me!
September 23, 2023 by Pornchai Maximilian Moontri
“Beyond These Stone Walls” – Mother Mary (Virgin) – Some don’t get it::
Hey hey! Welcome from the theideacon!
Beyond these Stone Walls:
Charlene has learned something about mercy. The lesson did not come cheap, as her memoir describes. Only such a wounded healer could call upon the Church’s shepherds with the force of having lived the Gospel of Mercy, to refine the voices they are listening to in all this. “What kind of shepherds,” she wrote. “abandon their sheep when they make a misstep.”
I hope someone will open and read the following link:
Some months ago in my search to find myself amidst life’s twists and turns I found the web site “Beyond these Stone Walls”: I subscribed to this site and now receive periodic updates.
The following post is associated with the spiritual struggle of one who finds themselves in a prison – not necessarily by choice yet very much confined by circumstances in life.
The Cross of Human Suffering:
I have to say it was a lesson unexpected as a result of ministering to prisoners and then encountering the essence of a prison one can not see yet can be imposed. What I discovered through reflection on this reality is the unspoken message Jesus Christ communicated while hanging on the cross. The language used in the message is the unspoken word clearly passed through the cross of human suffering.
Jesus Christ – The Way:
In order for one to begin to understand this language of the cross, one must suffer sufficiently that one becomes willing to search in earnest to find the narrow gate “hidden in the cross” and then be brave enough to take the necessary deep dive into the abyss of life required to find oneself and there the answer that lies in wait.
The reward one finds when they take the deep dive is simply this: One begins to see with spiritual eyes and one begins to hear with spiritual ears that which has always been present.
Another example of a journey to discover “the already and not yet” doorway only possible with ones cross!
Routine Visit – Ha!
Routine visit to the Prison today! Haha on me! Did I tell you my prayer regarding my visits to prison often where I discover I am more a student than a teacher. And the normal prayer for me is this: “What do you have in mind for me today Lord”?
Start with Prayer – Heck the Whole thing is a Prayer:
Hope I don’t disappoint!!! Yep, I go to Mass, am entrusted with the Eucharist and quickly on my way via my (truck) chapel where I pray all the way! Not possible some say!!! Have ya ever ridden in my truck with me?
Yes mam! I get to prison on time. Oh my the main gate scanner isn’t working! Rummage through my carry in clear see through pack is quickly completed.
Deeper and Deeper:
Walk through the next 5 locked gates and encounter two of my boys (haha on me they are inmates in for life)!! What the heck is going on? Met almost immediately met by the Chaplin – taken aside – not normal! Escorted out of the room and trying to ask questions as we walk fast! Holy Smokes – that room almost packed with inmates are – are – are – the Chaplin told me = they are ALL Lifers! Something new I have never encountered to date. Hmmm – you talken to me Lord?!
On to the next building – am told wait here while I check for a room! In library I see uniformed individuals sitting across from an inmate! Then Holy Smokes here come a bunch of lifers from the first room I passed headed straight into my space. How do I know? One of them is the first inmate I introduced you to last week who was the first encountered years ago when I first began. He comes and stands right next me.
Finally I begin to get the drift of what is taking place! Yep the Good Lord has something to remind me about today. Now my old friend! Yikes did I just write a lifer inmate if my old friend! Whew – another reminder – long ago I called – er – perhaps better said “SENT” to be taught by an unseen advocate – maybe I should call this spirit my tail gate defender who covers my back!
Have I lost you yet? My old friend tells me. I remind you he is standing there right at my side – he informs me he is waiting to be interviewed regarding his potential parole!
Life’s Roller Coaster Ride:
Have you ever been on a roller coaster! You know up up up the hill followed by oh my — my stomachs — am I gonna lose it’s contents as the roller coaster’s bottom falls accelerating downhill! Do you get the drift of the intensity of the moment? My old friend asks me to pray for him – he is sweating what words he need to use????? The the silent “HELP” is heard!!!!!!!!! Lord Have Mercy! Intense – stress – I can’t run away – I can’t hide – I must hang tough! What do I say???
Flash back – here we go again! Maybe some of you have heard that the air traffic controllers job is one of the most stressful job that exists! Some experts have said so. I myself spent some serious time in the world’s busiest Air Traffic Facilities! I have watched unbelievable things happen to air traffic controllers in seconds. Don’t recall I ever told this you learn but don’t talk about! Here it is!
Haha you gonna have ta wait! Best I can do to replicate a roller coaster ride. Recently I heard a very high level Catholic clergyman state that Jesus called his disciples to be shepherds. Shepherd – not a word to be lightly understood! And to be an effective shepherd, one must spend some serious very close encounter quality time among the sheep – yes – so much so that the shepherd takes on the smell of the sheep.
I sure hope this analogy works! Did you know the body of an air traffic controller develops stress related bad breath until eventually the body adapts to the pressure cooker! Yes I learned I know the smell of stress! Chicago O’Hare 1970’s. Unexpected flashback for an old man in May 2023. Yes that is just part of what the good Lord had in mind for me today!
Summary: Man that roller coaster ride can be gruesome as ones hopes, dreams and emotions wrap there arms around ones soul.
What do I do? Oh What do I do? – Suffering – Preparation in Hiding:
So what does one say??? You have been preparing for this day 35 + years. What’s most essential is your faith and trust in Jesus Christ and the Advocate! Breathe out and then when you breathe in – suck in the Holy Spirit hidden in the cross named hurry up and wait! You are more ready more than you know! Have faith and trust in the spirit planted within “in the beginning” knowing no matter that no matter the outcome your standing in the exactly the right check out lane!
Then I was lead to the furthest part of the prison where I have never been before! Waiting alone – waiting for what?
to be continued ……..
The Spiritual Set Up:
The past week I have been fretting about just what I should do regarding natural human conflict between two inmates who attend my Catholic Service.
Funny and Not Very Funny:
Can we laugh at ourselves and just how human were set up? Funny but not so funny – one became upset with the other for engaging in a protracted debate / challenging my core perspective regarding Faith, Trust and Hope founded upon my religious belief in God, scripture and the Catholic perspective on Truth.
What Going On and On and On will Do!:
It was an argument, debate, long winded discussion some might find difficult to endure. Well fact was on inmate stood up without saying a word and walked out. This inmate did not return.
Time for a Deep Dive:
This particular incident caused my soul to search first for why the two inmates both felt strongly about the perspectives they held. Further I wanted to know what I could or should have done to handle this situation better?
The good news for me was, I was able to listen without overly interrupting the inmate making a point about Artificial Intelligence and how repeatedly in the past human kind has been able to imagine concepts not possible at the time, yet over time became a reality. Technology, cell phones, flight, outer space travel, electricity, medical advances, etc. etc. Yes things that must have been considered at one point in history as impossible yet today we know conclusively those imagined possibilities are really real.
Why not AIT? What’s so different?
Fundamental Truth? AI is a machine not human and does not have a soul or real feelings or emotions! It is simply a non living – electronic computer technology completely dependent up some flawed human being creating the hardware and software that can emulate ever so many human capabilities. AI has an advantage over a single human being for it can access data and be programmed by multiples of human being with a multiplicity of human values programmed into a non living highly sophisticated embedded complex outcomes which over time will become more and more difficult to test the predicted outcome!
The Other Inmate had had enough – Body Language in Action:
Question is? What is our tolerance capability and can we hear the spiritual question being asked hidden within a challenging debate?
The on and on debate Question hides the spiritual question! – Do our spiritual eyes and ears work?
As the dialogue went on as happens in time – how does one test such a machine and what standard will be used to measure the future outcomes / truth of results of AI? The machine will not have a soul nor a conscientious – rather a growing multiplicity of human and perhaps other machine software programmers who may never ever to speak to one another about the purpose and validation of outputs!
Fast Back to the “In the Very Beginning”:
Will mankind treat such a machine as a God? The temptation will be real as “In the beginning”! Will the reality of human kinds original sin be factored in? Ah ha! The Ten Commandments! Ah ha humankind’s nature to fall into temptation / desire to take ownership of the original “Tree of Knowledge” in the Garden.
A leap forward and simultaneously a leap backward to “in the beginning” – temptation!
Have I confused anyone yet?
Hey I know this is incomplete but I gotta take a break!
to be continued ………….
Went to prison yesterday. Normal entry and normal delay for inmates to come! Food for thought! Almost every week a delay! And just why do I persist?
Oh, something about I am the student – sent to proclaim the Good News and to listen to the spirit’s voice hidden is the message spoken and unspoken by men incarcerated.
Oh Oh – I am the Student!!:
One inmate has been in prison 30 plus years. Lots of time to think! He admits guilt in murder of another human being. He regrets the impact of his frustration that lead to his crime! Essentially a spear he could not see coming penetrated his spirit when his son committed suicide as a older teenager.
Perspective of Hope – Stubbornness of the Spirit:
Can you imagine 30 + years to reflect upon and study the teachings of the Catholic Church. Simultaneously, ones human nature that landed him in prison clings to oneself and continues to cause him to challenge again and again truth no matter who! Just happened to be me today! Yes my each expressed thought! Can any one make the leap to understand this same challenge plays out time and again within the prison when I am not present with other inmates?
A Pain – a Pain! Get over yourself!:
So it was this day my question “how has it been going” lead to a conversation where seemingly every thought I expressed was challenged. Could it be 30 years ever so little hope exists “of ever being set free” was driving the conversation? A conversation that was upsetting to another inmate who recently received news “parole for multiple inmates was on the near horizon”. I ask myself? Are my ears working? Am I off track? New Hope came face to face with Hope frustrated! Unspoken language speaks through body movement! Absolutely no doubt – for sure something obviously had been triggered.
Oh Lord has my willingness to take the RISK to let people Speak an Error?
Was the difference I observed this day between the two inmates a spiritual attitude toward the hope of parole intensified by my willingness to take such a risk? Did I observe the natural long existing conflict – yet not fully understood by either – between the inmates – seemingly obviously due to a long interaction between the two men. A mouth full!
There I sat – the enabler: Guilty!
There I was essentially sitting in the middle enabling a discussion challenging my perspective of the future of Artificial Intelligence (AI) . Yes I was being challenged to defend myself at every turn in regard to inanimate object (AI’s home) – a non-human machines ability to replicate and exceed a humans ability to reason.
A machine no matter how sophisticated does not have a soul – nor was it created in the image of God with free will!
The unspoken word speaks clearly! Evidence – the inmate – a short timer – in his mind could not tolerate the lifer’s attitude in regard to his insistence to challenge my perspective
Sometimes the soul speaks through ones feet! Yes the short-timer got up and walked out!
Wonder why I am writing this?
Did I tell you – in this ministry to prisoners – I have discovered the Spirit of the One who called me, reversed my role making me the student and teacher so I might travel through the valley that leads one to begin to better understand God’s complicated design of the nature of the Human person – where the soul can not escape the body!
Fact — This is not easy reality to digest and discern the truth. Is it perhaps the valley one must pass through where the search for wisdom leads both teacher and student?
And where do I find a Human I can talk to who will not get up and leave?
Shepherd: Flock: So close: Takes on Smell:
Take the Real Presence out into the Sheep’s grazing grounds:
Arms Length – neither a “Yes” or “No”:
A Gift I didn’t ask for:
Seems to me the good Lord gave me a gift I wasn’t shopping for! Ten years with people suffering with HIV/AIDS fast forwarded facing the reality of death resulted in an immersion of myself into the world of sheep saying “I was born this way” – not understanding “in the beginning” they were exactly born this way – with “original sin” human natures in the beginning desire to define truth! Yes sin is still sin in spite of oh so many humans seeking to make real the original sin/unreality!