Michael Daly CJ Blog

A Companion of Jesus

Chew The Fat With The Friar! Who Cares?

In the present Pandemic, I have been wondering about the world and how we interact with each other, especially how we care for each other. So many good people are caring for others in hospital, at home and in Care homes as well as in our general interaction with people in our local environment, out shopping and in offices, pubs, clubs etc etc. “Care” I believe is central for our future as well as our humanity!


C.S. Lewis wrote the provocative book, ‘The Screwtape Letters’. It is about an exchange of letters between an elder devil, named Screwtape, and his nephew, Wormwood, who is on his first mission to learn the subtle techniques for tempting people.
Uncle Screwtape counsels, ‘The goal is not wickedness but indifference.’ The older devil explained to his nephew, ‘Your job, my dear Wormwood, is to provide me with people who do not care.’
I wonder if Wormwood has had any influence over my life?
What about you?


BM

December 12, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chew The Fat With The Friar! Why do I bless Gay Marriages?

I have often been asked why I bless gay marriages, so here follows some of my reasoning.

I think I need to say at the outstart, that I bless all marriages, heterosexual and homosexual. I believe marriage is a sacred covenant and a sacrament. Behind the question to me, is the belief that homosexuality is wrong and not supported by the bible or by Church history or tradition.

I really can’t go into this in any depth, as the matter of hermeneutics and language is not something that can be handled by this short, personal blog. I recommend a reading list at the end of this blog, that some might find helpful.

I need to start by saying, that I do not believe homosexuality is wrong, an aberration or sinful. I believe people are born with a need to know they are loved and that for the majority, this will mean that they will grow up with an attraction and sexual desire, for and towards, the opposite sex. But for many others, they will grow up, attracted and having a sexual desire, for and towards the same sex. It is my belief that it is not good for anyone to be alone, and I believe this is in accord with the heart of God.

Now there are passages in scripture, which have been used to abuse those attracted to the same sex. In fact there are many passages in scripture that have been used to abuse many! When I hear people tell me that the Church has taught this for two thousand years, I look with dismay, as the Church sanctioned slavery, based on reading scriptures for over fifteen hundred years and has continued to restrict women in ministry, because of some scriptures. Scripture and history alone do not make good pointers to the heart of God!

I believe that we need to look through the prism of Jesus to understand or interpret scripture and not look through the prism of scripture to try to ascertain or understand the heart of God!

My wife and I were married for twenty-one and a half years before she died. We shared each other and became stronger in our love for one another as we lived together and not alone. Our love was consensual, caring and constructive. I know a couple of gay guys who have lived together for over forty years! They love one another and are committed to each other, in exactly the same way as Sue and I were. Their love is consensual, caring and constructive! Does God condemn them? Does God call them an aberration, an abomination? Does God think He made a mistake in creating them? No…No…No!

I was called a spastic when I went to school as a young boy. I was different to the other boys and girls in my road…and they called me a spastic as I shared my school days with others who were bent, twisted and deformed. Outwardly I was not disfigured…but internally I was, as others knew better and I was in a minority. Undoubtedly God had made a mistake as we were an aberation…spastic abominations!!

I sadly have heard “Christians” tell people who are sick in body or in mind, that they are just receiving the reward of their wickedness…and yes, scriptures were used, to enforce these diabolical spoutings!

So to get back to the question as to why I bless gay marriages and do not condemn any within the LGBTQ+ community…it is that I try to see through the prism of Jesus and believe that Jesus is the total/complete/entire revelation, of God! So if an interpretation of scripture does not line up through the prism of Jesus, then I take it as being quite wrong!

BM

Some books/reading matter that I have found helpful:

The Book of the Queer Prophets. Curated by Ruth Hunt

In the Shelter. By Padraig O’Tuama

The Pink Line. By Mark Gevisser

Nomad. A Spirituality for Travellig Light. By Brandon Robertson

Our Witness. The Unherd Stories of LGBTQ+ Christians. By Brandon Robertson.

A Life of Unlearning. By Anthony Ven Brown

December 12, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Unwrathing God

December 12, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chew The Fat With The Friar! Is the Church misogynistic and bigoted?

I fear the Church has for too long been both, misogynistic and bigoted! I also fear it still has a long way to go before we see an end to this!


I grew up in a devout Roman Catholic family and started my Franciscan life within the Roman Catholic Church. I was born before the Vatican II and was a novice when some of the teaching and direction of Vatican II was being implemented. There was much good that started to be born from Vatican II, but the misogynistic, patriarchal stuffiness still remained and to a great extent still remains a stench in the Church today, (Misogynist: showing feelings of hating women or a belief that men are much better than women) Until, we let go of the idea of a male sacerdotal priesthood, we will continue to abuse our sisters and lord it over them! Some of the other Church traditions have opened the windows and doors and there are now many wonderful and holy women, in oversight of parishes and congregations, here in the UK and around the world. These true sisters of the gospel have had a mountain to climb and have had to battle the misogyny that churches have revelled in for far too long!


Is the Church bigoted? (Bigoted: having strong, unreasonable beliefs and disliking other people who have different beliefs or a different way of life) Sadly, the answer is yes! It has for too long thought of itself as inerrant and has continued to abuse those who it disagrees with. Whether in theology or in conscience; over women in the priesthood or prespyterate; over sexuality, and over LGBTQ issues, to name but a few areas. It has burnt those who disagreed with it and excommunicated and excluded those who did not conform.


So what does the future hold?


I have hope that the institution will slowly (I say, ‘slowly’, as I do not think this is something that will happen over night!) line itself up with the mind and heart of Jesus Christ and walk the walk and not just talk the talk! Yes, it will be messy! But that is exactly where the Holy Spirit can move and create! I pray that love will lead us and open the shut misogynistic and bigoted hearts of all who are supposed to be shepherds of the flock. I pray that we all will contribute to the pulling down of these abusive, ideologies and twisted theologies and false mindsets. I pray our hermnutics (and our exegesis) will be directed by love and seen and understood through the prism of the eyes of Jesus.

Live Loved!

Brother Michael
Note: This is my personal opinion and not necessarily the opinion of any of my Franciscan, sisters and brothers.

December 2, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chew The Fat With The Friar! Franciscans And Evangelical Poverty.

All Franciscans follow evangelical poverty. Why would you choose (or take a vow of) poverty? I have been asked that at different times and have tried to explain simply what evangelical poverty is and what it is not!


When we look at the world and see the dreadful destructiveness of poverty around us, then you would rightly think, that taking a vow of Poverty is complete craziness! But the call to evangelical poverty (the poverty that Jesus calls us to in the gospels) is freeing and not oppressive, demeaning or destructive.


St. Francis of Assisi understood the need for us to let go of those things that ensnare us! That includes, money, materialism and the things that make us captive to a twisted world view. Money, property, materialism does not make us rich! It can and does ensnare us! Jesus in the gospels is completely counter intuitive. The last shall be first…the first last…to live you must die..etc etc! His words in the gospels on what you should do if you are rich in the worlds eyes, is not palatable for those today, just as it was unpalitable when he walked and taught in Palestine, over two thousand years ago. The rich young man was told to sell all he had and give his money to the poor…Jesus says he has nowhere to rest his head, while foxes have holes and birds nests.. Jesus tells all who want to follw him, to renounce all that holds them prisoner, including…mother, father, money, property….all the things that can so can take and make us captives!


Francis, saw the problem of his wealthy past and gave it up! He wanted his followers, to do the same and follow the example of Jesus. The Word became flesh…the Almighty God became the all vulnerable one and gave up everything. This is the way of evangelical poverty! A kenotic God calls for a kenotic people!


I have found it very difficult at times to follow the evangelical council of poverty…I still hold onto books and some other things that I have become attached to…and that is the problem! They hold me captive! But, I have chosen to let go and empty myself of these things and I pray I will like my seraphic father, be able to lie naked on the floor at the end of my life….as I brought nothing into this world and will take nothing with me!

Live loved!

Brother Michael

December 2, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chew The Fat With The Friar. What do the Three Knots Signify?

One of the many questions asked as I wander around in my habit is, “What do the three knots signify, on my cord?” I often start by saying the first was tied for me to remember something…but I forgot what it was…then I was asked to remembered something else…but I forgot that too..and then I was asked to remember something else and so I ended up with three knots…but cant for the life of me remember what they were for! This often either gets a laugh or a look of extreme puzzlement!

So what is the real reason for the knots?


The knots are there to remind us of the three vows we take as professed Franciscans. The older Orders (and my first Order) had, Poverty, Chastity and Obedience as their three vows and that is why we still today have three knots on the cord around our waist.


Note: The Companions of Jesus have three vows/precepts, taken from the book of Micah: Justice, Love, and Humility. (‘This is what Yahweh asks of you, only this: that you act justly, that you love tenderly, that you walk humbly, with your God.’ Micah 6:8)

Live loved!

Brother Michael

December 2, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chew The Fat With The Friar! What is the difference between Friars and Monks?

To get the ball rolling…here is a question I am oftened asked when people seem me in my brown habit, as I walk around Ashburnham Place. To be honest they usually start by asking me if I am a monk? I respond with the ancient answer of many Franciscans Friars…”Well…I am a Chipmonk!”


At one time there was a great seperation of monks from the people. Monks were in the main, enclosed in Monasteries, committed to one community, one Abbot, and in one place, living lives of ascetisism and prayer. (The word monk comes from the greek, monos – from which we get the word, mono – and meant single/alone/solitary ) and so monks were separate from the ordinary folk and life in towns and cities. Friars, (the word is from the latin for brothers) especially Franciscan friars, have always been in the centre of towns and cities, particularly where the poor lived. But it is now not as it once was and monks. though still in monasteries, are much more involved with the local towns folk, in eduation and hospitaity. Friars used to live mainly in Friaries, that were within the local towns, but they were not tied to one place. In fact, franciscan friars should not have had any such attachments and were originally mendicants, begging on the streets. Both monks and friars follow a rule and the older Franciscan Orders, still take three vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. In the Roman Catholic Church both friars and monks pray the Divine Office, but monks in the main pray in choir within their monastries, friars who live in community also pray together, but now many live alone in parishes and within the local communities.


Note: The Order of the Companions of Jesus, which is a non-denominational (doesn’t come under any one denominations or church umbrella) Franciscan Community of Reconcilliation, made up of Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox, Sisters and Brothers, follows the Gospel as their Rule and they take three vows/precepts, taken from the book of Micah, To act justly, to love mercifully and to walk humbly with God and each person they encounter on their daily pilgrimage.

Live loved!

Brother Michael

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December 2, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chew The Fat With The Friar

I have been looking at doing a question and anwer type series, and maybe later on, a video blog. The topics can be about anything that you might my view, or slant on. Here are just a few questions, already raised, that will be chewed over in the coming weeks/months:

What’s the difference between Monks and friars?

What do the three knots on the rope around your waist signify?

Can a woman, divorced, gay, married, person, become a professed Franciscan?

Do I have to be a Roman Catholic to be a Franciscan?

Does God send people to hell?Is the Church mysoginistic and bigoted?

Is the Bible inerrant?Can a Christian celebrate Halloween?

Should divorced people be allowed the eucharist?

Who is my neighbour and how do I love them?

Is God a Universalist?Church Unity and a Divisive Sectarian spirit.

What is prayer?

My replies may be short and others long, depending on the question. They will my personal thoughts and not necessarily, the thoughts of other Franciscans. I hope they will give food for thought and will have the heart of Jesus at their centre!

Live loved!

Brother Michael

December 2, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s All About Love

We are born out of love. We live in love. We are destined for love.

[Blessed Raymón Llull]

Everything that exists speaks of God, reflects that love energy of God. But God is more than anything that exists. God is always the more of our lives. We can’t contain God. If we try to control God, that’s not God; God always spills over our lives. So, God is our future . . ….

God is in every direction. That you might arrive … not arrive … arrive late … early. It’s not the arrival that counts. It’s God! It’s not the direction that counts. It’s just being there, trusting that you will be going where God wants you … God is with us. Every step of the way is God-empowered love energy …

So, it’s not like … “Here’s God; here’s us. God’s just waiting till we get our act together and then we’ll all be well” … God is love. Love is pulling us on to do new things and we need to trust the power of God in our lives to do new things. . . . the God of Jesus Christ is … the power beneath our feet, the depth of the beauty of everything that exists, and the future into which we are moving. . . .

Every one of us is written in the heart of God from all eternity … born on this earth … developing and coming to explicit form in our lives, given a name. It’s a fantastic mystery of love.

Ilia Delio OSF

(Article originally posted on Facebook by Kieran Fitzsimons OFM)

September 25, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Companions of Jesus

On the 4th October this year, the Companions of Jesus celebrate their 18th birthday! When I started out on this road, I never would imagine all the valleys I would have to pass and travail through! It has been an interesting journey filled with much joy but also much sadness. To be the pastor and shepherd of a dispersed Community has its challenges and joys!

Sister Fiona Mckie CJ is now the Servant of Communion for the Order! Who would have thought of a woman being the head honcho, over a majority of men, including , priests, ministers and even bishop’s and archbishops! Such is the mighty wind of the Spirit, blowing through the opened windows, which Pope John XXIII spoke of, as he inaugurated the Second Vatican Council, to lead the Church into a new day!

As a Franciscan community of reconciliation we seek to serve the community around us and try to serve their needs rather than our own. We are a mixed bunch…a motley crew…but we all have the same desire, to show to the world, the beauty that saves the world, Jesus Christ! We may hold different theological positions, we may not all agree, but we are united in the simplicity and calling of our seraphic father, Francis. It is our desire to proclaim the “Good News”to all of creation! The Good News that sets people free….that lifts the fallen…that heals the hurting…that releases those who are bound up… that restores that which is broken…that gives hope to the hopeless!

My calling is not for everyone, but it is sacred and sanctified…not by men in big hats…but by the living Word, who is a lamp to my feet and light to my path…for He is the life that gives light to us all and that light is the light in us all…whether you see it, or not!

BM

September 25, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment