Michael Daly CJ Blog

A Companion of Jesus

God With Us – Meditation from Richard Rohr, OFM.

God With Us
(Meditation from Richard Rohr and CAC)

If God’s Spirit has truly joined our spirit, then we have every reason to trust the deepest movements of our natures. This trust becomes a key for all spirituality. The goal of Christian spirituality is to recognize and respond to the continual interior movements of the Spirit, for the Spirit will always lead us toward greater union with Christ and greater love and service of God and others. —Richard Hauser [1]

In this week’s meditations, I will be focusing on the importance of an inner life, a life grounded in contemplation, a life that searches for the hidden wholeness underneath the passing phenomena, a life that seeks substance instead of simply an endless preoccupation with forms.

The West—and the United States in particular—is fascinated with forms. We like impermanent things, maybe because they can’t nail us down to anything solid or lasting, and we float in an ephemeral and transient world of argumentative ideas. But this preference isn’t bearing substantial fruit. This culture seems to be creating people who are very unsure of themselves, who are grasping in every direction for a momentary sense of identity or importance.

The goal is to get people to a deeper level, to the unified field, or what I like to call “nondual thinking,” where God alone can hold the contradictions together.

When Christians speak of Christ, we are naming an ever-growing encounter, not a fixed package that is all-complete and must be accepted as is. On the inner journey of the soul, we meet a God who interacts with our deepest selves, who grows the person, who allows and forgives mistakes. It is precisely this give-and-take, and knowing there will be give-and-take, that makes God so real as a Lover.

What kind of God would only push from without and never draw from within? Yet this is precisely the one-sided God that many Christians were offered and that much of the world has now rejected. God unfolds our personhood from within through a constant increase in freedom—even freedom to fail. Love cannot happen in any other way. This is why Paul shouts in Galatians, “For freedom Christ has set us free!” (5:1).

God loves you by becoming you, taking your side in the inner dialogue of self-accusation and defense. God loves you by turning your mistakes into grace, by constantly giving you back to yourself in a larger shape. God stands with you, not against you, whenever you are tempted to shame or self-hatred. If your authority figures resorted to threat and punishment, it can be hard to feel or trust this inner give and take. Remember, the only thing that separates you from God is the thought that you are separate from God!

Gateway to Presence:
If you want to go deeper with today’s meditation, take note of what word or phrase stands out to you. Come back to that word or phrase throughout the day, being present to its impact and invitation.

[1] Richard J. Hauser, In His Spirit: A Guide to Today’s Spirituality (Beacon: 2011), 24.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Dancing Standing Still: Healing the World from a Place of Prayer (Paulist Press: 2014), 10, 11; and
The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe (Convergent: 2019), 79-80.

May 28, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Deconstruction

It has been a very long…long time, these past five years! I think my deconstruction started long before this but was never realized! In fact, I think the last three/four years, have been the most intense in my deconstruction and has brought me to my lowest state!

My Franciscan brother, Richard Rohr, writes about the two stages of life…and how we make and live happily in our first stage, in our container…which is important..but can we so often get stuck exactly there and we never get to enter the second stage of life! If you have not read his book ‘Falling Upwards’, may I recommend you do!

My first stage/container was made up of many things, from my birth, early life…in and out of hospital..going to a school for the physically handicapped, my parents and their beliefs, brokenness and morality, the church and all the indoctrination that went with it!

Strangely, since my beloved wife, Sue, has not been with me physically, (Sue died on 6th January 2005) I have had to adjust my life’s container and I have found that this event, undoubtedly started my deconstruction! It has been a very painful and very messy stage in my life…and much more so, recently! I have been more and more undone, by this deconstruction and the way it has stripped away all my defenses..all that, which I had built my life on or around!

I never really questioned anything…too deeply… as I saw others as being wiser, more informed…more learned…more enlightened! Although I have always been a bit of a rebel…I found myself always guilty and thus, wrong! Having to go to confession weekly if not more….! I was not the clever one in the family…no I was the weakest and my early life formed and confirmed this lie! I fought it but..my guilt was always the weapon that crushed my spirit! The God who I worshiped, only loved me when I did the right things….and ‘He’ would send me to an eternal excruciating painful damnation, if I ever stepped away from keeping the rules or missing the mark! To miss mass was a sin…to shout at my parents was a sin…to disobey my parents, pope, priest, teacher, elder was a sin….to eat meat on a Friday was a sin….to masturbate…well that was definitely fuel for hell fire! My life was driven with trying to avoid sinning…and as long as I did, I was free of guilt…but it didn’t last for long! A day…a couple of hours at best! Even my sleep could be sinful!

When Sue died, I became the single parent…and the boys had to put up with me and my messiness! I and Sue had laid a foundation…but it was a foundation that was governed by both our first stage/container! We loved them, as best parents can…but we carried our own dis-ease.. through no real fault of our own…but never the less..one that was in need of deconstruction! I look back and am amazed that the boys have come out so well…as I still feel terribly guilty, about my failings as a dad!

The deconstruction has taken me from the (unreal) security of church life and membership…and has freed me from the slavery to a Zeus god! I have come to…or am still coming…to see a more beautiful God! I no longer hold the bible as an inerrant rule book! I no longer see the pope, prelates, priests and pastors, as anything other, than weak men, like myself…full of their own failings and wrestlings with the imposters!

I have been greatly helped in my deconstruction (and strangely this has also in many ways been the seed of my reconstruction) by many different folk! Some I have met…some I have never met, but read their writings, which have been a breath of fresh air in a very suffocating container! Ashburnham Place, near Battle in East Sussex has also been a place of renewal for may failing spirit! It has been a place of communion with the Divine and has been the very place I have been able to freely walk, talk and confide with the Jesus ( or Jee as I know him) who is the exact representation of the Father!  When I look at him, I see the Divine, who loves me in all my messy imperfection! No longer the Zeus god, ready to strike me down…but the loving Father of the Prodigal Son, who embraces me in all my shit and vile stench…and covers me with a robe of Sonship, without ever asking me to shower first or make a confession!

I am soon to be going home and like a snake that sheds its skin…so I am at last shedding the container that was my first stage in life..and I am looking with hope, joy and excitement to the future and all that it contains!

 

Brother Michael Daly, CJ.

May 8, 2019 Posted by | Thoughts | 2 Comments

Companions of Jesus – Website

It is with great regret that I have had to agree to have the Companions of Jesus Website taken down! After over 15 years, it was a decision I did not take easily. Many folk have come to know the Order through the Website and it was a daily help to many.

Unfortunately, the new platform was under attack on a daily basis, with attempts to infiltrate the administration side as well as loads of email spam getting through, which had to be checked.

My dear friend, Mike Creasy, had helped me set up the site in 2004 and had kindly paid for the site and every upgrade and new platform. He was the tech man behind the site and gave of his time and money freely. I am deeply indebted to him and thank his for his love, care and time, which he gave freely for for us all!

We do have a Facebook page and I hope it will continue to be used as much as it is at the moment and I will look to see how we might best utilize this platform for the present moment.

As to the future….well I, or Brother Nemo, (Servant of Communion) would be pleased to hear from anyone interested in developing a new Website for the Companions! It would need to be secure and I would hope that whoever might consider taking on such a venture would also be the tech person (behind the scenes) as well as the front page person! (On the  old site…I looked after the front page, whilst Mike, looked after the back-end and all technical stuff).

May we all live loved and preach the gospel…with words…if really necessary!

Pax et Bonum

Michael

Br. Michael Daly, CJ.

Email Br. Nemo or Myself via:  franciscans@hotmail.co.uk

 

April 8, 2019 Posted by | News | 1 Comment

Brexit another B Word

I thought I had better write whilst we still have some free speech in this country!  I think, if we continue down the road we are travelling. that  in a very short time, we will not be able to air anything of a controversial nature, either here on the internet or in public!  Our once great democracy has been taken over and supplanted by a disease, that history so often warns us about,…and as so often repeated across the globe,  with people, societies and nations, being subjugated under the tyranny of oppressive governments!

How have we come to this demise? How have we not seen that what we had, though imperfect, was at least stable and productive. What is it with this island mentality of ours, that has caused us to run gleefully over the precipice into, what can only be described, as, hell on earth?  Selfish, self centered self abasing, self glorifying, madmen have led us to this place and like so many lemmings we jump because they do!

Is there any hope for the UK…or for our European partners? Is there a future for the UK, Europe….and I dare wonder… humanity? I have grave doubts at this time, as too many power brokers are pushing for the limelight….and too many are bigots, racists, xenophobic exploiters and homophobes…and I see the rise in our land, of that which we once so strongly fought against, Fascism! And all that this entails!

Am I being over the top in this belief….well let us pray I am…But I think it is total madness to bury our heads in this so called democracy…when actually there is not a smidgen of anything democratic here! We really are chasing rainbows in the hope for a pot of gold!

 

Br, Michael Daly, CJ.

 

 

March 28, 2019 Posted by | Thoughts, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fr. Richard Rohr OFM. – “Falling Upward”

December 10, 2018 Posted by | Teaching, Thoughts | Leave a comment

Sinners in the hands of a loving God!

I thoroughly recommend you read this book! Live loved!

Br. Michael

November 22, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Feel the Falseness

Feel the Falseness
Brian Zahnd

“The first precondition of being called a spiritual leader is to perceive and feel the falsehood that is prevailing in society, and then to dedicate one’s life to a struggle against that falsehood. If one tolerates the falsehood and resigns oneself to it, one can never become a prophet. If one cannot rise above material life, one cannot even become a citizen in the Kingdom of the Spirit, far less a leader of others.” –Vladimir Solovyov in his eulogy of Fyodor Dostoevsky

Can you feel it?

It’s all around you. But can you feel it? The falseness — the falseness that prevails in society. Most are so sedated they never even suspect it. Some sense it, but cannot name it. It takes a prophet to name it. Dostoevsky in his day was well aware of it, which is why he was so much more than a novelist. Dostoevsky wrote his dark, brooding stories because he felt the falseness. What we take for truth, for reality, for the way things are and the way we assume things must be is almost entirely false. The world as it’s arranged is built upon a foundation of falsehood. The prevailing falseness memorialized in marble and robed in glory can appear indisputable, but as Dylan says, “all the truth in the world adds up to one big lie.”

And now I will appeal to someone more authoritative then Dostoevsky or Dylan.

Jesus.

The Galilean prophet had been hauled before Pontius Pilate by the Sanhedrin. Caiaphas, the high priest, accused Jesus of claiming to be a king — a seditious act punishable by crucifixion. Jesus was now to be tried before the Roman governor. The trial was held in Pilate’s praetorium. The marble-adorned palace, the governor’s stately attire, the presence of the imperial seal all produced an atmosphere of authority and grandeur. Jesus was on trial before the Roman Empire. Which is to say Jesus was on trial before the world in all its glory. Jesus had refused that world during the wilderness temptation and now the spurned world was striking back.

Pilate, a man of action, immediately moved to the heart of the matter, asking Jesus the only question that mattered to Rome: “Are you a king?” Jesus answered Pilate, “You say that I am.” But then Jesus added this:

“For this purpose I came into the world — to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37)

Jesus tells the Roman governor that the purpose of his life is to bear witness to the truth. Jesus knows that the world as it’s arranged (and most gloriously represented in the splendor and majesty of the Roman Empire) is built upon an enormous falsehood. Jesus then says that those who can feel the falseness will be inclined to listen to what he has to say. (“Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”) Jesus claims not only to be a king, but to possess the ultimate truth that exposes the lie that the world has become.

Pilate’s cynical reply is legendary: “What is truth?”

After Jesus is flogged, mocked, and crowned with thorns, Pilate renews his interrogation. But Jesus now remains silent. In frustration the Roman governor shouts, “You won’t speak to me? Don’t you know I have power to release you and power to crucify you?”

There it is.

Pilate has answered his own question. What is truth? Truth is the power to kill. According to Pilate, the truth is that the world is run by those who have power. Military power. Economic power. Religious power. The world is run by people like Governor Pilate, King Herod, and the high priest, Caiaphas. And most of all the world is run by the Emperor. Caesar is Truth. Because it all comes down to power. Power trumps everything.

Caiaphas admits this when he tells Pilate, “we have no king but Caesar.” In this stunning betrayal of all that the Law and the Prophets stood for, Caiaphas takes off his religious mask and says, “Look, Governor, we all play games, and my game is religion. But I know the truth; it’s all about power. So I have no king but Caesar. I admit it. Now, I’m going to put my religious mask back on and go back to pretending that God is king, but you and I both know that the only truth in the world is power.”

That’s the lie.

That’s the falseness that prevails in society.

That’s the deception of the material life.

The great lie is that life is about the acquisition of money and the other forms of power. The lie is that to live well you must be closely aligned with power — especially the power to kill. For Pilate, Herod, and Caiaphas, the truth is that the good life is acquired and maintained by the will to power and the means of lethal violence. This is why the governor, the client king, and even the high priest all confess, “we have no king but Caesar.”

But can’t you feel the falseness of it all?

Don’t you know it’s all a lie?

Resist it! Don’t tolerate it! Rise above it!

The meaning of life is not power, the meaning of life is love. God is not Nietzsche’s totalized Will to Power; God is Love. It’s not proximity to power that is the goal of life; the goal of life is love. When we see faith leaders fawning over proximity to political power, don’t we feel the falseness of their faith? Don’t we know they too are confessing, “we have no king but Caesar”?

I feel the falseness. And I’m determined to resist it, to struggle against it.

Jesus is the world’s true king. Right now. Jesus is not going to be king some day, Jesus is King of Kings right now! He was crowned as king on the cross and God vindicated Christ as the world’s true king by raising him from the dead. I believe this. I confess this. I seek to live this.

I have no king but Jesus. And my king has nothing to do with violent power. My king has no use for nuclear weapons. Why? Because you can’t love with hydrogen bombs. My king said his kingdom does not come from the world of war, which is why his servants do not fight. (See John 18:36)

In the kingdom of the Prince of Peace we study war no more; we turn swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks; we turn tanks into tractors and missile silos into grain silos. Our task is not to turn the world into the battlefield; our task is to turn the world into a garden. Our goal is not Armageddon; our goal is New Jerusalem. We’re marching to Zion; the beautiful city of God.

Of course Governor Pilate doesn’t believe this. And neither does billionaire Herod. The faith leader Caiaphas will give some lip service to this, because it’s in the Bible, but the faith leader will kick the can down the road saying, “All that peace stuff is for when the king comes, but for now it’s all about power; for now we have no king but Caesar; for now proximity to power trumps everything.”

They can’t feel the falseness. They are the falseness.

But if you can feel the falseness, that’s good. It means you still have a heart for the truth. So if you feel the falseness, keep listening to the truth that Jesus speaks. Keep believing in the truth that Jesus is. Let Jesus lead you out of the falseness — the falseness of a world built around power. Follow Jesus into his kingdom of love.

The meaning of life is not power. That’s the prevailing falsehood. The meaning of life is love. That’s the eternal truth. Caesar is not the truth. Christ is the truth.

May we have courage to live the truth.

November 22, 2017 Posted by | Thoughts | Leave a comment

Giving Birth…Untying Knots

I feel the need to blog again! It has been an interesting journey…and I find myself needing to share some of it with you!

Learning to unlearn is quite a task! I remember reading a book in the 70’s when I was a young seminarian, by the psychologist R D Lang… I think it was just called, ‘Knots’ and it was about the knots inside ourselves..in our mind and psyche that were often old, hard and difficult to undo!  I have come now to see these knots in myself and how the indoctrination of six decades has become an almost an impossible knot to untangle within me! But by the grace of God…I am slowly but surely undoing these knots and I am finding a freedom I had never envisioned!

 

I am thankful for meeting some folk along the way who have shown me a more beautiful Christ like God than I had ever known! Some of theses folk have been Brennan Manning, William Paul Young, Brad Jersak, Brian Zahnd, Matthew Distefano, Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, Wayne Jacobsen,  John Paviloviz, Chuck Mcknight, Stephen Daly.  To you and all those who have helped me see the beauty, grace, mercy and furious love of God…I am forever indebted!

Live loved!

 

Br. Michael Daly, CJ.

 

November 22, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

God is like Jesus!

God is like Jesus.
God has always been like Jesus.
There has never been a time when God was not like Jesus.
We have not always known what God is like—
But now we do.

Consider these two foundational truths of Christian theology:

1. God is immutable. i.e. God does not change and is not subject to change.

2. God is perfectly revealed in Jesus. i.e. Jesus does not change God, Jesus reveals God.

(see John 1:1, 14-18; 5:19-21; 7:28-29; 8:19; 10:28-30; 12:44-46; 14:7-9)

Understanding that God is immutable and that God like Jesus is essential to our understanding of salvation. We must not think that salvation comes about because Jesus placates God (thus changing God) or that God is obligated to satisfy retributive justice in order to forgive sin (thus making God subordinate to a higher justice). Salvation comes about because Jesus reveals the Father and does the Father’s work. Jesus tells us that the great work of the Father is to give life to the dead (see John 5 and 11). Thus the primary problem the Gospel addresses is not personal guilt (though this is included), but human subjugation to death. If we think judicial guilt is the primary problem of sin, instead of death (and then falsely imagine that God is responsible for killing Jesus instead of sinful humanity!), we greatly misrepresent the nature of salvation and concoct a distorted gospel where Jesus is saving us from God. No! Jesus reveals the Father, does the work of the Father, and saves us from the dominion of sin and death.

The Apostle Paul tells us that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself…not reconciling himself to the world. The cross doesn’t change God (God is immutable). The cross shames the principalities and powers (exposing their claim to wisdom and justice as a naked bid for power) and changes us!

Brian Zahnd

November 19, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Prayer for Christian Unity

A prayer for Christian Unity
(Based loosely around a prayer of St. Nicholas of Flue)

My Lord and God,
Take everything from us all that
Tells us we are not united
That keeps an us and them mentality
That keeps us bound in our traditions.

My Lord and God,
Give everything to us that
Helps us see the truth
That in you we are one
And bring us near to each other and so to you.
Break down the walls which we have built and still build
That divide and separates your body.

My Lord and my God,
Take away from us the power and prestige
The offices and titles that we have made
Take away from us our grandiose theologies and man made doctrines
which make us right and others wrong.

My Lord and God
Take away from us the crutch of religious superiority
Break our legs so that we might be humbled.
Shock our hearts that we might live again.
Clear the spiritual arteries clogged with dead piety.
Awaken us out of the narcissistic slumber we have wallowed in too long!

My Lord and God,
Give us new eyes to see you in the poorest weakest creature
Take from us all that hardens us and humble us in your furious love.
Take us from ourselves and
Give us completely to one another
………..And so to you!

Amen

 

Prayer By Michael Daly, CJ

November 19, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment