An Unfolding Soul


An Unfolding Soul

Let me out of this fishing line tangle,

Of this knotted gut,

And this un-ironed selfishness which caused me to become this ball of paper;

Now both fragile and tense,

I curl up in my own self-interest.

So, let me unfold.


One corner at a time,

Stretching the scrunched up parts until all creases are smooth,

Revealing the parts of me which have become concealed to others,

Even myself.


Let me be open once more,

Willing to written on,


Directed without agenda.


And see the face of God once more,

Merely by unfolding my resistance.

Friends Indeed

What are friends today?

Friends are bonded by a love of God,

Love of each other,

Love of all which is love.


Love of God.


For friends meet in grace,

Where love collides with opinions, treatises, projects, families, calamities;

Finally gathering like uncollected children toys at the foot of the cross,

As the God who never dies, watches us with amusement; His children playing clumsily together with words.


Finally, they agree, the mystery cannot be unraveled, but recognize their part in the play.



Staying In

Staying in again.

Don’t really want to come out,

It’s cold,

I’m tired,

Not sure I want you as a friend (don’t say that one).


A myriad of excuses to stay put.

Meanwhile, the phobia of inertness creeps through the veins,

Like septicemia,

Without the physical effects,

On my body.


Meanwhile, my soul becomes changed a little more,

And sadness remains.


Adventure is entering the unknowing,

It is excitement,



A willingness to respond.


To say Yes, when a maybe is all that is there.

To be open, when closed, seems safer.

To be vulnerable, when you might get hurt.


But most of all, adventure means hitting the Go button.

For none can begin without the first step.


Reflection and Photograph © Michael J. Cunningham OFS


Belonging and the Call to Action

Belonging is a huge topic. It is one studied by historians, psychologists, sociologists, and each and every one of us. While we may not be looking at the tribal character of belonging, or the intrinsic need to “belong” in our lives, we all know about belonging from how it feels.

If we are included, we understand what to be “home” feels like. It is hard to describe, but often that warm feeling we get in our core gives us the assurance that we are loved and attached. This might be very deep, such as in a marriage or family situation, or in the “families” we create in our lives, at work, play and in various groups. Sometimes the relationships with friends and colleagues seem like they go deeper than the ones with our blood relatives; perhaps that has something to do with the ability to chose your friends.

The need for belonging is built into our DNA, we know how important it is to belong, and we can tell the difference between being included and being loved and accepted. The acceptance in any relationship shows our openness to one another. Our ability to be loved is often very much related to our willingness to show love.

Our desire to belong is, therefore, something that binds us all together. Belonging is both a desire and a need. We all want it; otherwise, we would be spending our lives rejecting others, not letting them into the inner circle of our soul, where our heartbeats and where God resides within us. While we all have our moments in rejecting others, sometimes unknowingly, a state of continued rejection is one of exhaustion. It is too much work to spend time being ornery to others, at least all of the time!

So while we want to be on the receiving end of love, acceptance, invitations, and all the “incoming” benefits of belonging, there is more to it than this. To really belong, we have also to take action. We cannot remain inert, sitting there like a sponge waiting for others to invite us to join. Jesus’s mission in teaching had him on the road, explaining, teaching, inviting, disputing and clashing with those who taught hatred and self-promotion, replacing it with the guidelines of loving God and one another in what we now know as the body of Christ. That’s us!

So perhaps this week we can consider those guidelines, clearly delineated in the beatitudes and supported by the Gifts of the Holy Spirit showered on us during Pentecost, we can make the connection ourselves. Are we really using those gifts as well as we could? The Church says, “All are welcome,” am I practicing this in my life? I know for myself, there are always ways where my belonging to a certain group also, in a subtle way, excludes and differentiates me from others. This is not what Jesus intended. Remember what we do to the least of our brothers and sisters, we do to Christ?

If we remember Christ in our belonging, we will be both grateful and mindful in our treatment of others. This is something I will try and keep on my heart.


On Love

I cannot describe it any more than what it is to breathe,

Except that I must have it.



I cannot write down its meaning,

But know what it feels like,


I cannot determine its limits,

Because it has none.


I cannot recognize its shape,

Only by its absence or presence.


All I truly know about it is its author.

And His presence in my life.