My Child,

You may not know me,
but I know everything about you.
Psalm 139:1



I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways.
Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image.
Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring.
Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived.
Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation.
Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake,
for all your days are written in my book.

Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth
and where you would live.

Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother’s womb.
Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born.
Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented
by those who don’t know me.

John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry,
but am the complete expression of love.

1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.
1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child
and I am your Father.

1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.
Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father.
Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.
James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.
Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless
as the sand on the seashore.

Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you.
Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession.
Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul.

Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things.
Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart,
you will find me.

Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires.
Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine.

Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you
in all your troubles.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted,
I am close to you.

Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb,
I have carried you close to my heart.

Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away
every tear from your eyes.

Revelation 21:3-4

And I’ll take away all the pain
you have suffered on this earth.

Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you
even as I love my son, Jesus.

John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.
John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being.
Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
not against you.

Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression
of my love for you.

1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love.

Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
you receive me.

1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you
from my love again.

Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party
heaven has ever seen.

Luke 15:7

I have always been Father,
and will always be Father.

Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…
Will you be my child?

John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you.
Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Father,
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Inflamed by Love


I remember, in the mid-sixties, when she first arrived in Combermere, having served the poor in both the inner city and overseas.


There was a radiance about her which, in near forty years of friendship we shared on earth, and now seven years of her heavenly intercession, seemed to grow stronger.

It is of Jean Fox [1931-2204] of whom I speak.

Successor to Catherine Doherty the Foundress of Madonna House, she was personally formed by Catherine.

In December 1985, just after Catherine’s funeral Jean came to me, knowing she was to be the first Director General of Women, and asked me to pray over her that she might share Catherine’s charism.

Jean was to be re-elected time and again, serving as Director General until her own death at the beginning of Holy Week in 2004.

Over those  years she gave many talks, wrote many letters and some of her writings have been gathered into a wonderful book: INFLAMED BY LOVE meditations for spiritual pilgrims.

One sample of her words: “All of us must go through the agony in the garden and walk the Via Dolorosa to be glorified through God’s mercy. There is no other way. Let’s walk hand in hand into that glory quickly, for the salvation of souls.”

Her book is available at:



IN THE FIRST encyclical of his pontificate, Redemptor Hominis, Pope John Paul II gives us a definitive teaching on the reality of the human person.


It is a bold, concise, clear, Gospel and Sacred Tradition rooted, teaching on Christian anthropology, the meaning and purpose of human life , the great sacred mystery, reality of God become man, the Incarnation.

Pope John Paul teaches:

Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it. This…is why Christ the Redeemer ‘ fully reveals man to himself’…this is the human dimension of the mystery of Redemption……The man who wishes to understand himself thoroughly…..must with his unrest, uncertainty and even his weakness and sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ. He must, so to speak, enter into Him with all his own self, he must ‘appropriate’ and assimilate the whole of the reality of the Incarnation and Redemption in order to find himself. If this profound process take places within him, he then bears fruit not only of adoration of God but also of deep wonder at himself. How precious must man be in the eyes of the Creator, if he ‘gained so great a Redeemer’, and if God ‘gave His only Son’ in order than man ‘should not perish but have eternal life.’[ci]

Now that is what, though of course I could not have articulated it at the time, my being was yearning to discover and participate in during the period in my basement cave as an urban desert dweller.

The problem was that rather than enter into the mystery of placing my face to the ground and being humble before the Incarnate One with my weaknesses and sins, in a word being still, I approached the whole matter by and large as an intellectual exercise.

My being was hungering for an authentic experience of love, and of self.

My thinking, my attempts to rationally come to grips with my life to date, bereft of the essential simplicity, childlikeness of heart, required for true inner healing, came almost, though by His mercy not totally, to naught, as I took, as it were, a turn not of responsive docility to the prompting and illumination of the Holy Spirit, but into the disease of introspection.


I WAS essentially, (and only saved from total disaster since my spiritual father was always there, by letter, phone, visits in person, doing his best to break through my very sophisticated intellectual, ego defences), in this desert experience by my own ‘flight’ determinism.

Thus my uniformed, unformed, immature, fearful state of being, even endowed as I was with a ferocious autonomous will, could not long sustain the struggle.

The wise monk, a true modern desert dweller, indeed a true latter day father of the desert, Matthew the Poor, articulates it best:

Because of this hidden deceit and the fraudulent methods the devil uses, all who do not cleave to the Name of Christ and the Holy Spirit — that is, the Spirit of truth, knowledge, understanding and divine guidance — easily fall prey to the devil’s wiles and do his works quite unaware. Instead of rightly perceiving the works of the evil one, they see them simply as the way of the world or the prevailing custom or the natural product of human nature or perhaps the result of sickness, chance, unintentional error, or rash speech or action. These are the threads the devil cleverly weaves together till they invisibly encircle the mind, gradually and fiendishly shutting out the light that brings discernment between truth and falsehood. Then they close in upon the conscience, stifling it till it slowly and almost imperceptibly loses its sensitivity to truth. Finally these perceptions penetrate so deeply that they enslave not only the mind, but even the body itself, and in the end the law of sin occupies a person’s very being and controls mind, tongue, conscience, body and behaviour. [cj]

In the latter part of the seventh decade of the twentieth century the impact of materialist-hedonism, rejection of faith, in particular among Roman Catholics the development of a rejection of the sacraments, in particular confession and belief in the Real Presence, and the general spiritual exhaustion and malaise in society, was expressing itself in a desperate attempt to find meaning in the existence of self, in life in general.

Several well-known trends began to dominate the popular culture, and as well to penetrate, in various degrees, the centers of higher learning, including seminaries.

On the popular front, given the high cost of therapy with trained professionals, a whole plethora of self-help books became best-sellers, as did the expansion of so called ‘ eastern ‘ techniques. Some of the latter were rooted in actual ancient forms of religious belief and practice, such as Buddhism.

Among disenchanted Christians, including Catholics, looking for emotional solace, that feel-good aspect of life which so obsessed the decade, various forms of evangelical groups, some equating faith with material success — God as the ultimate middle-class capitalist — others became personality cults — began to pervade the air-waves.

The self-help books, and latterly in the eighties their attendant get-rich-quick offspring, will prove themselves to have been a mixed benefit — helpful to some, terribly destructive to others.

I found myself caught up in the general atmosphere of introspection, which is destructive to the baptized person — for the Holy Spirit, while He does invite us to a truly, contrite, examination of conscience, which includes a truthful awareness and assessment of one’s ‘consciousness’, nonetheless does not aid and abet introspection as a turning in upon the self.

The Holy Spirit invites us on a journey inward to encounter with Christ.

Again the ultimate point of the journey being our transfiguration by the Holy Spirit to where, in truth, we not only exult, but in reality live the sacred mystery: I LIVE NO LONGER, CHRIST LIVES IN ME.

The disease of introspection has many levels, some more lethal than others…. It is amazing how perfectly and methodically some persons can go about destroying every experience of life (i.e. the power to be), even every thought experience, through turning an introspective, analytical mind to bear on it….. a vicious and continuous mental obsession… an exercise in..continually looking inward to find some sort of a personal truth or reality… …inner dialogue..full of an irrational sophistry that [can] only tear concepts apart, but [can]never put the fragments back together in any kind of satisfying whole…..floundering in serious mental and spiritual darkness…filled with fear when he first sought help through prayer. [ck]

Of course at the time I was unaware that was happening within me, and my spiritual father, prudently, did not pressure me in anyway. He continued to work with me through the healing of memories and a constant encouragement that I strive to grow in trust of, and docility to, the Holy Spirit.

The turmoil of introspection, and the evil one’s use of that to sow confusion and a type of spiritual exhaustion, itself the step-child of emotional exhaustion, eventually led to an acting out of my old addiction and I began to lead, once again, a type of double life — struggling very hard to lead a chaste life of prayer in my basement-desert-cave, the introspective-performance oriented struggle — and straying, though only occasionally, into the fringes of the sub-culture which I was trying to leave behind. The result being I sometimes surrendered to the disordered addiction to hedonism, thus causing even greater inner turmoil, deeper introspection leading to a more determined ‘performance’ of my self-assumed ‘desert’ vocation.

I was, then, less and less Christ-centered, more and more egocentric within the false self.

To fail to be centered is to ‘walk alongside ourselves,’ a stance whereby we live out of an activism separated from being and therefore from meaning. A person split in this way can never live in the present moment. He can only live for a future that never quite arrives, one that he is perhaps feverishly trying to control in order to avoid the pain of his past. [cl]

This expressed itself within me through a growing conviction, aided and abetted by the growing trend in some circles within the Church, advocating the notion that it was indeed possible to lead an active homosexual life and be a true Christian.

This extended so far as to seeing the lifestyle as itself a vocation and I bought the ideas wholesale.

This in turn led to a determination to be re-united with my companion and thus the inner turmoil increased exponentially as the introspective turmoil fed the new notion of embracing the duality — so contradictory as to make me shudder interiorly today that I could have ever believed it to be true — of a Christ-centered existence while giving myself over to mortal sin.

The only way out of the disease of introspection is to place love in right order, namely God first, my brother and sister next, myself last.

For this to happen, of course, we must know true love.

This demands surrender, a childlike surrender and trust to the reality that love is God loving us first. Through the reception and acceptance of His love then we are able to love.

I was, as so long practiced in my life, substituting, frankly misunderstanding,  gratification for love— taking superficial emotional consolation from someone for the reality of love.

Only when I would finally recognize not only my need for professional therapy to deal with neurotic damage, a true inner healing through real faith and sacramental living, would I begin to experience, taste, accept, the gift of the Father’s love, and only then would I begin to emerge from the quagmire of the disease of introspection, the bondage of performance, the dark ignorance of autonomous self-will.

I called my companion who, with some conditions such as I find a job, agreed to take me back.

A friend said he would drive me and my few belongings to yet another new city in my life.

Christmas came and went and instead of going to Midnight Mass I went out with a priest friend, who was struggling between the option of leaving the priesthood and going overseas as a missionary.

He arrived late Christmas eve begging me to go and have a few beers, shot some pool, chat.

By the end of the night he was more settled and had made his choice.

He chose Christ and the missions. [Mk.10:21, 22]

I had chosen flight from trusting in Christ alone.





TODAY THE CHURCH CELEBRATES the Baptism of Our Lord, in the Jordan through the intermediary of St. John the Baptist.

This is called in the East, more specifically, what both East and West celebrates, THEOPHANY: the revelation of God as Holy Trinity.


God: Father, Son, Holy Spirit!

…the God of life and love, a Person in relationship with another Person, the Son, and yet another Person, the Holy Spirit. The Baptism of Christ was a blessed occasion for God to manifest Himself as He really is in the inner sphere of His life. He is a one and unique Essence, a one and unique Substance, a one and unique God in three divine Persons.

…Theophany tells of the mystery of God as He is in His inner sphere of life, a Transcendent Trinity…..

The feast of Theophany therefore, celebrates the greatest of all the mysteries of our Christian religion, the mystery of our God, the God of infinite life and love, the one and unique God in three divine Persons.

…it is the feast of the revelation of the Trinity of God Father-Son-Spirit, the feast of the re-creation of the world, and of the divinization of our humanity…… one word Feast of Light….the Lord came to be the Light of the world and He is the One ‘who enlightens and illumines every human being who is born in this world’… [Jn.1:9]. He is the Light of the whole creation because He is Image and Revealer of the Father and Sender of the Holy Spirit.

……Holy Trinity is the basic truth of our Christian religion.

….our hearts…….enter into the feast…

….we see with our eyes and hear with our ears the ineffable reality of God. While our Lord and God Jesus Christ is in the river Jordan we hear a voice from heaven saying ‘ You are My Son….’ It is, therefore, a Father talking and Christ is the Son. Moreover, we see a dove which is the Holy Spirit alighting on the head of Christ. God is, therefore, one and unique God in three divine Persons, Father-Son-Spirit. In the celebration of Theophany, the revelation of God-Trinity, we are taken up beyond the historical dimensions of a mere event of baptism and transported into the heights of mystical communion with the Triune God. [cl]

That is exactly what my entire being was hungering for, to enter into the Light!: when I decided to inculcate my romantic notion of being a desert dweller in the basement cave.

The fundamental error, I was albeit rather naively making, is that we CANNOT, per se, step into the Light.

The Light Himself must enter us[Rv.3:20].

What we can do, by grace, what we must do, by grace, is authentically open wide the doors of our being as response to His offer of Himself, our Light, then He shall enter and make it so that we are thus in the Light, in Him.

LOOKING BACK along the corridors of my memory to that first night, and the subsequent few months I lived in the cave-apartment, I now understand what happened that night, and why what my heart sought ,I was nonetheless unable to receive in its fullness.

Yet God being all-loving and all-tender as He is, nothing is impossible to Him, and time, as all things, is no impediment to His love.

In retrospect, then, actual conversion, and deepening of the call to change of heart, did occur.

While in the immediate it may not have been apparent to me, over the following years that initial hunger to be severed, by grace, from my addictions, wounds, sins, would come to pass.

He is all merciful and, indeed, where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more![Rm.5:20]

Sitting there, so suddenly experiencing a crushing aloneness, I busied myself with lighting a vigil light to dispel the increasing darkness of the falling night; took a piece of paper and wrote out a rule of life and schedule for my days, setting out times for prayer, cleaning, Mass, spiritual reading, listening to people who might come to chat — everything that my romantic notion of an urban cave-dweller’s life should entail.

Naturally enough the central question: what IS the will of the Father for me, time to be still and listen to HIM — was not even posed.

Satisfied I had things in order, more precisely self-assured I had things under control; I blew out the vigil light, since I only had a few and little cash to buy more with, and went to bed.

As I lay there on the small bed, under my single blanket, in the deep dark, a chasm, an immense black-hole of emptiness, opened up within me.

An ocean of grief seemed to be cascade into my being.

I was stunned.

I was terrified.

I sobbed.


But I did not pray, did not cry out to God!

My autonomous will, my survival skills, my ego, reacted.

A motor kicked in at that juncture.

A loud, clacking, invading motor and my panic increased, subsiding only slightly when my brain figured out it was the old refrigerator.

The motor ran, ran, ran and I tensed the more as that loud sound seemed to permeate the entire little apartment, seeping through my skin and bones into my inner being.

I found sleep impossible, flaying about on the bed, filled with self-pity, emptiness, loneliness, and a reluctance to pray, as if that would be tantamount to admitting this whole adventure was a terrible error of my own wounded ego.

The thought came to unplug the fridge. A thought which came only after more than a hour of the senseless struggle.

My hesitation was a combination of ego refusing to admit my terror and the realization that my entire food supply was in the refrigerator and could spoil.

Finally a modicum of common sense and a half muttered prayer for mercy overcame all other considerations and I unplugged the fridge.

The sudden ensuing silence took some time to adjust to.

Dark, airless, empty, sad, space seemed limitless as I lay down again, asking only that God protect me in my fear and let me sleep.

I awoke the next day having slept for over twelve hours.

It was almost noon and I was sure that the food would have spoiled, the frozen stuff melted.

I opened the refrigerator and was amazed, humbled actually at my lack of faith, to find everything, even the milk, as cold as if that machine had run all night.

I plugged it back in and the racket of the motor was actually consoling this time.

There was, as I cleaned up and began the day, a deep sense in my heart that no matter what, Our Lady was watching over me.

I ate a little lunch of cheese and bread, spent some time in prayer and reading, then late in the afternoon headed off to the parish church for Holy Mass, feeling secure in myself that this move, this attempt at desert life in the heart of the city was, indeed, God’s will for me.

A rationalization to be sure, but one, in mysterious ways, in His Fatherly tenderness, He frequently blessed throughout the following months.

Over time the parish priest began to send the poor, the troubled, to visit me.

One example of Divine Tenderness is that no matter how little food I had, if the hungry came for a meal, there was always enough food.

A routine developed then which lasted until the last few weeks I was there: fasting, prayer, writing, going to Mass, helping the poor and lonely, and, which truly is the central grace and importance of those months, ever increased contact with my spiritual father.

He began teaching me about the healing of memories and how healing was occurring through the process of allowing those memories, and some significant dream experiences, to be touched by Christ.

It was the beginning of the healing and true conversion process which — though had I suspected this at the time it would have discouraged me, now it is one of the joys of my life — continues to this day and must continue until my death, for it is the process of transfiguration, sobornost with the Blessed Trinity — the lessening of I and the increase of Christ.

For a time, then, all was well.

What happened to precipitate this desert-urban-cave-dwelling to an end was my transferring a significant portion of the energies used for my addictions into the disease of introspection.