The wolf and the lamb ~ the owl and the lion

IMGTuesday of the First Week of Advent

Dear Friends,

Isaiah dreams of a bright future for us.

In the first reading of today’s Mass, he shows us a wonderful vision: the animals lead the way to peace!

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb . . .

The calf and the young lion shall browse together,

with a little child to guide them.

The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,

together their young shall rest:

the lion shall eat hay like an ox.

The baby shall play in the cobra’s den – Isaiah 11:5-10.

Let’s muse about peace and harmony today.

Let’s muse about the animal’s leading the way to peace.

(I have a Christmas short story about an owl from the banks of the Shenandoah

and a young lion from the Serengeti in Africa leading the way to peace.

It’s a fun story.  Why not download it and save it for close to Christmas? 

 (If you’re not tech savvy, go to the top left corner of your computer and click on the < “back arrow” and it will bring you back to this screen.)

My puppy Shivvy (of happy memory) was quite curious of his  fellow creatures.

I have told stories about him with turtles and little doves with broken wings and bunny rabbits and ducklings on our walks around our condo.

Think about this . . .

What can I do today to bring more harmony into the habitat in which I live

~ at home, at work, at church ~ in my neighborhood, in our world?

Behold a broken world, we pray,

Where want and war increase,

And grant us, Lord, in this our day,

The ancient dream of peace.    ~ unattributed.

If you’re new to this Advent blog,  I recommend reading Welcome to Advent 2009 to get a sense of why we want to spend four weeks preparing for our Christmas celebration and how it can help you deepen your (our) spirituality whether or not you are a Catholic or even a Christian.

And for your listening pleasure from Handel’s Messiah here is And the Glory of the Lord ~ from Robert Shaw’s Atlanta Symphony ~ Click here.  Be sure to turn up your speakers

And here are today’s Mass readings, if you’d enjoy reflecting on them.  Click here.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer


Advent Day 2 ~ Swords to plowshares ~ Guns to roses

The price of peace paid by the Prince of Peac
The price of peace paid by the Prince of Peace

Monday of the First Week of Advent

Dear Friends,

If you’re new to this Advent blog,  I recommend reading Welcome to Advent 2009 to get a sense of why we want to spend four weeks preparing for our Christmas celebration and how it can help you deepen your (our) spirituality whether you are a Catholic or even a Christian.

I’d like to call your attention to yesterday’s first reading  (Isaiah 2: 1-5 ) because it’s an important Advent theme:

They shall beat their swords into plowshares

and their spears into pruning hooks.

Nation will not take up sword against nation,

nor will they train for war anymore. — Isaiah 2:4.

All of my adult life my writing and my prayer has been against war —

Viet Nam / the Balkans / the Gulf  War / Iraq / and Afghanistan.

Pope Paul VI, speaking before the United Nations General Assembly made an impassioned plea:

“No more war! Never again war!

And Pope John Paul II said the Iraq war was A defeat for humanity.

And Dwight David Eisenhower, the great general of Word War II and President of the U.S. said: “When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing.”

Advent is a time to wish for peace / pray for peace / work for peace.

The Christmas story is about peace.  One of the titles of Jesus is “Prince of Peace.”

But we become cynical about peace.

Many of us have our private little wars that we engage in every day with a sibling or a friend or co-worker.

Let’s “Practice peacefulness”, as a friend put it to me once.  Let’s stop the gossiping, giving people a chance. Try  to be kinder to the folks you interact with today.

The legend of St. Christopher carrying a child across a stream on a stormy night invites us to greet every human person as if they were Christ himself.

Think thoughts of peace.  Be peace.  At least try it today, the second day of Advent.

I will hear what the Lord God has to say,

a voice that speaks of peace,

peace for his people and his friends.

and those who turn to him in their hearts.

Mercy and faithfulness have met;

Justice and peace have embraced.

Faithfulness shall spring from the earth

and justice look down from heaven.

The Lord will make us prosper

and the earth shall yield its fruit.

Justice shall march before him

and peace shall follow his steps.

Psalm 85

Before you go here’s a simple hymn about peace with a slideshow. Click here. Be sure to enter full screen.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

How Good it is to Give Thanks!

thanksgiving_cornucopia20141120When I was in AA many a year ago, we were taught a very simple form of prayer ~ to say “please” in the morning and “thank you” at night.  What could be simpler and more heartfelt? Thanks is on my lips and in my heart whenever I can accomplish something that I need to do ~ usually after I’ve said “Please help me do this, Lord.”  And that little conversation ‘ll take place quite often.

So, for me, every day is a thanksgiving day!  But I share here some of the things I’m grateful for this year; it’s quite a bit different from last year.   This past several months, I’ve been struggling financially.  I didn’t have food in my refrigerator   But I wasn’t thinking of myself. I was thinking of so many others who were so much worse off than I have been.  My faith is strong. And I remembered again and again what Julian of Norwich used to say, “All shall be and all manner of things shall be well.”  So that’s one thing for which I’m thankful.

And I also know what I always sign off on my emails ~ “Wait for the Lord to lead, and then follow his way.”

But I’m also strongly thinking about my friends this year ~ a few of whom I will name here.  Joan has been my friend since I was first ordained in 1969.  She lives in Melbourne, Florida, a great-grandmother and a confidante of mine, always welcome in her home.

Betsy lives in Sebastian, Florida. She’s in her nineties and lost her childhood sweetheart John a year ago. I still talk with her  by phone and enjoy her wicked sense of humor as often as I can and pray to alleviate her loneliness.

Father Jim Fetcher, pastor of St. Sebastian Church here in Ft. Lauderdale has been a wonderful compassionate friend as well with a listening ear.

And closer to home, folks that my dog Shoney and I visit almost every evening is my friend Lore  who welcomes  and treat us as family.  She also lost her beloved husband Gilberto and misses him so much.

There are others, of course.  I’m thinking of them right now: Gene and Marilyn / Betsey and Matthew  / Tom and Nancy / Jim and Jeffrey / John and Sarah / Dan and Lee / Tony and Susan / Chris and Bill, / Chuck and Chris / Ida and Ernie / Adrian and Leanor / Fathers Jim Dallen, Tim Daly and Fred Ruse.

And, of course, all of you, my dear readers.

And next to last item on my gratitude list this year is my priesthood.  I have been a priest for 47 years. I’ve tried to be as faithful as I could.

But the love of my life and the whole meaning of my priesthood is Jesus!  He is my Love! He is my Lord! He is my elder Brother!  He is my best friend!  My Savior and Redeemer!

So, I hope you’ll make your own gratitude list.  And when you sit down for dinner on Thursday, why not take a moment to ask folks to first have a moment of silence to think of something that they’re especially thankful for this year.  And then ask each of them if they’d like to share it.  (The moment to think is important! Don’t skip it or else everybody will repeat what the last one said.)

” Rejoice always,

             Pray without ceasing.

 In all circumstances give thanks,

            for this is God’s will  for you in Christ Jesus.”

  I Thessalonians 5: 16-18

Now, before you go, here’s a beautiful slideshow with great music simply entitled “Thank You, God.” Click here. Be sure to enter full screen and turn up your speakers.   

I will publish the blog for the First Sunday of Advent on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Be sure to look for it!

Thank YOU, my beloved readers.

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer