My words are insufficient, again.  I am sensing I am grasping at straws, false pride and ego whisper to me that I (of all people) truly have something to say.  In truth I do have something to say, but so what, so do billions of others.  I am just arrogant and pompous enough to to believe my words matter more than most and can rise above the din and feed people spiritually.  Ugh, arrogance is ugly indeed; I do not wear it well. 

So, rather than write my own words, I will intentionally practice my spiritual disciplines – becoming silent and invisible – offering instead the Words of others who are truer and wise than I. 

So with that, I offer you the Words of Five Wise People who love God madly and deeply. 

May you grow in Grace and grow closer to the God Who is Pure Love…

“God is the primary actor. But even actor seems a bit too domesticated here, since when we hear that word we readily think of the folks on TV. God is strange; God is surprising; God is faithful. In worship, we enter this drama with God, as did Abraham, as did Moses, as did Mary. In this liturgical drama, we begin to see what it means to receive the stranger.” – Elizabeth Newman, Untamed Hospitality

“Fortunately, God is not what we think God is—not in any small way what I might think, nor in any big way the sum total of what a whole bunch of thinkers, great thinkers through the centuries, might think. And yet we have no choice but to try to think what God is, what and who God might be. At some point God comes to meet such thoughts. God arrives and appears as Surprise…. And something new is grasped in the surprise; something is learned; experience—it could be called experience with God—is gained. But God remains infinitely free, infinitely out of our control in whatever we come to know.”  – Jeremy Driscoll, OSB, A Monk’s Alphabet

“One of the best pieces of spiritual advice I ever received from a spiritual director was to pray for anything that I desired, even if that desire seemed sinful. It was a kind of “prayer shock therapy,” designed to break through dualistic thinking patterns and begin integrating prayer with life as we actually experience it, rather than as we might wish it to be.” -Br. Robert L’Esperance

When it comes to our spiritual journey with God, the best advice I’ve heard is: It’s your journey. Your spiritual life is between you and God, Alone. So don’t follow anyone and don’t seek to be followed. Yes, listen, learn and respect your elders and those wise forerunners on the spiritual journey, yet when all is said, it’s just you and God, and in the end, it’s just God.” – Peter Traben Haas

God’s vision is expansive. God’s loving-kindness is expansive. The net is cast wide to catch fish of every kind. We come to celebrate God’s infinitely expansive catholicity, the wide-reaching embrace of his love. It’s a mystery! And, here we all are, in the midst of this most savory, this most delectable stew.” – Br. Mark Brown

I have intentionally been away from writing, for my fingers are tired, my soul is heavy and my words feel empty.  But today, God sent me angels in disguise to remind me that I am a child of a loving, living God (and so are you all!), so I thought I ease my way back into the blog with Wisdom from someone else.

A long time ago I read that “all wisdom is plagiarism, only stupid is original.”  So, I’ll leave you with some Wisdom…

“Fortunately, God is not what we think God is—not in any small way what I might think, nor in any big way the sum total of what a whole bunch of thinkers, great thinkers through the centuries, might think. And yet we have no choice but to try to think what God is, what and who God might be.

At some point God comes to meet such thoughts.

God arrives and appears as Surprise…. And something new is grasped in the surprise; something is learned; experience—it could be called experience with God—is gained. But God remains infinitely free, infinitely out of our control in whatever we come to know.”

Jeremy Driscoll OSB, A Monk’s Alphabet

I said I will find what is lowly
and put the roots of my identity
down there:
each day I’ll wake up
and find the lowly nearby,
a handy focus and reminder,
a ready measure of my significance,
the voice by which I would be heard,
the wills, the kinds of selfishness
I could
freely adopt as my own:

but though I have looked everywhere,
I can find nothing
to give myself to:
everything is

magnificent with existence, is in
surfeit of glory:
nothing is diminished,
nothing has been diminished for me:

I said what is more lowly than the grass:
ah, underneath,
a ground-crust of dry-burnt moss:
I looked at it closely
and said this can be my habitat: but
nestling in I
below the brown exterior
green mechanisms beyond the intellect
awaiting resurrection in rain: so I got up

and ran saying there is nothing lowly in the universe:
I found a beggar:
he had stumps for legs: nobody was paying
him any attention: everybody went on by:
I nestled in and found his life:
there, love shook his body like a devastation:
I said
though I have looked everywhere
I can find nothing lowly
in the universe:

I whirled though transfigurations up and down,
transfigurations of size and shape and place:

at one sudden point came still,
stood in wonder:
moss, beggar, weed, tick, pine, self, magnificent
with being!

Since my accident, I have been given many opportunities for reflection, mostly coming in the midst of pain, sleeplessness and the ensuing “monkey mind” that accompanies any moments of extreme physical pain.

The truth is I have always fancied myself a “man’s man” – a gym rat as it were; as obsessed about the state of my physique as I am about my intellect and soul. In short, I have been (and continue to be) an egotistical maniac about my body (read: big, fat ego).

But this accident has left me reeling from my historical obsessions. I cannot even use a vacuum cleaner or take out the trash without it causing me hours of pain. I cannot exercise aside from short walks, and my usual walking and hiking companion, Juno, is herself just barely starting to heal.


God’s perpetual reminder that even though the human (being and body) is incredibly resilient, it is also at its core no match for surviving the force of machine, Nature or God.

After my own accident, I learned a dear friend of 20 plus years had an accident and is now in a coma, clinging to life never to be the same again.  The scriptures that “when I am weak I am strong” seems frivolous today, one I have always given lip service to…until now, as it has become as real as rain.

In my weakness, I am all but forced to let God enter my being; for it is through the cracks that grace and God enter. Far too often I have relied on the physical abilities I had while proclaiming that really my life was about spiritual awareness and growth – relying on God while in the end, secretly believing my own vim and vigor was what was getting me through life.

However, in these last six weeks, I have been blessed by having God’s beautiful Odd Couple keeping me company: fragility & grace.

For years, especially being a person in recovery, I have said that “there but for the Grace go I” and that all recovery and life is indeed fragile, only to be truly living by human strength. I have all my limbs, and most of my mental faculties, true, but I am not 27, I am 47, and broken.  I pay homage to the God Who enters into my weakness, while secretly despising my own frailty.

I am left with no concrete answers, still struggling to embody “God’s power perfected in my weakness.”  I am not satisfied with it. I am not happy about it. I am wrestling the angels and demons like Jacob refusing to embrace I am getting older, and not so much wiser. I am frustrated by my limitations (all of them) and I am seeking a God who is Power, only to find a Messiah born in fragile flesh, who died a traitor on a cross crucified for sedition.

I know that is not the end of the story. I know resurrection is real. But like Martha, I do not believe in resurrection now, only later.  And like Martha, I too have seen God’s miracles in both life and death.

I believe in resurrection – I see it every day in the rooms of 12 Step Fellowships; I believe that God is the God of second chances (and third and fourth, etc.).  BUT…I am wrapped in fragility and grace, holding on to hope, sometimes gently, sometimes fiercely. But to this hope will I cling: that in my weakness, brokenness and fragility that God and grace will come in fullness and fidelity.

O God, I believe…but help me where my faith falls short.


The holy Spirit is the wholly Other Spirit – the very Breath of God – that is sent to fill us humans in order to give us Life Abundant and all that Is God.

The holy Spirit is the Totality and Essence of God.

The Hebrew word for Spirit is “ruah,” meaning “Breath” – even saying it sounds like breath and breathing, Rue’ahhhhhhhh is how it is pronounced. So that even when we say the word for Spirit we are in truth breathing Spirit in and out of our bodies.




God’s breath breathed into us to give us God’s very Being. The holy Spirit, the wholly other Spirit, the Breath that is like no other, is the Divine Breath that contains the whole being of God and all that exists.

So even breathing, being mindful of the Source of our breath, is an act of prayer and surrender. In breathing and being mindful that all my breaths come from God, means that I am thanking God for my life and offering my life back to God, simply by living…as a fully alive human being.

So be mindful that every breath you take is a prayer to God, in thankfulness for Life.

celtic knot divider


​Fear speaks to my doubts. God speaks my name.

Fear only exploits my weaknesses. God loves them and uses them to heal and serve.

Fear is a ruinous drug that blurs my mind and chokes my heart, God’s love and presence are a balm that heal my body, mind and spirit.  God’s promise is divine presence.  God’s gift is unlimited and unconditional Love.

God’s faithful presence and crazy Love open up my life and my days to the ever present abundance that Jesus told us He came to give us (John 10:10).

It is no secret that I am a verdant seeker and searcher of all that is mystical and practical, addicted to more of God and all that is Sacred. I am not easily quieted or quenched by safe answers. As a teenager, I would walk around my church youth group with a homemade t-shirt that said, “you know the Answer, but do you even know the Questions?”

As is often the case with me and God – the hand held Mystery, the Unsayable Said – Wisdom comes through fragments of papers, random Google searches, strange emails, etc., questing for deeper and richer experiences of all that is Holy and profane.

And today this Message came to me, from The Message (a modern day translation of the Bible) written by one of my favorite people, Eugene Peterson. This comes from his translation of Ecclesiastes, one of the least appreciated books of the bible precisely because it is not pretty, packaged or pedantic with gentle answers.

So, read it with me with rage, passion, love, pounding fists, and sweating palms. Read it as prayer, as mantra, as fodder for your Greater Life and the larger angels that inhabit your heart!

Green Page Divider

A right time to lament and another to cheer.

A right time to hold and another to part.

A time to search and another to count your losses.

One handful of peaceful repose is better than two fistfuls of worried work-

More spitting into the wind.

It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.

God’s in charge, not you – the less you speak, the better.

Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work.  It’s God’s gift!

God deals out joy in the present, the now. It’s useless to brood over how long we might live.

But against all illusion + fantasy + empty talk

Seize life!

God takes pleasure in your pleasure!

Each day is God’s gift… Make the most of each one!  Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily!

Be generous! Invest in acts of charity. Charity yields high returns. Don’t hoard your goods; spread them around. Be a blessing to others.

Just as you’ll never understand the mystery of life in a pregnant woman, so you’ll never understand the mystery at work in all that God does.

Life as we know it, precious + beautiful, ends. The body is put back in the same ground it came from. 

The Spirit returns to God, who first breathed it.

It’s all smoke, nothing but smoke.

The words of the wise prod us to live well. They’re like nails hammered home, holding life together. They are given by God, the one Shepherd. But regarding anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy.

There’s no end to the publishing of books…

The last + final word is this: [Be in awe of] God. Do what He tells you.

Source: The Message (MSG)© Eugene Peterson

David Whyte is one of my favorite poets.  Enjoy…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief

turning downward through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe

will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,

nor find in the darkness glimmering
the small round coins
thrown by those who wished for something else.

NOTE: this blog is raw, no editing, first thought, first word. And since it involves the rawness of realness, I felt OK with leaving it be.

My life has a funny way of having moments of “embodied Irony.” A moment like that crossed my path earlier this week. I had written the post about being in search of a bigger God and had set up my blog to auto post it. Well between the writing of the blog and the posting of the blog I had a miraculous experience: I survived a serious car accident.

A 4:30 p.m. on Palm Sunday, I was heading out from a friends’ house to get to evening Mass. I am far from a good Catholic or even a faithful follower of Jesus, but the events of Holy Week and Sacred Rituals of Easter and Passover are vital and important to my own spiritual l journey. So, I was pulling out of the gravel road onto a state highway. I looked left, then right and for some reason decided to go left to stop by a convenience store for an afternoon cup of Joe. I pulled out and there it was – a 1990 black Honda Accord traveling at about 60 miles per hour.

Picture taken by Hugh McGee at the scene of the accident.  It is of my drivers' side, direct impact of accident, Juno was sitting at the point of direct impact as was I.

Picture taken by Hugh McGee at the scene of the accident. It is of my drivers’ side, direct impact of accident, Juno was sitting at the point of direct impact as was I.

Time stopped or at least felt like it slowed down. I knew Juno and I were going to get nailed by this car so I reacted the fastest way I could: I simultaneously slammed the gas pedal to the floor (hoping to only have only the tail of my car hit) and I used all my strength to reach around and move Juno from behind the driver’s seat, pressing her against the rear passenger door (thereby putting her as far away from impact as possible).  All of this occurred in 2 seconds or less…

The car slammed into us, never even hitting the brakes before impact. Then it became surreal: metal twisting and bending; pain and searing fire erupting through my body; the shriek of a terrified dog; spinning around and around with dizzying force; then a second or two of pure stillness.

Then I heard the voice of a young person, “holy shit that is a lot of gas….get out, get out, man!” I only remember scrambling to get my seat belt off and nothing happening.  I was stuck and in blinding pain.  The door had me pinned in. I just remember screaming out to God, “Give me strength NOW, help me, Lord, save Juno. I don’t give a shit about me but save HER!!”

The seat belt unclasped.

I flipped over into the back of the car, grabbed Juno by her harness, and we literally fell out of the car stumbling about 30 feet away from the car. I could not breathe and pain was setting my body and soul on fire. The rest is a blur. All I remember is asking a bystander to call my friend and have him come and take my dog to the ER vet hospital.

I also remember Juno being right next to me, tight up against what I would learn were my fractured ribs. She did not move. When the paramedics approached me she growled but then let them touch me. My friend Hugh came and did what he is great at: exhibiting grace under pressure and jumped into the Solution. He just said, “I’ve got Juno.  The paramedics have got you.”

Then the pain took over…all over; searing, fire like, pained breathing, burning on my face and arms. Later I would learn it was the air bags and a few fractured ribs, one vertebrae fractured (L4) and another compressed (L3), bruised lungs, scrapes, cuts, and soreness all over, covering me like a blanket.

Out of all of this too, I learned I have a “shaded area” in my lungs that appears not to be affiliated with the accident. So, the accident afforded me the chance to learn that I need a biopsy on a shaded lump in my lung.

As I said before, my life is Embodied Irony. Read the rest of this entry »

“Our highest knowledge of God is nothing close to that which God truly is.” Attributed to St. Thomas, paraphrased

I have a confession to make: I am in search of a bigger God for you see my current one is too small.  that’s right, the God that occupies my thoughts and heart has shrunk in size and scope, even divinity. Honestly, I need to get rid of him or I’m doomed to a small life in a small world with all hope suffocating to the point of death. I have made numerous attempts to give this God the pink slip, even writing him out of my life, but to no avail.

You see my God is too small, but he is equipped with a rather large “Ego” – this God I have currently is petty, pithy, and pedantic at best.  The God that resides in my heart is an idol, one made up of fairy tales and freak outs passed down to me from my drunken fathers’ presence and absence.  This God is narcissistic, needy, omnipotent, tyrannical, and just like my father my God is an Almighty Drunk. It is frightening.

I thought that decades ago I had been loosed of this Divine Schizophrenic but circumstances as of late have left me reeling in disbelief at the very core of my beliefs and just how small my God has become. Doctrine, dogma, stigma and stain all have left the remnants of a child-like faith based in innocence smashed and tattered by a full out frontal assault of FEAR. I am scared of my “oh so small God”

My current God cannot handle my pain, my emotional outbursts or my constant neediness. Nor can this God handle my questions or queries, leaving hope suffocated by the minutiae of daily life, questions big and small.

In fact, this God is too small precisely because He IS a He – a Zeus like old man resembling my Pops. Why can’t this God be a She? Or be like my mother? My mother was such a strong, lovely, regal woman who had wits and wilds about her…why can’t she be the source of my image of God instead of my alcoholic dad?!?

Here is something that piques my interest in the feminine face of God: one of the most oft used words to describe God’s wondrous glory in the Jewish Bible (the Christian Old Testament) is the word “Shekinah” – a feminine Hebrew word.  And much like the French language and other Romance languages, gender is ascribed to words rather than leave them neutral and therefore neutered. Shekinah, to be more specific, is the English spelling of a grammatically feminine Hebrew name of God in Judaism. The original word means the dwelling or settling, and denotes the dwelling or settling of the Divine Presence of God, especially in the Temple in Jerusalem (click on here for more information on Shekinah).

In Abrahamic faith traditions, your name denoted not only your character, but your destiny as well.  So, Shekinah, a word implying the very dwelling Place of Presence of God is a feminine word.  So maybe just maybe my God can be She as much as He as much as neither.  For the sake of my own sanity, my oh so small God can grow and I can acknowledge that the great traits of my mother (and all the amazingly strong women in my life) can be divine reflections of the God I need in my life: One Who is strong, faithful, creative, beautiful, tender, and compassionate (a Divine Mama Bear not to be reckoned with when one of her cubs was in danger).

The search for a bigger God continues…

I can cash in this Peon God for one much larger than me, truly a “Power greater than myself” or I can stay stuck in the minutiae of a miniscule God and drive myself into insanity.

It is for this reason I love the 2nd Step of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous when it says “we came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”  A Power greater than me…” That can be understood in many ways, for me it can mean a Power greater than any limitation or fear I could ever have of God; it can mean a God Who is a Power that is Pure Love and desires unbroken intimacy with me, loving me no matter my foibles and frailties, no matter how needy or poor I am.

I am truly searching for a bigger God: not a health and wealth pie in the sky God; not a Polyannish one who never sees the darkness of life; not a Santa Claus God who gives me my wish list.

I am in search of a God whose Love is beyond being meted out by human restraint.

I am in search of a God who is holy – wholly other – yet dwells within me.

I am in search of a God Who is beyond dogmatic and doctrinal delineations; a God Whose very Being and strength is pure Love, infinite Mercy, holy Hospitality…a Liberator and Healer who is Radically Compassion.

I am in search of a God Who in turn is in search of me…

The grass never sleeps.
Or the roses.
Nor does the lily have a secret eye that shuts until morning.
Jesus said, wait with me. But the disciples slept.
The cricket has such splendid fringe on its feet,
and it sings, have you noticed, with its whole body,
and heaven knows if it ever sleeps.
Jesus said, wait with me. And maybe the stars did, maybe the wind wound itself into a silver tree, and didn’t move, maybe
the lake far away, where once he walked as on a
blue pavement,
lay still and waited, wild awake.
Oh the dear bodies, slumped and eye-shut, that could not
keep that vigil, how they must have wept,
so utterly human, knowing this too
must be a part of the story.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

July 2015
« May    
Creative Commons License
The Earthy Monk by Niles Comer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at


Blog Stats

  • 11,962 hits

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 576 other followers