Sunday, 28 December 2014

Lady of Silence

You are the Lady of Silence,
the Silence
that is Life.

In Silence
you conceive
And bring forth Love.

In Silence
your Nazareth home
forms a son.

In Silence
you stand close by
as your boy becomes a man.

In Silence
you watch him love and heal
and give new life.

In Silence
you stand by the cross
and absorb his suffering and dying.

In Silence
you kept your heart open
as new life rose.

In Silence
you stood with others
as the Spirit was poured out on all.

In Silence
hold all hurting families
in your heart before God.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

This is Christmas

Christmas is many different things to many different people.
For Christians, Christmas is something that we experience. 

Christmas is about experiencing an abundance of Life and Love and joy. An abundance of God.

It is not something you can merit.
Its not something you deserve.
Whether your life is in good shape, or if it is a mess.
Whether you do good things or you do bad things.

The gift of Christmas is there for everyone, for all of us, to simply say yes to and to enjoy.

We are to experience and enjoy the abundance of lavish love.
This lavish love is not only for us, it is in us.

This is what happened in Mary so many years ago. She conceived of Love and gave birth to Love. This Love was in her.
Christ was in her.

Christmas is for us to say yes to the abundant Divine Life and Love that is already within us.

It is for us to learn to live out of that deep well of Love.

It is for us to share that Love.

Not one of us deserve it.
But it is ours anyway.
It is just there. It is who we really are.

Jesus has done this and shows us the way to fullness of life.

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.”

Friday, 19 December 2014

Gentle Mary

Gentle Mary
your soul is open
and ready to receive.

You want to receive.
You need to receive.

And you are filled.

You absorb
the Divinity that is Life.

You give birth
to Love made flesh.

Gentle Mary
your soul
is open
and ready
to live.

Christmas Gift

Christmas is about many things to many different people. Yet underneath all of our various understandings of the season, Christmas is not so much about receiving as it is fundamentally about giving. Christmas can be about giving and exchanging gifts with family and friends. It can be about giving to those in need in our neighbourhoods or on the other side of the world. It can be about giving to our church and other charities to support their work in our communities. The season can be about giving of our time to be with someone who is alone or who is shut in. Christmas can be about giving of our presence as we spend time with family and with friends. Christmas is about all of these things and more. For Christians, Christmas is about God’s gift of Divine Life and Love given to the world in Christ in that very first Christmas over 2000 years ago in Bethlehem. God’s gift of abundant love was announced to Mary and is revealed in Jesus Christ. It is a Love gift that is within every human being and is meant to lavishly share with many other people. It is a gift that is freely given to us. It is a gift that we are to freely share with others. Merry Christmas!

Father Gerald+

Monday, 15 December 2014

softly and gently

soft and gentle
they pray


the mild force
of the rhythm


drawn and made at one with
the voice

the voice announcing


you are free
feast at the table of life

feel the abundance
lavish abundance

they pray
softly and gently

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Sensing Faith

in the
voices of

real and





is in
the voices
and faith
of others

let go
and fall
into their

Advent Watching


                     go by.


There is                  

There is


There is more to me.

There is a


God comes.


Sunday, 30 November 2014

Anglican Monks and Nuns?

As many of us know, the Anglican Church is wide and diverse. It has been known as the Via Media (or middle way) of the Christian Church, and is inclusive of liberal and conservative, protestant and catholic. The Anglican Church is also inclusive of monks and nuns! Monastic communities are a fact of Anglicanism that not all are aware of. 
Oratory of the former Elmore Abbey, Newbury, England
My introduction to Anglican monasticism was on my very first retreat in 1993 while a student at Queen’s College. Through a faculty members affiliation with the Anglican Sisters of St.John the Divine, located in Toronto, Sister Anitra was invited to lead our retreat. Among other things, she spoke about a little book by Ester DeWaal titled “Seeking God” (worth finding and reading!). This book is an introduction to Benedictine Spirituality and Religious Orders within the Anglican Church. One of the things that interested me about Benedictine spirituality was the daily rhythm of prayer and work designed to carry the pilgrim through to the end of the life journey. Benedictine spirituality is also about commitment to the community, and to a life long process of conversion. “Lectio Divina” (holy reading) is a form of Christian meditation and is another important part of Benedictine life.
Oratory of Mucknell Abby, Worcester, England
From both lay and ordained perspectives (St.Benedict was a lay person), there is value in this spirituality and in the spiritual support of Religious communities. After a year in my first parish in Port Rexton, I went on retreat to an Anglican Benedictine community at Elmore Abbey in Newbury, England, and became a member of the community. Over the years it has become a spiritual home for me where I can go for rest and re-creation.
Valerie and some of the monks of Elmore. These monks are now housed at Salisbury
I have come to know and love these monks, and they continue to inspire me in their lives of prayer and hospitality. There are a number of Anglican religious communities in the UK, US, Canada and beyond. The Anglican Church in Newfoundland and Labrador is probably most familiar with the Sisters of St.John the Divine in Toronto.
Sister Sue from the SSJD, Toronto
Benedictine spirituality is something worth exploring no matter where we live or how young or old we are, whether lay or ordained. Personally, Benedictine spirituality has been foundational not only to my life of prayer, but it has also provided a rule or guide that has permeated all aspects of my life. There are those who have gone much further and have vocations to Religious life, and those monastic communities that they belong to have a very important role in the spiritual care of the wider church. Let us learn from and be inspired by their commitment to life long prayer and hospitality to all.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Those Eyes

Those eyes
filled with life
filled with love.

Those eyes
look upon me
with warmth
and acceptance.

Those eyes
see through me
to my darkest secrets
and smile upon me
with compassion.

Those eyes
embrace me
with the Divine.

Those eyes
move me
to look upon
the one next to me

with the same
of Divine Compassion.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

OTTAWA OCTOBER 22nd (A poem)



can feel

can determine
how another
is seen.

only functions
on the surface of

There is a

to all
and divine
in nature.

It is a



Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Rest Awhile

I have often heard people say that they feel nearest to God when they are in the woods, or on the water. There is a lot of truth in that experience. 

I try to keep the monthly practice of what some call a “desert day,” a day to be alone with God. In my most recent desert day, I had the privilege of access to a hermitage nestled away in a lonely place overlooking the ocean. The only sound was that of the sea, the wind and the sea birds. All I could see was the wide open and spacious expanse of the ocean and horizon. These simple and natural sights and sounds helped enable me to forget about me. A door opened from which I was simply aware of the hugeness of Life, a Life that I was a small part of.

Sitting with this vision and awareness, I was at rest. No agenda, figuring nothing out, making no plans, rehearsing no conversations, harbouring no grudges. Simply present to everything nature was offering in that moment. This is a form of contemplation, of being at one with God.

This kind of contemplative experience is something that I think came more naturally to past generations like my grand parents who lived in the tiny community of Daniel’s Cove. They and their parents before them lived off the land and the sea. Having to eke a living with their hands out of God’s creation, made them more naturally aware of a bigger Life. Today, with concrete cities and over stimulation through the various forms of media, we need to be more intentional with our alone time with God and our connecting with nature. It would be physically and spiritually good for us to unplug our devices, get outside, breath the fresh air, and be aware of God’s Presence in the creation all around us and within us. You don’t have to take a whole day for this practice. Ten minutes on the back deck would be a good start!

Learning a contemplative practice that will open up a pathway through the noise and clutter on the surface of our consciousness, is a practice that offers the gift of rest and peace from union with God within. It is what we all most desire.

For those of us living in Newfoundland and Labrador we have been given the gift of beautiful landscape and seashore. We don’t have to go far from our doors to have beautiful God-given sights and sounds around us. Lets get out in nature, forgetful of self, alone with God, and rest awhile.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

The Same (a poem)

what generosity
outrageous generosity

all are treated
the same

all are seen
as equal

no matter
you come

or late

as long as

as long as

will be welcomed
the same

the same

the same

[based on Matthew 20:1-16]

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Perfection in Imperfection (a poem)

A perfect life is a painful illusion.

Perfect self.
Perfect partner.
Perfect children.
Perfect home.

time and experience can teach

that there is no such perfection.


Another kind of perfection can be realized
in embracing our imperfections.

God is in
our imperfections.

God is in
our life as it is.

That is perfection.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

The Joy of Being a Priest (a poem)

In the morning
offering the first fruits of the day
to awareness
of God's life and love.

The study
still and quiet
a place of prayer
and preparation for worship.

The oratory
spacious and beautiful
inviting participation
in the dance of Life.

The commitment
of parishioners going about
tasks and responsibilities.

The beauty and gifts
of the people of God
offered freely
enriching many.

Making plans
and preparing
to reach out
and meet the needs of others.

Being in the community
seeing God
in smiling and troubled faces

Breaking bread
at noon
receiving love
giving love.

With the broken and wounded
being God's compassionate presence
in the midst
of the storm's of life.

Sitting still in the evening
with our Truest Self
in God's love.

At the end of the day
thanking God
for the joy
of being a priest.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Kiss me, I'm Irish!

On the island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador, we have deep roots from the Europeans who have come before us to fish the sea and settle in the land. The French and English coasts were granted by foreign kings for their own to harvest. The Irish Shore was settled by poor Irish immigrants who were fleeing the desperation of their own land in hope of a better life. 

I’ve recently had the joy of being able to tour Ireland. One of the people we met referred to Newfoundland as the “next county over.” Born on the Newfoundland “Irish Shore,” and with family roots continuing there to this day, it is with Irish culture that I most identify with. Yet that is only a small part of who I am. Being in Ireland reminded me of a much bigger picture.

From standing in a megalithic structure at New Grange where human beings stood and participated in sacred ritual 5000 years ago, to seeing Druid chieftain structures 2000 years old, to Cashel Mount where St.Patrick converted and crowned Irish Kings, to standing within Christian monastic ruins 1300 years old, to hearing the stories of the Vikings and their settling of the land, to the conquering English under Henry the VIII, to the flood gates of Irish immigration after the discovery of the New World, to the story of the surviver of Bloody Sunday in 1972 when the British army fired into a group of unarmed Irish civil rights protesters, to the lady from Poland working at Hertz Rent a Car, in the process of immigrating to Ireland. This story is part of all of our collective story. It is part of who we all are.

Over the summer I have been reading the Irish writer and poet John O’Donahue’s “Eternal Echoes.” In it, he reminds us that we are all just visitors, here for a while, and then returning to God. Our truest identity is much deeper than language, culture, geography. It is out of a deeper spiritual awareness that we experience true belonging, and a place where all human beings belong.

The Irish immigrated. My family immigrated, your family immigrated. Human beings have always immigrated and sought belonging in the process. The world we live in has always changed and continues to change. Let us be open and welcoming to today’s immigrants. Let us be open and welcoming to those who are different on the surface, yet who share in our deeper and truest identity in God. And as we gear up for a new year of ministry in our churches, let us make room for everyone, regardless of differences, who may want to join us in discovering the joy of Life in Christ.

Kiss me, I’m Irish!

Monday, 23 June 2014

The Slowing (a poem)

Life can be so fast paced.
Things to do.
People to see.
Prayers to say.

The calendar?
What's next?
With who?

Mind racing.
No rest
            Even when sitting still.

And then

The slowing happens.

An awareness of God's Life
Gently moving me to forgetfulness

Of self
Of what needs to be done next
Of who needs to be seen.

A simple presence
                             To Presence

Open embrace of Life as it is in this very moment.

Eager to love Love itself.

(Inspired after reading Gerald May's account of what he termed "the Slowing")

Thursday, 5 June 2014

At last I am free (a poem)

O holy room
O holy silence

The Spirit is near.

Yet there is a fear.

Fear of change.
Fear of surrender.
Fear of falling

                      Into God

Be still my fears
Be still my tongue
Be still my thoughts.


And there you are
You were always here.

Your breath is my breath
Your love is my love.

At last

I am free

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The Abundant Love of God (a poem)


You are all in all
You are everything,
All that is.

All that is life you are.
All that exists
Exists in you.

To love is to know you.
To be loved is to know you.

Breath your love deep into my heart.
Open me more and more to your life deep within.

As I have received your breath of Love
Free me to breath out your Love.

Upon all that is before me.
Upon all that is around me.
Upon all that I see.
Upon all that I do.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

What Joy is in my Soul (a poem)

What joy is in my soul!

The silence opens up pathways
to life.

The stillness reflects the glory of God
rising from within.

I see You!

In the sky
In the tree
In the bird
In the flower

Yet most precious to my eyes
Is when I see You in the other person.

My heart rejoices.
My face smiles.

I love you.

You are mine

And I am Yours.

(written at the Bon Secours Retreat Center, Baltimore)

The Call to Go Deeper

Bishop Geoff Peddle has invited the diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador into this challenge: What needs to change in our parishes in order for us “to be Good News,” “to pour our love into the world to all who come our way,” “to be a church drenched in God’s Grace… and to act like we know that to be true and trust the Gospel to reshape us.”

And “Do you want the church to become more than it is and all that it can be?”

My answer is yes, yes, yes, yes and yes! And I’m sure your’s is also. But what is the obstacle? What is preventing God’s Spirit from moving more freely in our churches? What is preventing God’s Spirit from working through our churches in reaching out in love and service to all?

The ever present and exclusive “I” is one of the things that needs to be changed in our spirit’s and in our parishes.

God’s Life is spacious and inclusive of all that is. The greatest lie that the enemy to Life has to tell us is that we are separate from God and from each other. Acts reminds us that it is in God “in whom we live and move and have our being.” Jesus teaches us that “I am in the Father and the Father is in me, I am in you and you are in me.”

Yet we are so easily threatened by those who are different from us, we are so threatened by that which we do not know or understand. We are so threatened by the thought of change. The simple and obvious truth is that this is the result of shallow spiritual living. 

If we are only living life on the surface of our consciousness, then we will not be open to renewal, we will not be open to change, we will not be able to let go of that which is already dead, we will not be inclusive and caring to all.

That surface level of consciousness, of spirituality, is the “I.” This is our obstacle and challenge. In psychological terms, it is our ego. In spiritual terms, it is our false self. In Biblical terms, Jesus teaches us that we must die to self.

If this “false self” is all that we know, then we cannot “be the Good News,”  we cannot “pour our love into the world to all who come our way,” we cannot “be a church drenched in God’s Grace… and trust the Gospel to reshape us.”

God’s call upon us now, and in every individual life in every generation, is to go deeper. Authentic spiritual practice is about learning to get beneath the grip of the ego surface (our false self), and to open up to God’s spacious Life that is within every single one of us. This is the place of the Communion of the Saints and the Unity of the Holy Spirit. It is the place of the Unitive Love of God. It is in all of creation. It is in every culture, every language, every people. It is inclusive of the person you don’t like, the person you don’t agree with, the person who has hurt you. We are indeed one with God, and at One with every other person.

God’s love and life is unimaginably spacious, inclusive, abundant, and overflowing to all.

Let us hear the Bishop’s challenge for “the church to become more than it is and all that it can be.” And let us become more intentional about our spiritual lives. Let us learn to get beneath the turmoil and insecurity of the surface, to go deeper into our Truest Self that is at one with God’s life. And from that place of Life, to welcome, love and serve all out of God’s immeasurable abundance. 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Lent: A Life Giving Journey

What an amazing spiritual and life giving journey the church offers to lead us through every year in Lent. 

On the first Sunday of Lent we follow Jesus into our own inner wilderness and begin to recognise that there is more to who we are than our ego consciousness. Our ego consciousness is actually our false self. Our truest self, made in the image of God, is so much larger and spacious than our small egos, and is just beneath the surface of our egos, deeper within. To discover our true self (St.Paul reminds us "that is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me") is a spiritual struggle in our inner wilderness, and we have to trust Jesus and know that His Spirit is with us along the way.

On the second Sunday of Lent we are called to follow Jesus up Mount Tabor, the Mount of Transfiguration. This spiritual mountain is also within us. As we mature and make progress in this inner journey, we come to realise more and more that all scriptures are fulfilled in Jesus. Then we begin to see Jesus as he truly is: Christ who is Risen and Alive. This realisation changes us. We share in Christ's suffering, but we also share in Christ's Divine and Risen life. We cannot stay on this holy mountain of Transfiguration, we need to come down to serve the world that is hurting and suffering.

On the third Sunday of Lent we meet Jesus at the well in Samaria. He offers living water to the Samaritan woman. Christ offers fulness of life to all people, regardless of gender, religion, culture, language, your past, your shortcomings, your whatever. As we are challenged and changed in Lent, continuing to die to our small ego self, and surrendering to the larger, deeper Life that is within all human beings (and indeed all of creation in all of the universe and whatever else might be out there), we will find ourselves becoming more compassionate and accepting of ourselves, and with others who struggle. This life giving water is a Divine Spring that is again within us to discover and to tap into. We need to have eyes to see.

On the fourth Sunday of Lent, we hear the story of the blind man who is given his sight. This blind man wants to see, he knows there is more. We need to come to that empty and shallow place in our journey where we ask ourselves “there has to be more to life than this!” We are on a journey from spiritual blindness to spiritual sight. And like the blind man, the more we encounter the living Christ, the more clearly we will see Life in all its fullness. 

In Lent, the Church is leading us on a journey from darkness to light, from hatred to love, from self to other, from death to life, from the Cross to the Resurrection.
The Church, though broken and wounded in its members, is leading us on a journey into Christ. Christ who is ALL. Christ who is IN us. Christ who, when we get our little ego out of the way, Rises from within us. Christ who is our life. 

Let us know our need of Christ. Let us desire His Spirit. Let us live in the Light of His Love.