Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Lenten Mercy ~ Meditation: "Keep the faith!"

This photo of my father, John Matthew, was taken in Windham, New York in 1947 when he was 41 years old. He and my mother liked to go there on their off time. My paternal grandparents were Irish born and emigrated here in the late 1800's - my father being born in New York City in 1906. Catherine was a maid to wealthy families on Park Avenue; my grandfather shod horses in Manhattan. 

When I was in seminary on the north shore of Long Island, my father lived in a small apartment on the south shore. The drive each month to visit him took awhile as the roads to center island were two-lane, hilly and winding. And we'd sit awhile and talk, especially about seminary news. 

But when it was time for me to leave to make curfew, instead of saying good-bye at the door, his last words were always, "Keep the faith." I never asked him about the expression, but I imagine it was an Irish-ism, as Irish Catholics lived under a bloody English rule for a thousand years, and the faith had to be lived quietly and secretively. 

I imagine "Keep the faith" meant: Stay standing in the invisible; trouble may be near. In the winding way: stay trusting and reliant. Along the dark way: stay awake to spiritual things. "The faith" is my own I believe. Here's mine, and of course, you can write your own.

I believe in the eastern sky,
its colors, 
and invitation.

I believe in the animals,
the Sandhill's migration,
the Chickadee's survival
the Yellow Finch's summer return.

I believe in the plants,
the fern uncoiling,
the bud revealing,
the garden's scent-surprise.

I believe in stars,
and the weather satellite's blinking.

I believe in silence,
the lighting of candles,
gazing without thoughts
and silence again.

I believe in the variety of persons,
efforts of non-violence,
gifts of compassion
and every good deed done.

I believe in Bethlehem,
Mary's Maternity,
Jesus' face,
shepherd's witness and angel song.

I believe in Christ's tears and sighs,
his desert hunger,
his bread and wine,
his shroud, bright wounds
and empty tomb.

I believe in Easter morning,
Christ the Gardener's
do not fear;
I believe in Magdalen's running!


  1. All things to believe in. Thank for starting my day with this reflection. I too want to keep the faith.

  2. Thank you for all your reflections.

  3. I love your prayers Father. They are so heartfelt.

  4. I believe God is ever faithful, I believe His love is patient and forgiving. I believe in Mary sent to bring God's graces and console me. I believe the Eucharist to be His greatest gift, total love. I believe everyday He shows me another spell binding creation of beauty, meant for me. Nice tribute to your father for your family to enjoy. They must be pleased.

  5. A bond between father and son can be strong and wonderful. Thank you for sharing this memory with us. You're father must have been very proud on your ordination day.

  6. I believe in a mother's love,
    In the unspoken loyalty between friends,
    The tolerance of all kinds of people,
    And I believe in true love.

  7. For me, keeping the faith means not to give up on my beliefs. Sometimes it is hard to reconcile what I feel I must do with what my faith asks of me. I know that nobody is perfect, but I feel much less than adequate at times. So by keeping the faith, I am doing my best to follow the right path and make the right decisions for myself. You're father sounds kind and wise.

    1. We're slogging through much/most of life. Can't ask for more than you're doing. My father was a good man, but had his troubles and serious struggles. He died in 1987.

  8. I have been in a depressed state and sinking slowly. But reading this really does give me some home. A ray of light to pierce the darkness. All I can say is thank you. Thank you for your personal reflection and thank you for this prayer. I want to believe too.

  9. I understand depression personally. It's very difficult. Look for what's beautiful and good wherever it's to be found. And stay close to your doctor. I send a blessing as we set out into Holy Week.

  10. One thing that I have learned from you here is that sometimes we need to sit in silence and contemplate a prayer or an icon or even just a thought. I turn everything off and enjoy what this solitude brings. We are blessed when we attempt to confront our hidden inner consciousness that can lead to conversion, and real spiritual growth. This practice has helped me to keep my faith.

  11. Often the focus of religion is on what obligations, duties and responsibilities I have to God. But the first movement of religion is to ponder not what I have to do for God but what God has done (and still does) for us - indeed, in this moment. That happens in awareness and silence. When we start to do that - everything is different. Then God becomes the Beloved!