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ARISE: A reflection / letter to foster pastoral and spiritual growth

For Priests Only

THe Owl & The Lion

Welcome to Spirit7,
a place on the Web
to find spiritual nourishment
and comfort.

Dear Friends,
There is no more exciting adventure
than to be on a spiritual path.
My journey led me into darkness
where I found myself and my God.
I am eager to share what I have learned.

The theology here is centrist,
seeking common ground
between the progressive and the conservative.
We wish to be open to all who genuinely
and thoughtfully seek God.
I hope you enjoy these offerings.
As a brother,
Father Bob Traupman

The Twentieth Anniversary Year
of the
Arise Reflection / Letter

Summer musings -- Intimacy with God

Change can happen.  And living in the present moment  is the key. The key to finding God and oneself and other people.

And it happens almost without effort.  I used to beat myself up over not being able to do what I should or wanted to do. But now, the change comes because I’m being changed from deep within!  By God.

Change happens by letting go.  By surrendering by giving up our own will.  

Nonetheless, every day, as my house wants to get dusty, I want to think: I was the one who accomplished this!  And then I go back to prayer.  And I realize, and rejoice and give thanks, that it is Jesus’ love that is doing the transforming.

Both Sides Now – My Journey through 40 years of priestly life

Editor’s note:  In this issue I would like to reflect on my own journey as a priest and then my experience of the Church and the priesthood today.  A major theme here is my deep love of the sacred liturgy which I try to live “in season and out of season.”  As we prepare for the coming feast of Pentecost I invite you to be aware of the movement of the Holy Spirit in your own life as well.

Rejoice with dear readers!  This May 24th I give thanks to Jesus for granting me the gift of serving as his priest for 40 years.  It’s an astonishing thing really, when you consider that I have carried it through 31 years of manic depressive illness with all the vagaries of life which that rocky road affords.

My prayer is looking forward as I reflect on these years: We need a New Pentecost in the Church these days.  We need to have the windows flung open once again, as Pope John XXIII did fifty years ago and let the mighty wind of the Holy Spirit shake us up.  No!  We need a hurricane to blow through us.

Easter 2009: Resurrection in progress

Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

 This is the Easter part of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus. If the last Arise was about broken pots and fragile humans, about surrender and dying to self, this issue is about the dawning of a new day, about waking up from our mediocrity , about gathering strength, enthusiasm and exuberance for life, about finding and building community and being empowered by the Spirit of God instead of the power of money and greed and hate.   I will tell you the story of my own Easter this year for I believe that “what is most personal is most universal.”  Here’s the story . . .

 Easter, doesn’t always come on Easter, but, if you wait awhile, it always comes

Celebrating God's faithfulness

Here are my thoughts on my priesthood written on the occasion of my twenty fifth anniversary of ordination on May 24, 1994. I am not quite sure what I’m going to write for my fortieth; that depends on my courage and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I hope you will look for it later this May 2009  Remember, I have a different perspective on priesthood -- perhaps a truer perspective than many priests are willing to admit.

For one, I am a wrier, and two, i have viewed it as they say, "From both sides now."

Here’s what I wrote in May 1994 . . .

Unless a grain of wheat dies...
This special edition of Arise for Holy Week is about clay pots and bread broken/ blood poured out/ fragile human beings/ broken economies/ death and dying.

The Mystery of Human Suffering
In my struggles with bipolar illness I began to see that my suffering had meaning. And this perspective helped me to relax and accept my lot with some ease and consolation. From that moment on, I was nourished: I discovered food for my difficult journey in the midst of my suffering. This did not take the suffering away. But it did give me a perspective that made sense.

Lent 2009: Be in solidarity with those who are suffering
Go deeper into Lent this year. . Immerse yourself in the Paschal Mystery of Jesus! Realize that life is a cycle of suffering, dying and rising that constitutes the central meaning of our Christian faith that goes on and on. There's wisdom here that can lift us out of despair and help us find the threads of meaning for our life. Jesus embodies the Passover (Passage) of Israel in his own acceptance that the meaning of life is found in willingly inserting ourselves in the process of transformation which always involves suffering and dying on the way to new life.

2009: A Call for Courage and Community for All Americans
I am a contemplative who finds non-stop TV/radio  talk  painful to my ears.  And yet, I know I have insight into the issues of our day, arising  from my prayer.  In June 2007 I woke up one day to a profound realization that our  country was in deep trouble.   In the July 2007 issue of Arise I warned of the possible collapse of the stock  market and also that the violence in the soul of America could engulf  us. Those are still my concerns.  Yet my prayer also tells me we will make it through  the difficult year ahead of us  if we bind together with courage and community.

Advent hope for us and our country
May we reflect on how these traditional Advent themes speak to the present
crisis in our country: Being prepared and vigilant for whatever might come;
purifying and cleansing ourselves by entering the refiner’s fire; always remaining
hopeful that God will bring us out of our darkness into his wonderful light; opening
the eyes of our faith to recognize Emmanuel who is always God with us.

Christmas Gentleness
"This is a reprint of a wonderful story about my dog Shivvy while I was in Baltimore in 2004. Shivvy was eight years old at the time. Enjoy."

Coping with Uncertainty
To help us prepare for uncertain times, we need to seek certainty and security on a deeper level. Vol. XX 1 / September 2008 based on Vol. XIII 1 /September 2001.

What has become of our beloved country?
In our day technology and unbridled consumption of material things can become our false gods. Despite the fact that many of us are Christian, we are prone to an insidious form of idolatry. Vol. XIX 5 / July 2007

Coping with Uncertainty: The original issue
Published on September 1, 2001, it was to be an innocent reflection intended to help us cope with the ordinary complexities of life; ten days later it became prophetic. Vol. XIII 1 / September 2001

Take time to nourish your soul and lift your spirit!

Many of our readers look forward to the Arise
      reflection / letter for lay people as it arrives monthly
      in the mail.
These reflection / letters provide many varied topics in
      contemporary spirituality from a Catholic
Won't you take a look at one or two
      of the back issues of Arise available below to see
      if they can nourish your spiritual growth?
For our priest-browsers, there are also several back
      issues of the For Priests Only newsletter.
Perhaps you will select one or two issues, print them
      out, and put them aside for bedtime reading or for
      some nourishment to start your morning.

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A reflection / letter to foster spiritual growth
in a challenging and difficult world.
       "When I read your refletion / letter, Bob, I feel like I've been hugged."
       "Father Bob, you have the ability to reach inside and heal."
For Priests Only
A reflection / letter to foster practical spirituality for priests.
       "Your writing style, Bob, is straightforward and challenging."
       "For Priests Only is very practical for the General Practitioner Parish Priest."
       "Your recent issue touched me--especially with its honesty."

Content 1999 Bob Traupman