So Punish Me, Don’t Do It

I-Must-Confess-button-520x245A young man once challenged me about the Sacrament of Confession in a semi-public forum.

“Why do I have to confess my sins to a priest, when I can just go directly to God?”

“A good question!” I replied back.  He smiled waiting for a cop-out answer of some sort.

But I honored his question by saying, “Technically speaking, God doesn’t need confession to forgive your sins.”   A bigger smile came over him.

“You see,” I continued, “Sacraments are outward signs of God’s grace in the world.  They are OF THIS WORLD.  Sacraments are not FOR God.  Sacraments are for US!”

Now it was my turn to question him.  “Let me ask you something.  If I said that you never had to go to confession again…”

Again a big hopeful smile.

And then the kicker, “How often would you ask God for forgiveness?”

A hush came over the room and no eyes would meet mine.   Save one.  The young man who asked the original question looked up and replied, “Honestly, probably not often. Probably only if I were really desperate or really upset about something I did wrong.”

“And how often, would you examine your conscience?”

“Well, maybe a bit more…but again, not that much,”

“Let’s take God and Hell and all those things out of the equation for a moment.  How often, would you say someone should look at all the wonderful things that they do and then also look at the ways that they don’t measure up?  And how often should they make a plan to improve themselves or to rectify something really awful?”

Someone else piped up, “As often as it is helpful!”  Which I thought was a great answer.

How often might the owner of a business look at their profits and losses?

A Wall Street banker in the room replied, “We’re bound to do this by law each quarter really.”

“Shouldn’t we…at least try to do the same thing with our own profits and losses?”

Everyone nodded and smiled a bit.  But it still made them uncomfortable.

I pressed further, “Let’s get beyond confession.  How often should we think about God, give God thanks, ask God for forgiveness.”

I looked to the former smart answerer and she said, “Yep, as often as it is helpful.”

“Right–we can over-do the forgiveness part especially and beat ourselves up way too much.”

But if we were left undeterred…how often would we take the time to do that?

One person said it perfectly, “Well, it’s not like I don’t want to do this.  I just forget or run out of time or it just doesn’t cross my mind because I’m pretty busy and caught up in a lot of my stuff.”

Again silence.  We all agreed that this was a huge problem.

“St. Ignatius was smart and he knew of the demands of the world.  He also knew how easy it was for us to get distracted.  So he told us we should practice this exercise TWICE a day.  The daily examen is a way to keep reminding ourselves to search for God and to notice our feelings and the rhythms of our lives.  The church asks us to go to mass once a week at minimum–we probably should go more often, because it’s really easy to lose one’s course isn’t it?”

“But we try to hide from the fact that we need God.  We try to push that away and become more autonomous beings in the world.  It’s a value that far too many people hold much too dearly.  So many people value a solitary achievement, as opposed to teamwork.  We value solitary prayer over communal ritual as well.”

One person nodded and said, “How many people say ‘I can pray alone, I don’t need to go to church to do that.'”  I agreed and even admit that I too fall into that trap from time to time.

But God finds His way to work at pulling the strings of our hearts, calling us back to center.  Calling us home to be with us, bringing us out of hiding.  Offering us tender forgiveness for the sins that are so obvious in the light of day.  Helping us to get to the heart of what is going on inside of us. ”

Friends, we can hide but at the end of the day, we are not going to fool God.  We are in need of deep reflection and we often can’t do that alone.  We need others feeding things back to us and helping us to become better people.

Perhaps we need that help about once a week?  And perhaps we need to spend some time really thinking about the occupations of our day every day? And maybe about once a month, we can look into our hearts and ask ourselves how we can most improve our efforts?

Do we need the sacrament of reconciliation (confession) to have God forgive our sins?  No!  But it helps!

Does God need us to go to Sunday mass?  As an old English teacher once told me, when I refused to do an assignment, “So punish me, don’t do it!”

She was wise enough to realize that the assignment benefited me alone.  It only created work for her, for she already knew the material.  In doing the assignment, I would be looking to her to tell me what I didn’t understand, what I understood well and how I could take steps to improve my grasping of the material.

I think God often says that to us, “So punish me, don’t do it!”

The issue at play here is that so many people have stopped going to mass and confession because essentially they have not found them to be helpful to this kind of deep discernment.

Perhaps there is nothing wrong with these people, but rather something wrong with those of us that are responsible for the “performance of ritual?”  That is well worth looking at to help us engage and re-engage those who clearly need reminders of God in their lives.

And God says to us too, “So, punish me, don’t do it!”

Today I pray, that I Lord might be just a bit kinder to those who come to seek you at our masses.  That I might take just a bit more time to talk to these that you have given to me.  I pray that I might have the courage to look at my own shortcomings and ask God to help me improve and that I might notice the graces given to me in my life more readily because I am in tune with the rhythms that bring me true joy and help me see God in all things.

Just because God is around all the time, doesn’t mean that we should take that for granted.

So this summer, let us commit ourselves to what we at least need minimally:  daily prayer, weekly mass, monthly confession.  And let us do these with the joy of knowing God’s love and mercy.  Amen.



What is a Godparent?

Jonathan and Marianne
Jonathan and Marianne

I joke with my friends Jonathan and Marianne who are expecting their second child often about the fact that they “owe” me because they met on one of my BustedHalo Retreats many years ago. In fact, the first time I met their son, Aiden, he looked deeply at me and this little wry smile came across his face.

I looked to his parents and said, “He knows!  And you’re welcome. I’m glad I could be a small part of you being here, Aiden!”

So, Marion and I were recently asked to be the Godparents of their soon-to-be-born child (any day now).  And we’re over-the-moon excited. Neither of us have ever been asked to be Godparents in a situation where it would be appropriate for us to do so.  We’re a bit on the young side for our cousins to have asked and our nieces and nephew are not Catholic, so we wouldn’t have had the opportunity there.  But Jonathan and Marianne are good friends and we’ve really enjoyed their company.

But it occurred to me, that none of this would be happening if it were not for Christ.

A retreat brought Jonathan and Mare together.  A retreat that Christ inspired us to start so many years ago.  A retreat where God’s love and grace allowed others to share openly, at deeper levels and brought them into a greater awareness of that love through each other.

And that love now gives new life, literally, to all of us and in many other ways as well.  It gives a new child to a loving couple, it gives a new experience to my wife and me and it gives new life to a community who witnesses it all.

Sometimes I am sad over the prospect of not having children of our own.  But I also know that God had and has other plans for me to be life giving.  He gives that opportunity to so many of us, including our priests and women religious.  Spiritual directees, students, retreatents, caring for parents and siblings, loving my nieces and nephew…all different experiences of giving life to another.

And it is more than enough.

It seems to me, that this is what a Godparent does best.  A Godparent points to the presence of God and takes responsibility for making sure that this actually happens in partnership with their parents who always have a lead role. The parents, you see, need to also have the maturity, do be the primary givers of faith.  It is the parents who choose to Baptize their child.  The Godparents, merely say “Amen” to what the parents wish FOR the child and promise to keep that kid true to try to honor the promises made on their behalf.  These parents are already good at this and treasure their faith.  Grandpa is also a Deacon, so this is an easy job for all of us.

As I pray today for the coming of Jonathan and Marianne’s new baby, may that child be filled with the love of Christ and may God continue to show me that indeed I am a giver of life in so many ways.

And a huge amount of gratitude to Jonathan and Marianne for honoring us so.

2014: Get Lost!

So the end of a crappy, crappy year is upon us. I spent today taking my beloved pet, Haze Hayes to the eye doctor who thankfully sent him home with meds and not with surgery plans.

Might as well end on a sort of an up note.

But the Holy Father noted today that the end of a year should be marked by gratefulness, for what has been and for what will be, but more importantly…

“…the Church teaches us to end the year, and in fact each day, with an examination of conscience. This devout practice leads us to thank God for the blessings and graces we have received, and to ask forgiveness for our weaknesses and sins.

The fundamental reason for our thanksgiving, the Pope explained, is that God has made us His children. It is true, he said, that we are all created by God – but sin has separated us from the Father, and has wounded our filial relationship with Him. And so “God sent His Son to redeem us at the price of His Blood.” We were children, the Pope continued, but we became slaves. It is precisely the coming of Jesus in history that redeems us and rescues us from slavery, and makes us free.”

This indeed is true. And so here’s a look back at some of the great things in 2014.

From the World of Medicine
My father survived a bout with colon cancer.
The dog went through a lot of surgery but lived despite it all.
Great doctors, great vets are a sure sign of thankfulness.
Two tough guys duked it out with illness and prevailed.

From the World of Vocation
3 semesters into being the director of Campus Ministry with ups and downs, joys and sorrows.
New initiatives taking hold as we move forward.
Appreciative students who make it all worthwhile and easy.
Good colleagues and friends continue to bring much joy and companionship, especially on tough days.
I’ve developed a greater appreciation for order, calmness and beauty.
That God-forsaken rickety ugly church sign is gone and replaced by a lovely smaller sign affixed to the outer church wall.
I will be editing/writing a new retreat manual for the U.S Pilgrims with two of my favorite colleagues.

From the World of Relationship
Marion and I have been together for 14 years, 12 of them married.
That girl, loves me, you know?!
And I love her more with each passing day.

So the year hasn’t been all bad.  And in the process, I will begin a new year of more focused blogging again.  So I am indeed grateful for much…and for you dear reader.

And so we pray…

Dear Lord, teach me to be grateful and patient.
Teach me to find you in all things, past, present and what will be.
In these things, remind me that I need to see the goodness in the world
Even when times are tough.
Mostly, Lord,
Teach me to find you in all things
For your love and grace are enough for me
If I but remember this all the year through.



Restoring Dignity

It’s something we’re all called to do for all people. And Ronald Davis helps us all remember this today.

An incredible interview. From 22 words–which is a great site. A h/t to my fabulous colleague Susan Haarman from Loyola Chicago.

I’ve been thinking much about the things that we all think are important lately. We had a student commit suicide this week. I didn’t know him, but he was one of our athletes and he had a child. The University is so big that people often easily get lost in the shuffle. It bothers me that in a University this large that this student felt there was nobody to reach out to.

How many are out there filled with loneliness and think there is nobody that they can turn to? How many are treated with no respect and discarded on a park bench unable to reclaim their own dignity?

These are the problems that we can solve…if we wanted to.

One Word: Respect

Day #6: of the Fast, Pray, Give Calendar:

So I’ll be honest, I forgot to look this morning at the FPG Calendar and I was cranky for most of the morning because I wasn’t exactly mindful.

But at the end of the day, I was able to spend some time in mindfulness and offered the day to God anyway.

In hindsight the calendar asked of me the following:

FAST from being disrespectful to anyone you encounter today.

PRAY that every experience today is an opportunity for you to exercise respect, grace, and charity.

GIVE unconditional love and kindness to someone who challenges you today.

Well, it turns out that I was able to do this anyway. And a few times during the day I was tempted to disrespect a few folks and I didn’t take that opportunity. So perhaps, God whispers to me anyway and I’m becoming more mindful despite the morning busyness that I had today.

In fact, a student I was with in the afternoon was quite disrespectful to one of my colleagues and we all noticed it and were surprised to see his classmates call him on it.

My opportunity to give came with many friends and colleagues today when I was able to show them appreciation and love for all they do for me. We spent many hours today really listening to one another, our challenges and our solutions in overcoming obstacles in our lives and jobs.

My friend, Fr. Steven Bell, CSP also called me today to discuss an upcoming trip I’m taking to visit him and speak at St Paul’s. I noticed that when I said something self-depricating, Fr. Steve would immediately debunk that thought, turning my negativity into a positive. I was able to hold that with me for most of the day and it was my moment of gratitude during my evening examen tonight.

I also began to self-depricate thinking that the Theology on Tap event we hosted tonight might not have many attendees. Instead, we had many more than we expected. Not a huge crowd, but better than we had thought.

It seems, more often than not, that the one I least respect just might be me. And perhaps lent is God’s time to nudge me away from that and into a more wonderful space where God can show me all that I am and know that I am more than enough.

Beyond Bread and Wine

So the past few days, I’ve been talking a bit about communion with friends. I posted the following on Facebook:

Ok folks…here’s one for the germaphobes. The blood of Christ should not be suspended. #1 there’s enough alcohol in there to kill any germs and second of all people should police themselves if they are sick or prone to illness. #2 I find it odd that the liturgical police NUTS are so concerned about people who receive from the cup but are unconcerned about everyone dipping their fingers into the same bowl of holy water. Get a life folks and stop trying to politicize the Eucharist under the guise of health.

At least two people told me that receiving from the cup was gross…to which I replied.

“Um no, it’s Christ.”

One of the grossed outs informed me that:

Jesus is in my heart NOT in my cup!! Drinking wine is symbolic of the blood of Christ..c’mon Mike! We ALL learned that in Catholic school!!

Well, we obviously did NOT go to the same Catholic School because that’s what we call consubstantiation…meaning “with the substance”. So the wine is merely a symbol which is what the Protestants believe. They believe it’s a type of re-creation, but the bread remains bread and the wine remains wine. Catholics on the other hand believe in TRANS-substantiation. Meaning that the bread and wine look and taste the same but the substance is now changed. The bread and wine are merely “accidents” while the substance becomes the body and blood of Christ. Now no longer bread, the essence of the Eucharistic feast has changed into something “BEYOND the substance” we see.

How I love doing Catechesis on Facebook, but am also amazed at how people spout off their theological beliefs as if what they believe is Catholic dogma and they even have the audacity to try to tell me that I’m wrong, even with my Master’s Degree in my back pocket!

But beyond those who are grossed out, I’m also astounded that as a eucharistic minister many people don’t say “Amen” when they come up to receive, especially when they receive from the cup. I think people get nervous, especially those who may be returning to the church. They simply forget it. I often prompt them and while I’m not in favor of priests or Eucharistic Ministers refusing people communion for their political beliefs, I am in favor of prompting folks to answer the minister when they say “The Body of Christ”. I remember once I stood there host aloft waiting for someone to say “Amen” and they just looked blankly at me. I replied:

“This is the part where you say ‘Amen.””

And indeed they had become flustered and just forgot. They even apologized and then I did as well. I’m really not trying to embarrass anyone, or even be a snot. But I do believe that Christ is present in the sacrament and that we should be giving assent to that.

Now that said, I also believe that some of us get way too bent out of shape about the Eucharist. We should be reverent with the Eucharist for sure, but not so pious that we forget about people and the fact that the Eucharist ties us all together in unity.

I think we too often forget that Jesus went to the cross and beyond death and therefore I think Jesus is able to take care of himself. So all the mistakes people make when they come up is not the end of the world. Jesus understands our human frailty and forgetfulness at times. Grace abounds regardless.

This evening I stumbled upon a column by my dear friend, Deacon Greg Kandra. He’s calling for a return to the altar rail, which in my opinion is a vast over-reaction. But read for yourself why he feels that way.

But now, after several years of standing on the other side of the ciborium—first as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, now as a deacon—and watching what goes on, I’ve had about enough.

I’ve watched a mother receive communion, her toddler in tow, then take it back to the pew and share it with him like a cookie.

At least four or five times a year, I have to stop someone who just takes the host and wanders away with it and ask them to consume it on the spot.

Once or twice a month I encounter the droppers. Many are well-intentioned folks who somewhere, somehow drop the host or it slides out of their hands and Jesus tumbles to the floor.

A couple times a year I get the take-out crowd. They receive the host properly, and then pull out a hanky and ask if they can take another one home to a sick relative.

Beyond that, I’m reminded week after week that people have no uniform way to receive in the hand. There’s the reverent “hands-as-throne” approach; there’s the “Gimme five,” one-hand-extended style; there are the notorious “body snatchers” who reach up and seize the host to pop into their mouths like an after-dinner mint; and there are the vacillating undecideds who approach with hands slightly cupped and lips parted. Where do you want it and how??

After experiencing this too often, in too many places, under a variety of circumstances, I’ve decided: it’s got to stop. Catechesis is fruitless. We’ve tried. You can show people how it’s done; you can instruct them; you can post reminders in the bulletin and give talks from the pulpit. It does no good. Again and again, there is a sizable minority of the faithful who are just clueless—or, worse, indifferent.

I think that’s a bit much. I think people can be instructed and I think we can make that time more solemn in many other ways. I love the parishes who stand together after communion until all have received or those that do a nice post-communion hymn standing together as one body in Christ. See, we don’t stand together often, there’s always some divisiveness that bleeds over into our cluttered and opinionated lives. But here we stand together as one, one body of believers drawn forth by Christ to become who it is that we receive. We challenge one another to stand humbly before God as unworthy people and receive all of God into our bloodstreams.

And now back to the germophobes.

I suspect that all this talk of altar rails and not making the blood of Christ available at mass, comes from an attempt to co-opt the sacrament to a time from before the Second Vatican Council. So I’d like to call for more levity in making those kinds of sweeping judgements and to look for what might be good in receiving communion together in the present form.

And so while the germophobes almost immediately side with those who wish to eliminate the reception of Christ’s precious blood, these same people may receive Christ’s body on their tongue, a practice that is far more unsanitary (fingers touch tongue, touches next host). And secondly, we don’t seem to have any problem dipping our fingers in the same holy water font week in and week out. By the way the CDC agrees with me, TWICE, so I now have medicine and theology on my side. Next up: The World.

My point is that the problems with receiving communion properly is not really as much about those coming forth to receive, but instead it is with us who are ministers of the sacrament. How much care do we take with our roles? Do we stand and receive reverently ourselves, do we try to create a time like no other for Christ? Do we give people ample opportunities for quiet after communion to pray a bit more privately in gratitude for Christ’s love for us?

Or do we come forth, like we’re carrying any old thing and then expect others to act differently? Do we even seem excited about being a Eucharistic Minister? There’s a guy in my parish who is a big time lawyer, but when he goes to the altar to be a Eucharistic Minister, he seems so filled with enthusiasm that it becomes holy. Are we as excited to receive Christ?

Lastly, I’m not sure the altar rail will work. I think people will be more confused. Kneel or stand? Hands out –or tongue? Where do I go again? What’s worse is that it seems to emphasize the separation between priest and laity over the unity of the sacrament. We are all joined together in the Eucharist, not just to each other, but to all who have received the eucharist before us, including the disciples! Ritualizing that moment might be worth doing, placing our minds and hearts before God during and after the sacrament. In doing so, we bring ourselves and others to Christ. Be we priests or pot smokers, bishops or bankers, mothers or managers, custodians or CEOs. We are all one body in Christ.

For it is:

“Through him with him and in him, O God Almighty Father,
In the unity of the Holy Spirit, all power and glory are yours
Both now and forever. Amen.

A brief addendum…A faithful reader points out that for those unable to receive because of illness, this shouldn’t be read as a judgement against them. Rather, people should be given the choice to receive or not receive the blood of Christ. My own wife doesn’t receive normally. So I understand that, but my point is that we need not overreact and eliminate it altogether. Bishop Malone here in Buffalo has asked people to police themselves if they are sick, which I would say is the right idea.

The Annual Telling of My Favorite Christmas Story

I’ve told this story many times before including here on this blog. It’s from my Fordham days and it never gets old. My classmates Joe Squillace and Tracy Crimmins who are both still friends today were the community service types in college and they ran the annual “Give a Child a Christmas” campaign.

Honestly it’s a pretty thankless job. It takes a lot of energy to get college students to do anything much less, running out and buying a gift for an inner city kid that they’ve never met. But Joe and Tracy were great at this. They were both well connected and they got lots of gifts donated, so much that they had gifts left over and they travelled by subway to deposit them at a local shelter. On the way back they encountered a little girl, cute as could be, on the subway.

They decided to make conversation with her and her mom, a rarity on the NYC Subways.

“Ya getting ready for Santa to come to your house?” Joe asked.

“No”, said cute little girl.

“NO! Why not?”

“Because my mommy told me that it’s two far for Santa to come all the way to the South Bronx.

Mom starts to look nervous. And Joe and Tracy calmed her with a look that said “No worries. We’ll keep the story going.”

But then the little girl said,
“But it’s OK, I already got my present.”

“Wait a minute!” Joe said. “Everyone knows Santa doesn’t come until Christmas Eve! How’d you get a present early?”

“I told you! It’s too far!” little girl said. “So Santa sends my present to this place called Fordham and we go there every year and get it from his helpers.”

Folks, you can’t make this stuff up!

Fighting back tears…Joe and Tracy both said…”Did you get what you wanted?”

And the little girl said…”I always get what I want…every year.”

And so did Joe and Tracy.

Perhaps that’s the lesson of Christmas. What gifts do we give and get that are worth far more than gold–and don’t we give and get those gifts all year long? The truth is that God gives us all that we need, if we, like Joe and Tracy, simply do all that we can with all of our gifts and talents for others.

In this season of giving, maybe it’s time for us to recall what we already have given and how much more there is for us to give? Because God came and lived as a vulnerable little baby and many people still don’t believe that this was enough. God came and died for us with the wood of the manger becoming the wood of the cross and yet, we often think we should hunger for more.

But then we meet little girls on the subway and we realize that the best gifts in life come from a place of love for one another. And that springs from God’s boundless love for each one of us.

And it is more than enough!

Merry Christmas, Joe and Tracy and all those who inspire me each year, especially my students, my colleagues and my loving wife and that cute dog who is happy to be huddling next to me for warmth.

Thankful Yesterday, Gluttony Today

Look at this horror in Georgia!

I begin to wonder if Thanksgiving has turned into “Gluttony Day”? We sit around our tables eating large amounts of food, often with little or no regard for the poor. Then fast forward to just a few HOURS now after the meal is over and we find a scene like the one above.

Perhaps it’s time for us Catholics to make a stand against what Thanksgiving is turning into? Perhaps, just maybe it’s time for all Catholics to get together on Thanksgiving to participate in service projects throughout the day with the poorest of the poor?

Thanksgiving contains two words “Thanks” and “give” and instead we’ve turned it into a “grab” and “get”. Grab that last turkey leg and then last iPod touch. How many in the world would be happy for just a smidge of our wealth. I’ve seen poverty up close when I saw people living in the GARBAGE dump in Nicaragua.

What part of thankfulness have we forgotten?

Gratitude is at the heart of the Christian message? I’ve learned a lot about gratitude this year. My wife is healthy and I love my job. I’ve helped to rebuild a neighborhood and to serve students who come from lands where they have very little indeed. I’ve dumped cable and I don’t miss it. And the highlight of my day is often exercise, the loyalty of a great dog or the love of an amazing women.

And they don’t cost me a dime. (Well, save a gym membership!).

A few weeks back I was overwhelmed by our students’ response to our community service project to plant trees in our local neighborhood. We had more people than we anticipated. Most of the students were eager to help and pitch in where they could. But one student who was required to do the service for a class said “Well, let’s get this over with…”

I wonder what she went to do immediately afterwards?

We spend our time lavishly and long for recreation activities that leave us often flat. When students return from a week of alternative break they often wonder how come their world isn’t “less about them”?

I asked my UB 101 class (an introductory class for Freshman students) what they thought Thanksgiving would be like if they were headed home for the first time? Many admitted that they wondered about how their parents would react to their return home. One quipped, “They’re going to ask me if I’ve spent more days sober or drunk?” Another said, “I thought it would be great to spend the night in my own bed again, but my room is being used for storage.”

But it was my student assistant who had the comment that’s stayed with me. She’s a sophomore and she stated that last year “My mother just let me do whatever I wanted to.”

Helicopter parenting has become more about placating even their adult children instead of challenging them. While they might be overwhelmed by seeing their child back home, shouldn’t there also be family expectations to pitch in with the family meal? Shouldn’t there be time set apart to catch up and to make plans for the future and to hear what struggles and challenges exist for both students making their way through freshman year and parent’s dealing with the loss that comes with the empty nest?

Or is it all just a grab and get for attention and selfishness?

Are we truly thankful? We woke up this morning and many did not. We have roofs over our heads and many do not. We’re eating leftovers while many don’t get even one full meal a day.

I miss my own family–my parents and sister—as Thanksgiving is the one holiday that we decide not to travel home for. We’ve even taken to spending an early Christmas with both families because the price of airfare and gasoline has skyrocketed and it’s a bit cheaper to fly then than it is closer to the 25th. I think even the corporate world has made us shift our values and necessitate us moving more towards individualism and less towards family. Ikea even reports that the entertainment system sells much more readily in the United States than the kitchen table does (I sheepishly admit that my TV and Roku player take up more room than my tiny kitchen table).

A final note, the stress of the holidays often has us avoiding one another and trying not to step on too many toes. Perhaps it’s time to eschew that attitude and express ourselves openly–even if it leads to an argument? Do we all just pretend to like each other because we’re family–and then present our false selves for a photo op?

God calls all of us to become who we are–in all of our flawed humanity. Maybe it’s time to remember that and be grateful for who God has made us to become instead of grabbing for what we are not?

As our prayer today, let’s close with a great song that our evangelical brothers and sisters sing often.

And Father Greg Boyle says it all much better than I ever could: