Saturday, January 24, 2015

January 24, 2015


Listening to a barber today,
the father of 7 kids, I hear him say:
"Being a barber, I hear a lot, so
every time someone asks me
to run for office some day, I say, 
‘Nope! All I want to be is with 
my first lady and be the everyday 
president of my own family."

© Andy Costello, 
Reflections 2015
Painting by
 Victoria Heryet,
"Barber Shop".

Friday, January 23, 2015

January 23, 2015


Thoughts, images,
pictures,  distortions,
distractions aren’t sinful.
We have little control
over the birds
that fly across
the sky of our mind
or even the ones
that land on our fences.
Sin arrives
when we decide
to cage the bird.

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2015

Thursday, January 22, 2015

January 22, 2015


[Here are 25 Human Life Rights. Vote “Agree,” “Disagree” “Undedecided," "Need Time to Think About,”  "Want to Reword."]

Being Recognized with Respect _______________________
Having a Voice and a Vote ___________________________
Being Heard _______________________________________
Daily Bread________________________________________
Having the Opporunity for Daily Work with a Fair Wage __
Health Care, _______________________________________
Basic Education ____________________________________
Equal Protection under Law __________________________
Fair Trial when Accused of Committing a Crime  _________
Clean Air __________________________________________
Clean Water _______________________________________
Freedom from Noise Pollution_________________________
Decent Roads_______________________________________
Religious Freedom___________________________________
Freedom from Discrimination _________________________
Freedom of Speech __________________________________
Freedom of the Press ________________________________
Freedom from being Judged or Gossiped about __________
Freedom from being aborted, murdered, or euthanized___
Freedom from being tortured _________________________
Freedom from being overtaxed _______________________
Freedom to own property or objects ___________________
Freedom to meet and organize ________________________
Freedom from being enslaved _________________________
Freedom to play – to have parks and recreational areas ____

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2015
January 21, 2015


Night snow falls so quietly –
looking out my second floor
window – 2:54 AM. Wow!
It’s a white covered wonderland.
Then back to the dark deep of sleep.
Then it’s 6:45 – an everyday weekday.
I'm jarred awake by the realism
of my alarm. Cold winter mornings
remind me to look outside again.
Poetry, poetry, pictures, pictures,
everywhere. The early morning
pause to take in the whole gallery;
but I have to rush, shower, shave,
Cheerios, coffee, bundle up – to
go out and  push away some snow,
to clean my car, to wince and wipe
my nose in the cold - whispering
to myself, “Eliot is wrong: ‘April
could never be the cruelest month.’*”

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2015

Comment by Micah Matrix: “The famous first line of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land was almost certainly not written in April but in January. In a letter on January 23, 1921, Eliot refers to the nascent poem as ‘the first writing of any kind I have done for six months.’ Two weeks later, he showed the completed first section ‘in 4 parts’ to Wyndham Lewis. (Eliot would add a fifth part in May, which he placed at the beginning of the poem, but he would later remove it at Ezra Pound’s suggestion.) These details, along with other material evidence, show, as Lawrence Rainey has argued in Revisiting “The Waste Land,” that the poem was most likely begun in January and completed sometime in December 1921.” First Things, 4-5-13

Painting on Top: "January Ball Field" by Sarah Yuster
JANUARY 20, 2015 


Spotted you – yes, I’m sure
it was you - spotted you
walking on the sidewalk,
you – yes you - walking slowly –
walking with your head down.

I was driving up the street –
doing some meandering thinking 
on something else in my mind –
that is, till I saw you, that is,
till I started wondering and
worrying about you – yes you.

Is everything okay – or is
something wrong again?

Remember that last time
that earthquake hit you –
crumbling and crushing
a part of your heart.
I didn’t judge! I didn’t say
anything. I just helped with
the clean-up. So if I can help
again, just call, I’m home now.
Just ask me, yes me. Please.

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

January 19, 2015


Some psychiatrist said that today,
January 19th, is the most depressing
day of the year. Is that true?  Has that
been your experience? It hasn’t been mine.

Did that psychiatrist  come up with
a questionnaire? Or even this one question:
“What would you list as the most
depressing day of the year for you?"

I don’t like snow – and ice –
and crummy driving conditions –
and it’s darker and grayer in January
in the Northern Hemisphere.

Then again January 19th might be
a great wonderful day in Tampa or
the islands – and then again, kids
love snow – and adults too at times.

Now I have a sort of joke and sort of
an honorary, Ph. D. so I’d answer the
question, “What’s the most depressing
day of the year for me this way:

It all depends on who told me they love
me lately. It might depend on prunes,
or seeing my kid star in a play or having
a good breakfast with a good friend or friends.

The most depressing day of the year could
be the loss of a spouse or the loss of God,
but then again – there’s falling in love
and experiencing the Love of God.

© Andy Costello
Reflections 2105

Sunday, January 18, 2015



The title of my homily is, “Bite Your Tongue.”

That’s a comment - people sometimes make - to tell us to “Shut up!” or “Keep quiet!” or “Silence!”

In this homily, I want to say just that. 

I want to stress becoming quiet and to listen. 

I want to talk about getting in touch, listening to words, messages, God’s urges, God’s will, our will, our urges, the hopes and dreams of the inner me – the “Go figuring” of the meaning of life. 

I want to talk about the big picture - the big stuff. 

I want to urge listening to the stuff, the words, that hang around us like a cloud of words that surround each of us.


The title of my homily is, “Bite Your Tongue.” 

Our teeth can clamp our tongue down – by biting our tongue – to slow it down – to keep it from moving.

Each day we hear 1000 words – 10,000 words – I don’t know how many words. 

How could we measure that? It would be a very complicated task because we don’t know notice all words that enter into us – during our sleep – then from our morning radio or TV in the background  – or from our car radio – or from someone talking to someone on the train or elevator or bus – or street. 

How many phone calls do we deal with each day? If we look around us in Ruby Tuesdays or TGIF – or McDonalds – we’ll see 50 people on their iPhones or cell phones – the younger the more cellphones.

Are most words disappearing acts?

Yet if we look into our life – we hear something – and without knowing it – a sentence, a comment, a saying becomes like a billboard on the edge of our mind for the rest of our life.  We don’t know it at the moment: some messages becomes a life message – a life sentence.

For example, I was reading a book or hearing a lecture by Alan Watts back in the 1960’s and he said something that I have thought about these past 50 years. Now I don't know if what he said was true or false. He was known for "different" comments. He tried LSD and delved heavily into Buddhism and a dozen other sources of religion and philosophy.

The comment Alan Watts made was this: Every person is constantly talking all day long – and somewhat all night long - to themselves. It's called thinking. 

Pause for a moment and think about that. Begin noticing that we are often holding silent conversations with others – without actually talking to them – without them knowing what we’re saying to them.

I’ve also heard that others sometimes without knowing it – are picking up what we’re saying or screaming within.

Unconscious speaks to unconscious.  

Is any of this true?  I don’t know. Yet I think the answer is "Yes!"

Then he said that the Buddhists try to silence that tongue that is constantly thinking and talking by pushing their tongue down onto the roof of their mouth. Or they can bite their tongue.

Somewhere along the line I came up with the “Bite Your Tongue” meditation technique.  Find a time for peace and  quiet, silence and just being.  Just sit there and gently bite the tip of your  tongue. Do that for 1 minute and then calmly build up to 5 minutes.

Doing just that has made me aware of this flow of forever words – this slight constant movement of our tongues.

We tell people when they come to church to shut off their cellphones or electric devices. Some of us make fun of young people forever on their cellphones, iPhone, texting, twittering, or what have you. What about turning off our minds?

Silence is golden.

So that's my suggestion: try to gently bite your tongue. Just close your eyes and your mind – from others and bite the tip of your tongue.

Afterwards calmly become conscious of what just happened to us.


Today’s 3 readings and the psalm – are words spoken to us and at us.

That first reading from 1 Samuel has Samuel sleeping in the temple – just like so many people fall asleep in church – with the readings in the background.

Samuel hears words. They wake him up. Our text says it’s God speaking to him.

Our text tells us that Samuel runs to the prophet Eli and asks if he is calling him.

Eli says that he didn’t call Samuel – so go back to sleep.

Our text says that Samuel was young and didn’t as yet know that God speaks or whispers to us – from deep within.

It’s dream stuff – it’s unconscious stuff. It’s hearing God calling us by name from deep, deep within.

And a good response is: “Here I am. You called me!”

Then listen.

The psalm for today continues that theme. The response we said 4 times and heard sung at least 8 times is: “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.”

There it is – the meaning of Life – to do God’s will.

Today’s second reading from 1st Corinthians is more specific: not to sin.

Today’s second reading tells us – we are one body – the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit is within us.

Today’s Gospel from John tells us about the call of  Andrew who hears from John the Baptist – who Jesus is – the Lamb of God.

Today’s Gospel has Jesus ask Andrew and his friend – another of life’s great questions: “What are you looking for?”

And Jesus invites Andrew and this other disciple of John the Baptist to come and see – to spend time with Jesus – and listen, watch and learn.

Andrew does this and it must have been an amazing experience - the kind we have to run and tell our best friends or family goes and tells his own brother, “We have found the Messiah!”

We have found the Christ, the Anointed One.


There they are – key teachings on how to pray.

It’s listening. It’s asking questions. It’s pondering.

We live in a world of questions. We live in an ocean of words.

Remember the old poem - The Rime of the Ancient Mariner - by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Remember when Coleridge in that poet says, “Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.”

“Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.”

During many a talk or lecture that seems to be all words, I have heard myself inwardly saying, “Words, words, everywhere and not a word to drink.”

In other words this person is babbling all words without any substance to taste our God.

This world is an ocean of words. People spend hours and hours of life – as the song by James Taylor puts it - on the telephone line – now it would be wireless. As well as words on the television – and radio.

If we stop to think- if we stop to realize – there are trillions and billions of words flying through space – all the time - and with a cellphone or radio receiver  or what have you – we can catch some of those words – to hear.

Then there are all the inner monologues – inner conversations – everyone is having – all day long.

I like to say all this can be the stuff of prayer and meditation and thinking.

I like to think that God is talking to everyone – but everyone is not listening.

I like to think of God as consciousness from his side – as in marriage – as in friendships – but we are the unconscious ones.

I like to imagine God as the Divine Consciousness who is keeping this universe going – constantly creating mosquitos and babies – trees and flowers – pushing water flowing and waving all over the place.

I like to picture God the Father sending His Son, into our world – into Mary – and that Word became flesh and walked and talked amongst us.


The title of my homily is “Bite Your Tongue.”

Say today with Samuel, “Here I am Lord. You called me.”

Bite your tongue so you can silence your mind and you can listen better.

When you walk down the aisle today – before receiving communion – bite your tongue and then receive Christ on your tongue – from your hand – or on your tongue by the Eucharistic Minister.

And then let this Word enter your body and become more and more not just a word – but a union with Christ made flesh – in our body – with Christ walking around in our world.

Remember there is a world of difference between words and words made flesh.

In other words, there is a world of difference between saying, “I’ll be there” and showing up and being there in the flesh. Amen.

January 18, 2015


We say, we pray, those 4 words
so flippantly, so easily, without
thinking, without realizing, without
knowing, what we’re really saying.

“Father forgive us, because
we don’t know what we’re doing.”

What we’re actually saying,
what we’re actually wanting,
is that our will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.

“Father forgive us, because we
don’t know what we’re doing.”

And what happens as a result, is
our nailing ourselves to a cross –
to a life of wanting our way - to be
done – and that’s why we hurt.

“Father forgive us, because
We don’t know what we’re doing.”

Resurrection, Easter for us, happens
when we get off this deadly way of dying.

Living is when we let go of and are
freed from these nails that control us.

Living is when we get off that cross
and say to God and those around us,
those 4 short words: “Thy will be done.”

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2015
January 17, 2015


To be aware of those who are hurting;
To share what I have with others who don't have what I have;
To close my mouth so I can open my ears;
To sit or stand and be with the lonely;
To forgive seven times seventy times;
To believe God is present and that makes a big difference;
To hope – and not give up on others and God;
To smile;
To compliment;
To walk and feel with gratitude one's feet touching the earth;
To plan and then work for peace and fairness;
To get enough sleep so I can wake up to do all of the above.

© Andy Costello, Reflections 2015