||Deacon Joe Hulway
||April 7, 2010
"When I sent you forth without a money bag or a sack or sandals, were you in need of anything?"
|We often have a lot of questions we would like to ask Jesus, but in the gospels we can also reflect on a lot of the
questions that Jesus asks of others, and indirectly of us. This month's question is from St. Luke's account of the Passion
that we heard this year on Palm Sunday. The disciples responded to Jesus' question, saying: "No nothing." It's a good
reminder, especially in times of personal financial insecurity, that if we go to do the Lord's work, that He will take care of
our needs. We may not have a life of luxury when we choose to do God's work, but He will take care of us. It is a concept
that I always need to keep in front of me. For me, the uncertainty of the current economic picture, rising deficits
potentially leading to higher inflation, and insolvency of social security and Medicare, when coupled with good genes and
good health, cause concern sometimes that I will outlive my retirement savings. It is easy to become anxious if we do not
put our trust in the Lord.
But getting back to our question, let's look at how Jesus responds to the disciples' reply. He indicates that the situation
has changed and says: "But now one who has a money bag should take it, and likewise a sack, and one who does
not have a sword should sell his cloak and buy one." (Luke 22:36) Once again the disciples are confused, take
Jesus literally, and take steps to obtain two swords. But Jesus was speaking figuratively. We are in a time of battle, but it
is a battle that we must bravely fight with the sword of truth. We must not hold back or spare anything in our efforts to
spread the Good News to the world around us. We must not count the cost, but must be willing to set aside our pride,
attachment to material possessions, and security.
|The big news is that the book is complete with an official release date of June 1, 2010. Pre-release copies of
Orthoscopy can be ordered now directly from the publisher. See the "Status of the Book" section below for more of the
I just finished slogging through St. Teresa of Avila's book, Interior Castle. I don't use the word slogging in a derogatory
way toward the book, I use it because it reflects my spiritual immaturity--my inability and struggle to comprehend the
mystical secrets that St. Teresa tries to explain. The problem is not in her explaining, it's in my ability to understand. She
presents a concept of the soul as a castle made up of seven mansions. The door to the castle is prayer. Once we enter,
we are on a journey that leads us through the seven mansions until we attain a spiritual marriage with God. As we
progress along the journey, we slowly lose our attachments to the things of this world and draw closer to God.
I first started to try to read the book many years ago, but gave up after I was only about halfway through. I could relate to
the parts of the journey that I had already travelled, but the rest of the mansions that Teresa described were so foreign
to me that I got lost and put the book aside. With a renewed interest in improving my spirituality, I found myself drawn
once again to find out more about the Interior Castle and how to improve my prayer life. Surely, in the years that have
passed since my last attempt, I must have made progress on my journey through the castle. Unfortunately, I found I
haven't made much progress at all. I got stuck at about the same place in the book. But Jenni encouraged me to
continue reading anyway. And so the slogging began; 5-6 pages every day, usually in the chapel in front of Jesus in the
I now have a better understanding of the need for the journey, but less confidence in my strength to complete it. But I did
acquire a new motivation. I have come to believe that our souls must make the journey before we can achieve full union
with God in heaven. If we don't persevere and complete the journey here on earth, we will have to complete it in
purgatory. It is there that any attachments to sin and to earthly treasures will be purged. Last month I mentioned that I
had started writing my next book on purgatory, but that I had gotten bogged down in the first chapter. I stepped back
away from the book temporarily to get to know myself better spiritually, and ended up running full-circle into a different
perspective of purgatory.
I finished reading Interior Castle about a week before Easter. And as I sat in the chapel, I reflected on my struggle to let
go of my attachment to material security that I mentioned in the previous section of this newsletter. And somewhere deep
inside I heard that I was supposed to donate the profits from the book, if any, to charity. I was calm for a moment, but
then my rational side kicked in. After all, I had given up income to write the book; shouldn't I be able to keep the profits to
offset my losses. I never had the intention to write the book to make money; I was just trying to do what God called me to
do. And I never had any grandiose hopes that it would be a commercial success. But then the thought popped into my
head that maybe it could be successful; how much money might I be committing to give away? And then I considered that
maybe I could commit to giving half of the profits to charity; that way if the book is successful, then it would be a win-win
situation. How could God turn down a deal like that? He can perform a miracle and create book sales, and the charities
and I can both reap the rewards. But was I rationalizing?
I wrestled with the decision for several days and finally presented my dilemma to Jenni. After all, it wasn't my money I was
bargaining with, it was our money. So on Holy Thursday, after the Mass of the Lord's Supper, we prayed together in front
of the Blessed Sacrament. (I think I was secretly hoping and praying that she would talk me out of this whole silly idea.)
Jenni, knowing my struggle with financial security, came to the understanding that the idea of donating the book profits
entirely to charity could not have been my own and must have been from God. And so that is what we will do.
Follow-up on beekeeping: The hives are assembled and have been painted. (We opted to save a few bucks and bought
a gallon of oops paint at Home Depot for $5.) We attended a conference, have watched videos, searched on the
Internet, and read books, and the more we are exposed to information on beekeeping the more confused and
overwhelmed we become. The standard line is: "Ask 10 beekeepers a question and you will get 12 different answers."
We did get some calming assurance when we ran across "Backwards Beekeeper" videos on YouTube. We just need to
keep it simple and have fun with it. I think we have our plan worked out; I hope the bees like it. They should arrive later
Below is a picture of the complete book cover, back and front.
|Homilies and Bulletin Articles
|There are six new homilies posted at the website since the last newsletter.
What is Your Role?
April 4, 2010
Don't be a Spectator
Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion
March 28, 2010
Forget the Past
5th Sunday in Lent
March 21, 2010
Lost and Found
Lenten Reconciliation Service
March 18, 2010
Reconciliation, a Process
4th Sunday in Lent
March 14, 2010
Repent or Perish
3rd Sunday in Lent
March 7, 2010
|Status of the Book
|My first shipment of books arrived on Good Friday. Well actually, it wasn't my first shipment; I received 235 books the
previous week, but they did not reflect the last changes that had been made before final approval. The publisher
accepted responsibility and promptly replaced them. This week I have been mailing off complimentary copies to family
members and people who contributed to reviewing the book along the way. I have also sent some copies to some media
personnel in hopes of possibly generating some publicity.
The official release date for the book is June 1. At that time it should be available on Amazon, and hopefully through
bookstores. The publisher is supposed to help arrange book signings at major bookstores and also help with other
publicity and marketing.
Before the release date (and after, as well) the book can be purchased directly from the publisher, Tate Publishing. Click
on the link if you would like an early copy. BUY NOW! Purchasing from the publisher also means that a greater portion of
the profits come back to me, that is to charity, than if you purchase from a retail outlet. (Buying from the publisher brings
back $4.80. My royalty on conventional sales will probably be less than a dollar.)
I have delivered a limited supply of books to Celtic Cove Catholic Bookstore in Lake Orion, Michigan, and tentatively
have a book signing planned there for May 22. (Stay tuned for more information.) I also hope to arrange some other
book signings as well, possibly at different parishes. I have also contacted the Romeo Public Library for consideration.