Michaelpatrickjoseph’s Weblog

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Homelessness June 7, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — michaelpatrickjoseph @ 1:54 pm

Being without a home is not good for your sense of belonging. Recently I had to move as the place I was living in was sold and the new owner became an owner occupier. I was pleasantly humbled by people offering their rooms or couches to sleep in/on. I did not want to burn friends though so stayed with a brother. The routine was ruined, including prayer. There were chances to have a quick prayer but exercise, prayer and reading were all gone. Luckily Uni was finishing so I only had one week of working to finish that.

A friend suggested that a friend of his was offering a room so I am going to find that. Maybe it was a coincidence maybe it was providence. Time will tell.

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Michaelpatrick’s journey June 3, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — michaelpatrickjoseph @ 1:58 pm
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I started this blog after reading the Gay Catholic blog found at http://gaycatholic.wordpress.com

We share a common journey, a difficult, sorrowful one leading us to hope and love. Mercy has had a transformative effect on my life and helps me on my way. Simply put without it I wouldn’t be here. I would have ended it a long time ago. Some background may help. I am a fourth son of five boys from a Catholic family. My parents were a loving couple who held together through some difficult times to give their sons the best they could. My dad worked his way up from poverty in a working class family to be a world leader in his field. My mum brought up the kids and kept house in an equally impressive manner. She sacrificed her own life for the others in her family. Of course these sacrifices come at a personal cost and they manage in the best way they can to deal with them. A generational story that many know is of a father busy with work who with a tacit agreement of the mother has a clear delineation of duties on the home. We learn well our interactions through the generations. Most of what we learn is not spoken overtly but is reinforced through examples of society, church and family. This is all well and good if you fit into the ‘model’ but when it comes to people who are The Other you make your own path and this is a page about that journey.

 

The inner voice

Filed under: Uncategorized — michaelpatrickjoseph @ 1:53 pm

We all have an inner voice. Some call it conscience, others the subconscious, others the Holy Spirit.  To me it is a friend, sometimes an annoying friend that points me in a direction that I do not want to go.  You may not hear it yet but as you still your life it will come to you.  In practice it is like a carpet is laid out for you and you are meant to walk down and the voice is pointing you in that direction but sometimes there are interesting things to see that are not on the carpet and they seem to be more fun.

This voice is pretty quiet and does not yell, so to hear it you have to be still and meditate.  By this I mean just sit somewhere comfy and talk.  Talk out loud if it feels good.  Let out all your worries and concerns, then just be quiet and listen.  Ask questions and wait for the answer. It can take time at first but it is like talking to a friend who can only whisper.  You have to listen to understand.  It is like someone is whispering but they are in you.  Traditionally it is called an inner locution.  I call it the loving voice. Gentle, pure, kind and engaging.

You hear a voice but are unsure, well that is reasonable. There are many things that could be. Memories of comments people have made to you, recollections welling up from your subconscious, go with them, you probably have things to remember and think, talk to God about and finally let go. Perhaps you are being reminded of something in your past so you can deal with it in a safe space.

How do you distinguish between voices? Well it takes time, but the inner voice is calm, gentle, it has never been angry or fierce to me.  Never has it suggested I had to do something right now.  If the Gifts of the Spirit include wisdom, counsel, understanding, reverence and awe — the voice of the spirit isn’t going to be fierce or impatient.

So what has the inner voice said to me?  A lot, mainly very plainly.  Often they are names of people, who I pray for.  I pray that they are loved and are loving, that they are treated with mercy — that is love for the miserable.  It has educated me on my real state, during my mid twenties it kept on telling me ‘You are loveable’ that lasted for year or more and I was deeply troubled by this as I did not believe it.  Then in a worked up state one night I yelled out ‘Why?’ as in why was I loveable and the answer was gentle and simple ‘You are beautiful and worthwhile‘.

Everyone is beautiful and worthwhile.  Worthwhile means worth while or worth time.  Everyone is worth God’s time and by spending time with people we let them know we think they are worth us just being with them. It took me years to accept that and still I struggle with it.  There are so many questions they are almost never ending, why am I beautiful? am I? why am I worthwhile? Am I beautiful in my heart? The voice says ‘yes‘ to that.

If I am like that why am I single?  Why aren’t I loved? ‘It will come’

Finally, the voice doesn’t speak through intoxication.  Even a few beers makes it hard to work out what is happening. Drinking often is a killer of an inner spiritual voice.  I haven’t had drugs so can’t comment.

So if you want to hear the voice in you, start looking after yourself, start loving yourself a bit and talk things out in prayer. Then listen.

 

Prayer

Filed under: Uncategorized — michaelpatrickjoseph @ 1:11 pm

What is prayer.  If you look it up it a religious analogy to hope.  Hope is a powerful thing as it keeps people going, moving onward thinking things may get better. It is the optimist’s fuel, or maybe the pessimist’s foil.

The experience of prayer for me is complex.  At times it is joy and thanks, literally I feel good and say thankyou.  I am beginning to take God on face value and have gotten to a stage where I just speak out loud and then listen.  If you do not pray it may seem odd, odder still if you do not believe God exists. But I take Blaise Pascal’s Wager, you have a lot to gain from belief in God but little from no belief. Fortunately I was brought up in the Catholic tradition by a constant family and the seed of belief germinated in me.  My first memory of an experience of God was in church when I was in my early teens.  I felt a presence that was warm but confusing. It was like someone turned a warm heater on but it as hidden from me.

The earliest memory of love was of a teacher I had when I was about ten years old.  I can still picture her face lovingly looking at me.  At the time it was unnerving as it was a thing that I knew was magical but I did not begin to comprehend.  The word solid comes to mind.

in my latter teenage years I started to go off the rails emotionally and turned to prayer for help.  My prayer was by rote, with a healthy dose of youthful energy I thought smashing God with prayers desperately repeated would invoke a response.  Over many years I have learnt that a gentle prayer from the heart, a simple loving comment is a much wiser option.  I learnt this in prayer.  I learnt from God.

It is those gentle answers in prayer that are like a soft touch on the cheek that have healed me more than any grand announcement.  If you think of a friend who loves you it is the gentle loving comment that can cut through all the bullshit and move you in the right direction. I think now of people in my life with that gift, the gift of the loving comment that heal’s and moves.

I think it is a good time to talk about the quiet inner voice.

 

Relationships

Filed under: Uncategorized — michaelpatrickjoseph @ 12:55 pm

Relationships are what we have even if we aren’t aware of them.  The relationship with that little lady at the bus stop you say hello to every morning, the relationship with your friend you have known since you were at school, the relationship with your manager at work, the relationship with yourself, your relationship with God.

How we feel is a large part of relationships, what we feel is larger part and some feel attraction to other men.  I suppose for some this is one hell of a journey. It has been at times for me. At others it has been joyous.

For me a large question that I have been trying to deal with — is how do I become who I am meant to be  while listening to my heart? How do I become that man I am meant to be and still get closer to God. Or to put it in direct terms, how do I develop as a man who strives for perfection, spiritual evolution and still be honest about myself. I suspect that to be perfect I have to recognise myself with total honesty and not lie about this to others or myself.

I have a firm belief in God.  It has developed over years and I am at a point now where I am beginning to realise that God is not going to leave me.  God will be with me forever. That is a pretty awesome thought when I sit and meditate on it. I usually sit on the edge of my bed and look at the picture of God I have on my wall and talk and listen. God is with me. People are not perfect and slip up at times, but God is there always.  It is difficult for me to even get this idea.

I pray almost every night and also read the bible.  I have found that has helped me as it extends my relationship with God and reminds me of God’s presence.  I use the pronoun to be gender neutral in respect of woman who may read this post. And God is above gender in a few ways.

The place I am at is more peaceful than where I have been.  At times I believed I was forsaken, isolated and in serious spiritual trouble.  I was.  The story of my inner life, my spiritual life is a pretty wild one as it must be for a lot of people and I would like to share some parts of it.