As We Face a New Year Together

We are, indeed, standing together on the threshold of a New Year. The year we’re seeing out the door tonight was quite an improvement over 2020 in a lot of ways. But all-in-all, it’s been a tough year, truth be told.

None of us can say with any certainly what 2022 will be like. I’m expecting that it will bring humanity a lot of challenges and setbacks. And that some of them will be very daunting.

While I quite frankly don’t see a lot of reason for optimism, I’m quite certain of this: 2022 will be a better year if we can recover a sense of community, of being in this together.

Most of the signs are not pointing in that hoped-for direction as I write these words tonight. If we find a way to begin to heal our differences and work together to solve our corporate problems, we will all be the better for it.

I pray that we will. If we fail in that task, this nascent year may be a dark one, indeed.



Ben Lawrence Basile

© 2021 Benjamin Lawrence Basile

A Christmas Wish for All of Us

I wish all of you a wonderful Christmas. This piece of mine was originally posted on Christmas Day, 2007 on another site. 

This has been a challenging year for me in a lot of ways, yet I find myself feeling even more than the usual holiday spirit right now as I sit at the keyboard, waiting for Santa to come down my chimney. Wait! I don’t have a chimney! Oh well, I still believe! Well, the part about Santa, who can say? The rest of it, I’m still pretty big on all the good stuff that we think about when the holidays roll around each year. No doubt a lot of you feel the same.

The Christmas story does hold a lot of meaning for me. I’m not quite sure if I still believe all of it, all the nuances and consequences and so on; not quite like one “believes it” when the assembled faithful say the Apostles Creed together at Midnight Mass. Some will be doing exactly that in just a few hours, perhaps some of you.

Yet it doesn’t seem at all “funny” to me that God comes to us whenever it suits his/her purpose. Not entirely sure if “he” did in that particular, historical way. Being raised in a Christian family and having gone part-way through seminary a few years ago, I do lean in that direction. But I’ve come to see some things in a different light now that I’ve spent a little better than a half-century on this planet. This planet where almost a billion people believe that God became incarnate, was born of a young woman who had never “known” her betrothed. And that his coming among us in that way was the beginning of a Divine plan to make it possible for all of his creatures to enjoy unending fellowship with him and with one another! In this life and in the next! Now that’s a story! One we humans have been telling one another for a very long time, and I’m quite sure we’ll be telling it for a long time to come.

I’ve been struggling for so many years now about exactly how much of the story still “works” for me and all of that. But what I’ve never doubted is that God, or the Divine, does come to us and among us all the time. And I’m finally in that phase of life where I’ve learned to look for it, to expect it and to embrace it. And I know that the other really big thing about Christmastime is to get a bit closer to my brothers and sisters who also bear the image of the Divine One in their souls and on their beaming faces. Some of them were raised on the same stories I was; this one about God being born of a virgin, and many others.

Some, of course, have heard and embraced and celebrated different stories. I’m not very inclined to quibble about the particulars at this point in my life. I’m quite sure that God would love to see us move a little closer together at this time of year, and to go on telling those stories; especially that one about God robed in human flesh, living and dying as one of us. And I’m quite sure that the heart of the Divine is pleased when we carry forward “his” mission to strip away that illusion that our sins, imperfections, and much less, our differences, should separate us from one another or from his Divine Heart.

Well, Christmas Eve has progressed, as it will, into Christmas morning as I’m wrapping up this little holiday message. And I’m sitting here, luminous and expectant, like a six year old waiting for Santa to appear. Like Simeon in the temple, waiting to bless the infant Jesus, knowing then that he has seen and embraced, quite literally, the Divine plan to end our sinful and deadly illusions of separateness. I’m expectant, waiting in earnest to see and to embrace the next manifestation of the Divine. In you, in her, in us. Perhaps–and wouldn’t this be a great story–perhaps in and across many countries and cultures, in four billion human hearts at once!

A wish, a dream, a fervent hope… Perhaps that’s all it is. But a hope to hold close to one’s heart on Christmas morning. God bless each of you today and throughout the year to come. May you be blessed to see the image of the Divine, of the Christ-child in yourself–and in one another.

Ben Lawrence Basile
Christmas morning, 2021

© 2007 Benjamin Lawrence Basile

The banner photo is covered by the Fair Use Doctrine.

For All the Saints

The Feast of All Saints or All Saints’ Day falls on the 1st of November each year and is often an Autumn afterthought, truth be told.

Halloween sucks all the oxygen out of the room, so to speak, even though it’s true that its relevance, its meaning can be elusive unless seen in context as the prelude to All Saints’ Day.

The same is true of All Souls’ Day, which is the cherry on the Sundae, so to speak. In many places–in Mexico, in particular–it often goes by Day of the Dead or Dia De Los Meurtos and is quite a celebration.

I hope this day becomes a day for you to reflect on those who’ve gone before.

Those who have been called Saints in a formal or official way. And folks in your blood family or simply folks whose Faith and acts of love, fidelity and compassion have inspired you and informed your own Faith journey.

Blessings to you all on the Feast of All Saints, 2021.



Ben Lawrence Basile

© 2021 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

For You are my stronghold

18 For my part, I will sing of your strength; *
I will celebrate your love in the morning;

19 For you have become my stronghold, *
a refuge in the day of my trouble.

20 To you, O my Strength, will I sing; *
for you, O God, are my stronghold and my merciful God.

Psalm 59:18-20

I spent a few moments this afternoon meditating on this Psalm and it reminded me once again that “the day of my trouble” comes around often. A bit more often for some of us than others, but it does come around for every one of us often enough that we can all relate to what the Psalmist is saying in this passage.

Do you claim the Divine One as your stronghold when these days come around? Are God’s mercies something you feel, experience and can appropriate for yourself when you see the storm clouds begin to gather?

I sincerely hope that you can say yes to those questions. God’s Love and Mercies are there for every Son and Daughter, for every last one of us if we open ourselves to them, if we reach out for them.

Benjamin Basile


© 2021 Ben Lawrence Basile. All Rights Reserved

Of Love, Death and Grief–and of Constant Change

Here’s a post about changes. About changes, the passing of a friend in particular, and the way changes and endings come at you as long as your heart is beating.

Pebbles Bundy crossed over the Rainbow Bridge this afternoon. She was a few weeks short of her 12th birthday and had been suffering from a digestive condition for several months.

She was as sweet a cat as you could ever hope to meet. Gentle, sweet with a wonderful, mellow feline disposition. Food in her dish twice a day and some petting and stroking in the evening was all she ever asked of life.

When we went on our two day camping adventures she would watch us pack and go with an unruffled, mellow manner and greet us at the door when we came back home.

I helped Joan get her ready for her final trip to the vet as I was getting ready for work. Joan is a wonderful Cat Mom and it was her sad duty to take her to the good docs and staff at St Charles and be with her as she made that final journey.

I was relieved in a way that I had to get myself in to work while Joan made final arrangements. Being a part of that scenario would have added another layer of deep sadness to what has already been a challenging time for me.

I have been grieving the loss of another cherished relationship: Joan and I had come to a parting about three weeks before Pebble’s time with us came to its own end. I’m moving back to Orlando next week.

As I reflected on the last three or four weeks, and what happened today, it occurred to me that Pebble’s passing was — among other things — the last event where Joan and I would focus together on a matter of great and enduring significance to both of us; The final time we would be fully engaged in something that had the power to move us deeply and to touch a place in our hearts. The final time we would share deeply-felt emotions that no one else shared or could fully understand.

Changes and endings. They’re a huge part of life. They keep coming. It’s not going to stop. In fact, when we get to a certain stage of life, the changes accelerate, they fly by so quickly that we sometimes are hard-pressed to take in fully their true significance.

Some of those changes involve a death. A death of a friend, a family member. The death of a dream, of a cherished relationship.

It’s not going to stop.

Hold on tightly to your friends, your loved ones. The friends who walk on their hind legs and the fur-bearing ones who love you unconditionally, with great ardour and whose love has the power to touch us in the deepest places in our hearts.

Hold tightly to them when the fire of love burns brightest. Love them, return their love and release them to the love, care and wisdom of the Universe when a time of ending comes.

And trust that your love — mingled with theirs — and the memories of shared experiences, of your time together will sustain you.

Sustain you and offer a sweet note of consolation. Especially if you must walk life’s path alone for a time.

Healing Love to all of you. And all whom you love.

A loving, grieving and hopeful man, I am,

Benjamin Basile 

© 2021 Ben Lawrence Basile
Photo credit Joanie Bundy

The bomb-making Bible Study

Sometimes reading an article in the news leaves me stunned and incredulous.

It happens to me fairly often, truth be told. Well, it happened again just a few minutes ago. An article from the Washington Post tells the story of a violent insurrectionist who participated in the January 6th riot, putting together a plan to form a new militia-like organization to commit more violence in the wake of that tragic and shocking event.

Here’s the most shocking part of this nearly-unbelievable tale: the “cover story” for his efforts to organize more violent, insurrectionist acts was to be the forming of a Bible study group.

Plans for violence and killing wrapped in a cloak of dark, fake religiosity.

Things like that are certainly not new. When the writer of Proverbs penned this text, he recorded for posterity a situation to which these more recent events bear an uncanny resemblance:

14 Do not enter the path of the wicked,
   and do not walk in the way of evildoers. 
16 For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong;
   they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble. 
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness
   and drink the wine of violence. 

from Proverbs, Chapter 4

There’s no doubt in my mind that Fi Duong has been imbibing the wine of violence for a long time. It’s a very good thing that law enforcement uncovered this particular plan for evil in time.

Ben Lawrence Basile

© 2021 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Pandemic and Big Changes

The COVID Pandemic and the early lockdowns which were put in place to mitigate its spread led to so many changes in the ways we go about our lives. Zoom meetings and all forms of virtual get-togethers became common, for example.

The changes most certainly have affected the ways the Church goes about its business. Especially when it comes to “gathering” for worship.

It would be hard to overstate how big and thorough-going these changes are and will be for how the Church operates. This article from Religion News Service treats shines a light on this issue and it’s well-worth the next few minutes of your day.

Changes come. We adapt. The Church adapts.

We move forward, hopefully, into our future.

Ben Lawrence Basile

© 2021 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

Burning in Seattle

It’s hot in the summertime. It’s always hot in the summertime.

But it’s getting hotter each time Summer comes around.

The Pacific Northwest here in the United States is baking right now and it’s a very serious situation. High Temperature records are being set on an almost-daily basis in that region of our Nation.

This timely and informative article treats this alarming matter in detail but isn’t wonky at all. I recommend it for all who’d like to have a closer look at what’s going on as we get deeper into the Summer of ’21.

If People of Faith are serious about caring for God’s Creation, we cannot merely sit on the sidelines while the Planet continues to warm.

The consequences of doing so are too bleak to contemplate.

Ben Lawrence Basile

© 2021 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

You Are Not Forgotten

20 Praise be to God,
    who has not rejected my prayer
    or withheld his love from me!

The Psalmist wrote those words nearly three millennia ago in the 66th Psalm and it’s a declaration that still rings true in our souls today.

Your fervent prayers have not been rejected. The Master of the Universe — of all that we know, or can ever know — loves you deeply.

You are not forgotten.

Praise be to God!

Ben Lawrence Basile

© 2021 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

NTD is a perfect time to…

One of my favorite National Days is this one; today is National Trails Day in the US and it’s a perfect time to walk a favorite — or brand new — trail or put together a plan for your next outdoor excursion.

There are so many ways to enjoy and exult in the beauty of God’s Creation and taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the outdoors is a very important and fulfilling one.

If you visit this site, you can find ways to help spread the word about hiking and trail-walking and advocate for this splendid way to build fitness and promote serenity.

Enjoy the day, whether or not you’re exploring a new or familiar outdoor trail or simply walking down life’s path.

Navigating Earth’s lovely terrain, I am,

Ben Lawrence Basile

© The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.