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

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.

Meet the House Chaplain

Margaret Kibben is the Chaplain of our House of Representatives. She had only been in that post for a week or so when House Members found themselves in the cross hairs of a violent mob on January 6th.

Chaplain Kibben did what she was put in that job to do — she led our Representatives in prayer. As the gas masks were being put on, she led her charges in prayer.

To be in danger was nothing new for her. She served a tour in Afghanistan as a Navy Chaplain. Admiral Kibben was in that role for 36 years so serving under hazardous and difficult conditions was not a new experience.

If you’d like to learn more about one of the few folks who’ve held both the titles of “Pastor” and “Admiral”, just follow this link. It’s quite a story, one well-worth reading.

Ben Basile

© 2021 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

Faith Leaders in the Aftermath

In the aftermath of the seditious attack on our Capitol on January 6th, faith leaders of many churches, denominations and religious bodies reacted.

I read this article detailing some of those reactions about six days ago. I’m featuring it here, though it’s not “new” news as I’m certain many folks didn’t see it.

As you might imagine, the statements released in the wake of this horrible episode were far from uniform. Some statements — in my view — were pushed in this direction or that by particular beliefs, particular theological points of view. But there were reactions and statements aplenty.

It’s easy to feel exhausted and frightened as we think about what happened on January 6th. It’s made much worse as we come to the realization that this painful and unprecedented incident was almost certainly not a one-off.

Hang on to your faith, your hope. The challenges ahead are great; God’s assurances that he is, indeed, a very present help in time of trouble is our consolation.

Ben Basile

© 2021 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

New Year’s Wishes for all

December 31, 2020

I think there is nearly universal agreement, here in the US and everywhere, that 2020 was — on the whole — a very challenging year.

As we sit perched on the threshold of a new year, I am hopeful that 2021 will be better. Much better. It could scarcely be worse.

Exactly how things go from here… well, we just can’t say. If I may be allowed to prognosticate just a bit, I’m thinking that the first half of this nascent year will be rough. Very rough, in all likelihood. And then, it will get better.

How’s that for a prophetic look into our shared future?

Well, Nostradamus I am not. But I am a hopeful human, a hopeful citizen and I stand ready to do what I can to pull in the same direction as my fellows who want to help. To help to get us pointed in a positive direction and to begin to make some progress.

I am hopeful — cautiously hopeful — that we’ll be in a better place 12 months from now as we compose our thoughts about what kind of year 2021 will have been.

And I’m content with being able to say that tonight.

Ben Basile

© 2020 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

It’s been 18 days, and it’s time

It has, indeed, been 18 days since the elections on November 3rd and it’s time — way past time, actually — for Donald Trump to acknowledge the results of the election and get on with the transition.

The fact that he won’t is not a surprise. But it’s still important for Americans — including those in faith communities — to speak up and say that the delay is self-serving and is harming the Country.

Many have been doing that, of course, but with each day that passes, the need to speak up and stay focused and engaged becomes even greater, even more urgent.

I know as I write this that the situation is not likely to be resolved quickly. There no reason to believe that it will.

But we must keep calling on this lawless President and his allies to do the right thing and help our Nation through this difficult transition.

A situation where our Nation’s Chief Executive refuses to help in this situation would be bad enough. But actively, intentionally trying to sabotage the process?

It’s just one more reason why this President’s legacy will be one of ineptitude, failure and shame.

Ben Basile

© 2020 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

Mr Falwell is out at Liberty

August has been a really tough month for Jerry Falwell Jr. That’s putting it mildly.

And things got worse in the last 24 hours. Much worse.

He just resigned as the President of Liberty University, the Virginia school founded by his Father.

As you know if you’ve looking around here on this blog lately, I have been following this matter. My time in seminary was at a well-known University which was also led by a charismatic leader who garnered headlines on a daily basis.

Sadly, we often discover that ministers, evangelists and University Presidents in powerful positions lead lives that are not consistent with what they preach.

When that’s the case, they’re rarely successful at keeping the secrets secret.

I don’t wish Mr Falwell ill. But it’s a good thing that the charade is over.

Rev. Falwell has a myriad of tasks ahead of him. It will be a difficult, arduous process. A lot of sorrow, some humiliation, no doubt, and–most of all–a lot of work. That’s true for the University community as well.

I’m hopeful that it will make possible some measure of healing for everyone whose lives are touched by all of this.

I wish him, his family and the University well.

Brother Ben

© 2020 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

It’s a Happy-Sad Thing

13 A happy heart makes the face cheerful,
    but heartache crushes the spirit.

Proverbs 15:13

I came upon this familiar verse from Proverbs this morning and it got me to thinking.

Its message clashed with my dour mood of the moment — there is certainly no shortage of things happening here and all over the world right now that can really undercut our serenity and leave us emotionally and spiritually drained — and so I found the verse comforting.

Like so many of us, I have my share of life’s ups-and-downs and get into a funk fairly often. This passage reminded me that whether or not I stay in those occasional foul moods for very long depends, in no small measure, on my response.

As a younger man, I tended to stay trapped in that depressive space for what seemed like very long periods of time.

It’s a good thing indeed that I’ve progressed as I’ve moved along life’s path and I’ve developed the skill of turning, or re-orienting myself when “trapped” in these dark spaces, turning in a more positive direction.

If you’re anything like me, you may well find yourself navigating those decidedly unpleasant places often. It may seem that you’re more acquainted with the heartache part of that brief verse than that happy heart way the verse begins.

If so, you’ve got plenty of company. Don’t forget that we all experience those sometimes heart-wrenching highs-and-lows and that we can steer ourselves towards the happy heart end of the polarity by thoughtfully, consciously turning towards the light.

It’s a good thing indeed, to turn in that better direction — even when we feel as though the last tiny shred of happiness has been torn from our grasp — and ready ourselves for the return of those moments of blossoming joy.

Brother Ben

© 2020 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

Not Here, Not Now

More than two millennia ago, the writer of Proverbs had this to say:

Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
    I open my lips to speak what is right.
My mouth speaks what is true,
    for my lips detest wickedness.
All the words of my mouth are just;
    none of them is crooked or perverse.

Proverbs 8: 6-8, italics mine

Let’s take a closer look at verse 8. In the text, Wisdom is speaking, and says this about the words she utters: “none of them is crooked or perverse.”

What a wonderful thing it would be if we — in these troubling times — could say the same thing when we hear or read of things our leaders have said!

We hear a lot of spin, evasions and outright falsehoods virtually anytime we listen to, read or view the news these days.

The lies we’re hearing are pervasive. They’re deliberate. And they’re causing untold harm.

We might wonder how long this tragic state of affairs will go on.

I don’t know.

But I do know that it’s imperative that we recommit ourselves to speaking the truth. To recoil from deception and lies.

And to refuse to accept lying and deceit from those who hold positions of power and authority in this pivotal time in which we live.

Brother Ben

© 2020 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.