Thank you Caroline Myss

If you meet the Buddha, kill him, that Christ may live in you. — Traditional

myss castle
Photo from Amazon.

About 10 months ago, I purchased a book called ‘Entering the castle’ by Caroline Myss. I was intrigued enough by its citing of Saint Teresa of Avila’s ‘Interior castle,’ and I had listened to Myss’ ‘Advanced energy anatomy’ audiobook the previous year without any significant objections.

I never got around to finishing it, thanks to Myss herself. Prior to reading ‘Entering the castle,’ I had pretty much abandoned prayer, save for an occasional “Thank you” to no one in particular when it occurred to me to be grateful for my life. But early on in Myss’ book, she speaks of addressing God in a personal way, and I did just that, fashioning these words together: “Lord, may I be ever more aware of Your presence.” From this, and other things going on then, it wouldn’t be long before I was convinced not just of some general “God” but of Jesus Christ Himself as God.

Paganizing Christ

With this newfound faith, the remainder of what I read of Myss’ book became distasteful to me. She spoke a good deal of Jesus, but always lumped in with other supposedly holy masters such as Buddha and Krishna. Apparently, according to Myss, the real message of Jesus is for us to grow in spiritual awareness, and we’re free to select our spiritual guides; Jesus Himself is not the point, in this homogenized soul evolution. That thing in the Gospel about Jesus being the way, the truth, and the life? That’s just His way of saying that we should be directed towards greater consciousness and let our higher souls prevail.

As much as she may not want to be considered a New Age guru, Myss drips of such marketing sensibilities. Instead of just giving psychological advice, which for argument’s sake she does fine, she presumes to wrap this in spiritual terms, all the while giving Saint Teresa a bad name.

Scientizing faith

And who’s to stop her misrepresentations? She has a degree in theology and had a Catholic upbringing, however little this is apparent in her conclusions. Faith in specific persons such as Jesus and Mother Mary is replaced with pigeonholing into mere archetypes. The substance of true religion thus degrades into mere fiction, as fictional as the Force in ‘Star wars’ anyway.

teresa castle
Accept no counterfeits. Photo from Amazon.

Myss is oblivious to the fact that she turns spiritual development into a mere matter of method for the sake of achieving mental health, even as she opposes such a view of yoga and meditation.

And she wouldn’t be the evolved spiritual teacher she is without her jabs at the Catholic Church, the same Church that Saint Teresa belonged in and whose doctrine the Catholic mystic accepted in faith, owing to Christ Himself founding it.

Devil’s advocate

If smart satan were to devise a plan to sway people away from Jesus, it would do well to involve the following:
– Undermining the Church on account of its members, who are all sinners, and characterizing gender roles in the clergy and matrimony as oppressive;
– Equating Jesus as revealed in the Bible, to Buddha and Yoda, the difference of which is merely tribal (or planetary in the case of Yoda);
– Uttering the phrase ‘spiritual but not religious,’ branding spirituality as rising above dogma-fixated religion, neglecting that the spiritual is value-neutral and that evil spirits are spirits; and
– Keeping the ‘spiritual leaders’ of such an elevated philosophy in the inertia of their nirvanic or samadhic bliss, for which knowing God through Jesus is discarded. I mean, could you picture Obi-Wan and Yoda ever abandoning their Jedi ways for Christ, when they already get to float around as holograms more powerful than masters of evil could imagine?

All the above of which Myss promotes or condones. Except maybe the ‘Star wars’ references.

Prayer’s still the answer

My conversion to Catholicism comes after having spent two decades growing out of ideas from the New Age, Eastern religions, and modern philosophy. Which do have worthwhile things to say but for their confounding with or usurping of true religion, that is, Christianity as founded by Christ, Who actually lived, died, and rose again in history.

When I now hear someone like Myss speak of the divine and use God’s name when discussing their oh-so-reasonable thoughts, it’s apparent that they miss the whole point of faith. We could pray, as Myss tells us to do, but her particular brand of all-inclusive incantations makes for a static, self-satisfied hell rather than an ongoing connection with God.

But who am I to say this, when I only started praying again after reading I ought to do so from Myss herself? But let’s give credit where it’s really due. When God reaches us amid the sin and untruth of the world, the glory is to God and not to sin and untruth.

Disclaimer: I only read half of Myss’ book. If it ends with Myss proclaiming her return to the one true Church, then forget you ever read this.

The better man

In six months. They were to be wed in six months. And he was the best man.

When they first met, Jared didn’t think Allie would be his type. Who in their right mind would have their hair dyed silver? It was like spotting one of the New Mutants.

Luis didn’t deserve her, but had the looks. Was that such a judgment against her, of being superficial? No, he understood her. He wouldn’t be in this situation if he didn’t find her so alluring.

church viennaIt wasn’t just the hair. It was the adorable mouth when laughing, the literary references she’d use, and how they never sounded cliché. And the fact that she saved herself. “That means something,” he thought, even as not too long ago, he’d often entertain ill-chosen company. It was only when he knew more about her that he thought, “Oh. I get it now. Not just monogamy, but celibacy. Virginity. Mother Mary.”

Who would have thought that dog Luis would pause long enough to prove himself worthy of her? Admittedly, Jared was a little proud of his best friend, even as he watched his hopes spilling out like a broken ant farm.

He was the sounding board for Luis’ planned speech to Allie, which got better, the more they rehearsed. And Jared began to suspect that his heart would be content just with her being in his life at all.

But he could only entertain giving her up for five minutes, before throwing off his airs in frustration. “Why not me? I’m the best husband she could ever have!” he shouted once, drinking alone. Only the neighbors heard, and they lacked the necessary context to care.

So his opinion swayed, of whether to just let them be and for him to let go, or to hold on to the dream until the second she said “Yes” in front of the altar.

… Or, he thought, a second after?


Six months later

The first time Jared saw Allie’s hair in its natural dark color, was as she stepped out of the limo, ready to walk down the aisle. That threw him off, and he had to tell himself to stay the course.

The procession went on. Words were exchanged. And his stomach tightened at “… till death do you part?” He watched her lips, as she said, “Yes, I do…”

Which he immediately followed with “… not.”

They all looked at her, not at him. For once in his life, his ventriloquism came in handy.

“I do.”


“I do.”


“I do period!”

“Not take this man.”

“Excuse me, Father Rodel.” Allie then turned to the groom, almost screaming, “I do take you Luis!”

“… to be the best man instead.” The voice was much deeper than intended.

They looked at the best man himself. Surrendering at last, Jared asked the couple, “Friends?”


Abiding in

Father Rodel didn’t particularly like to be lumped in with the eunuchs in Matthew 19:12, but what Jesus said of them outweighed any embarrassment from such an association.

miraculousmedalbackI’m a homosexual. This is the first time I’m talking about this with you my congregation. My friends and family have known for a year — or more — and they’ve been so supportive of me.

I’m a man, and I’m attracted to men. Why? I asked myself, when I discovered this at 13. The only thing keeping me from experimenting was the fear of being heard. So I was silent. People teased, but I said nothing.

The few opportunities that came by from the opposite sex, I just smiled politely. Some tried to ‘cure’ me. I wanted to be cured, for a time.

There was this one time in high school when this girl, she cried all of a sudden when talking to me, and then our mutual friend told me later, “Couldn’t you tell? She likes you!”

And so I went with it for a bit. Everyone thought I’d be interested in her because they didn’t think I had a chance with anyone else, I suppose.

But soon enough she gave up. She could sense my peace of mind around her. I wasn’t going to trouble myself to make her feel better. At least, not as a boyfriend. And that’s how we became BFFs. Hey Ali. She’s joined by her husband George and their three wonderful children, say hi!

It took me a long time, 10 years, until at last I could understand, a part of it anyway.

Without my struggle, I would have succumbed far too quickly to the flesh, with women. I was thus kept pure, in both mind and body. And I wanted to serve the Lord with my body, not please myself. So that kept me celibate, even when some suggested I look for a boyfriend. No, it’s not for me, I said to that group of friends, and I could feel the ostracism. I belonged nowhere.

While others used college as a springboard to worldly things, I became yet more resolved to consult God in every single decision. And to ask His forgiveness whenever I fell short. And I would fall short, not a few times, before finding myself on my current path.

I’ve been led away from true temptation, you might conclude. That could be. But don’t judge this on account of my being a priest. Or by my sexual orientation. But by my being the best brother and father I could be to each one of you.

What I thought for that first decade was a curse, turned out to be my soul’s salvation. I chose the weaker path, the priesthood, weaker only in the sense that I was relinquishing my choice of earthly blessings.

Not to say the clergy is in its best shape today. But don’t let our imperfections keep you from the Lord. Never sin: it’s all known in eternity. But more importantly, purity will bring God’s love to you, and you’ll walk the narrow road, and through the narrow door, by His side.

I wish you all the best, of a life full and well-lived, pleasing in the eyes of God. And I hope to be worthy of your trust, whatever confidence you place in me.

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Amen.


Father Rodel appears once more in a cameo role in tomorrow’s story, available on May 29, PDT.

Len’s eyes

len's eyes picHe said only one thing those last days: that she, the woman called Len, had the lone copy of his last and just-finished poem, and that she had all the publishing rights to it, including to not exercise the right at all, by keeping it all to herself, or burning it.

They couldn’t find another copy elsewhere, and had to face the fact that all they had was his last post:
It’s with Len.

Len didn’t notice those first few days. More messages in the inbox, more tags, but she wouldn’t check those right away, least of all read them thoroughly, immersed as she was in her dissertation. Her classmates looked at her funny, but didn’t broach the subject.

Why her? was everyone’s question. When did it start? When did they last see each other, if they ever did?

When she finally took a look at ‘Len’s eyes,’ she understood why she felt so exposed in public. Everyone was looking at her eyes, literally.

When she learned who was causing all the fuss, she had the time to feel a twinge of sadness, at his premature death at 29. The cancer killed him basically instantly, give or take a couple of months.

She had almost forgotten his admission of love. He had convinced her to see him for coffee, two years back. What was the pretext? Something about a sale going on, with a casual “What’s been going on with you?” invitation. She would have said no but figured, “I like Café Bleu. It will get him off my back.”

How was she to know it was a final meeting, when she’d always hoped that each meeting was the last one?

“In this time we’ve known each other,” he told her, “I’ve learned what it means to love as Christ loves. As our Father loves.”

“He’s going to propose,” she thought in dread, only to realize he was done. No ring in his pocket. The declaration of love, with none guaranteed back, was enough to sustain him.

You made a chaste man out of me, began the epic poem’s second verse. It’s like he knew she’d be challenged by this. She wouldn’t only be sharing this poet’s last opus — possibly too sentimental for the critics to consider it his greatest — she was also publicizing his long-standing devotion to her, of seven years. She didn’t want the attention.

So she resorted to a compromise. Smattering her social media with excerpts here and there. And people reacted. Her followers quadrupled within three months.

But Len saved the obviously Len-specific verses for herself. She wondered if her preference to keep these was itself a testament to her grown affection for him, that she wouldn’t share this most precious gift of his, to the world.

Avoiding the gazes, she’d wear sunglasses outdoors, even as the rainy season began in spurts. And she kept wearing them as the years passed, half the time quite appropriately.

She took an interest in the Bible about five years after, and took to thinking in bliss of how, in her old age, upon her passing, she would finally release the whole poem, all 2,233 lines of it, for the world to see. She read Matthew 22:23-33 knowing that the love he would have for her in Heaven was even greater than any he had known on Earth all those Rosaries ago. Any love she had known, for that matter.

How strange, Len realized, to finally love this man when he’s gone.


‘Lockdown Lent’ and #stayathome art

lockdown lent cover JPG sharper loI just released a new album, my first in two years, called ‘Lockdown Lent.’ It consists of long instrumental jams with my Ditto looper effects pedal, some of my best and most inspired improvisations, and I managed to recruit my band FoodBanda’s vocalist Sim to contribute six songs she composed.

Listen on:

I think I would have come up with the music regardless of the present quarantined life, but I felt more of an urgency to produce an album to demonstrate that these extraordinary circumstances are no hindrance to creativity.