Seek Good.

If the prophet Amos were around today and on social media, he’d probably be canceled. He lived in a time when the people of Israel were fat and happy, and pretty much living the high life. As long as they went through the motions of what God had told them to do, they could pretty much do whatever else they wanted. Amos called them out on it.


Seek Good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts…” Amos 5: 14-15a

A bit of good in the morning.

Some things never change. It’s been….oh, about 2700 years (give or take a decade or two) since the time of Amos, and we’re still dealing with the same stuff. We live in pretty cushy times, at least in our corner of the planet. While Christians and Jews (and anyone who truly values and lives by love and compassion) would all no doubt agree with Amos’ extortion to “hate evil, love good,” we don’t always agree on what’s evil and what’s good.


This isn’t to say we don’t know right from wrong; we do. But we’re busy, distracted creatures and so we tend to rely on institutions and “experts” to interpret things for us. We are told by media (traditional and social) and pundits how to be good. They may or may not have good advice, but how many follow along without truly questioning? How often do we really question whether or not there are diversionary tactics in play?


Life isn’t always as simple as “X is good, and Y is bad,” and most rational people would agree with that. Why, then, are so many quick to agree with statements and stances such as “guns are bad,” “unvaccinated people should be shut out of society for the good of all,” and “mask refusers are haters who want to infect us!” Oh, and let’s not forget “save the planet! Eliminate plastic waste!” Seriously, a quick perusal of Twitter or Facebook will show you all of these, and more, with “likes” piling up – often from those folks we thought were rational and could have at least a conversation on any one of those hot-button topics.


Such statements and responses aren’t hating evil. It’s more like division….and doesn’t Evil just love division?


Evil can masquerade as righteousness, charm and smile and make you think you are doing The Right Thing while you fall right into line. None of us are immune, and we must constantly seek good – especially when there’s no real cut and dry good vs. bad.


Besides, people have reasons for believing as they do. Wouldn’t it be interesting to have an actual conversation with an exchange of information? A friend recently told me (in reference to something related to CoVid) “I don’t know where you get your information, but….” I provided her with some of the information upon which I had based my decision – not to try and change her mind, but simply to show that yes, there is a lot of information out there and I wasn’t just being clueless or a selfish jerk. We can have different opinions based on the facts – but we are often exposed to different facts.


Amos summed it up simply. Hate evil. Do good. Maintain justice. (Real justice, not qualified justice.) Seek God, and seek knowledge and information with open minds and hearts.


Like Amos, our eyes will be opened to the hypocrisy in our world and in our country. We all wonder “how can we fix this?” The most important step is to bring God not just back into our lives, but back into our society. Amos saw this 2,700 years ago. We need to see this today.


Dive a little deeper. Be willing to have conversations. Recognize that it is the duty of each one of us to do what we can to bring God back into society. If you are at a meeting, request to start the meeting with a prayer. Give thanks before shared meals, even (especially) in public. Don’t let a few atheists get in the way of your civic display of faith. Support freedom. Be compassionate.


Even though it may be hard to discern, seek good.

Those rascally quanta!

This morning, Fr. Matt delivered a sermon that had several of us standing outside after church talking about it. Now, that happens…but this one really struck a chord. It was on a subject I’ve thought a lot about (and alluded to, just a bit, in previous posts) but it’s so nice to know that I’m not the only one wandering into what I’m calling the “physics of prayer.”

Like most of us, I hung onto my concrete childhood concepts of prayer. Asking God was like asking mom or pop.

girl praying

Somewhere in high school, I listened to my inner self that said that prayer could be something more, and could be found throughout everyday life…and of course, my cynical teen self didn’t buy everything from religion class, either. For example, I had never bought the Roman Catholic Doctrine of Transubstantiation. (Perhaps I had an overzealous religion teacher or two. Or three.) And when I heard the my catechism teacher explain that “Jesus could never deny His mother anything, so pray to Mary” I thought that was pretty much along the lines of “if daddy says no, go ask mama.”

As I reached young adulthood and attended a Jesuit university, my concept of prayer expanded to, well, “hanging out with Jesus” and trying to listen to the quiet voice of the Divine. The Zen courses I took at Loyola helped with that (as did my physics and philosophy classes), and partly because of Zen, the book The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav appealed to me. I finally read it in my late 20’s.

dancing wu li

Now, why hadn’t physics been like this in high school and college? The concepts were fascinating, and made actual sense. Yes, on the “macro” scale everything is totally different from the teensy-tiny-itsy-bitsy quantum scale. Those rascally little quanta! Just when you’re not looking, there they go…. but I digress.

Suddenly, the power of prayer and prayerful intention that I’d learned about and tried to practice in some fumbling way started to make some weird sort of sense.

In his sermon today, Fr. Matt spoke of this. He spoke of quantum entanglement. Put simply, quantum entanglement is when two particles interact at some point and then are separated…except that they can never be truly separate again. Their quantum state is such that they can no longer be described separately. It is as though they have a “forever connection,” and that connection is not dependent on space or time. (That’s my 2 cent summary of quantum entanglement; just don’t ask me to do the math.)

quantum formula

No, please do not ask me to do the math.

So what does this have to do with the power of prayer? Well, think about it, because at the very foundation of who and what we are is energy, and we are all “entangled.” Each encounter we have with another human being has an effect, however slight, on our spirit. How can it not?

I remember having this mind-blown feeling when I first learned about quantum entanglement. This meant that intercessory prayer had a legitimate foundation beyond “I don’t know why it works, but it does work.” Here was an explanation for the power of prayer, especially of group prayer and group intention.

My inner cynic/skeptic loved it. For the first time in my life, I realized that Transubstantiation seemed possible. Intention is critical. I’m not going to wander down a rabbit hole of discussion on under what exact circumstances Transubstantiation may actually occur. I’ll use the all-encompassing answer that I learned from the Sisters of Mercy: “It’s a mystery.” (This is why I prefer the explanation that Christ is uniquely present in the Eucharist.) Niels Bohr, one of the fathers of quantum theory, said something along the lines of “all the stuff we think is real is made up of stuff that isn’t real.” That’s not “new age woo-woo,” that’s a Nobel Prize winner. In physics.

niels bohr

Niels Bohr. (Image from famousscientists.org)

We don’t know exactly how the power and intentionality of prayer connects to quantum mechanics. There’s really no way to measure for this connection, either, unless you subscribe to superdeterminism, a group of theories that says that everything is determinable. Taking the quantum physics thing a step farther, Bell’s theorem says that basically…there’s no way to measure absolute outcomes in this quantum landscape because you can’t know all the variables; in other words, free will. (Take THAT, superdeterminism! It occurs to me that I am skating dangerously close to discussing Predestination and the paradox of free will. Physics, theology…is it really that different?)

Free will. Mystery. (Let’s not forget the Uncertainty Principle.) Starting to sound familiar?

No matter what we pray for, we – and the one(s) being prayed for – are dealing with free will. How do things happen? How are prayers answered? Why do we see those mind-boggling flashes of coincidence that Jung called synchronicity (meaningful coincidence)?

How many times have we been thinking of someone when they called us? How many times have we been reunited in a completely unexpected way with someone we haven’t seen in decades – right after we were thinking about them? I experienced synchronicity just yesterday when, at a luncheon, the keynote speaker used the very same quotation I was planning to use in my summary remarks.

I’ve written of some synchronistic events that clearly had a “God touch” to them. There’s the story of finding Nancy’s lost earring, and another one about finding my singing bowl.  I wrote about the power of joined intention at Pentecost.

I recently picked up another copy of one of the God Winks series by Squire Rushnell. I love his books about synchronistic God-winks. A departed friend, Janette, used to call such synchronicities “cosmic post-it notes.” These are those odd coincidences that let you know you’re on the right track (or gently steer you onto the right track).

christ project

What is the right track? Well, we all have a “Christ project.” (I used to hear it called “God’s plan,” but I really like “Christ project.”) How can I become more fully a part of the Body of Christ? This is my Christ project, and those God-winks are like…well, little cosmic post-it notes that remind me about my Christ project, and remind me what I’m supposed to be doing.

rascal quanta

Somehow, through quantum entanglement and through the ripples of energy sent forth by our actions, thoughts, prayers and love, we get back on track when we wobble. We hold each other up, and help each other out.

Following the terrorist bombing in Brussels last spring, I wrote about the power of prayer. News media was sneering about calls for prayer, but I posited that the need for prayer is real. It always is, and always will be; for through prayer we are entangled with others, and entangled with God, working on our Christ project.

We often use the term “quantum leap” thinking it is a huge jump. Well, it’s actually a miniscule jump on a subatomic level, but it results in a jump from one energy level to another. How does that fit with prayer, with being a part of the Body of Christ, and with our Christ Project?  I’ll leave you to ponder that – that, and the nature of those rascally quanta!