“That finger of Jesus, pointing at Matthew. That’s me. I feel like him. Like Matthew,” he told Fr Spadaro. “It is the gesture of Matthew that strikes me: he holds on to his money as if to say, ‘No, not me! No, this money is mine.’ Here, this is me, a sinner on whom the Lord has turned his gaze. And this is what I said when they asked me if I would accept my election as pontiff.”
-Pope Francis
quoted in the chapter, “Who Am I? A sinner…” in the book, Fioretti, The Little Flowers of Pope Francis, by Andrea Tornielli

“Pope Francis asked people in the crowd to find a quiet time at home or in a church to remember in silence and with gratitude an occasion when they felt that merciful gaze of Christ.” quoted in an article by Cindy Wooden, link here

The rendition of the The Calling of St. Matthew by Caravaggio with narration here


note: Part of my daily readings during Lent is spiritual books:
Into The Silant Land, A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation by Martin Laird, Fioretti by Andrea Tornielli, and Franciscan Prayer by Ilia Delio. The other book I’m reading is Becoming Wise, An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living by Krista Tippet.

The photo of The Calling of St. Matthew is from Khan Academy. org

Why chess?

“Chess is a sea in which a gnat may drink and an elephant may bathe!” – Indian Proverb

“Chess like love like music has the power to make men happy” (Tarrasch,1935).

“Similar to the feeling of love, chess makes you blissfully happy all the time.”

“People love adventures. Each game of chess is one such adventure.”

note: I’m reading an article in the Chessbase entitled, Understanding my passion for chess, by Prof.Lakshmi Narayana, link chess. I share a similar passion for chess.


The hour

“The hour is striking so close above me,
so clear and sharp,
that all my senses ring with it.
I feel it now: there’s a power in me
to grasp and give shape to my world.
I know that nothing has ever been real
without my beholding it.
All becoming has needed me.
My looking ripens things
and they come toward me, to meet and be met.”
-Rainer Maria Rilke

from Rilke’s Book of Hours translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy


What are possessions

Because she is deaf she uses her hand-voice
Words she can’t hear but she can see

Every word is a poem
Every word she loves

Love can create a wreckage
Indifference cuts affection

Imagine glacier breaking
A sound she can not hear

Her hands can voice the catastrophe
Your eyes can paint the scene

We don’t have to hurry or have everything
To live forever

Sometimes we don’t have to be heard
Or be seen.

Absence can assert a presence
Asking herself abstract questions.


“In Scripture, the opposite of faith is not doubt but anxiety. To lack faith is not so much to have theoretical doubts about God’s existence as it is to be anxious and fearful at a deep level…

It is this kind of anxiety, the deep fear that we have been forgotten, that pushes many of us to make an assertion of our lives. Nobody wants to live and die unnoticed, insignificant, forgotten. This anxiety is the opposite of faith. It is not so much the fear that God doesn’t exist, as the fear that God doesn’t notice our existence.

What is faith? Faith doesn’t have you believe that you will have no worries, or that you will not make mistakes, or that you and your loved ones won’t sometimes fall victim to accident or sickness. What faith gives you is the assurance that God is good, that God can be trusted, that God won’t forget you, and that, despite any indication to the contrary God is still solidly in charge of the universe. Faith says that God is real and God is Lord and, because of this, there is ultimately nothing to fear. We are in safe hands. Reality is gracious, forgiving, loving, redeeming, and absolutely trustworthy. Our task is to surrender to that.”- Ronald Rolheiser, Prayer Our Deepest Longing

Goals and change

I set a goal on Tuesday that I will follow a day schedule starting with meditation in the morning. I meditate from 20 to 30 minutes. It is a spiritual meditation which opens with a centering prayer suggested by Thomas Keating, a Benedictine, who wrote about Centering Prayer.

Breakfast follows with coffee and slice of bagel smothered with peanut butter. I read our local morning paper.

The following hour or two I read the books collected on my bedside table. Then I go to the internet for the eCourses I currently taking.

Tuesday night Mrs.Abstract attended a Valentine’s Day party in my Rotary Club.

Yesterday morning Mrs. Abstract and I went to church for the Ash Wednesday service and received the ashes on our forehead. It is a sign of change, repentance and preparation for Lent and symbol of life impermanence. In the evening I attended the meeting of our Napa Valley Writers. We had an open mike and bilingual poetry reading. Three students from our local high school read some of their poems. Napa Valley’s poet laureate read of his poems. I listened and didn’t read any poem. It was a lively and wonderful evening.

Today I just returned my walk to the river. It was sunny and 69.




In two hours I’ll be going to the library to attend a presentation by one of our local writer/photographer who will present and narrate with photos the story of the wildfire in October, 2017 that devastated Napa and especially Sonoma County with 245,00 acres of burned area, burned down 8,900 buildings & houses and 44 deaths.