Just finished watching Vietnam documentary… 18 hours… Ken Burns

I am exhausted, but alive and breathing in…

war disfigures our souls especially of the surviving warriors and gold star families

tormented by living in the new normal

it is the silence that roars…

My own experiences of a horrific war

somewhat gentrified

but still eyed as a lie

Evil is in the backline

that bloodies the frontline

Love does prevail at times

the true hero or heroine

are those who traverse after

innocence stolen or beaten out of us

children and siblings returned in bits and pieces

and fragments of enemies now loved

those who fragged, now forgiven

What is it about our feeble memories

failing to avoid our really botched and flawed,

if not diabolical previous choices,

blaming without looking

at our own almost botched choices if not for the grace of Love?

Love have mercy…

ron-self have mercy…

Jesus have mercy…

Buddha have mercy…

            on me

your beloved

who doesn’t always feel so loved or being…

Heal my soul… please!


My own soul haltingly, evasively nears the Vietnam Memorial

that spreads beyond the 58,272 to the 20 at Arlington Cemetery

and 61 and counting souls embraced at their death from Fallujah.

Many more are dying from spiritual heart attacks every day…

“I hate war,” I read on the FDR memorial wall

The fake wall with names like “Lies” and “Arrogance”

along our neighborly southern border,

will not work,

has not worked

in Vietnam, Korea, Berlin, Israel or Confederate/Union

the real though callous wall already built within the American psyche…

a wall that once hoped to keep out hate and racism

Mister President… take down that wall!…

we pray the Vietnam Memorial, the real Wall,

will remind us of who we are,

We as a people are not a wall, but a golden door,

Let us never again keep out

“…your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”

Let us rather keep out the greed and profiteers of war.

Greatness as a nation comes from

those who fought and reconciled on both sides of a conflict,

not rhetoric nor tweets

nor self-righteousness

nor any political solution.

Healing comes from within

and from the balm of love

that former enemies have for US

and US for them.

Ron Camarda


Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

(Emma Lazurus ~ New Colossus ~ Statue of Liberty)



Passing on the Torch of Compassion

We can only hope to give the best care possible to our heroes and heroines.

When medicine has gone to its limits

Or sometimes even beyond

In the compassionate care of the providers

It is then that the

Spiritual dimension of the human person

Shifts into high gear

It was already there, this spiritual dimension

Even in her denial

But at the moment of pain that escapes

the morphine

and encouraging words

and even tears of the soul…

that is when your RMT

Religious Ministry Team

facilitates the

Faith or lack thereof…

Within the indomitable


wholly incredible


human being

and spirit

To save

That source and summit

Beyond death

And yet below, that is attainable

As I have witnessed

And borne with gratitude and trepidation

When a son or daughter of our nation is close to breathing no more,

Or even after the breath has been stolen away,

It is then that we ask their final wish and receive

their final statement

In the timeless moment before departure

stripped of all earthly desire…

life runs dry.

A chaplain records and witnesses this miracle of death

And the RMT can teach the Medical Team to provide likewise.

Let us journey with great love, hope, and humility.

Let us celebrate the hours and days and minutes

that will transform and transfigure

our wounded, dead, and their families forever!


We can only imagine what our kind acts, our compassion, our love, and our skills will create in eternity.

We can only imagine.

Chaplain Ron Moses Camarda +

Camp Fallujah, Iraq

February 24, 2005

Tear in the Desert


Last night I watched in great horror and disbelief when our president evoked a standing ovation for the widow of a Navy Seal who was killed in an operation that was deeply flawed. It didn’t seem like it was done out of compassion, but to make him look like he is doing a great job as our president. Most notable is that the father of that sailor is estranged from the president who hasn’t shown any respect for the loss of his son. The father held that Navy Seal when he was a baby. He was proud of him. He is probably mourning the many civilians and children who were also killed in that raid. Our safety as a nation can’t be bought with the deaths of millions of displaced people. People who make arms and weapons profited from that fiasco. Where are the prophets?

Where are the chaplains and commanding officers who know this is not the way to go? When I was in Iraq, I knew that my most difficult task would be to comfort the families and friends of those who died in my arms or whose bodies I received from the battlefield. As a priest, there are times when I need to be quiet while those mourning the death of their loved ones pounded my chest. That is the Cross and that is the fast that God requires or desires. To feel hopeless at such loss.

I do pray for President Donald Trump, but I still believe that Jesus is trying to break through his stony heart. I am trying not to judge, but Jesus does give me permission to observe the fruit. “You will know them by their fruit.” So when I think of our leaders of our country (including the media, congress, lobbyists and military industrial complex), I see people trying to profit at the expense of bearing the fruit of love, joy and peace.

Think of anyone you are supporting and see whether they have any of these fruits of the Holy Spirit…











These are more important than the Ten Commandments, because this fruit is what rules and laws are aiming for. This is what decreases the need for government; when people love one another. I have a long way to go, but at least I believe I am bearing some of this fruit.

For Ash Wednesday and Lent, I speaking out against hate that is often masked behind self-righteousness and hypocrisy. Of course, I am beginning with myself. It is not easy, but the peace, love and joy that rises in my heart is worth the fasting and sacrifice.

Love, joy, peace,

Ron Moses +

The fruit of silence is prayer

the fruit of prayer is faith

the fruit of faith is love

the fruit of love is service

the fruit of service is peace…

I prayed this prayer of Mother Teresa many times as the soldier, marine or sailor died.


Looking for a Real Christmas

 The Gospel According to Saint Luke 2:1-14

These two branches may look the same from a distance, and in some ways they are alike. But there is also a great difference between them. This is from a real Christmas tree. And this is from an artificial tree. You can see, feel, and smell the differences when you are near the two branches. One branch is wounded and will die. One never had life and came from a box.

It’s easy to tell the difference between a real and artificial Christmas tree, but can you tell the difference between a real and an artificial Christmas?

Maybe you never thought about it, but you can have an artificial Christmas. Just as the artificial tree can serve a purpose, an artificial Christmas can be fun. You can give and receive presents, go to parties, sing songs and still not have a real Christmas.

A real Christmas includes the coming of God’s Son to be a part of life with people on earth. On the first Christmas He came as the Baby at Bethlehem. But the Baby was God, and He came to be the Savior. Jesus still comes to the world as the Savior who gives new life to people who know and believe this.DSCF8609

When Jesus was here the first time, some people wanted to know for sure that He was the real Savior. They did not want an artificial Son of God. Jesus told them to look at what He did. Jesus healed the blind, deaf, and crippled. He brought a dead person back to life. He had a message of love and hope for all people. They could tell that He was real because what He did was real. His actions proved that His words were true.

Just as Jesus pointed to what He did for people to show that He was a real and not an artificial Savior, you can tell if your Christmas is real by seeing what it does for you. Jesus once said, “You will know my real followers by their fruit.” Ask yourself some questions:

Will this Christmas help me feel the presence of God?

Will I realize that God not only came to a manger but also to me?

Will I see again how much God loves me and feel that love in action?

Will I see that God came not only for me, but for all people?

Will I also produce abundant Christmas fruit of love, joy, hope and peace?

Let us celebrate a real Christmas. Recognize that many things that look like Christmas offer only an artificial Christmas. They are not wrong, but don’t use them as a substitute for the real thing.

VIRTUAL and REAL CHRIST-MASS TREE: Gifts of Holy Spirit beneath the Tree of Life… and Fruit of the Holy Spirit in the Branches. Jesus is the Light and Star radiating from the top of the Tree of Life. Jesus is asking us to be living trees of life, where people live off the fruit of the Holy Spirit God sends through us.

Christmas is real when you know Christ comes to you. Christmas is real when we ask ourselves how we fit into the Christmas Story in the living Nativity. Christmas is real when we hold the child like Joseph and accept Jesus as his real son. (Joseph is not an artificial father.) Each of us will have the best and merriest Christmas ever if we receive Jesus as God’s Christmas gift, gratefully, cultivate his love responsibly, share him lovingly with justice, and return Jesus with abundance to God! That is what we do at this Christmas Mass. That’s a real Good News and Merry Christmas!

Tear in My Soul…still!

After reading the first draft of the screenplay for A Tear in the Desert, I was moved, but something didn’t sit right with the ending. In truth, I did meet with April, the woman who gave birth at the moment her husband passed away when I breathed the last word of Mother Teresa’s prayer.

The fruit of silence is prayer

The fruit of prayer is faith

The fruit of faith is love

The fruit of love is service

The fruit of service is peace.

The almost miraculous birth of Shane Jr. is amazing and fascinating to millions…but there was something much more profound to April and Shane. April had been writing little notes to Shane on Myspace.com for over two years after his funeral. Anniversaries of certain dates were particularly difficult. I, the chaplain priest was simply the messenger. Shane called for help for his beloved wife who would become a widow and mother instantaneously…the death and the birth.

At the funeral

Recently I was almost miraculously transported to the small aircraft that carried the body of a young 19-year-old Marine. His family and wife of seven months stood a few yards away, including his grandparents.

There was no doubt that his dead body was in the silver casket partially draped with a U.S. flag. The dog tag dangled as the casket was lowered before me. As I stood on the tarmac with the family just a few yards away from me…I saluted in my summer whites that were slightly tight (I am a retired reserve officer and 50 years old). It was a bright sunny day on NAS JAX (Naval Air Station Jacksonville) with thousands of people and military holding their breath.

Time truly stopped in the literary sense.

Philip’s widow approached with his parents and family.

I wanted to escape and run away back to the desert. My entire tour in Fallujah was crushing and burying my soul at that moment, but I was frozen in my uniform caught between the ultimate death and life. It has been said that when people are in an intense firefight or 9-11 experience, they do one of the following: fight, flee, freeze, feed or make love. Most of us will not know how we will respond until we are actually in it. Those that fight end up getting a medal, killed in action, or both. Some who survive physically tend to die because they didn’t do enough to save their fellow soldier, sailor, or Marine. The truth might be that in the intensity of the battle we don’t think about it, we simply instinctively do what it takes to just try to stay alive or sacrifice our own life for our friends, partner or children.

A medal that says we were heroes or heroines in battle does not soothe the wounds of helplessly witnessing violent death, even of our enemies. The military puts a heavy significance on medals, but a study of the recipients might unveil the truth. I am convinced that the true heroes and heroines are the mothers, fathers, siblings, spouses and children of the wounded and dead troops, but they would be revolted at the thought of presenting them with a medal for their sacrifice.

As the petite and beautiful teenager approached her husband’s casket in the year of her dreams of a family and choices of the infinite possibilities that the fountain of youth inspires, she simply placed her face that was flooded with tears, upon the cold and exposed metal casket that beaded with the holy water that I had just blessed it with. Human beings are composed of over 97% water. The tears of this very young woman seemed to meld with the water on the casket. Time stopped. Jacksonville and all North Florida seemed to stop and gasp.


Commanders, Marines, sailors, mayors, veterans, fathers, mothers, friends, firefighters, high school classmates, and an entire city stopped, paused and silently wept for this very long couple of minutes.

It was as if I could literally hear her tears splashing onto the casket and boring a hole through the tabernacle that once contained the tabernacle of Philip’s body. This reminded me of the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears on the night before he succumbed to a gruesome and torturous death. Can you hear the tears coursing down her face and crashing onto the feet of Jesus? The woman and the widow’s tears washed over her beloved’s feet…such intimate, sensuous love.

We all watched in paralyzing wonder and fear. Our hearts were torn asunder. All was done for love. In that moment, we saw the vision that war and hate were crushed and defeated. With tender kisses and a tear in the soul and heart… the widow’s tears melded with the soul of Philip.

“Do not be afraid.”

Jesus said it to the woman. She will be remembered for this act of kindness and love.

Now I don’t know exactly how April Kielion experienced the body of her husband for the first time after his death in Iraq back in November of 2004. However she has clearly stated that she was in denial and expected him to return home. She wasn’t convinced that it was truly her husband in the casket because she only saw his face. When the body of a Fallen Marine arrives at the funeral home for the family’s viewing, he is wrapped in the burial cloths of a formal uniform. Usually even the hands are in white gloves. Medals are meticulously placed; wonderful words of his personality and life are shared.

Philip was a man with gifts and flaws.

Shane was a man with gifts and flaws.

Both of them were and are still loved. They were sinners like you and me. They were sinners and beloved. They died too, too young.

When S.E. Kielion (Shane) was before me moments before he died… he looked like Jesus on the cross. The wounded are stripped when they come to Bravo Surgical so that we can check for all pertinent wounds and so we don’t miss anything. It seemed that Shane was vulnerably stripped and beside Jesus on the cross.

I can still see the vivid image of the Guardian angels tattooed on his chest as only a reflection of the truth of my belief. My own guardian “angel” whom I call Patrick Moses guided me to this moment with his other friend angels. The open bible on S.E.’s right side was the Open Door that St. John spoke of in the book of the “Apocalypse (Revelation).”

The scroll was sweet like honey in the mouth…

and sour and bitter in the stomach.

That day was a vision and a warning.

On the left side of his body under his arm was the third tattoo.

Like St. John, I was at the foot of the cross with the mother of Jesus, Mary and the beloved Mary Magdalene. Many won’t believe my story. Many still don’t believe the women who reported the events of the empty tomb. The angel told them:

“Don’t be amazed. I know that you are seeking Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He is not here. He has been raised just as he said. Come see the place where he was laid. Then go and tell the disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him.”

With that the women left the tomb and trembling and fear overtook them and they fled. And they didn’t tell anyone because they were afraid.

(Original ending of St. Mark’s Gospel)

Eventually the women had to tell the disciples even if the men wouldn’t believe them. How else would we know this story?


And now I am ready to tell this part of the story that began on November 15, 2004 and peaked on April of 2007 in a hotel lobby in Omaha, Nebraska. I have no choice.

“He’s alive!” as my friend Father Jeff said at the funeral Mass of Philip.

Shane is alive!

In Omaha…29 months after Shane died, I met April Kielion in that hotel lobby. I also met the living S. E. Kielion…Senior…Marine!

Just as I had anointed Shane moments before he died in Iraq, I anointed April in the hotel lobby. Shane was showing off his wife and the mother of his son. Words are inadequate to express the inexpressible and ghostly. Before I could hand over my tattered green notebook to April—Shane seemed to look into my soul and ask if he could be the one to share my tattered green notebook with his beloved wife. I sat in awe and disbelief as the two of them held my scribbled written words. The original version of the story in my journal is almost identical to the edited version in my book Tear in the Desert.


(April and I calculated that with the time zone difference, Shane Jr. was born within a half hour of Shane Sr.’s death, if not the same minute.)

April and Shane were alive again. He gently held her, caressed her and kissed her. He comforted her and reassured her. He was no longer just a Marine; he was much, much more.

April knew that this would be the last encounter in this world…and protested…

She looked at me and stated, “He didn’t have three tattoos. He only had two.”

I couldn’t see with my physical eyes, but with the inner eye and ear, I could see and hear Shane insisting he was right there more present than in her dreams. He was firm. He basically said, “April, my beautiful and beloved Baby…I must go. I can only be in your dreams from now on…but I am with you always until the end of time. Don’t be afraid. You need to move on and fall in love again. Trust me. I want you to fall in love and have another child. She will be beautiful…and she will reflect your beautiful soul. I love you April…I always have and in all ways I will.”

Of course I wasn’t able to actually hear these words, for that was a sacred moment, a gift from God. But it was real and it really happened. It is a real love story that seems to travel down the face like a slow and gentle tear. Do you hear it?

April couldn’t speak. Her tears just flowed and mingled with his tears somewhere between heaven and earth.

Tear of love and tear of hope,

a tear of heart and a tear of eternity,

a tear in the desert and tear in my soul…o my!


Philip Paul Clark

Laid to rest

His burial stone rests against the tree.

The tears of his wife Ashton and the holy water remain on the casket under the flag.

Thanks and praise

For our days

Neath the sun, neath the stars, neath the sky

As we go, this we know

God is nigh!

                       Father Ron Moses Camarda +                                          June 2010

Best Christmas Ever…still!

December 25, 2015

Today is the 10th anniversary of Mark Woods’ article, The Best Christmas Ever.

Ready for PT in Fallujah

I do tend to be nostalgic, but this does not seem like the best Christmas ever. It does not even feel like one of the top ten. Today I will be working as a counselor at a rehabilitation hospital. Many there have addictions and brain health issues. They have no idea how much I love them. Some are angry. Some are homeless. Some are far away from home like the people I served in a war zone. I will ask them, “How is this the best Christmas ever?” I expect the patients to look at me as if I was the crazy one.

My homily I gave for Christmas in Fallujah 2004 is still haunting and challenging me. It really was a terrible Christmas on the outside… the wrappings. Not only was I thrown into a crazy and horrendous war, but also I was in the middle of the worst and most devastating battle as a complaining and whining priest chaplain. I hate that I whine!

My homily was rather simple. If this is not the best Christmas ever, something is wrong. Every Christmas builds on the previous Christmas. When we realize we are loved unconditionally by anyone… nothing else is desired or needed. The birthday of Jesus in which we celebrate today reminds us of the man who forgave the people who were crucifying him. He loved us even when we didn’t have the guts to stand at the foot of his Cross. He loved us beyond the grave. Jesus was clear; “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you… Love one another.” (John 15:13-17)

The key to my book, Tear in the Desert, is that God wanted me to tell the men and women I served with that I loved them. When an Army soldier came to me, I balked. God literally asked me, “You do love him, don’t you?” With everything in my being, I loved this man whom I just met. He suffered an unexploded rocket to his abdomen. As I helped bring him into that operating room, I was confused and angry about this damn war. I had already witnessed 27 deaths and hundreds of physical casualties, not counting thousands of hidden brain and heart injuries. Yes, I loved him. That was the problem.

If I told this man that I loved him, and I don’t say things I don’t mean, it would destroy me. It would destroy me because I loved him as if he were my very own son. As a Catholic priest, the hardest choice for me was not to get married or have children of my own. So here I was with this dying man before me who calls me Father. I was like Joseph, the foster father of Jesus.

I have been told and witnessed that there is no greater pain in this world than to witness the death of one’s child who is loved no matter how old or wayward they may be. I wasn’t just being asked by God to tell this soldier I loved him. I was being asked to accept this child as my son.

I was very vulnerable.

I couldn’t pray. I couldn’t even attempt to minister the sacraments. I was numb. The surgeon was screaming at me to set up the light. I figured I helped get the man on the operating table and stretch out his arms like Jesus on the cross. They were the lifesaving surgeons. I was a token chaplain. When he told me I was standing on the huge light, I snapped out of it… at least superficially. I felt I could throw my prayers out like a 3-point swish and get the hell out of there.

But as I approached the table, the altar of healing hope, to do my professional duties, the two surgeons simply said to me, “Padre, it is up to you. We can’t do anything further.” And then they walked out of the room.

I was stunned. I thought, “How can you give up hope. God is working through you.”

Edward, my foster son, was dying at that very moment. I had sung to him as I caressed his red hair and bludgeoned body. As I sang, O Holy Night, a tear escaped his left eye at the words, a weary world rejoices. Edward spoke to me through that tear. I assured him I would let his family know of his love for them. A sword was piercing my heart.

And then God gently asked me to tell Edward that I loved him.

“O Jesus, I can’t tell him that.”

“You must Ron Moses. You do love him, don’t you?”

“Of course I do. You know I do. But if I tell him I love him, and then he dies, I will be toast. I won’t be able to function through my own grief. What about these other service men and women I love? They need this padre to be strong.”

“Trust me Ron. I love you. You can do it.”

There was my beloved son dying. I loved him. I had trouble letting him go. I have asked so many people to tell their loved ones that it is okay to die peacefully and that they will be okay. This time it was God, my Father, urging and ministering to me to love my son into heaven.

So, in a most terrifying and holy space, I leaned over and breathed these words and sealed them with a kiss on his forehead.

“I love you Edward. Go with Love.”

Flash of light. With the eyes of my soul, I saw his soul embraced by love.

Today is the best Christmas ever… because I remember and feel the embrace and kiss of Edward, my beloved son… still.


Home for the Holy Days!

Seven years ago, I was in Iraq for the last week of the Battle for Fallujah. It was the week before Christmas when all through the desert, the troops were all longing for a house safe and still. How could we even imagine that this would be the best Christmas ever when we had no way of getting home for the holidays, for we were thousands of miles away from all that we loved?

The last U.S. troops convoyed out of Iraq and into Kuwait yesterday. The Army battalion that I said Mass for in the desert were the ones closing the gate and thus ending this almost nine-year war. There is no jubilation. But there is a sense of peace. Over 4,500 U.S. troops gave their lives. Over 200,000 Iraqi citizens lost their lives. What did we accomplish? Who profited from this fog of war? Who is still paying for the sins of our society?

These are really tough questions that I reckon have no easy or short answer. Each of us must evaluate the part we play in the wars of the world and within our families. If we truly want peace in our lives we must first be peaceful persons in our own hearts. Then we must be peaceful in our families and communities. We cannot give what we do not have. We can’t “give” democracy and peace to another country if we haven’t achieved it in our own country. It has been over 150 years since our Civil War, and yet we still have not discovered a true peace. We still bristle and balk over our unresolved issues of equality, civil rights and bi-partisan issues that seem to be the real root of our discontent and violence.

I would like to share with you just one of the amazing reflections from a book I am reviewing for the Military Writers’ Society of America. The book, Faith Deployed…Again (More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives) is composed by Jocelyn Green and 25 contributing authors from every branch of the U. S. military. Many of us agreed to the war in Iraq at first because we believed it would make our house safe. Even though Jesus, Mary and Joseph did not have a house at his birth, they did find a “home for the Holy Night of Birth.” Consider what Leeana Tankersley writes:

Safe House
God makes homes for the homeless
Psalm 68: The Message

I UNDERESTIMATED THE GRIEF I would experience when I moved home from the Middle East. We received orders back to my hometown, and I naively assumed I would be able to jump back into life with relatively little transition. I was blindsided when reeling feelings of loneliness arrived.
Back home, everyone’s life had changed while we were gone—including my own—and I felt like I was trying to jump into a game of double Dutch.
What really threw me was how isolated I felt. In Bahrain, I only had a few close friends, but somehow that felt like plenty. Back home, I was surrounded by hundreds of people I had practically grown up with, and yet I rarely felt known or understood.
Of course, everyone wanted to know, “How was Bahrain?” But every time I tried to put my experiences into words, I’d feel these unwelcome tears rising and I’d search for words. How could I ever express the breadth and depth of this strange place that had shaped me so significantly?
What is more painful than feeling like you don’t belong? Especially when what you thought was home turns out to be the most foreign place of all?
Scripture contains countless stories of those who were exiled, plagued with the gnawing sense of being foreign, wondering where they fit. The story of God is a story of reconciliation, belonging, and homemaking. In fact, isn’t that the central narrative of Scripture: Once we were not a people, but now we are a people (1 Peter 2:10)?
If you are feeling homeless today—whether you have returned home and it no longer seems to fit you, you have left home and you are lost in a sea of strangers, or you have no idea where home is anymore—don’t lose hope. God makes homes for the homeless.
Rarely does He build to our measurements, expectations, or time frames. In fact, God’s shelter for us can come in all shapes and sizes.
Shortly after we returned home from Bahrain, I happened onto a group of women who took me in. We have spent the last five years listening to each other’s lives, being a sacred shelter to each other. We make a point to listen instead of advise, pray instead of preach, hope instead of judge. Somewhere in the alchemy of validation and love, a sense of belonging has been forged.
Slowly, this group has become the hands and feet of God in my life, a place of belonging and comfort for me—a home.
May God be building a safe house for you, even today.

Do I have people in my life I can trust?
Am I willing to reach out to them when I need support?

God, please build me a home. May I find the enduring shelter of safe individuals around me, and may I be brave enough to live in the warmth and protection they provide. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

To learn more, please visit http://www.FaithDeployed.com

O Beloved, there truly is no place like home for the holy days. We are all called home to be with our true family. Our Mother will again wrap her baby in swaddling clothes and lay him in a stinking manger because there is no room for him in the many beautifully decorated homes for the holidays. I realized where my true home was back on a dreary, rainy and cold Christmas day when I was in a war torn country where Abraham almost sacrificed his son, Isaac.
After preaching at about 19 Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services among the troops that “this has to be the best Christmas ever”, I no longer believed it. But when I reluctantly trudged up the 5 flights of stairs to the 19 year old Marine who wanted Communion on Christmas, life seemed cruel and empty to me. Then I placed my a vulnerable Jesus into the battle scarred and filthy hands of this young man who probably struggled in his faith also. Like Mother Mary, I basically wrapped Jesus in swaddling clothes and laid him in a stinking manger. When the Marine began to sing O Holy Night louder and more beautifully than I could, I knew I was truly home for all eternity.

Gratitude and love filled my being. “Do not be afraid, for behold, I proclaim to you Good News of great joy that will be for all peoples. For today in the City of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Beloved. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests!”

So my Beloved, let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us. Let us enter into our very own hearts and journey into our hearts to our home. Christ Mass is where we will find our eternal home…Today!

Merry and Joyous Christmas!
Let us pray that all people of all nations will find their Way Home!
Love, joy, peace,

Father Ron Moses +


In the last meditations of Father Anthony De Mello in The Way of Love, he begins one of his mediations:

“Think of a flabby person covered with layers of fat. That is what your mind can become—flabby, covered with layers of fat till it becomes too dull and lazy to think, to observe, to explore, to discover. It loses its alertness, its aliveness, its flexibility and goes to sleep. Look around you and you will see almost everyone with minds like that: dull, asleep, protected by layers of fat, not wanting to be disturbed or questioned into wakefulness.”

After copying this in my journal on November 29, I wrote the following:

Come, Beloved Jesus…

Then on Saturday morning on the memorial of St. Francis Xavier, as I was preparing to hear Confessions at St. John the Evangelist Church in Interlachen, I wrote the following:

Yes, Jesus
You have awoken my Spirit.
Yes, I will follow
and lead the way
through the darkness into your heart
although I am already within, but I didn’t know it!

O Jesus, all alone again
Bob, my brother priest helps me through the bog

You truly have come
to set a fire on the earth
and division.
You baptize me with your blood…so hot at first that I recoil

Patience, kindness, gentleness
Thanks for the fruit and sweetness
Generosity, purity, faithfulness
Thanks for the warm bread
Love, joy, peace,
Thanks for the strength and depth!

How long you must have waited for my soul to awaken
Groggy, whiney complaining

And yet, I feel and experience
how you purify me
spit on my eyes
hold me close to your breasts
like my Italian grandmother, Teresa,
pulled me in with her love and arms
It was so very uncomfortable
to breathe and think
with my face smashed into Grandma’s breasts
And yet, I now long for that uncomfortable love that conquers all

O Beloved God,
smash my face into your breasts
make me uncomfortable
call me to grow up and mature

I am here this morning
with You,
Just like three years ago
after Bishop John encouraged me
that sometimes I have to carry my cross
And then the man who ordained me
laid hands on me again
and forgave me.
As I drove down to Interlachen to hear confessions,
it hit me
the oils of Chrism flooded my eyes,
poured down on my beard (that has been long ago shaved off)
and into my heart and soul

Yes, You, O God, have ordained me
to be Your son
Your brother
and your lover
I am truly Father Ron
and I tremble at the prospect
just as every father does
as his tiny babe drawn from his loins and his beloved’s womb
is placed in his hands for the first time
Love pours like oil—a father forever
even if it costs him his life,
he will defend his wife and children
and then the world.
And now I beg forgiveness
and as I whimper my request
the words pour forth from your heart and soul
as you are tortured on the cross
“Ron, today you will be with me in Paradise!”

Take it in. Savor it.
Be protected by these words.
Rejoice in it.
Celebrate it.
O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining
This is the day and night of Our dear Savior’s, and Our birth.
Long lay my world and our world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared,
my Father and your Father,
my Brother and your Brother,
my Lover and your Lover
and my soul felt its worth
a thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices
for yonder and here breaks
a new and glorious morn—
Fall on my knees
I hear the angel voices
“O night divine when Christ was born,
O night, O night divine”

Breathe on me Jesus
Enflame my soul
Burst my dullness and darkness
Bring Light! Bring Light!
Use me
Your will be done
Shatter my deafness, my loneliness, and my darkness
Devour me so that I might live
Breathe in…
Breathe out…
Proclaim to all the world and universe
God is with us,
Until the end of time…and beyond!!!
o my! o wow! and oooh!!!

And then on Sunday morning as I was sipping my coffee on the back porch and praying the Office of Readings, I read the words of St. John Damascene, priest and doctor, on his feast day:

“O Lord, you led me from my father’s loins and formed me in my mother’s womb. You brought me, a naked babe, into the light of day, for nature’s laws always obey your commands.
By the blessing of the Holy Spirit, you prepared my creation and my existence, not because man willed it or flesh desired it, but by your ineffable grace. The birth you prepared for me was such that it surpassed the laws of our nature. You sent me forth into the light by adopting me as your son and you enrolled me among the children of your holy and spotless Church.
You nursed me with the spiritual milk of your divine utterances. You kept me alive with the solid food of the body of Jesus Christ, your only-begotten Son and our God, and you let me drink from the chalice of his life-giving blood, poured out to save the whole world.
You loved us, O Beloved…”

Beloved, I pray you are having a wonderful Advent. I am. This week I am going to be courageous and offer you a homework assignment. Go ahead and read Psalm 104 out loud. It speaks in very poetic words and imagery of how God creates our world and all who live in it. God is an Awesome God. God is Good…ALL THE TIME!
Yes, Jesus!

Love, joy, peace,
Father Ron Moses +

Seven Years since the Battle of Fallujah

I guess I have been quite negligent in this blog.

Here I am on the 7th anniversary of being in the Battle for Fallujah.
My view of life is different.
It has been tough.
It has been wonderful.
It has been a long journey.
Since I last posted, much has happened. June 2011, I was elected the State Chaplain of the VFW for Florida.
This past weekend I went to the Fall Meeting in West Palm Beach.

What I realized is that the Veterans of Foreign Wars must someday close their doors. This will only be accomplished if we don’t participate in any more wars overseas. I truly do desire for World Peace. WE MUST BE PEACEFUL first in our own families.
Can you imagine the joy if 100 years from now we would no longer need an association of war veterans? It would be a celebration.
No more Tears!
This is my dream and hope.
Just imagine!
Love, joy, peace,
Father Ron

Imagine World Peace