Happy New Year! Happy Feast of the Mother of God! Happy World Day of Prayer for Peace! Happy 8th day Circumcision of Jesus!

I am taken up this week with out of town guests, work and such, so likely will not post for a time. I have been grateful for the time I have had this last week to write, and most grateful for the comments left here.

This Blog began, eight or so years ago, as a venue for sharing my thoughts with an amazing and small group of Catholics in Des Moines who met with me bi-weekly as a “Dead Theologians Society” to talk about God and churchy stuff. Those were special days in my life. Then, I just kept writing at the encouragement of some friends.

Obstat is totally random in content, free form in style, untidy and often rambling in structure, and affords me an uncontrolled space to think-aloud about whatever comes to mind in a way I cannot do anywhere else. But more, it allows me to think with and through my readers, which is a privilege I never take for granted. And what gives me the greatest sense of gratitude and awe for God’s stupendous providence is when readers tell me a post was timed well in their life. THAT is often what keeps me writing when I want to quit now and again.

May 2019 be filled with every good for you, and may you resolve to pray with such fidelity that God’s dream can shape your life:

We are the dream of God who, truly in love, wants to change our life through love. He only asks us to have the faith to let Him do so. We can only cry for joy before a God who re-creates us. God thinks about each one of us, loves us, dreams of us, dreams of the joy that He will rejoice with us. Have you ever thought, “The Lord dreams about me, he thinks about me, I am in the mind, in the heart of the Lord”? Have you ever thought, “The Lord is capable of changing my life”?

The Lord is capable of changing us, through love: He is in love with us. What do I have to do? The answer is simple: “Believe. Believe that the Lord can change me.”

Faith is giving space to this love of God; it is making room for the power of God, for the power of One who loves me, who is in love with me and who wants this joy with me. This is faith. This is believing: it is making room for the Lord to come and change me. — Pope Francis

9 comments on “Happy!

  1. Denise Rabbass says:

    Happy New Year to you and your family. Your writing always reaches me and has something important to say, thought provoking and often just what I need to read. Keep sharing your thoughts because even if we don’t respond every time, many people are reading and benefiting from your wisdom. May God continue to bless you in 2019.

  2. Todd Graff says:

    Thanks so much, Neal, for sharing your reflections and musings through this blog – it is an incredible treasure and sincerely appreciated! One of only two that I try to read “faithfully” (in a couple senses of that word). Your posts are always a window into a deeper understanding of our human experience bound up in grace, and a doorway to a faith lived more intentionally and deeply. Grace and Peace to you and your family in this new year!

  3. Maureen says:

    Happy 2019… thank you from the bottom of my heart for your writings… I am an avid reader. I have learned much from your thoughts and wisdom….I am always grateful to read your blogs but do understand it takes time and energy so blog when you can….we are patient 😊
    Wishing you, Patti and the family a Happy Healthy and Blessed New Year!
    I also enjoy Mashley too!
    Peace and Joy to All!

  4. DismasDancing says:

    There is a folder on my desktop wherein I stash our correspondence from over the years. Within it are, at least IMHO, pearls of great price. For, from the first post I dared write when Maria was suffering sorrow from the loss of a pet to the most recent one re quiet time, your posts have unwittingly “forced” me to dig deeper into my heart to find and consider the answers to the all-too-numerous “whys” of my faith, coming to grips–honestly–with the goods, the bads, and the uglies. There are no accidents in life. Although it took me far too long to accept its truth, the Providence of Our Lord led me to your blog at a “perfect” time in my own faith journey. Sharing details of my own faith journey with candor was simply an echo of your own “self” doing with “obstat” what so many bloggers fail to do and that’s come to your faithful followers with an “open kimono” or a brutal honesty that so many of us are afraid to allow others to discover. “Street Cred”, some call it. The Holy Spirit has blessed you with an ability to touch folks deeply, offering us narrations of your own experiences, things that so many of us need to hear and know deep within our own hearts and souls, we are NOT, and NEVER WILL be ALONE in our struggles to hear those beautiful words: “Well done, good and faithful servant….” So, I humbly offer my own thanks and congratulations to you as you continue your very special ministry via this blog. We’re all in for the struggle. This Via Dolorosa can be traveled much more happily when we know that alongside are brothers and sisters who are also “down for the struggle” in, with, and through us every day. May the Holy Spirit bless you, Patti, and all your family. And may He graciously give you the strength, courage, and wit to continue publishing your thoughts, even IF they are:

    “…totally random in content, free form in style, untidy and often rambling in structure, and affords me an uncontrolled space to think-aloud about whatever comes to mind in a way I cannot do anywhere else.”

    Your words, not mine! But I’m with you all the way. I love you, brother. Keep the faith and keep up the great work!


    • I am inadequate to the task of responding to this in a manner adequate to the beauty of encouragement you offer me here, in a public way. I am grateful beyond words for having met you, so I know your face when I read your words. I love you, brother, and having traveled with you thus far has been an honor. I hope your legacy and faithfulness and humanity can inform my own, even in small measure. Thank you a thousand times for your kindness these years. God love you and M and your family, DD. Pax et bonum

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