1988 May 19 – Pentecost (Prison Writings)
PENTECOST-THE Spirit OF GOD WITHIN BROUGHT OUT: Today we are celebrating the birthday of the Church when the Holy Spirit in her fullness came upon the Disciples dispelling all their fears and giving them the faith to boldly proclaim the Risen Lord no matter what the cost. The Holy Spirit is the God force that has been within creation from the very beginning. She came to her fullness with the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is therefore just as valid to say that the fullness of the Spirit came forth from the Disciples on Pentecost.
Today, when we celebrate this important feast day, let’s remember that the Gospel will not call from us anything we don’t already have within us thanks to the Holy Spirit.
88 05 19
ONE MONTH REPORT: l have completed my first month of jail and things are going well. I have been assigned a job. I am washing dishes at the Camp kitchen. It is a good job that suits me well. When we are working we work very hard. I’m tired at the end of the day. Now I am being spared the moral anguish of having to work at the main prison. Something I was not looking forward to doing. Most new people are assigned to work at the prison. I lucked out.
I work three two hour shifts every day starting at 5:30 a.m. and ending at 6 p.m. In between each shift I have time for prayer, exercise, reading and writing. This is an ideal arrangement.
Fr. Cavin O’Connor, the Catholic Chaplain, has been most helpful. He has provided me with an “Office” to pray plus he is providing me with the needed elements to celebrate a private Mass on a daily basis. I couldn’t ask for a better set up! I say my morning prayers after the breakfast shift. I try to get some reading done at this time also. After the noon shift I move outside for my exercise routine. When I get my running shoes from home I will start to jog again. After the evening shift I get together with Larry Morlan and we pray our evening prayers together. At night, I try to get up to the library to write some letters and work on my weekly message to you. Finally, after the 10 p.m. count, I meet Larry at the Chaplain’s office for the Eucharist. I usually hit the sack after Mass because 5:30 a.m. comes very early in the morning. I’ve been on this schedule for about a week and with any luck I hope to maintain this discipline as long as I can. It has the makings of a real monastic rhythm–a radical monastic life.
HEALTH CONCERNS: Before my trial I had a complete physical checkup and discovered I had a high cholesterol count. This is not good especially with my family history of heart troubles. I’m afraid the rectory life has been too rich for my blood. The medical staff here also ran some tests and confirmed the problem. I need to stay away from dairy products; ice cream, milk, cheese and eggs. No more eggs from Alvin and Clara Mae Rath’s. darn. They also told me I should lose some weight. Something my mother has been telling me to do for years. I hope to use this time to bring my diet into control plus the structured life of work, exercise and clean living should help bring my weight down. With a little self-discipline I should be able to use this time to the best of my advantage.
IT’S Still A JAIL: Lest some of you think this camp is nothing more than an expensive health club. It costs $18,000 a year to keep a person at a camp. It costs $34,000 a year to keep someone locked up at the prison next door. This is still a prison. Prison life is a precarious life. Things can change dramatically at any moment. There is tension in the air all the time. The camp administration and the guards make it their business to keep reminding us where we are. The amount of nitpicking and heavy handedness by the authorities keeps the place on edge.
Everyone does their own time in their own way. There are many troubled souls here. How one comes to do their time has a great deal to do with their state of mind. I’m doing well because I’m feeling good about myself and why I’m here. Most guys are here under entirely different situations. Loss of freedom, forced separation from loved ones and the stigma of being in prison is a heavy price to pay for most. A lot of damage is done to the human spirit here.
RICHARD KOEPPEN STILL ON THE ROAD: One month down and Rich Koeppen is still on the road. Last I heard he was in El Reno, Oklahoma on his way to Duluth, Minnesota. Rich took the overland route, a much slower and grueling way. Rich has been without his skin medicine. It’s been a very uncomfortable time for him. Keep him in your prayers. May he get to Duluth soon. Diesel Therapy can take its toll.