my changing identity, rediscovering arthur

i have never seen the movie “groundhog day” but i like the premise: one day is repeated over and over. one can just do the same thing as yesterday or one can learn from the repetitiveness and choose to act differently. this is not an easy task since it seems that my days are essentially the same– the same activities, the same schedule, the same responses under the same four walls. i am trying to understand for myself the relationships among boredom, laziness, idleness, and solitude. how is the Spirit moving through it all?

unlike the unpredictable life i had as a pastor at fresno’s st. anthony claret, my rhythm of my life now is 180 degrees different: very predictable.

moving back to seattle and helping care for my aging mother these past two years has thrust upon my shoulders a new way of being. i am not primarily fr. art the claretian priest. i am a 57 year old, i am re-learning what it means to be my mother’s son– and i have spent more time with her these past two years than i have the previous 55 years of my life!

i am learning to be arthur again

after ordination, i was called fr. art. growing up, my father just called art. my teachers up to middle school called me art. mom always called me arthur in her unique ilocano accent. (one of my friends once joked, “why did your mom name you something she can’t pronounce?”) arthur indeed.

spending hours upon hours with my mother can be quite boring. after her stroke in december, she has reverted back to being like a child but without her usual feisty personality. it can still peak out every now and then, but she is mostly docile now. she usually remembers her own name and remembers mine maybe half the time. this is her new phase of life. i have not adapted to this daily idleness well. was i too busy in life before?

as a pastor, i would often lament that i wish i had time to read more. now, i watch netflix with my free time. i promised to never get nba league pass (which shows all nba games). i got it and then watched as much nba hoops as humanly possible. i was offered the opportunity by my provincial to do studies for another degree while in seattle. nawwww. i am not as industrious as i thought…

i shirk all personal responsibility for my inactivity and blame it on the covid lockdown! (but i was already locked down before the state’s restrictions!!)


no– there is something deeper going on here and i am not sure what lessons and directions the Spirit is stirring up. if only i could pray like i did before.

i do know that i need to be more deliberate about being thankful. i need to notice more the subtle graces that appear during the day. in my better moments, i can see them.

i am thankful for learning new ways to play the guitar– thanks youtube!

i hope that i can figure the other things out along the way. perhaps, i can rediscover a decent prayer life and contemplation in a new way.

today, i am reminded of one of my favorite scripture verses and end these ramblings with it as my prayer:

“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit.” 1 thes 5: 16-19


  1. lannyjlarson says:

    What a beautiful, thought-provoking meditation on love, life and each person’s spiritual journey. Very grateful for the wisdom of your inspired insight.


  2. frarthurcmf says:

    God bless you always and in all ways lanny!


  3. Martha Rodriguez says:

    Thanks for sharing Fr. Art. I find myself in a similar position with my mom. It’s harder as the days pass and there is less and less of the feisty, bossy being. God grant us patience and strength. I pray we can care for our mothers with love and compassion


  4. DC says:

    This is an amazing bit of writing and I will bring my guitar up next time I am in the Emerald City. Maybe a banjo too.


    1. frarthurcmf says:

      wonderful! i am thinking of buying a hollow body electric. i have been just an acoustic guy for all these years. any words of advice while i research?


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