Though i can’t believe it has truly happened, today i officially became eligible for retirement! Where did the years go?! But, ya know what? i think i’ll take it.

My extremities loaded with arthritis, slowly creeping inward, recently diagnosed with my “piece of the pie” of cancer, and having taken more trips to the ER this year than in all 61 before it put together – trips because of fleeting breath, YES, i will take it, Uncle Sammy!

Don’t get me wrong. i do not think the end is near. Actually, overall i feel mighty good. But, boy! Now is when i need my P.F.Flyers! Back in the ’50s they made me “run faster and jump higher” than i thought possible – or so they said, and i believed them. And Belief probably made me REALLY do it! Belief can do the most wonderful things.

But so can it do the most horrendous of things! That great songwriter, John Mayer, pretty much sums it up, “We’re never gonna win the world. We’re never gonna stop the war. We’re never gonna beat this, if Belief is what we’re fighting for.” It is one of the reasons why so many have lost their faith, this fact that so much horror has been unleashed in the name of religion, so many terrible deeds have been done in the name of God!!

P.F.Flyers were the hottest shoes when i was a kid. Then, they faded in the competition…til they resurrected as New Balance. But in recent times we have seen the newest and Best P.F.Flyer of them all appear…in the Name of POPE FRANCIS!


On Fire with the “Foolish Love” of God…Faster…Stronger…More Fearless than any before him…Flying out to the ends of the earth, no matter the threat, no matter the danger…with smile and laughter lighting his path through the darkness! Riding the Wind of the Spirit!

This week will be his toughest mission yet, tough enough – let no one be naive – that unless some flock of angels huddle around him and overhead, it could honestly be his last mission!!! But he is bound and determined as “the People’s Pope” to address that sad and severe suspicion of “religion” despite so many heinous acts done throughout history in its name. He will keep crying and calling out “NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!” That was NOT GOD! Nor was it GOD’s WILL! God is GOOD, and His Will is Love…then, now, and always.”

The original meaning of P.F. was “posture foundation.” These shoes would help us stand straight and tall, walk better, run faster, etc.etc. And from Day One that the Spirit planted him on the World Stage, Francis has tried to teach us how to walk – more so, to dance – the Dance of the Gospel, the Dance of God’s Love. Very simply the Dance is the Will of God, and who described that Will more perfectly – or practically – than the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, when he said in one of his awesome, down-to-earth sermons: Do All the Good you can                                                                                                    By All the means you can                                                                                                   In All the ways you can                                                                                                     In All the places you can                                                                                                    At All the times you can                                                                                                   To All the people you can                                                                                                  As Long As Ever You Can!

This is the great motivator of Pope Francis…what calls him right into the fires of Africa! Surely they will call him other “PF” names, like “Papa dei Folli,” Pope of Fools. To me he is the great return of the little bird in the PF i learned back when i was strutting in my Flyers, the Persian Fable of the bird who loved his forest, which had caught on fire. So much did he love her that he kept flying to a river nearby, and picking up droplets in his beak, he flew back and forth in his effort to quench the blaze which now swallowed mountains. An onlooking frog called the bird a crazy fool, but the bird, just before the fire took him, answered, “I love my forest. I have to try.”

So, this People’s Pope, even if it costs his own life, so loves the human race and so believes in its intrinsic goodness that he feels he has no other choice but to go. “Thy Will Be Done” is his “silly song and dance,” the “Dance of the Crazy Love.” This is True Religion and the P.F.Flyer whom i will follow wherever he roams…



Author: friardad

what's it like having a wife and six kids after having been a friar for many years and being still married to St. Francis' Lady Poverty?


  1. Gosh ‘n golly, Mike, if folks couldn’t tell we were “runnin’ faster and jumpin’ higher” in our PF Flyers, it’s because they weren’t wearing the shoes! Your gift to us is that you slip our feet into the shoes of others and magically make them fit. Shoes of Compassion. And we walk, run, and fly in new worlds, thanks to you.


  2. Holy greenie stickum caps Michael, that was a well written sqeak….sending my prayers to you and words of encouragement…..thank you for your inspiration, we all have to try.


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