Hope Realized

romans5_3-4My vision is limited when I am in pain or suffering or clouded in the darkness.  For anyone who has been through that darkness and emerged  with more strength and perseverance, you know that feeling of hope. The hibernation of fall reminds me each year to look inward and listen to the call of restlessness and movement within, either warranted or uninvited. Any lingering unsettled feelings bring me to this inner call. I need so desperately to learn how to hope more completely in all those little bits of life scattered through my days. Whatever big or little pains I notice or feel throughout my days, I must bring some light to those dark shadows.  Feeling each invited guest and releasing it after finished is an exercise that takes perseverance and faith, reminding me of one of my favorite Scriptures: “We also rejoice in our suffering because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, hope.” (Romans 5:3-4 )  Faith is hope realized.

by Liz

Shine Through Me

shutterstock_306948755One of my favorite Halloween traditions is carving pumpkins. As kids, my mom would always prepare a space in our backyard for my sisters and me to release our giddiness and creativity through the activity. Even now, excitement builds as I uncap my pumpkin friend and reach my hands into the slimy, sinewy center. There is something cathartic about pulling out handfuls of seeds and “guts” in order to set the scene for my design. It makes me think about my own desire for God’s touch.  I long to be like that Halloween pumpkin. I need God to clean out the messiness within me so that I can take on a new image. Once I am hollowed out, there is a perfect place for God’s light to shine through me. I can be a light in the darkness, for all the world to see.

by CMM

Jesus Disguised

homeless2Last Sunday I had the good fortune to meet Jesus in his most distressing disguise of the poor.  She was swaying to the music of a live band playing some favorites from my era as we waited to start on the FAM Hunger Walk.  She was dressed in worn, dirty jeans, an off-white, tattered midriff blouse, and worn out sandals.  Her skin was leather from the sun, street-worn and dirty. After Fr. Brendan’s sending prayer and amid much hooting and clapping, we all started walking; a long happy caterpillar, winding through the streets of San Clemente.  Jesus joined us too, yelling and gesticulating at passing cars and muttering the sounds of mental illness, trudging with us who were trudging with her, trudging for her.  What a frightening and sometimes alarming honor it is when Jesus shows up in my life.  I pray to be awake and ready and willing and humble and loving enough to embrace him when and where he appears.

by Andrew

Autumn of Life

shutterstock_50798023One of the most beautiful blessings of where we live are the amazing sunsets that God gifts to us every day. With the changing of the seasons, there is also a change in the sky’s color palette: the blazing red and orange of summer fades into softer shades of pink and gold. Each is equally beautiful.  This is sort of how life is…in our prime, we are all red and orange and ready to go, but when we begin the autumn of our years we tend to become more subtle. David Jeremiah writes “The autumn of life is a strange mixture of nostalgia, blessings, and potential. It yields the harvest of seeds we’ve sown throughout life and braces us for colder days to come.” How very true. While the enthusiasm and energy of our first few decades may wind down we still have many blessings to count and many opportunities to continue God’s work here on earth.

by JAM

God Did This

shutterstock_112621103It was October 3rd, 1994. I had purchased a one-way ticket from LAX to New Jersey and was sitting on a plane six hours away from beginning a new stage in my life. I was moving from California to New Jersey. After a couple of weeks in New Jersey, I decided to spend the weekend driving up the coast through New York and New England. What I saw truly stopped me in my tracks. I had never seen anything like it before – the splendor of the fall foliage. It was an explosion of colors that was both as entertaining as it was beautiful. Although I was not very close to God at this point in my life, I remember the thought involuntary coming to me: “God did this.” It was obvious. Experiencing this living art of God painted an unforgettable lesson in mind: God is so beautiful. God also displayed his playfulness by making trees rain down iridescent leaves so that God could play with his children as they danced in his leaves as bright colored toys from heaven.

by Fr. Brendan

An Unexpected Blessing

old-hands-with-a-flowerIn October, over 20 years ago, my friend visited  Estonia. which, at that time, was ruled by Communist oppression. While sharing her plans with her neighbors, their daughter asked if my friend would take her Estonian pin-pal, Mila, some simple gifts. My friend picked up hair ribbons, tooth paste, Halloween candy, and all manner of “girlie stuff” and bagged it. Once in Tallinn, she searched out Mila’s address. The area was stark, industrial, and metallic. After walking up several flights of stairs, she found Mila’s  family’s apartment. She rang the door bell, no answer. As she pondered how to  leave the bag of “goodies” safely for Mila, an old woman shuffled up dressed all in black and barked suspiciously at my friend in Estonian. My friend opened the bag and showing it to the old woman, said  “For Mila.” The woman nodded, took the bag, and with tears in her eyes, reached over and made the sign of the cross over my friend. Then, said in broken English, “Will give Mila, God is good.”

by Gracie

RCIA: New Testament Key Kerygma of Jesus – October 18, 2016

shutterstock_98090420It was another beautiful, moonlit night in Dana Point as we gathered together to learn more about the sacred Scriptures, especially the proclamation of Jesus’ key kerygma in the New  Testament. The challenge for the group tonight was to speak about how well we know and follow Christ at this point in our lives and if we could actually verbalize our faith to others. After some thoughtful discussion, we prayed over the many images of Jesus shown in a montage with music.

Audio Recording:


Donna’s Power Point Presentation: new-testament-revelation

One Thing Remains

cathy-one-thingFall, a time for change. We are living in a great time of uncertainty and change right now. We will soon be having a new president, changes in government and the like. For some, this can be a source of discomfort and anxiety. I came across an article this week titled “My Prediction for November 9th” by Christian author Max Lucado. It helped me to re-focus on the fact that come November 9th, the day after the election, the one thing that will remain constant and that won’t be changing is our God’s sovereignty and lordship. He will still be in charge and will still be managing the affairs of the world. That truthful fact is the source of my comfort today and every day. This photo I believe says it all.“The Lord has established his throne in heaven, his kingdom extends over everything.” Psalm 103:19

by Cathy