Blessed by John O’Donohue

Years ago a dear friend had suggested I read the international bestseller Anam Cara by Irish author John O’ Donohue. From the moment I began reading this treasure, I was a devotee of this amazing writer. He was born in 1956 in County Clare, Western Ireland. Just after I began to follow his writings, he unexpectedly died in 2008. He introduced me and others to the beautiful world of Celtic spirituality, which merges a strong sense of mystery with a passionate embrace of nature, the body, and the senses. The divine is understood as manifest everywhere, in everything. His final work was To Bless the Space Between Us, published posthumously. His writings have a mysterious way of entering into your heart and transforming you at a deeper level. May you experience a Beannacht (Gaelic for blessing) this day.

by Cathy

http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poetry/poems/beannacht-blessing

Bernadette, Friend and Guide

One of the first movies that captivated me as a young child was a film called “The Song of Bernadette.” A black and white classic now, it tells the story of Bernadette Soubirous, a poor French girl who encountered a “beautiful lady” on the banks of the river Gave in a place called Massabielle, in Lourdes, France. Quite unexpectedly, her story resurfaced when I was an adult and inspired me to do more research about her. I learned that Bernadette was very different from the way she was portrayed in the film. She wasn’t afraid and tearful like actress Jennifer Jones. Rather, she was fierce, determined and laughed all the time. Now that’s my kind of saint!  Bernadette has since become an important spiritual guide and friend to me. When I feel the weight of the world, I gaze at her photograph and gather strength. I especially like this one because it looks like she’s suppressing a laugh. Bernadette reminds me to take only God seriously and the rest of life lightly, the true path of holiness

by DC

A Gifted Teacher

 

As a student, math was always my least favorite subject and I lacked the confidence to succeed in this area of my studies. That all changed my junior year of high school when I was blessed to have a teacher who finally helped me crack the code on this math mystery. Somehow, she flipped a lightbulb on in my brain, and shed light on a part of me I didn’t know existed. I actually began to enjoy math for the first time in my life. I finished that class with such a high “A” that I wasn’t even required to take the final exam. This gifted teacher played an important role in my journey to becoming a teacher. I think of her frequently when I plan my lessons and guide my students, as I hope I can reveal and encourage buried talents within my own students. I believe God has a special purpose for why I am teaching these specific students, and I can only pray and strive to inspire them the way this teacher inspired me.

by CMM

Wisdom Elder

Dotty is an 81-year-old sober alcoholic born and raised in the Bronx by an alcoholic mother and a working-class father.  Sober one day at a time for over 34 years, Dotty has a New York gruff exterior but a heart of gold.  While she will call out an “old-timer” on his bull-oney, she will take a newcomer, still shaking and baking from detox, under her wing. She always tends to the one left out, the quiet one, those who are so new to sobriety and raw with shame and incomprehensible demoralization that they cannot look you in the eye. She throws fantastic celebrations for people’s sobriety birthdays and shows her love and caring through her cooking, presence, and mentorship.  Dotty has a God “of her understanding” that is in all ways working in and through her. With the mouth of a sailor, a fierce love for suffering alcoholics and a heart overflowing with love, Dotty shows me the Way the Truth and the Life without ever a peep about religion.

by Andrew

St. Peter

 

I realize that often I have no “filter.” That is to say, whatever is in my head comes out of my mouth bypassing any “SLOW” signs it may encounter on the way. This can get me into trouble and probably why St. Peter has always been one of my favorites. Here was a man who so loved Jesus that he would do anything for him and yet on several instances he also had no filter and said things he greatly regretted. First, he was the “rock” for Christ to build his church, then he had little faith, and once Jesus called him a “Satan.” The humanity he possessed is inspiring to me. This humble fisherman, who also made so many mistakes, became one of the greatest saints! This gives me hope that even when a thought goes non-stop from my brain to my vocal chords, I still have a chance at getting to heaven.

by JAM

Spiritual Mothers

For many years I longed for a spiritual mother, someone with supernatural ease and grace, into whose arms I could fly in times of turmoil.  I do have a lovely relationship with Blessed Mother but the desire for someone in the flesh remained. About sixteen years ago, I began facilitating retreats for women in the hopes of providing a spiritual well for others thirsting for a pool of feminine wisdom. Today, when I think of significant people who have changed my life, the women who have poured out their hearts on retreat immediately flood my mind. They have held my hand, dried my tears, made me laugh, and nurtured me in a myriad of ways inexpressible. They have trusted each other and opened the doors to the deep, mystical thresholds that few people are allowed to cross. Bonds of grace connect us even after the retreat experiences. Beyond my wildest expectations, spiritual mothers continually appear, disguised as friends, teachers, and family members, the Body of Christ, the feminine face of God.

by DC

Walt Disney’s Magic

I started working at Disneyland nine years after it opened. When Walt Disney visited “the Park,” word would spread like wildfire! As a tour guide, my job was to share Walt’s vision. Can you imagine what it’s like to be tasked with spreading joy, magic and fairy dust on all who entered beneath the tunnels of the Santa Fe Railroad? Walt invested his creativity in a place where humanity could leave its daily cares aside and enter a world, with family and friends that would transform reality into awe and wonder, giggles and laughter. I would regularly come home from an exhausting day’s work exhilarated, bubbling over with stories to share. Similarly, Christ’s love fills me with awe and wonder that flows from deep gratitude. I often come away from prayer renewed, feeling blessed, and held in eternal love. Walt Disney wanted to give people keys to the “Magic Kingdom.” Christ wants us all to have the keys to eternal life! From California Adventure, please enjoy “Soaring over California.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0_WElXsY-k

by Gracie

Sister Dearest

We met thirty years ago when she was our new Director of Faith Formation at our parish in San Diego. From the minute I met Sr. Joan Derry we were as the Irish say, “Anam Caras,” soul friends. She has been a dear friend and most importantly my spiritual mentor for all these years. Being Irish, she certainly knows how to have fun and live life to the fullest. Her love of people and love for the Lord is evident in all she does. She was constantly encouraging me to find my own gifts and use them for the glory of God. This has led me to the work I do in ministry today. As a God coincidence, our daughter has been attending college only minutes from where Sr. Joan lives in Northern California. We have been able to see each other frequently and continue to grow this special friendship of ours. Friends come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. I am blessed to have “Sister Dearest” as she is affectionately called, as my friend for a lifetime!

by Cathy