God’s People

San-Clemente-Ralroad01I have noticed throughout my many years of running the beach trail, the encounters with God’s people. I pray for them while I am running. The gentleman who is the brisk, fast walker with his headphones and beanie hat; we exchange smiles every time we pass. The small, older woman with her  huge green garbage bag collecting recyclables from the trash, we exchange a wave and a ‘good morning.’ The pretty, young, blonde mom running now with her 2 year old and her newborn in the jogger when just a few months ago I would see her walking with just one child. The 80-something woman, who does not know me but I know her from a women’s conference she spoke at years ago and I still have her book on my shelf. I receive so many blessings as I greet and pray for God’s people on each run that I do on the beautiful, seaside beach trail.

by Liz

 

Reliving Joy

Cait Wedding 1There are days I would love to relive. I want to experience the adrenaline rushing through my blood as I ride my first rollercoaster at Disneyland. I want to feel the soft chiffon of my wedding dress, and the love and joy that was shared on the day I married my husband. I want to cry those happy tears again as I gaze into my son’s eyes for the first time. I would love to capture the memory of meeting my parents on my very first day on Earth. Each moment, each memory, has been a perfect gift from God. Since I know I cannot go back in time and feel the emotions of these beloved experiences, I recognize the preciousness of the present moment. Today might be one of the best days of my life – and I cannot bottle or box it up to place on a shelf for later. I must live in the gift of the present with gratitude and joy!

By CMM

Holy Family Road Trip

young_messiah_Jesus_parentsDuring summer, I am reminded of long family road trips.  I can imagine the Holy Family packing up the old reliable donkey and heading down to the Sea of Galilee to escape the summer heat of Nazareth. I can see Joseph plying his carpentry skills repairing boats while Mary cooks fish caught by her son and his friends from the pebbly shore; Jesus the splashing swimmer, the cut up, the curious child, watching the fishermen mend their nets and listening to their yarns. I can smell the night time driftwood fires and envision Jesus sleeping snug and warm between his mom and dad beneath the stars, dreaming dreams of fishermen and crowds and of braising fish over an open fire for his friends in a morning far off on the shores of Galilee. (Photo from the movie, “The Young Messiah”)

by Andrew

God’s Gold Medal

Gold MedalLike many others, I spent a lot of time watching the Olympics. It’s always thrilling to see the actual competition, but what I enjoyed even more was the “back story” behind some of the star athletes–who came from poverty, who was abandoned by parents, who worked menial part-time jobs to pay for coaching. They all had one thing in common: a desire to be the best at what they did and to be a winner. It made me think how being a Christian and wanting to do God’s will is not all that dissimilar. We strive to be the best we can be as people and pray for guidance. The difference is the athlete’s reward is given here on earth. You can’t be a runner-up in living a good life; there are no silver and bronze awards because you can’t come in second or third. The only award is God’s gold medal…the welcome into the kingdom of heaven.

by JAM

Imitation

Brendan2We all know that children are natural imitators of what they see and hear. How many times has a parent turned to their child with shock and asked “Where did you hear that?”. This cute picture is of a boy imitating me celebrating Mass as he watches it on our parish website. He was going to church with his family later in the day and wanted some practice. In addition to being cute, the picture reminds me to always speak and act in a way that is worthy of being imitated. Then, I can say with St. Paul “I exhort you, become imitators of me” (1 Cor 4:16). What would someone’s day look and sound like if they imitated you today?

by Fr. Brendan

God’s Vistas

amtrak-trainI just got back from a two week train vacation traversing California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. The contrast between the natural vistas of Mount Shasta, forests, lakes, the Columbia river, streams, fecund and verdant groves of trees and the man made cities was graphic. All and all, I felt connected to something vast, untamed, ancient, and primal while experiencing the vistas God created. It was like I could breathe forever. By contrast, the industry in the towns by the train stations ranged from hide tanning to UPS parking lots. The style of houses morphed from farmhouse to quaint turn of the century cottages to multiplex condominiums. While traveling through civilization I experienced examples of time periods, the 20‘s, the 40‘s, the 21st century.  I saw properties of fixing and making in man’s world, filled with effort, containment and organization. I saw God, the Creator and man, the maker or fixer-upper.  I was impressed by humanity’s industriousness, inventiveness, and intelligence. However, I was deeply humbled by God’s raw, wild,  breathtaking expressive expansive creation.

by Gracie

Unbound Awareness – Guatemala

Cathy GuatThis was no ordinary trip. I knew before we left the U.S. on our Unbound awareness journey  that we were now going to be entering a world where people had a different way of living and, most times, surviving. What I didn’t know is how the beauty of the hearts of these people would capture my own heart. Each village we entered we were met with an overwhelming spirit of Bienvenidos- Welcome. Welcome to our world, to our poverty, to our needs, to our love. Despite the lack of external comforts, these people know the power of love and gratitude. When they took our hands into their hands, the human connection was overwhelming. We danced together and laughed together, broke bread together. I will continue to hold their hands in my heart forever and pray for each one of them, now out of my physical reach, but within the reach of my prayers. St. Columba would always instruct his monks to ‘pray until the tears come.” Through this experience, I now know what he meant.

by Cathy

The Face in the Mirror

 

shutterstock_146445494The face I see in the mirror is the face of love that God sees.  Learning to love myself, just as I am, has been quite a process. My face carries so many worries, judgments, pain, laughter, shame, wonder, curiosity revealing who I am inside. That mirror reflecting back at me gives me the opportunity each day to look deeper and to love those worries and judgments, love the pain, shame and wonder of who I am and who I have become. I am comforted to know that God sees my face, and all I am inside, with infinite LOVE.  Why then, should I not love what God sees and loves in me?  As I continue the inner spiritual journey, I am fond of this crone face of mine that shows all I have endured. The LOVE lines and marks on my face tell my story and I embrace each one of them as I grow to love my reflection more each day.

by Liz