You Are Loved

I was out hiking the other day and I came upon this message hanging from a pine tree. I am always amazed when another pilgrim on this road of life takes the time and intentionally leaves a message of encouragement and hope, someone that comes out of his or her own little world or existence to expand the love of a bigger world. Love means simply to will the good of another. I am grateful this day that I am loved deeply by a very personal God so I send this message to all of you to never forget how much you are loved as well. “To show great love for God and our neighbor we need not do great things. It is how much love we put into doing that makes our offering something beautiful for God.” St. Teresa of Calcutta

by Cathy

Pleading and Gratitude

When I want something really badly, my prayer is begging God for an answer.  I feel like a child pleading to a parent for something I want to have right NOW. Usually, my prayers are not answered that way, although sometimes surprisingly so. I must step back and reflect, be in gratitude for the moment I am in, realizing God knows what I want and in His time it will happen. Faith has shown me this in the past and I trust that it will happen again. I then chuckle to myself in the middle of my prayer request, that I am thankful for where I am right now.  I then feel a wash of presence come over me and God telling me to be grateful for the moment and all that it has right NOW. Today is all I have and today I will be grateful for what is put before me, embracing the unknown and living out the questions with no answers in faith. Thank you.

by Liz

Little Prayers

During mid-day mom freak-outs or after bedtime cleaning frenzies, I find myself cursing the abundance of toys and piles of laundry that somehow have accumulated in my house. I become overwhelmed by the feeling that every corner and crevice is filled with “stuff” I cannot keep tidy. Only recently, I began to adopt an attitude of gratitude during my cleaning time. Instead of filling my head and heart with thoughts and feelings of resentment, I pray a prayer of thanks to God for each toy I gather and put back in the chest. Inspired by a cherished mother-figure in my own life, I now say a prayer for each member of my family as I intentionally fold each piece of their laundry. I will admit that I still have my moments of frustration, but this new practice encourages less complaining and more praise for God’s endless gifts.

By CMM

Acceptance

“The best way to show my gratitude to God is to accept everything, even my problems, with joy.” – St. Teresa of Calcutta

I have a great fondness for this new saint and her advice about “accept(ing) everything” gives me pause for thought, since who is ever happy about having problems? Then I realized that without those stumbling blocks in our lives, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the solutions as much. If your life is always smooth sailing, it is easy to pay less attention to God, who is the reason that things are going well. Without those glitches in life, how would we know to be grateful for the many times there aren’t any? One thing that I am most grateful for is that when things go awry, it makes me appreciate the times they didn’t even more. Thank you, Lord, for showing me that your love is with me always, in good times and bad.

by JAM

Easy Day Blessings

Wednesday, November first. All-Saints Day.  My work day is light; public middle schools are closed. Not for religious reasons. Maybe to circumvent the after-effects of massive Halloween candy corn consumption by students. Mid-afternoon I take an unhurried drive to San Clemente. The western sky is dressed in a blanket of soft stratocumulus clouds. A beautiful day the that the Lord has made! When I arrive at my destination, I have messages. My next two students have canceled. I go to nearby Pines Park, on the cliffs above Capo Beach to meditate. My kids loved playing here when they were little. It hasn’t changed much–lush grass, stately pines, walking paths bustling with happy moms and dads and toddlers. The harbor view is stunning an hour before sunset. It is the golden hour. I have time to visit Our Lady of Fatima Church. I say my prayers and admire the Dia De Los Muertos altar, all lit up with fire-colored marigolds. My final student cancels. World Series. I find the ball game on my radio. Blessings!

by Nathaniel

Surprised by Gratitude

Several years ago, when I moved out of my home of 34 years, I had to down-size, having collected a lot of  “stuff” over the years. I sold things on Craig’s List, had two garage sales, and gave things away to my friends. I never expected gratitude would be a part of that adventure, beyond everyone’s help in the process. My surprise was threefold. I was grateful that people wanted my things. I was grateful that I could help the couple that picked up my garage refrigerator. They were living out of an ice chest, not being able to afford an actual refrigerator until they bought mine. I was grateful when the woman who had bought my guest room nightstands called back to say that she was so happy and that they absolutely made her master bedroom in her new mountain cabin. Have you ever been surprised by gratitude? What a feeling of everyday thanksgiving!

by Gracie

Wonderful World

 

My husband and I went to Home Depot recently to buy a new refrigerator. We were met by this salesman with a big personality. He says “Hi, I‘m Sal.” We followed Sal around and finally decided on a new refrigerator so we proceeded to the counter to write up the order. He shared how he was 76 years old, has worked for Home Depot for nine years after his wife told him he drove her crazy being home as a retiree! There was something special about Sal, he was very much alive. As we were about to leave he asked, “Can I sing you a song?” He reached under the counter and pulled out a small ukulele. “What can I play for you?” he asked. I immediately said, “What a Wonderful World.” What followed next was this scene of Sal and me singing “What a Wonderful World” in the middle of Home Depot. Crazy? Maybe, but I know there was something of the Divine happening, something sacramental, and infused with grace, a burning bush moment, and all I could do was take off my shoes and be thankful.

by Cathy

Remembering All Souls

All of us have a longing to be remembered after we die, even Jesus, who asked us to break bread, “in remembrance of me.” Today is All Souls Day, a day Catholics set aside to pray for all deceased. Perhaps that seems strange to some people, but to us, it is just the opposite. Primarily, it is a day that calls us to remember those who have crossed over the threshold of eternity, testimony to our belief in the afterlife. We pray, go to mass, or visit the cemetery.  As a child who tagged along when my parents cared for the graves of relatives, I knew the deceased well, for the cemetery was also a place of storytelling. After hearing the same tales repeated frequently, these departed souls have remained spiritually alive to me.  I can still hear my mother’s voice praying, “and let perpetual light shine upon them,” when we were about to leave. My heart swells today in remembrance and love for her and all of the many others who have gone before us.

by DC