#Easter 2017

The Joy of Accomplishment

Last Saturday my daughter graduated from college. It was a day of completion, celebration, and joy. Saint Mary’s has an on-campus tradition of setting up canopies, tables and chairs for the grads and their families. Everyone pitches in for catered food and it’s one big party. I sat in my chair, completely at peace watching my daughter get and give hugs to fellow graduating seniors and undergrads. I felt content and joyous watching these young millennials reach out to acknowledge one another. It was a time to savor the accomplishments, the memories, and the challenges. The work was done. The days of pressing the intellect were over. Now it was time to play and rest and hopefully experience that time of ‘Holy Leisure.” As stated by Josef Pieper, “Leisure implies an attitude of total receptivity toward, and willing immersion in, reality; an openness of the soul, through which alone may come about those great and blessed insights that no amount of “mental labor” can ever achieve.

by Gracie

Serving the Brokenhearted

Bereavement is a process one never signs up for or rarely prepares for. A loved one passes and you find yourself now having to face life with a new normal but this new normal sets you into this liminal space, which is not always comfortable. It is a process of letting go to embrace the unknown. Grief can happen on many levels, losses in one’s life, a job, ill health or the end of a relationship. One promise Jesus tells us is that he will never leave us or forsake us in our loss. We are thankful for others that minister to us in our loss, they enflesh the love and healing of our faithful God. We start walking the sometimes long journey to find joy again and to find ourselves again. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

by Cathy

Borders

There are all kinds of borders in our lives. There are physical borders, mental borders and boarders of someone else’s construction. Each of us are challenged at that proverbial fork in the road, at the threshold not yet crossed, at the border of our fear, closed for repair. The decisions we make at these mileposts are measured by the actions we take. It is us who decide right from wrong, compassion from oppression. We all stand at some protected border crossing waiting to get to the other side. There is one side on which we serve and another side where we demand to be served. Which side we cross over will determine how our lives are shaped. “Two feet of love in action” is a rally call from the bishops to give us a simple guide to follow at our protected border. It is a call to make the right decision in a spirit of service and gratitude. It is a call we can live by, side by side with our neighbors and beyond our borders.

by Diego

Gratitude

It’s Memorial Day. My Dad, now 97, is a WWII veteran and until recently never spoke about his war experiences. All I knew about his service was that he left Pearl Harbor on December 5th and was assigned to the fleet in the South Pacific. My mother and he were married mid-war and my Mom often told me how she prayed novena after novena and rosary after rosary that my Dad would return home safely to her. Her prayers were (obviously!) answered and she also told me of her overwhelming joy that he came home to her, which was only surpassed by her gratitude to God for allowing his return. I have had only a taste of that kind of happiness in homecomings with family, but I do hope and pray that I will experience that same joy at my final “homecoming” when I return to God.

by JAM

Our Lady of Refuge

In my journey towards a relationship with the Holy One, I was first a Blessed Mother girl, even as a Protestant. I wasn’t a mother at the time but Mary’s devotion to her Son was a beacon of loving maternal light for me, guiding me gently into the arms of Christ. She was my refuge in my rainy days. Her arms were sweet, tender and sure when I folded emotionally into them. She was my comfort. I started to pray the rosary back in those days and most of my friends thought I was really weird. Only Catholics did that! Mary’s loving eyes and arms reach out with tender mercy to each of us.. In a real sense, she is our royal Mother, our role model, the pathway to shelter when the storms in our lives rage on. She loves the poor, the underprivileged and the poor of spirit. She is a refuge for all who seek sanctuary in this chaotic world in which we dwell.

by Gracie

The Alchemy of Giving

There is something exceptionally good and precious about praying over some object, especially a  blanket/shawl, then gifting it to another person to find comfort in. It’s as if there are these invisible stitches of grace, woven together to bless and encourage. A certain spiritual energy is present that is invisible to the eye. The object now becomes the conduit of Jesus’ love and healing. It is a beautiful way to enter into the service of another whether it is a stitched blanket, a meal, flowers or a handwritten note. There are so many people we meet on a daily basis that need to know this love. In the alchemy of giving, both the giver and the receiver are blessed. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

by Cathy

Resurrected Belonging

The new day comes in just like the other days.

The spring sun brimming at sunrise.

My heart sings and my soul swells as I stand in the light.

Humbled. Not giving. Receiving.

Resurrected joy.  Simplicity of the silence.

I remain quiet, listening to God’s world.

It invites me in;  the cascading sounds of birds, the wispy wind, rustling leaves and the smell of fresh Kona coffee.

A new day of my life has begun.

So I stand.

Receiving.  Belonging.  And I smile.

by Liz

Under Mom’s Eyes

Growing up could be a difficult time for anyone. Rich, poor, healthy or ill we all yearn deeply to belong. As I was growing up the center of our family unity was Mom. She had these inner, warm eyes that woke me up each morning and calmed my inner being. She made me feel as though I belonged to something bigger than myself. We all have dads, uncles and siblings that contribute to the lives we live. We have outside influences that shape our thoughts. We see things through the lenses of our existence. The Blessed Mother Mary is the image of all moms. She was chosen by God to create a space where we all feel like we belong, a fully human woman made to carry the burden of the cross. It seems our moms are charged with an impossible, bigger than life responsibility. They calm us, invite us to belong and give us the hope of an early morning sunrise.

by Diego