#Jim

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

Sunday Nights

There’s a beautiful, committed-to-the bone women who runs a youth ministry called Insight along with a peer leadership group called SURF. When our daughter was entering high school she let us know that on Sunday nights, after church, she would be attending a gathering of young adults. As far as I can remember this was entirely her decision. Somehow, somewhere, she caught the sweet aroma of Christian fellowship. There was music, laughter and honesty. There were tears and revelation. This fellowship blew in the Holy Spirit and helped develop long lasting relationships. I began to notice a sparkle in the eyes of the participants. I saw trust and love and an inner peace in those eyes. Not even the words of the great scholars of our time could capture the essence and truth behind those eyes. It appears that God never takes off. Not on Sunday night after church, not on Monday morning, not ever. Sometimes we just need each other to realize how fortunate we are that our “God Reigns”. That together, in fellowship, there is peace. There is life.

by Diego

 

A Mystical Manifestation

There’s a doctor of science who finds peace by a running stream away from the rigors of the laboratory.  There’s a teacher who meditates to the sound of Chopin away from the struggles of students.  There’s a laborer working at the Red Cross on his day off. These folks have found a sanctuary in which their spirits can grow,  a sanctuary not found in the day-to-day growth they toil at in order to survive.  Every day there is an open invitation to celebrate mass. There is a promise that you will enter a sanctuary and encounter three distinct persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  It’s a mystical manifestation and we’re all invited. No matter how we seek refuge from the world, we must find a sanctuary. We must find a place to liberate our soul. Where do we go to free our spirit? If we search in vain for our sanctuary then we should change the path we’re on. It’s closer than we can imagine. Our sanctuary is not in the search; it’s in the Savior.

by Diego

The Gift

There’s a story about a grandfather who started a journal for his granddaughter. He wrote about all their activities together. He wrote about the good times and some hard times. The young girl grew up to be a beautiful person in so many ways and her grandfather-captured moments that were poignant, raw, delicate and heartwarming. When the women turned twenty-one, and her grandfather was growing old, he gave her the journal as a birthday gift. The women was flabbergasted when she unwrapped the present and started to read about her life as seen from the eyes of her dying grandfather. What a witness to a life God gifted to the world. The young women could not fathom the deep-rooted thoughts, the countless memories and the picture of her in the arms of a man she came to admire. She would cherish this gift more than the stars in the sky or the grains of salt in the sea. She was a women embraced by the heart of another. What a gift. What a witness.

by Diego

The Breath of Life

There are only two things common to every human being. We get one birth and one death. What happens in between is what makes us unique. There is the paraplegic mountain climber who got to the top of El Capitan; the hungry child of Guatemala who got to meet his Unbound Sponsor; and the teacher touched by the Holy Spirit. When God breathes life into us, it is not incidental or random. It is spiritual and monumental. It is the breath of life.  We are unique. We should live each moment with a burst of passion and bravado, approach each turn with humility and poverty. How we exhale this resplendent breath of life is up to each one of us. We need not climb mountains, feed the oppressed or be anything other than who we are. But we must be who we are meant to be. We must be who we can become. Never despair. Never give up. Always live, alive. Be Alive. You’ve been blessed with the breath of life – exhale.

by Diego

Lighting the Way

The Iditarod is a dog sled race in Alaska. The race is a grueling 1,200-mile ‘s through the most beautiful but harshest terrain. The race cannot be declared over until the last musher crosses the finish line weeks after the winner.  Then there are two symbolic traditions that are awarded to this last musher. The first is a Red Lantern. This award symbolizes the light that shines from the caboose of railroad trains to prove that the last boxcar has passed and its safe to cross. The final musher then gets the honor of extinguishing the “Widows Lamp.” This lamp represents the light hung at roadhouses along the trail so the mushers can find their way. There seems to be something spiritual in these traditions. The last will be first. We hang our lamp to make someone’s journey meaningful. We are the light so someone can find his or her way. And that last boxcar will one day pass our own station and God’s Red Lantern will show us its safe to cross the tracks.

by Diego

Baby Steps

There are times in life, especially during Lent, when we feel unworthy. We struggle with sacrifices we’re asked to make, to give more of ourselves, to love without care of consequence.  God’s Lenten question asks us if we could give more than we feel capable of giving. But the gifts of hospitality, mercy and service often elude us. We lack the courage to change our lives. If only the Good Samaritan’s act of generosity could change our heart; to help us feel a new spirituality. Sometimes it takes baby steps to change a life. We read a passage in the bible, bake some bread, reach out to a neighbor or let down our defenses. We call a friend and ask for forgiveness. We listen to God’s gentile prodding, to love more deeply, to give generously and to live gratefully. If it’s a baby step today then let’s take it. Who knows? Tomorrow it could become a giant leap. We can face our unworthiness one step at a time and try to answer God’s Lenten question.

by Diego

 

Desert Opening

If anyone in the world is at St, Edward the Confessor these next few weeks, they could get in a car and take an arduous trip east and visit the desert. It’s God’s canvas this time of year. There is something out there that is artistic, emotionally moving and spiritual. All the wildflowers are beginning to open up, a little like us during Lent; like a deep spiritual flower growing up inside of us. The flowers have different colors and stature. They have names like Purple Sage, Canterbury Bells and Phacelia. We have names too, like Christians, Muslims and Jews. We too have different colors and stature. When we open up, we make room for God to enter in and use us as a canvas to create beauty and peace on earth. That Lenten feeling blossoms from deep inside of us, gently pushing at our edges, to open us up. Let the differences in the world make us better, open and more loving people. It’s what we must become in order to blossom in heaven.

by Diego