#Jim

At That Moment

It must have been October when Jesus sent out the 72 disciples, in pairs, before him. How daunting to be asked to go out and preach the word, with little instruction or knowledge. The long summer months of heat were behind them and the cold desert nights on the horizon. The one teaching given to them to help answer any doubters was all they really needed. ”For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you should say.”  I decided to go back to work this week after a long career. I retired for a year and contrary to current thought, the adjustment came easy.  I had only worked for two companies prior to retirement so going back to a brand new company rattled my confidence. It was daunting when I was asked to address 160 people after one week on the job. How relevant, even to our present day, are the teachings of the Holy Spirit.

by Diego

Overtures of Autumn

“Rejoice because your names are written in heaven” Luke 10:18

I’m not a biblical scholar, but I’ve always visualized it was autumn when Jesus sent ou.t his first disciples. The message was leave everything behind, bring nothing except the sandals on your feet. Shake off the dust of evil. The end of summer ushers in a new cycle. We once again hear the call of the Holy Spirit, urging us to leave our burdens behind and move forward. Leave the things we don’t need in life like fear and resistance to change.  Stop avoiding problems. Take that adventurous vacation and find peace. Shake the dust off your heart and “rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” With the arrival of the fall season, we are given a chance to break free and leave the unnecessary things behind. We can endure the turbulent times of our generation because it’s heaven we’re bound for. It’s where our names are already written. Today’s anxieties will become a speck of dust loosed from our sandals.

by Diego

 

Saint Juan Diego, Witness

The devastation of the last earthquake in Mexico City rages on. It has left death and destruction in its path. I can’t help praying for the awesome protection of God and for another appearance of his Mother Mary. She appeared there in what is now the heart of Mexico City. It was Juan Diego, in the 16th century, who witnessed several appearances of Guadalupe, our Mother Mary. She performed a miracle and uttered these healing words that echo out today, “Am I not here, I who am your Mother?” What Juan Diego witnessed, at the hill of Tepeyac, centuries ago, can be witnessed whenever a mother’s care is focused on healing and upholding. Who knows, in Mexico City today, someone is witness to another appearance of our Mother Mary? Right there in the heart of devastation, a mother cares for her children, she keeps her family together, she holds the sick and injured. We pray for another appearance of Guadalupe. Our prayers count. Juan Diego is our witness.

by Diego

Admiring A Simple Life

It was many summers ago. We were getting out of high school and decisions had to be made. Do we go to college or do we find work and go out on our own? A good friend of ours decided to work. He was a tough, self-made man. He was adopted, deaf, had a speech impediment and was balding at the tender age of 18. He moved to Colorado and got a job as a short order cook. The odds were stacked against him but he rose above his disadvantages. I was too young then to know, but I know now a profound admiration. It was years later that we learned of his death. There was a fire in the small kitchen where he worked and because he couldn’t hear, he perished in Colorado. I was too young then to know, but I know now a deep sorrow. The blessing of his life was that he was that he led a Chrisitan life and I believe that even the fires of hell couldn’t keep him from getting to heaven.

by Diego

Little Free Gifts

There’s been a growing trend lately of “Little Free Libraries.” If you have ever taken a bike ride or walk through different neighborhoods you occasionally come across a box in the front of a home stacked with various books that can be borrowed and read. You can either take a book or leave a book for the next person. All of us that like to read benefit. There was recently a story out of a small town in rural northern New York about a family who started a “Little Free Pantry” in the front of their home. You can take food out of it or if you’ve just been fed you can leave some food for the next needy person. All of us that like to eat benefit. What’s next? Perhaps one day we’ll stroll by a home with a “Little Free Blessing” box in the front.  Anyone who needs a blessing can take one from the box. Or, if you’ve just been blessed, you can leave a life-giving blessing for the next person. All of us that need the Holy Spirit benefit.

by Diego

Surf’s Up

In the summer time, the surf spots around Dana Point get crowded with people from around the world. We’re all looking for that perfect wave to fulfill our yearning and give us a head full of gratitude. A common nomenclature in the surf world is known as bathymetry. It’s a scientific name for the contour of earth below the water.  It’s what shapes the wave and gives it form. There are waves called DOHO, Cottons and Sano. It’s a little like us Christians. We call out to YHWH, Abba and Adonai. There is a type of bathymetry shaping us below our soul. It’s a place where we form our beliefs, morals and commitment to each other. It’s what makes our outer appearance either glow or dim. It’s the only place we will ever fulfill our yearning and give us a heart of gratitude. Like the summer time, our place of worship gets crowded around Easter and Christmas. We’re all looking for that perfect wave that will shape our soul. Surfs Up. Peace be with you.

by Diego

Unbound Vacation

Last year my family and I took a vacation to Central America. We had been to Costa Rica before but this trip was to Guatemala. What an experience! Perhaps the most profound trip we have ever taken. We went with a group called Unbound. Unbound is an organization dedicated to the poor and marginalized. They are Christian, gospel based, spiritual luminaries dedicated to the less fortunate of the world. We first heard about Unbound at Sunday mass. We signed up to be sponsors and the next thing you know we’re visiting Kendal, our sponsored child, in Guatemala.  We lived with other sponsors in an Unbound building. We traveled by bus from Guatemala City to Quetzaltenango. Along the way we visited villages of sponsored children. They performed for us, fed us and brought us to their humble homes. Kendal had to take a nine hour bus ride from the border of Honduras to be with us for one afternoon. He said no words, was scared and anxious, but he loved the music and we loved him.

by Diego

God and the Ocean

The ocean has always been an allegory for me of God’s presence on earth. Only recently I have come to embrace it. When I was a kid, growing up on Long Island, summers could not come quickly enough. We lived about eight miles from the Atlantic Ocean.  My buddy and I would get a quick lift from someone on the block to get to the parkway. In the summer the parkway was lined with woods, big bugs and wild stray dogs. We had to walk through these woods for about four miles. Once we emerged from the woods we could smell the salty sea air and see the great bays that lead to the ocean. We then hitched a ride on the last inlet before we reached the sand dunes and the exhilarating wide-open ocean. There life changed in an instant. Our sins were redeemed, our spirits were alive. All of us are on a difficult path to redemption. Through the woods and the travail, we prevail. The presence of God right here on earth.

by Diego