#RELENT 2017

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

Witness to Love

Throughout the gospels Jesus shows me the ABC’s of love. He unfalteringly exhibits this love through acts of healing, forgiveness and acceptance. The woman at the well, the story of the Good Samaritan, the woman caught in adultery, the healing of the Centurion’s servant, the thief on the cross, the lost sheep; everywhere and always Jesus reveals his mercy. His love is never contingent on a person’s religious practice, ethnicity, country of origin or “worthiness”.  His is a love without concern for borders, religion, race, language or politics.  So for me, I’m going to follow Christ, no matter how unpopular or odious it may be to the powers of this world. I will be a witness of love for the poor, the homeless, the stranger, the marginalized, the demonized, the forgotten, the imprisoned, the sinful and the difficult to love among us. God says it. My Catholic faith teaches it. I believe it. “Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:8

by Andrew

Witness to the Paschal Mystery

The year 2017 began for me with an unexpected event. My mother took seriously ill and then had a heart attack. The doctor’s prognosis was that because she was advanced in years, she was at the end of life and that she would not recover. This news precipitated my going East to help her and my Dad as much as I could. Even though  I was very much saddened at the thought of losing my Mom. a dear friend reminded me that I was being witness to the Paschal Mystery in my own life. Her words were a great comfort to me as I was able to be part of my mother’s final preparations and watch her continuing to pray daily. Even at the very  moment her earthly life ended she  had her rosaries in hand. My gift of faith came from my parents and I pray that I can continue to be a witness for the Lord until I am called home.

by JAM

Be A Witness

Today is Palm or Passion Sunday, marking the beginning of  Holy Week. Lent is almost over but not before we bear witness, in a very real way, to what happened before the resurrection, namely the Last Supper, the betrayal and crucifixion of Jesus. The gospel readings today (two of them) bring us face-to-face with the reality of being a Christian. First, we wave palm branches as we hear the story of how Jesus rides into Jerusalem and is greeted like a celebrity. Then, the exultation  turns into anguish with the reading of the Passion narrative. stirring up a myriad of feelings. I always wonder what kind of witness I would have been. Would I have wept with the women? Or jeered with the mob? Would I have yelled “crucify him!” or denied I knew him? Perhaps I would have remained silent out of fear for my life. I hope and pray that when the time comes to be a witness, the Christ in me will rise easily, transmitting his self-sacrificing love to a world in need.

by DC

Feeling Free

I am most alive when I feel free. I feel free when I am singing or doing something creative because I love them. It is harder for me sometimes to feel alive in my relationships with others. I am in process of focusing on the essential goodness of others instead of focusing on their guilt, i.e. where they have wronged me, or their “otherness.” When I pay attention to a negative quality I project on them, I feel separated and bound up in my inner negative diatribe. I do not feel alive and free. Our thoughts simply crucify us and the other or save us both.  When I focus on the essential goodness in others, I am being present for the divine spark of the Holy in them. I am free to love and be loved. The crucified Lord lives in each of us if we open ourselves up to seeing the world and each other through His eyes. I am free, and filled with love when I see the world through God’s eyes. Only then can I be fully alive! Please enjoy,“Fully Alive in Your Spirit!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkqsKp-2sYw

by Gracie

The Right Thing To Do

I had just finished a phone conversation with a friend while sitting in my car at Target. In front of me I noticed a Dad with two young children loading his purchases into his car. All of a sudden I heard him say, “Kids, Dad forgot to pay for this paper towel so we need to go back inside and pay for it.” The kids protested a bit but the Dad persisted, “No, it’s the right thing to do.” I got out of my car and said to the Dad, “Thank you for being such a great example to your kids of what it means to be an honest person.” He said, “Thank you for affirming me because I came real close to throwing the paper towel in the trunk and leaving!” It was in that exchange, at that moment that I had this feeling of aliveness; that the world is good and humanity is still trying to choose the right way. He gave the best version of himself to his children and to me.

by Cathy

Young Blood

“Oh, those young whipper-snappers,” my Dad would say of the youth buzzing around him. Last week, my youngest son was home for spring break and the house was alive again.  That quick energy of a twenty year old opening the fridge twenty times a day, wearing the hinges off the pantry cupboard, long time friends dropping by throughout the day and night, made my heart sing but it did not make me want to be young again.  Yes, to be young with the energy and stamina would be so nice but the wisdom in this second half of life is God’s gift to me.  I relish in my continual journey of faith and insight as I grew one year older last month.  God gives us these trimesters in our lives to be seasoned and ripened to move to the next unopened door. In the meantime, I will smile, keep working out and stay fully alive as my family grows and I get to witness their trimesters of life.

by Liz

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