Monday, March 13, 2017

Blessed Stanley Rother of Okarche and Santiago Atitlán

I have many topics I want to tell you about... but this news trumps everything!

It is now official! Archbishop Coakley received official word this morning from Rome that Servant of God Father Stanley Rother will be beatified in Oklahoma City in September. 

Praised be Jesus Christ! 

Want to know more about the first American martyr?  

I humbly suggest my book, the first published biography on Father Stanley:  "The Shepherd Who Didn't Run: Fr. Stanley Rother, Martyr from Oklahoma"

Thursday, February 23, 2017

why we must pray for reverence


“I think you have much ‘compassion and understanding’ but it is limited at present by the natural. You tend to expect others to see as you see, and to feel impatient when they don’t.  And if people sense that one feels dismissive, their hackles rise and, in fear, they can’t listen. We must pray for reverence, that deep acceptance of the difference of others that lets us show them what we are saying. Once people really ‘hear,’ they nearly always respond. But nothing to be sad about. Having difficulties is a way of growing. It opens us up to him.  
Am I mistaken in detecting a slight note of despondency? Living as we do in Jesus, with all sorrow, failure, and disappointment primarily just ways of receiving him more deeply, life is infinitely lovely. It may not appear so, but it is. Our happiness, even if happiness of pure faith, is a duty we owe to the sad world where frustrations are not, as are ours, gateways into love. Happiness is a willed thing, therefore we choose to let Jesus be our joy, our confidence, and to ignore our poor little fumbles. If we really want him and want to live in Love, it will most surely happen.”
 ~Sister Wendy Beckett in “Spiritual Letters”

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“In every life we have some trouble
When you worry you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy”

~ Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t Worry Be Happy”

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The Christian does not know through speculations that God, the absolute Being, is wholly love: he knows this through the fact that God gave his Son up for the world that he loved so much, and not only for the totality en bloc, but for each individual one of us. I have been rescued in my sin and lovelessness by the Son of God, who suffered and died on the cross for my guilt and who wishes, in his Resurrection to the Father, to bring me back into the eternal triune love. If one grants that this is true, then, according to the view of the Apostles who bear witness to this message and proclaim it, there can be only one decent answer on the part of man, and once again it is Paul who formulates it: I have been crucified with Christ. I live, yet it is not really I who live: Christ lives in me.”
~Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar , 
as quoted in Magnificat Magazine 
(February 17, 2017)
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touching hands
                                                         Reaching out, 
touching me, 
touching you"

~Neil Diamond, "Sweet Caroline"

Thursday, February 2, 2017

because God will always find a way to reach me

"What she taught me is… 
You don't put yourself into what you write... 
you find yourself there."
~ the character of Alan Bennett, 
speaking about the lady of many names, 
in the movie, The Lady in the Van 

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It seems crazy to me that it’s been such a long time since I’ve written a blog post.

It’s an odd little circle. The more things pop up in my life, the more I want – and need – to write. But the hardest it also becomes to make it happen.

Writing helps me discover what I think and assists me as I sort through what I’m feeling, as I did a few weeks ago on the day that Fidel Castro died.

But when even been able to write a blog post seems too much, when I am struggling to simply be faithful to my daily prayer, then I have to rely on other avenues to connect the dots within my spirit.  Things like music and deliberately walking slowly and watching the stars at night.

And above all, I put my trust in God to show me His presence in my life as is. He always does, generously, faithfully, often with great humor

Sometimes He’ll speak to me in a movie, as He did with “the Lady in the Van.” Or it could be through the lyrics to a song that I’ve heard but never paid attention to before.

Oftentimes it means that I start having very vivid dreams. And often, they are dreams with recurring themes, such as houses—something I’ve written about before.

As I think about the houses in my dreams it is clear to me that this “sign” or image often surfaces when I’m in some sort of transitional phase, journeying into something new, or perhaps simply facing something unknown.

Don’t know what this means other than it is, still, a new year, offering both anticipation and hope, as well as an invitation to newness. New beginnings. New perspectives. New ideas. New “something-to-be-named.”

Thanks for walking with me… still!

Friday, January 13, 2017

la fé celebrada: #MyMigrationStory

As National Migration Week comes to an end, a final reflection.

As a young Cuban refugee growing up in the neighboring island of Puerto Rico, I was keenly aware of all that made me different. In spite of speaking the same language, my schoolmates teased me for my differences in speech.

Like refugee families from other cultures, ours was a multi-generational home shared with three grandparents. Our family spent a considerable amount of our time and energy taking classes and attending events meant to remind us of our native culture, lest we ever forget what made us Cuban—and why we were refugees.   

It was an unsettling time for all the adults in my life. This meant that I attended five different grade schools and lived in five different homes—one not corresponding with the other.  

I was a perceptive child, more aware than most of the inner struggles of those suffering around me. In a very real way, I felt my parents’ anguish over the family and friends left in Cuba. I ingested my grandmother’s nighttime tears and loneliness. I experienced my grandparents’ uprootedness and displacement.  

In the midst of all this inner suffering and external displacement—and perhaps directly because of it—my sense of place, belonging, and peace became deeply rooted in the Catholic faith.  

Unlike most people’s experience, however, this sense of being claimed and chosen was not attached to one parish—but in a very real way, to the Church universal. Walking into a church. Celebrating the liturgy in unison. Receiving the Eucharist with mis hermanos, my brothers and sisters in the faith. This was, and is, home to me. 
In truth, there’s no substitute for the basics. Honest, daily prayer. Reclaiming the graces of the Sacraments. Approaching faith and tradition with a willing heart. Reclaiming the liturgy, and especially the Eucharist, as our home—the source from which “all its power flows.” 

Only if we put the events of our lives—past, present, future—in contact with the Word of God and the Sacraments will those events become signs of God’s presence in and for our lives. 

Only if we recommit to daily private and public prayer can we “rediscover the content of the faith that is professed, celebrated, lived and prayed.” 

Do we dare live our lives with such certainty?

[ This reflection, “Faith Celebrated,” was first published 
in the August 2013 issue