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RCIA…on her way!

RCIA…on her way!

Today I saw God in my hangout time with one of my friends. We talked about the usual stuff – family, friends, work…and then she shared with me that she decided she was going to go through the RCIA program in the next year.

As soon as she shared that with me, my eyes watered up and I really should have thrown myself at her and given her a huge hug, and instead, I hugged myself, out of pure joy at what she had just shared with me. There was a also a large table between us, so that was kind of difficult to maneuver.

We eventually talked more about faith and what led her to the decision of wanting to become a Catholic, and it was such a wonderful afternoon! Friends of mine who have gone through RCIA have shared with me what that experience was like for them, and most was positive, other than some meetings being boring, etc. But I am so happy for my friend and I promised her that I would start praying for her starting yesterday. 🙂 Please pray for her too!

This will be a long journey, but I know it will be worth it. I’m so glad God placed people in my life where I am able to talk freely about faith and justice. That in itself is a gift!

 

From Living Water

From Living Water

Today we read one of my favorite Gospels…did you miss it? Here it is for you:

Gospel of the Day: John 4:5-42

“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” – John 4:10

Check out Brother Mickey McGrath’s print HERE

Reflection:

The Samaritan woman at the well is no angel. Mixed up with a wrong crowd, this poor woman from Samaria has quite a reputation. She had been married five times and was living in sin with a man who wasn’t her husband.

Through her story comes the lesson that people shouldn’t live by carnal pleasure. The story also shows that a well of grace is ready to refresh the soul parched by sin and suffering and that Jesus comes to save the sick and to serve those who still need both physical and spiritual healing — not only the converted.

Her story is also relevant because it becomes an antecedent of Christian practices — that one may seek God’s forgiveness for wrongdoing.

In some Christian religions, including Catholicism and Orthodox, seeking forgiveness is the basis for the sacrament of Reconciliation (confession). Every faith has a teaching and belief that God forgives sin and that repentance is always possible. The Jewish feast of Yom Kippur and Islam’s Ramadan are also examples of seeking forgiveness and showing atonement for sin.

The woman at the well had her sins “washed away” by Jesus. The story shows that Jesus offers divine mercy in the living water of grace, which washes away sins and cleanses souls. The woman went to the well to get a jug of water. Instead, she got much more, including a cleansed and refreshed spiritual life.

Going to the well

Because of her lowly status, the Samaritan woman goes to the well during the hottest point of the day to avoid the wagging tongues of her fellow townspeople. Most other people were taking siestas at this time; nobody in his or her right mind is out in the noonday sun. The woman of Samaria knows this and seizes the opportunity to get water for her home without being bothered.

Jews didn’t normally travel on a Samaritan road, but Jesus chose to walk this way anyway. He comes upon the well, where he meets the Samaritan woman and asks her for a drink of water. The woman, who understands her low social status in the eyes of a Jew, is astonished that this pious Jew requests water from her.
Experiencing renewed spirit

Jesus uses the water as a metaphor to teach this woman. He speaks about the living water, which gives eternal life, divine grace, or God’s life within the soul. The woman craves this type of water, because she wants to have eternal life. But first Jesus has a lengthy but candid dialogue with her. He makes her understand that she needs to confess her sins and change her life before she can obtain this life-giving water — grace. Jesus shows her that he already knows she is living with a man who is not her husband.

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!”

John 4:16–18

The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”

John 4:25–26

The Samaritan woman’s spirit is enlightened, accelerated, and illuminated by Jesus. She now realizes what it means to take freely of the water of life, which is the spiritual refreshment that comes into her soul after her encounter and confession with Jesus. Not only was she impressed that Jesus knew all her sins, but she was also given the opportunity to have those sins forgiven. She believes he is truly the Messiah, the Anointed One. She repents of her past misdeeds and goes back to tell her family, friends, and neighbors how she met Jesus and how he revealed his knowledge of her sins and his offer of live-giving water, which brings eternal life. She went on to lead many conversions in this area through her zeal and love for God (John 4:39–42).

The Samaritan woman doesn’t appear again in scripture, but for centuries afterward, numerous spiritual writers, theologians, and scholars retold and pondered her encounter with Jesus. Augustine (AD 354–430), for instance, uses the example of the woman at the well to describe the spiritual thirst the human heart has for goodness and truth and that thirst is never quenched until people are in the presence of God forever (after they die and leave this earth).

AMEN!

Holy Spirit Inundation!

Holy Spirit Inundation!

Long time coming…and today was the Diocesan Confirmation Conference!!

Over 900 teens were included among over 1100 attendees, and the Holy Spirit was indeed present! My role consisted primarily of behind the scenes (arrive at 6:30am to setup!), planning, organization, and programming with the team of 8 who helped organize the Conference, and it was a treat to be a part of this blessed day. And I saw many of my students there!

Been planning since November, it finally happened, and it was all worth it. Confirmation is my favorite sacrament thus far, so my adrenaline was pumping, my spirit was on fire, and joy was all around me, amidst the exhaustion from a long, busy day!

Thanks be to God!

Encounters with Christ

Encounters with Christ

I saw Jesus today as I drove to the local Catholic Worker and passed through many streets where people were living. I saw Jesus today on the stoop, bent over, tired, battling and enduring, and suffering. I saw Jesus today in my schedule where I had a couple of much-needed free hours to spend with a good friend.

When we have spiritual reading at meals, when we have the rosary at night, when we have study groups, forums, when we go out to distribute literature at meetings, or sell it on the street corners, Christ is there with us. – Dorothy Day

Whenever I have the chance to meet up with my friend, Lisa, I find myself filled with joy and gratitude. Yes, our friendship is that good. Catch up is always fun, and real conversation and authenticity in that, is hard to find nowadays. Not in a creepy way – definitely not! But absolutely in a God’s grace kinda way, that Lisa and I were able to meet and since then, share a friendship where we can process different things with one another, share stories, and ponderings with one another. About things that matter! And are relevant! 🙂

I very much have been drawn to the Catholic Worker movement since I was in junior high school and I was first introduced to the Catholic Worker in Santa Ana. I remember making brownies and bringing them to the Catholic Worker over Thanksgiving, and over various holidays with my youth group. After discovering the Catholic Worker, I remember bringing my mom over with me, and we would volunteer whenever we could. I remember being a high school student surrounded by people experiencing homelessness. It was one of my first experiences catching only a glimpse of what that life could look like and be like. I don’t think I ever had a chance to process those experiences, but the people I met, the experiences I had in that backyard in the Catholic Worker Santa Ana, also known as Isaiah House, has never left me.

Love and ever more love is the only solution to every problem that comes up. If we love each other enough, we will bear with each other’s faults and burdens. If we love enough, we are going to light that fire in the hearts of others. And it is love that will burn out the sins and hatreds that sadden us. It is love that will make us want to do great things for each other. No sacrifice and no suffering will then seem too much. Yes, I see only too clearly how bad people are. I wish I did not see it so. It is my own sins that give me such clarity. – Dorothy Day

Fast forward to today, and I am still an advocate for the Catholic Workers and the Catholic Worker movement. I am grateful to have a Catholic Worker closeby, and have the opportunity to ring the doorbell and be warmly greeted by friends at the door.

When I reflect on people who talk the talk, and walk the walk, the Catholic Workers are some of the first people that come to mind. There is so much richness and authenticity there. While living in community is challenging, I suppose when a one is moved by the spirit of charity, justice, faith, and love, I am confident that anything is possible.

Today, I saw Jesus in my friend Lisa. What a wonderful friend to have in my life!

Do Not Be Afraid

Do Not Be Afraid

Pictured above: Mother Cabrini as a young girl. With a dog!

Today at mass, we walked in and saw a whole bunch of little kids running around. First thought: “Uh oh…we stumbled upon the Children’s Mass. Turn back, turn back!” But no – it was such a beautiful experience!

We walked in and were welcomed by two little kids, probably around 5 years old each, and they greeted us with a warm. “Welcome to Mass.” How precious! The Gospel reading was about The Transfiguration, and the priest talked about how Jesus was surrounded by three friends: Peter, James, and John. He talked about how important it is to have friends near to us, and to recognize them in our life in good times and in not-so-good times. When I read the text closer (cause the homily geared for the kids didn’t quite do it for me!), I was struck by the following:

While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

This excerpt is speaking volumes to me as Jesus continues to remind me to, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” In moments of stress, in moments of having so many things to do, I am reminded that all will be well.  I can do all that I can do, and there is no need to fear or allow any negative spirits or thoughts to overwhelm or take over me. There’s no time for that! There is much work to do, and as long as I stay faithful and trust, stress and anxiety have no space in my life. Ah, what a reminder!

“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” – Julian of Norwich

In all circumstances, I pray that I may see no one else, but Jesus alone. To keep my eyes on Him, and keep my path straight by dedication to all that is good and of love. But oh, what a challenge that is! I pray that I will continue to lift my eyes and heart, and especially in this Lenten season, I pray that my faith will be challenged and grow in ways that I had never imagined for myself.

Perhaps going to the Children’s Mass was not so bad after all. In fact, I think it was a good reminder to have faith like a child, and continue to look up to the Father who knows me the best.