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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!

 

The Future Awaits!

The Future Awaits!

Students are in the midst of discerning their college decisions. Some have already heard from their “dream” schools – some got accepted, some did not…and some are still waiting.

I remember what it was like, many, many years ago…waiting to hear back from schools, then after I heard back, then I was waiting to hear back from the Financial Aid offices, and then after I heard back, waiting to hear back from housing, to freshman programming, to course offerings, and the list goes on…waiting – lots of waiting! Such a stressful, yet exciting time!

Today, I reflected on many of the holy meetings I had with students so far who have stopped in to share some of the latest news they had with regards to college acceptances/non-acceptances. Today, please pray for the seniors who are discerning next steps after graduation. Some are even thinking about waiting a year or so until they hear back from a school where they want to go, instead of settling for a third or fourth choice. Lots of beautiful things ahead! Keep the prayers coming. The future generation needs them!

Lord, Hear Our Prayer

Lord, Hear Our Prayer

Prayers for strength, comfort, wisdom, and guidance resonated in the small room we were all cramped in tonight. I was surrounded by ten beautiful souls who shared with me their names, “roses” and “thorns” from the past week- others simply passed.

As I was prepping for my visit to the correctional facility, I thought immediately about the Gospel reading from Sunday: The Woman at the Well. How perfect. We read the scripture and begun our reflection. Thanks to Creighton University for their Online Ministries website that has wonderful resources throughout the Lenten season!

The woman left her water jug after her encounter with Jesus. What is your water jug that you want to leave behind? The woman had an encounter with Jesus – one that was powerful enough for her to leave her water jug. Have you had an encounter with Jesus? What was that like for you?

Women shared stories about their powerful experiences during prayer, during moments of temptation, during dark, dark moments, and yet regardless of how they reacted to that moment, knew that it was the voice of God leading them towards hope, calm, peace.

We concluded our time together with our prayer intentions. Tears aflowing, Lord, Hear our Prayer bouncing off the walls…God was present.

One of the women prayed that she would have an encounter with Jesus – one that moves her enough to know and recognize that it is the voice of God and Christ working in that moment. The bold prayers that I hear in that space during my visits are unlike any other small group or prayer gathering that I have ever been a part of. It is a gift for me to be invited into this space and I would not want to spend my Monday evenings any other way!

Pray for the Farmers

Pray for the Farmers

Pictured: Coffee beans from the hills of Yagyagan in Northern Luzon, Philippines

It’s been a super busy week with different events going on at school, but I am so grateful that each of the “busy” things I have going on right now, are really good things. Sure, there’s the tedious busy work that just needs to get done…and not all of it is super fun, but today, we had the great privilege of having Javier from JSM Organics come and share his story AND FLOWERS with us!

Many of us don’t take time to think about where our vegetables, fruits, and flowers come from. I know that prior to a few years ago, I never took extra time to think about the origins of my clothes, or why Forever 21 was so cheap or thought twice about the difference between organic and non-organic food. Learn more about Ethical Trade (via Catholic Relief Services) here!

Javier shared his experiences about what life was like as a farmer starting off on low wages, and now, shares his current set-up as a landowner who runs an organic farm and provides his farmers with just wages. Researching the different videos out there and reading about the plight of migrant farmers, especially here in California is mind-blowing to me. Who knew that California farms (specifically in Salinas, CA) provide the majority of strawberries and lettuce that are distributed to the rest of the United States?!?

I have yet to visit the farms and meet the migrant workers, but I know that many parishes in the Diocese take time to meet these farmers and do work alongside them. I hope to make a visit this year!

One thing is for certain: Every time I say a prayer before eating our meal, I take time to recognize the hands that truly brought the food to our table. From the farm, to the cashier at the grocery, there are many hands involved, and unfortunately, somewhere along the line, I know that there were unfair wages paid.

This past April, Pope Francis focused his prayer intention on Farmers:

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!