Thursday, April 28, 2011

Great Wonders!

Since last time we spoke, I have seen great wonders! I've baffled and stood speechless at the innumerable beauties of our Creator.

We left Vegas and made our way to Santa Barbara, California. The reception and the genuine sense of welcome we recieved gave our hearts a sense of freedom to retreat. Surrounded by the peace and perfection of nature we used our time there as retreat time, to look within and balance ourselves and recieve Love.

From there we marvelled at the sound of the cracking of oysters in otters mouths and their cuteness as they lay floating on the waves and their little hands agility to toss the empty shells from their bellies in Monterey, CA. The personality of the seals while they flirted with us in the sea and played michieviously with the seagulls seated at sea showed us yet another face of God's humor and creativity. The squirels were ginormous and the scallops exquisite.

We spent four days in Berkeley visiting my future university and the Holy of Holies made it perfectly clear that that is where I am being called in the fall. On Holy Thursday we went to the mass of the washing of the feet in a parish whose parishoners were half Central American and half African American. The gospel choir vibrated in my soul and moved my hips (which doesn't take much) and heart. The bilingual mass and homily (done by two students of my future school) stayed with me for the week to follow. I left the mass feeling blessed for my biculturalism and my faith.

From there I spent a little time in the Catholic Worker in Oakland, where yet again God showed me that where the Spirit guides me I will feel at home.

We spent Holy Saterday in Yosemite National Park, beholding the splendor of God! That night we went to Easter Vigil where I laughed, laughed, and laughed throughout the mass delighting in the obvious presence of New Life, of the risen savior, in the Chicano family seated in the pew in front of me composed of all women of different ages. The excitment I feel during Easter Vigil mass is that of a child's when she's listening to her favorite story and discovers that there is a happy ending. Each time it's as if I didn't know the ending (or better put, the beginning of Jesus' story... of all stories).

Easter Sunday we wandered around the ginormous trees and the majesty of the Great Artist in King's Canyon and Sequoia National Park. My breath was taken from me in soo many accounts. I honestly believe that I found heavenly resplendence there. We drove back to Vegas that night laughing, bealting out songs with the stirring wheel as our microphone, dancing and delighting as children do.

What freedom and peace, knowing that after death comes life! The cycle continues, it never ends in death, it continues.
Throughout our whole journey we have been centered in prayer focused on Lent, using books of reflections and meditaions, with one in particular by Richard Rohr. Part of the homily of Thursday's mass spoke about the decision to either continue working on cleaning out our souls after lent or of stuffing all the piles into the closet for postponment. (The homily sounded alot better than my summary.) I've chosen to continue working at the piles I've been sorting out throughout lent and continue throwing out what I need to detach myself from, what I need to embrace, and what needs more attention. So I've dedicated this whole week until next for a deep Spiritual retreat. It's hard work, but I'm grateful for it. It's all part of the baffling wonders of God.

With you,

P.S.: Prayers are more than welcome.
P.P.S.: Nazareth and Rose wrote me saying the following:
            "...[we] visited Kay Pov, and it was a changed atmosphere, they were happy, clean clothes, food cooking, Alex brought us around to see the shower... Walter... gave us hugs! Tiffany did not run away, said hello, it was special...the good work continues." Amen! God is Good!

Friday, April 15, 2011

fertile ground for intimacy

In The Pilgrimage, the author, Paulo Coelho writes, "When you travel, you experience, in a very practical way, the act of rebirth. You confront completely new situations, the day passes more slowly..." creating fertile ground to confront oneself. Traveling with someone close to you magnifies that confrontation, in my opinion at least.

The decision to go cross-country from Florida to California had its practical reasons: visiting friends and Catholic Workers along the way, visiting my future school, finding housing, etc. Deeper than that though, I searched for revelation. The revelation of whatever God wanted me to know at the moment. Although it was not part of my plan, as a result of that search I've reached a deeper intimacy with God and myself. The revelations along the way allow me to further know God's face and my own. This allows me to trust God fully, aiding me to die to self more willingly, and therefore be redeemed, sanctified, inhabited by the Spirit, and grow more intimate with God.

The journey carries its challenges; I feel God's presence as a constant and growth follows. Accompanying an intimate other can be more testing than accompanying those whom you are less vulnerable to, but as a cause of that there seems to be an even greater opportunity of transformation.

The road trip continues providing fertile ground for the conversion of heart.

With you,

Thursday, April 7, 2011

a question from a friend

I leave tomorrow morning on a road trip to the West Coast. Along the way I will be visiting loved ones in different states, Catholic Worker houses and my future graduate school in California. I plan to be open during our pilgrimage, allowing God to cleanse my soul along the journey. I will write along the way.

In 2007 I wrote in my journal of aspirations, "find a graduate program perfect for me, with tuition paid." I received an email three days ago congratulating me for receiving an award that will pay for my three years of graduate school in California. I reread the email three times and sat in complete gratitude. 

A friend questioned me, "Don't you feel guilty for receiving so much?" 
"I feel humbled to have been chosen, blessed and honored, yes. Guilty? no. Why? If our Creator is a generous God, an abundant mother that never ceases to give. I feel a great sense of responsibility because I know that these gifts are to be shared and given to, for, and with others." 

His question reminded me of my uncle's comment which troubled me as a child, "I don't bother God with mundane requests, why waste God's time on that?" I remember hearing that and thinking, "Oh Tio, you don't get it."

As Mami prays:
                        Oh Jesus, who said, "Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you." Through the intercession of Mary, your most holy mother, I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be granted.

I know I've written about this before, but I am constantly reminded and grateful for the reminders.

As a response to receiving the scholarship I said, "God is good." My friend's response was, "God would still be good if you didn't receive the scholarship." 
"Yes," I said, "God is good either way."

With you,