Thursday, November 22, 2012


Redeeming Ignorance

It has been a LONG time. There is a quiet and stillness that is required to write and my life has had very few moments like this which is why there has been a hiatus. I penned this months ago and am thankful that this Thanksgiving morning I have the opportunity to publish it.

Ignorance is part of the human condition and until we recognize this truth we can not be humble and let God lead. I remember the first time I realized this, it was when I came back to the Catholic church at 26. I realized that there are worlds of knowledge out there that I will never know. Even if I were to specialize in something, I will never know everything there is to know about that area I am focusing on, even if I lived forever!

This brings me to the frenzy most of us who are thoughtful and conscious get caught up in, namely politics. Both sides think their opinion is correct and the opposing argument ignorant, even evil. Can we both be right and wrong? We are all ignorant--not knowing how complex, changeable and mysterious a human being is and how perfect and unchangeable God is. And yet HE lives and expands in the minutia of life we can never grasp, and at the same time is in the bigger picture we can never see. He redeems and overcomes evil, and we join him limping along the way---doubting at times that good wins over evil--the battles are long and the war never seems to end. But it will.

We collectively and individually are human and have in our DNA the same disease of our EGO. This blinds us even more to our own ignorance. We assume things that are not true, and we attribute as God's will what is in fact our own will. Most of us are honest enough to own our own will. Our EGO (edging God Out) seeks the opposite of glorifying God. It seek to glorify oneself. We all have it, and we all are tempted and fall often. Its not a pretty sight, and it causes harm. No doubt we must do what we must to heal but we also must know that God is bigger than all of it and if we confess and repent, then there is no mountain we can't climb with HIS and all the heavenly beings ready to help.

As I digressed--I come full circle. We have to make choices daily, moment to moment, some are true to ourselves and some are not, some are good and some are evil and often these things are mutually exclusive. And when we choose -- we do so in ignorance and yet we must. In standing up for truth for good and for God we do so as imperfect and ignorant beings. So here in is the kernel-- have your mind open enough to listen, your heart open enough to love, your body open enough to feel, and your soul graced enough to seek truth and courageous enough to defend it.

Then we can choose in confidence knowing we did the best we could with what we knew at the moment, knowing that in the end we may be wrong and yet God will make it right. It seems laughable, but it is also beautiful. We are ALL human and despite our ignorance we can be redeemed and lifted up by our Almighty God. I leave you with Jesus own words that says it all, "Forgive them Father for they know not what they do."

Sunday, May 27, 2012


In God We Trust

Another milestone in our Christian and American Calendar. Pentecost Sunday is the beginning of the Holy Spirit coming into our world and being with each one of us. Memorial day is a day where we remember those who sacrificed their lives for us and an ideal they trusted.

Trust is perhaps the one element in all relationships that is tested. I have to start with my hero and Lord Jesus Christ. He trusted his sinful and weak disciples, He trusted those in the throes of sins grasp, and he trusted his Heavenly Father's plan even when it seemed just too much to bear.

It makes me realize that trust is in essence is an act of vulnerability and love. I am not so good at being vulnerable. My fiery temperament and self sufficiency always seem to often get in the way. But in this new season of my life, I have taken a huge leap of trust in my relationship with God. At times it seemed like the only choice to make as doors closed in ways that seemed to signal--STOP. And so I did.

I took a pause and let God lead and boy did He lead me into a path that my rational brain would have never anticipated. It is true I was being prepared to take this last leap of faith, nevertheless it also has to be act an of will to finally follow. Yet, despite a myriad of answered prayers and the most unlikely of doors opening--I still had doubt.

Its almost as if there is comfort in me feeling that I must do in order to deserve. As I continued in my new career path, I realized I needed a source of at least part time income in order to weather the ebbs and flows of acting until such day that God wills it otherwise. I needed something flexible, and I began to worry as my time frame was shortening. This worry was the antithesis of trusting in divine providence, especially when you are focusing on divine providence! Matthew 6:8 "Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."

I have seen this time and time again with even people who have no formal belief in God, but yet still have faith things will work out. With me it was no different. Despite my angst I surrendered to God. In the end, things worked out. It' s funny, after the fact, I wondered why I stressed myself so. Yet it's comforting to know that God loves me despite this lack of faith.

The worrying seems to be a wrestle between trying to be in control and trusting in God to provide. It true you have to seek and ask but the door will always open.
The sin of worry is that it can blind you from seeing what God is trying to give you.

If we can make that giant leap to trust God then we can take the next step in trusting one another. It should not be a wreck less or naive trust but a trust that allows for our humanity and brokenness. The Holy Spirit can both guide us in when and how to trust and can be there to catch us if the trust is broken. It may be God calls us to trust and love each other because it is in this act that we both honor Him taking care of us and help redeem one another. When we trust our neighbor despite their brokenness, we begin accepting and trusting ourselves.

My hope is that we learn to trust God day by day and moment to moment. For when we surrender to Him moment to moment then we can surrender and trust each other despite the almost inevitable disappointment. With the Holy Spirit, we can dare say in God we trust.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


God's Story Unfolding Through Us

I only meant to fast from facebook during Lent. Unintentionally, I gave up writing in my blog as well:-). I also added going to daily mass being mindful that the purpose was to get closer to Jesus. Lent is all about Jesus. We learn intimately about God thru Jesus mortal life and then thru his glorious resurrected Life. No doubt today is the most Joyous day in the Christian calender. Jesus is risen from the dead with a transfigured immortal body!

This Lent and Triduum (Holy Thursday thru Saturday), however, was different for me. In the past, I always saw Lent and the Triduum as a necessary evil. I could not wait for it to end so that Easter would finally be here. This year I embraced Lent as a time to really walk with Jesus and see what he did for me. I took it personally.

And on a day that ended up being a milestone for my career. I was caressed by Jesus love. Before I was emailed and called with the good news, I was in my car at the parking lot across from Trader Joe's in Millbrae. It was the end of the last full week of Lent. I reflected on what was going to happen the following week. And I teared up as I realized how great His Love really was. How great thou art. The double meanings say it all.

I told a friend who was visiting me thru the Triduum and into Easter, " He made it all about us, and now we make it all about HIM." The full circle of love. When we are loved and we know it and feel it, we are naturally drawn to respond back. That is the nature of love. We receive and we give love and as the cycle continues..Love grows.

Easter is beautiful and miraculous. But let us not forget that the true miracle, the deeper joy of Easter is all because of Lent and Good Friday. The cross is beautiful because it reminds us how deep God's Love is; in turn our capacity to love can become as deep and powerful if we embrace HIS love. That is the most beautiful story that God is unfolding through us.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


The Power of Silence

This world can pull us from all sides. We worry about the future, we have people engage us in battle, injustice seems all too prevalent, or we dream and are focused and act on achieving our dream. It can be an intellectual dream to attain further education, a goal in a career or something personal like getting married or starting a family. The noise in our minds can be overpowering. And sometimes getting busy, communicating aimlessly or getting distracted in some way seems like the thing we need to do to silence our minds so we can get away from the anguish of living in the future or ruminating about past mistakes.

Paradoxically the opposite is true. If we sit and are silent, slowly the voices stop. Slowly we let God work and let God in. This is not a luxury; it is necessary. And so in this vein I will end with the noise with a true personal story of when silence saved me.

Long ago when I was in college, the Internet, cell phones, iPhones, Facebook and all the wonders of technology were either in their infancy or not a current inspiration in our world. In those days, I had incredible moments of total faith and dependence on God. This one moment was one of those magical times I will always remember.

I was attending U of I in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. I could not have been more than 20 or 21 and I was driving back after a weekend trip to Chicago. I was driving an older Honda Civic when suddenly my vehicle locked up and died. I managed to pull off the road away from oncoming traffic. It was about 6pm and it was getting dark. I was on the south side of Chicago in not such a safe part of town. There wasn't any technology to aid me. It is a grace filled moment when you are alone and perceive helplessness and impending danger.

After my brain flooded me with all the catastrophes that could happen, I paused and thought to myself, “Pray.” I made the choice and had to get to a quiet and silent place. My mind quieted and I prayed that someone would come help me. After finishing the prayer, I was at peace sitting in the car.

The noise of my logical mind came back at me," Well you can't just sit here. You have to get out and try to flag someone down." Almost as soon as I got out of the car, I noticed that two gentlemen had already stopped. The first was in front of me in a station wagon. He was a middle-aged professional-looking white man about 35. I will call him Ed, since I can't remember his name.

At first I was relieved but then the noise filled my head:"Oh he could be a pervert. They come in all shapes and sizes you know." Then I turned and noticed someone behind me. He was another middle-aged African-American man in a beat-up pick up truck. That fear was greater, and so I thanked him for stopping and said the gentleman in front was first.

I decided to let the noise go and was friendly and greeted Ed. He asked what had happened and I explained. After looking under the hood he asked if I would like a ride to the gas station and see about my car. I said sure. As I got in the passenger’s side of his station wagon, I began to be talkative and friendly as if he was a long lost family friend. After a few minutes, he turned to me and said, "You are awfully calm." "When I stopped I did not know that you were a young woman and I thought you might be scared." I said as a matter of fact, "Oh, well I knew it was going to be OK, because I prayed." Ed's face went white as a sheet. He then told me his story.

He was in a rush trying to get to a dinner party and was running late. He saw a stranded vehicle and a person out of his peripheral vision and thought, “No, I don't have time to stop unfortunately.” As he passed my car, he felt a knife stab in the heart and a voice say turn back.

He said he was a born again Christian, and it is not often he gets these types of signs but when he does he listens. We bonded immediately. After taking me to the gas station, he took me to meet his wife and children. After socializing for a bit, I asked him to drop me off at the greyhound bus so that I could get back to school. We hugged and knew we would never see each other again, but we were both moved for having gone through a grace filled moment.

In our interior and exterior battles here on this earth, it is my prayer that you and I will take the time to silence the voices. That we take the time to be still and listen. God awaits us in the power of silence.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Who is My Brother's Keeper?

It's an age old philosophical question, am I responsible for you? And in the words of a sweet and searching friend, to what extent and where does it end? At the moment she posed this query to me, I answered in earnest, I don't know but I let God/Love lead the way.

Responsibility can tax us but at the same time it deepens us in the knowledge of love and God. This in turn enhances our joy and gives meaning to our lives. In order to begin to answer this question, I have to begin with the Word from the Word made flesh Himself. In Luke 10:25-37 Jesus expands the meaning of love your neighbor as yourself query by telling a story in a parable. A man is robbed and beaten and left for dead. Two passersby take no notice. It is only the Samaritan who is moved with pity that follows through with action and takes cares of the robbed and wounded person found on the road.

We are responsible for each other, even though the world tells us we are not. The world tells us we are island responsible for our own destiny. This flies in the face of a loving God and is a lie. For we are born of another human being. Our mother's and father's choices impact us in and out of the womb and it continues from there. Our action and inaction impacts others and viceversa. It is something I fail at daily, but numbing my conscience or rationalizing is a graver sin.

There are so many examples in my life where I have failed people and where people have failed me. This past Christmas God made me focus on my own needs for a change, and two critical examples changed my life. First, a longer term friend of mine a few years ago decided to join an order and discern if becoming a sister was in fact what God was calling her to. She was a kind and loyal friend but she like me is human. I forgot this simple truth and assumed she was more trustworthy and kinder than most including me. During one particular Christmas where I had grown closer to her and relied on her more, she had other focuses and desires. Her lack of compassion devastated me. The details of what transpired are not important, but the theme and talk we eventually had led to the truth that came out of her mouth…her reality at the time...I am not responsible for you.

In essence she was saying I am not my sister’s keeper. This hurt me and thru my tears she insisted we could remain friends even though I wanted to let it go at this point. I tried to rationalize my hurt feelings away and for many reasons I acquiesced to her request to remain friends. I lied to myself and to her. My will chose to give it a go but my heart remained wounded, and in order to protect myself I was guarded in our conversations and communications. This continued for a couple of years while she was a novice out of state.

Then my acting program came this past summer, and I became more aware of how we impact each other. I also found freedom in living truthfully. As difficult as I knew it would be and knowing that the outcome was likely not going to be what I hoped it would be, I decided to be honest with my friend.

Unfortunately, my two years of not being honest had taken a toll on her. She told me she sensed I was not happy and was worried. Yet she never brought it up. I requested we at least speak on the phone but she insisted we keep things via email. In a sense I think she was trying to have God be her total focus and rightly so, and she felt in order to do that she had to let go of past connections. My choice to be honest may have allowed her to finally make the break she felt she needed to. She chose to let me go. Also, I knew she could no longer stand the pain and broke of all connections including facebook. Ironically, it may have been the most compassionate thing she could do at the time. I have faith our interrupted conversation will resume again one day.

The second pivotal point for me is also paradoxical. Juxtaposed to my prior example, this friend was very new, only a few weeks old. And on the flip side, this friend showed me compassion and a level of care I can honestly say I have never experienced. This touched me and made me cry for quite different reasons. In my weakest moment leading up to sharing with this friend, I had turned to God. This process had me get in touch with much deeper truths about myself and also created a very deep bond with my new friend in a very short period of time. He conversely knew about compassion and felt that we were responsible for each other. He communicated as much.

We both had intentions of being and remaining friends but then we met. Meeting was a natural extension of the compassion and care we had exhibited toward each other, but I also knew it would hasten the end of a deeply caring and involved friendship. I knew this because we were the complementary sex; he was a man and I was a woman.

The age difference was not large enough to circumvent the natural dance that happened between us despite our willed and conscious intentions. That dance was so strong that I immediately knew our compassionate friendship would in the end be very temporary. And I called it by name as I flew back home. We struggled to remain friends and stay connected. I tried to be real about the change and I knew it was either going to be progress naturally or end, and yet I longed for that compassionate friend.

My honesty about the change had him slowly disconnect from being a compassionate friend. It was painful knowing and accepting that he willfully chose to stop caring. Yet he didn't want to completely let go and wanted to have a distant connection. I thought we could give it a go but then found I could not. It was too painful for me this time. Ironically, I let him go and perhaps it was the most compassionate thing I could do at the time. Here too, I have faith our interrupted conversation will resume again one day.

In the beginning and endings of all our connections, whether they are friendships, a mate, a child or a stranger, we are called to the same. We are called to be responsible. And being responsible is sometimes painful and sometimes beyond what we can bear. At times like this all we need to remember Jesus. He took all the responsibility and it was extremely painful! However, because of this we are promised God's grace and hence we can be more responsible than we think we can be.

We are called to be responsible for each other's physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual well-being. And to answer the initial query of my friend now…where does this end? It never ends. Because it isn't up to us…it’s up to God and his grace. Although we can't control other's choices such as the choice to interrupt the conversation or the level of care they allow themselves to feel and show, we can continue to pray for them. We can continue the divine conversation.

We can ask our whole community here on earth and in heaven to intercede for their well-being. We can keep carrying our prayers and them in our hearts right into the next world. May God grant us the grace moment to moment in this life so we can know how and when to act. May He gracefully correct our missteps and give us courage to joyfully bear the pain. So that then, in every breath we take, we can answer with confidence, "I am my brother's keeper!"

Saturday, January 14, 2012


The Sweet Joy of Surrendering to God's Waves

I am sooo lucky to live where I live. And for all of you that live in
the bay area: rejoice! It's mid-January, and it's 60, sunny, and clear.
On top of that, for a lot of us the ocean is only 20 minutes away. I am at
Half moon Bay again, Teddieless this time. It's a little windy but
outside of that a perfect day in my opinion.

That's why I left Chicago. As I have told countless people, I counted
the actual days that were pleasant in Chicago... 76 out of 365 the year
I last lived there. Here it is more like 300 days. The bay area is
sunny and mild most days while the Chicago area was overcast, frigid, or
hot as a stove most days I remember it.

I wonder sometimes if the climate affects our soul, as well. Many of
the friends I left in Chicago were hard, cynical, and deathly afraid of
change. Maybe that's the way I was to some degree. A couple of my best friends tried to control their environment, I guess out of necessity, and when that
failed they acquiesced to the inevitable waves that came.

I hoped they would eventually become like surfers riding the wave: twisting and
turning with their intentions yet surrendering to what they expected
and didn't quite expect. They never quite got there. They then tried
to control the truth I spoke in love, and in the end our friendships
ended. These were long-term personal and close friendships that
navigated many storms together, and yet the last storms were too much
to weather. Their past mistakes haunted them, and the waves
eventually capsized our friendship, a major interruption in this life.

But I rode that wave knowing there were other roads God's will would
lead us to individually. God is so great that way; even in our
missteps, even in our hurt and in our anger, He always gently tries to
lead us to a joyful and happy place. Surrendering to God's will would
seem desirable if it meant not only accepting the waves but actually
enjoying them!

One friend recently asked me, "What does that mean:
surrendering to God's will?"

Well, humbly and as low to the ground as I can be, I will try to answer
that query on a slightly deeper level. God makes us all unique and
unrepeatable. God designed us all for a purpose. However, we are not
quite polished yet, not quite the perfect piece to fit in the grand
mosaic of heaven. And so we are here to have our edges polished.

As an example: my candor can sting your illusion, and your resistance
brings even more of my candor out. We cut and shape each other, perhaps
with some angst. Or my candor brings out your reflection and gentle
agreement or disagreement, and we dialogue and shape each other another
way. My candor can be gentle or sharp, but it is my gift to the world,
sometimes wanted and sometimes not. And the world's response to my
candor, whether gentle or sharp, is its gift to me, whether I want it
or not.:-)

Surrendering to God's will for me means being true about my needs and
about my desire to love. It's about my desire to be as transparent as
I can be, having full confidence that God's will will be done, that in
this surrender things will be mutually decided, and the path will
naturally narrow. Trying to please everyone or fit in everywhere is, in
short, trying to force things. This naturally will lead to

Trying to impose our own will and control the flow of communication
and the expression of love will lead to resistance. So the choice
simply becomes being true to ourselves and true with God and true with
one another in the moment and letting God/Love in to the situations that polish our
edges or trying to control what happens by shutting out Love/God or
trying to force it.

Both scenarios bring dramatic moments, healing moments, joyful
moments, pleasurable moments, exciting moments, sad moments, peaceful
moments, and resistant moments at times. The more we love, the easier
the polishing is to handle, and the more we resist, the more painful
the polishing will be.

In the end, if we embrace it all we will find an overarching peace
and joy knowing God/Love is in charge. Even though we will dance in
this life between surrendering to God's/Love's will and imposing our
own ego, I pray all of us, while living and upon exiting this life,
allow ourselves to experience and to trust the sweet joy of
surrendering to God's waves.

Sunday, January 8, 2012



It's amazing to me that I could be Catholic for so long and not know what this feast means until now. That alone should keep me humble, knowing that I know so little it constitutes not knowing at all for all practical purposes:-).

The feast of the Epiphany is the next to last day of Christmas and celebrates when the Magi followed the star all the way to where the baby Jesus was with Mary. They brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh and did him homage. They recognized that this infant was God incarnate. For more information on this special day here is a good article on the celebration:

Because Epiphany is such a powerful word, I looked for definitions of what it means. Here is what I found. The first two are from Wikepedia. I have attached the link for those who want full context:

The word epiphany originally referred to insight through the divine.[6] Today, this concept is used much more often and without such connotations, but a popular implication remains that the epiphany is supernatural, as the discovery comes suddenly from the outside.

An epiphany (from the ancient Greek ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, "manifestation, striking appearance") is the sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something. The term is used in either a philosophical or literal sense to signify that the claimant has "found the last piece of the puzzle and now sees the whole picture," or has new information or experience, often insignificant by itself, that illuminates a deeper or numinous foundational frame of reference.

And one last from e·piph·a·ny

1. ( initial capital letter ) a Christian festival observed on January 6, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi; Twelfth-day.
2. an appearance or manifestation, especially of a deity.
3. a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.
4. a literary work or section of a work presenting, usually symbolically, such a moment of revelation and insight.

1275-1325; Middle English epiphanie < Late Latin epiphanīaepipháneia, Greek: apparition, equivalent to epi- epi- + phan- (stem of phaínein to appear) + -eia -y3

Epiphany (holiday), a Christian holiday on January 6 celebrating the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus Epiphany (feeling), a sudden realization of great truth.

For me, after reading these articles, I feel epiphanies are rare. In a sense we are always seeking and discovering new realities both collectively and individually, but rarely is that final piece revealed.

If our life is a puzzle then we are always collecting and putting a new piece in. We see more clearly what the picture is but more often than not we don't see the whole picture. That could range from a broad question like, "What is the purpose of my life?", to a very specific question like, "Why do certain people enter my life?" or "Who has God willed to be my mate?". We seek answers and get some confirmations. We can see some reasons, but rarely do we see the whole picture.

This first week of the new year for me, I have received lots of signs. The first is in what I have received unexpectedly in career options and deeper friendship connections. Later, some very powerful and unexpected feelings were revealed to me. Finally, prayers were answered and signs pointed me to someone, and doors closed away from others. The purpose, reason and outcome I do not know. What I do know is that God/Love has milestones in mind for me this year. He has prepared my heart.

As we journey in this life not knowing what the next moment will bring and not knowing when our efforts will pay off, let us trust in the divine voice that resides in us. Let's trust it to guide us through the light and dark moments. To trust that step by misstep, if we hold on to God and Love as much as we can in this life, we will eventually see the Epiphany.