A moment of spiritual rest

My Franciscan friend and I continue to dream of this epic novel which we will entitle: Heaven is Pink. It would be a book that would speak of our spiritual memoirs especially in our years at Saint Anne of the Sunset (the walls of this parish are pink … hence the title). Here is my attempt at an insert to this future memoir.

I had the privilege of taking a little extra time to stop by Saint Anne of the Sunset for one day of the centennial old novena to Good Saint Anne. In previous chapters of my life, I was able to attend the complete novena, even up to several times in one day. The novena had an endearing impression on me. When I was a teenager studying music at the San Francisco Conservatory, when it was still located on Ortega, my grandmother and I often walked down the street from her home and found ourselves at this parish, picking up the yellow stock paper cards which had fainted print to the novena prayers to this venerable grandmother of Jesus.

In my young adult life, I returned to Saint Anne of the Sunset on many different occasions to help pastors at that time – from directing choirs to introducing contemporary music by hauling my keyboard each Saturday to the parish. This year, I returned simply as a pilgrim and that was a beautiful experience.

I had the opportunity to journey within my heart as I heard the faint sounds of the N Judah muni rumble through the streets, to gaze at the enormous stain glass windows, to peak into Anne’s little shrine, gaze at the icon chapels surrounding the church …. and remember. I remembered all those special moments in my life hidden within the walls of Judah Street’s largest church. I remembered the countless relationships that were created, fostered, and sustained within Anne’s home.

The Redemptorists Priests who come for these nine days welcomed me as a friend to join them for a cup of coffee, reconnect, and laugh about the many joys of life. For me, it was such a beautiful moment to be fed by spiritual friendship. I am grateful. It adds to another page of this future memoir which I will one day write with my endearing Franciscan sister.

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The happiest day of my life …

It’s the day I met my bride at the altar and she met me, and we embarked on a vocation and a sacrament that we joyfully take on for the rest of our lives. 33780713_971071533061262_6902018337367130112_n

It was a day I realized where my journey, with its many directions, came to a clear focus, a celebration to the bride whom I have come to deeply love.

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May we always be mindful of Love, may we be courageous in living life with gratitude, may we not be shackled with grudges, but clothed with the beauty of goodness all the days of our life.

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Interior Disposition

cropped-12670625_1043880122349208_7485065142345623303_n.jpgI feel that Easter is an awesome time for reflection. We have fifty days of being with the Risen Christ. On that Easter morning, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome found the tomb empty. The angel told them to go to Galilee where they will see him. Why Galilee? It is the place where they first met the Lord, where they first caught his gaze, they learned to love him. Knowing now that he had risen from the dead, they go back to retell the story and realize with greater depth and truth, his message that will change the course of history. They ran back to their Galilee. The Holy Father put it eloquently:

In the life of every Christian, after baptism there is also another “Galilee”, a more existential “Galilee”: the experience of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ who called me to follow him and to share in his mission.  In this sense, returning to Galilee means treasuring in my heart the living memory of that call, when Jesus passed my way, gazed at me with mercy and asked me to follow him. To return there means reviving the memory of that moment when his eyes met mine, the moment when he made me realize that he loved me.

In today’s Gospel, we hear of another disciple of Jesus, doubting Thomas. We can often be a reflection of Thomas when we are so unbelieving in the wonder of what God can do for us. We have moments when we fail to recognize the Resurrection of Christ in those parts of our lives that remain in darkness and that remain in the shadow of Good Friday. Perhaps, we desire to remain in the Good Friday feelings of lost hope and despair thinking that God cannot be bigger than our personal issues and tragedies.

The Easter Season calls us out of this mode. As the baptized, we are called to live in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. God takes despair and gives hope; God takes a tragedy and allows the light of Christ to curse the darkness. There is no tragedy so great, no sin, no situation in which God’s mercy cannot break through, in which God’s love cannot redeem us.

Let us return to our Galilee, return to our first love and to that moment when we received that flame ignited us for the preaching of the Gospel and of the Resurrection of Christ. To find Galilee is not like the search for Easter eggs in which we try to find something outside of ourselves. It is the journey within, a journey to the heart! Galilee is that place where we know him by his name and he calls us by OUR NAME!

 

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