The strange, little dog, Romeo and the miracle of recovery

st-therese-shower-of-roses-001My little dog, Romeo, some kind of Terrier mix, just did the weirdest thing.  He is covered head-to-toe in red, Georgia clay dirt.  He dug a big hole in the backyard and rolled around in it, smashing his moppy face in a circular motion in the bottom of the hole, having the time of his life.   He is the strangest little dog!  He has lots of wild hair.  The red dirt made him look like a miniature, deranged werewolf.  I called my son from his studies to come and see.  I could not stop laughing.  Jay cracked several smiles, though he is not a fan of Romeo…well, not yet, at least.  I took a video with my Iphone and shot it to Jerry at work who was very amused.

Like most of the family, I am a big dog type.  We have a female, Huskie mix named Tyler.  For over 14 years, the “world’s best dog,” Tanner, stood guard over our back yards, nearly as big as a Great Dane.  Continue reading

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simonMeditate on this very slowly:

“I am asked for very little compared to how much I am being given.” — 

 St. Jose Maria Escriva


Kathy and Linh Troung escaped Vietnam with nothing but their clothes. Now they have four boys including Br. Eric who just finished his two-year novitiate. Here they are celebrating altogether with their baby boy Giovanni!


Thank God today for all the blessings in your life!

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What Francis didn’t say

With Fr Scot Reilly LC and Donna Garrett

With Fr Scot Reilly LC and Donna Garrett

I think Archbishop Kurtz summed it up well by saying that being in Philadelphia with Pope Francis this week was like being on retreat, like hearing again that “original call” from Christ. And while the Holy Father’s words were incredibly meaningful, there was something else that struck me powerfully.

Nothing in the course of history has been as impactful as language: on a person, on a community, on a culture. It has been our connector throughout time. God himself became WORD, knowing the resonance he would have in our hearts for generations. Writing is art and a space for community.  It is a unique medium, inviting us to grow in our maturity, understanding, and humanity: touching our minds, hearts and experience in an integrated way.  It can connect culture and life with truth, dialogue and our shared, but deeply personal human experience. Continue reading

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Lifting my Heart towards Heaven

Lifting my Heart towards HeavenJust a few blocks away from our university is the Almudena Cathedral, the church of the patron of Madrid, Our Lady of Almudena. The name comes from the Arab word for “wall” or “citadel”. When the Christians re-conquered the city from the Muslims in the 11th century, the soldiers found the image of the Virgin in the wall that surrounded the city. It had been hidden there for three centuries, and it was miraculously found next to a lighted candle.

During a guided tour of the cathedral, our tour guide enlightened us about the architecture of the church. It is built in the neo-Gothic style, begun in 1879 and not finished until 1993 — a very new church, especially for Spain. The use of arches causes the roof´s pressure to rest on the arches and pillars instead of on the walls, which allowed for the use of many stained-glass windows to enlighten the external walls. These windows passed on the stories of the faith to the illiterate, as a method of catechesis.

It impressed me to reflect on churches as a place of worship and catechesis, places that draw our eyes and our hearts upwards towards God. Just being in one of these Spanish churches lifts my heart to heaven, through the very shape, architecture, and artwork, from the images on the windows to the statues in the side chapels. As I look around at the constant stream of tourists in the pews, I wonder how many of them are there because of their faith, and how many are just taking selfies for their Facebook account. Either way, these churches, whether ancient in age or in style, continue their purpose of lifting people´s hearts to God, whether they realize it or not.

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Family prayer

prayer     “The family, like the Church, ought to be a place where the Gospel is transmitted and from which the Gospel radiates…the future of evangelization depends in great part on the Church of the home”–  St. John Paul II

Besides grace before meals, I have seen many other beautiful examples of family prayer.  While joining a family for breakfast, the dad read a Bible verse and gave a brief reflection to the kids.  Another couple told me that they read Scripture every morning together at 645 am and share some reflections, and one or two of kids will come down in their pajamas to join them.  Other families will occasionally pray the rosary together in front of a Marian image…do any of you have other ideas that work for your family to share?

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#internationalcommunityI know I live in an international community when:

I wrote an email to a friend the other day and she responded asking me why my email information was in German. Actually, in this house we have electronic devices set to German, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and English. Sometimes I realize that when suddenly I don´t know what to click to copy-paste.

I sit down to a lunch conversation in Spanish, which is the second (or third) language of every person at the table. Continue reading

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knots“The Virgin Mary, “cause of our joy” always brings us back to joy in the Lord, who comes to free us from so many interior and exterior slaveries.” – Pope Francis

Today we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady Untier of Knots. While in Philadelphia last week for the Pope’s visit, I saw tens of thousands of “prayer knots” next to the Cathedral. People were writing down their seemingly impossible petitions and asking Our Lady to ask her Son Jesus to untie them!


What knot would you like Jesus to untie in your life? Ask his Mother to help you.  

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Holy Father, thank you for the challenge

photo-1420593248178-d88870618ca0Perhaps there are two Pope’s visiting America.

There is one I see on television, besieged by cheering crowds who clearly love him, for both the holy man he is and the Christian faith he represents.  People are grateful to simply get a glimpse, feel the warmth of his smile, bask in the joy of his love for others.

The other Pope is the one I read about in commentaries, hear analyzed by pundits on the airwaves and who seems to be claimed as an ally by every controversial social and political cause.

I choose to enjoy the first Pope, who is the Pope who tugs at my heart and challenges me – and perhaps you – to radical Christianity.

The professional politicians, commentators and news analysts were hoping for a Pope very different from the real one.  Perhaps there were expecting a politician, a conservative, a liberal, a Peronist, a bureaucrat or a community activist.

What they got – and what I welcome – is someone a lot more like Moses. Continue reading

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So Close

solomonI’ve always been amazed by the description of Solomon’s Temple: the dimensions, the gold, the cedar, the massive cherubim statues (1 Kings 6). It’s grandiose! The Israelites fostered a breathtaking awe for the presence of God in their midst. No ordinary person could enter the Holy of Holies. Only the high priest could enter once a year on the Day of Atonement. God’s presence among us is awesome in the true sense of the word, and the Hebrews lived it. God is awesome, and yet, God is close. Continue reading

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Worthy of Trust

gronChrist deserves our trust. In the reading from the book of wisdom the people want to put someone to the test to see if he is worthy of being trusted. This person in Christ. In the gospel He tells his disciples how far He his willing to go to show his love for us. Recently in a friend of mine told me that the cross is more than just the suffering of Christ, but it is his love. When He told his disciples that He was to die, He wanted to tell them that He loved them and how great that love was. He was willing to die and then to rise to come back to them. This is what Christ is willing to do for us. This is what we are invited to do to be his disciples. We are invited to show love our love for God in every circumstance. To really love Him beyond the feelings and to be faithful till death in our love for Him as He was for us. God is faithful and we trust Him for that. He trusts us, we must live up to this trust by taking care of what He has given us.

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