In the News: The Shroud going on display

The Shroud of Turin, which as you may know is believed by many Christians to be Jesus Christ’s burial cloth, will go on public display again in the Spring of 2010. Pope Benedict XVI made the announcement today at the Vatican. The Shroud was last on display in 2000. After many years and many scientific tests, it has not been proven that it is specifically the shroud of Jesus. However, what all that research has established is that the Shroud image cannot have been man-made using any of the techniques of art or science used throughout history, and that it does not have the makings of a phony or fake or imitation. Scientists cannot explain to date with any certainty how the images came to be.

Personally, because I believe in the resurrection of Christ, I choose to believe the Shroud of Turin is real, and that it confirms the Passion story. Imagine, this could mean that we have an actual picture of Jesus. Click on the linked article for more.

Pope announces new display of Shroud of Turin http://www.reuters.com/articlePrint?articleId=USL025228720080602 June 2, 2008
Source: Reuters    shroud-of-turin-face

 

Note-Worthy: Understanding Stem Cell Research

For a comprehensive explanation of the facts and controversies surrounding stem cell research, I recommend you look into the article linked below.

Understanding Stem Cell Research
February, 2008
http://www.kofc.org/un/eb/en/resources/cis/CIS326.pdf
Source: Knights of Columbus

Let me tell you something…


…my
friends, in the words of (and a flashback to 80’s TV is needed here) Sergeant Esterhaus, “Hey, let’s be careful out there.”  Because it is a dangerous world we are living in.

        The more one reads or watches the news these days the sicker one gets.  While switching through the news channels last night, my hubby and I were talking about how incredibly bad things have gotten.  So many people, all ages, disappearing or being found dead, if they are found at all; kids, teenagers, being abused, assaulted, and so on.  No need for statistics here, it’s simply sickening.

        When it comes to the issue of safety, typically, with us, it has been the practice to keep our children at arm’s length at all times, and consequently why we usually travel in a pack.  Aside from the fact that we have always enjoyed our kids’ company, we feel a bit more relaxed when they are with us, under our blanket, if you will.  I realize this borders paranoia sometimes, but we can’t help it, we seemingly haven’t been able to “let go,” much to the criticism of some, but we like it that way.  So we’ve always thought ourselves as cautious parents, aware of our children’s surroundings and what have you.

        Then, last night while talking about some of the horrific cases we had watched while channel surfing, we flashed back to some of our hotel stays during our travels when we have sometimes let the kids go down the hall to fill up the ice buckets, and other times, although seldom, go up to the room by themselves to get something while we wait inthe lobby.  All of a sudden, panic set in upon the realization that what has seemed in the past like such a harmless and safe thing to do, can be so life-threatening nowadays. Let me tell you something:  we are NOT doing that anymore.  We can’t.  Particularly since during our long trips we often travel through many small and peculiar towns where we make stops.  Just thinking about that last night made the hair in back of my neck stand up.  I came out of the TV room and called them both to the hall and stood them there and said to them with the utmost level of urgency:  “Listen up kids, new rule in effect:  from now on neither one of you is to…… specifically when you go out or travel with someone other than us.”  I mean, when things are meant to happen, undoubtedly they will happen, but I don’t want to put ourselves in a position where we would facilitate these occurrences for the evil doers out there.  Not on our watch if we can help it, you know what I mean?

        It is unfortunate that we have to live so afraid for our children, for their safety and wellbeing.  But that’s the reality.  Some of you reading this have teenagers, who, as it turns out, are the hardest ones to educate and/or convince about this safety issue, as well as other issues, particularly the dangers they are exposed to through technology, i.e. the internet.  That, in and of itself, is a nightmare and something we must stay on top of constantly.  Don’t ever think that danger can’t reach out of a computer screen and grab your kids.  It most certainly can, just watch the news, namely last night’s segment regarding 8 teens accused of kidnapping and assaulting another teen, resulting from comments posted on MySpace.

       Often our kids don’t want to understand the restrictions we impose on them, be it social or intellectual.  They think they know everything and believe themselves invincible and immune to any of the dangers lurking about.  Be that as it may, we must educate them and open their eyes to what’s out there and help them stay safe.  Even when our children don’t live with us anymore, are away at college, or whatever the case may be, as parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, we must not think twice about staying involved and drilling our kids on these issues.  No matter how repetitive they say we sound, it is critical that we remain relentless.

        Of course we pray, of course we trust God and put ourselves and mostly our children in His hands.  But at the end of the day, it is our responsibility to keep our children’s safety and wellbeing on the front burner, all the time. “Train a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.

        Let’s be conscious of this privilege, and duty, given to us by our Lord, and teach and train them well.  And most of all people, let’s be careful out there.


-by Connie Perez

Children miss nothing in sizing up their parents.  If you are only half convinced of your beliefs, they will quickly discern that fact.  Any ethical weak spot-any indecision on your part-will be incorporated and then magnified in your sons and daughters.  Their faith or faithlessness will be a reflection of our own.
Dr. James Dobson

          P  Please consider the environment before printing this article.

Travel for the Soul: A Different Kind of Farm

        We recently returned from a week-long stay in Peachtree City, Georgia, where we spent spring break with my brother and his family.  While there, we took a day trip to Conyers to visit, for the first time, the site where the Blessed Mother appeared 49 times on the 13th of each month from 1990 to 1998.  On our way to Conyers, I thought about what the place would be like.  For years, I read a lot of articles regarding the events occurring there, and so I had an idea of what to expect, but to be honest, it turns out I had imagined a place very different from the one I saw.

        We arrived at the site, which is on a farm, early that morning.  Initially, we thought we could be at the wrong place, because there was no one else there.  And I mean no one, as in deserted.  It wasn’t until a few minutes after our arrival that we spotted, making their exit, the only other people we saw there that day — a couple and their dog.  Typically, the Farm, as it is called, is visited the most on the 13th of each month, and during certain religious feast days.  Given that the day of our visit was neither, I figured we weren’t going to see a large crowd, but I didn’t think we would find ourselves there in total solitude.  This just added a level of eeriness to our experience, as later confirmed by my husband and kids when they said the place was spooky and freaky.  It was you know, but it turns out, in a special kind of way.

        As we made our way through the Farm, we stopped at various points of interest.  There’s the Statue of Our Loving Mother, a nine-foot marble statue which is visible as you first drive up to the Farm; there’s Rosary Hill, where meditation of the Mystery of the Rosary takes place; the Spirituality Center, where retreats and seminars are held; the Sacred Heart Grotto; the Blessed Well and Water, depicting the Biblical passage of the Samaritan woman at the well with Jesus; the Mother of God Catholic Church Sanctuary, a beautiful little church established in 1998, where visitors can confess, hear mass, and receive Communion; and there’s the Welcoming Center.  But out of all of the interesting spots found at the Farm, the one that really made an impact on us, and I suspect does on most people as well, was the Shrine of Our Loving Mother, where the “Apparition Room” and the “Divine Mercy Room” are housed.  In these rooms, housewife and mother, Nancy Fowler, experienced the apparitions of the Blessed Mother and of Jesus Christ between 1990 and 1998.

        When we entered the Shrine, I immediately felt an incredible sense of peace.  So did my family, they later told me.  And no, it wasn’t because we were the only ones in the room that day, it just felt different.  This room contains various holy statues, it is filled with flowers, informational pamphlets, and there are blessed medals and rosaries which one can take home.  But the most telling objects in that room are the baskets filled with the many written prayers and petitions of those who had visited before us.  We walked around both rooms observing, reading the literature, and commenting on some of the items in them.  Then at one point my son said, “What if she appears now?” and we all looked at each other with…..ah…..yeah that kinda frozen expression, and with nothing to say.  My daughter too, while we were in the Divine Mercy Room sitting in front of the crucifix where Jesus appeared, said, “If He pops up now I’ll die.”  Their comments may have sounded a bit childish to me initially, but in retrospect, I must say I was highly impressed by the way both of them behaved and how seriously and faithfully they took this experience.  The simplicity of their comments implied that they acknowledged the possibility of that actually occurring, and showed how much faith there was in them.  Besides, I’ll be honest, I was sorta having the same “what if” thoughts.  You couldn’t help it.  The setting was conducive to that.  What would you have thought?  

        Eventually, after some time, the four of us sat down to write our prayers and petitions and dropped them in the baskets along with all the other ones.  I felt such a strong and open connection with Jesus and Mary as I sat there writing, that it was just amazing.  Even more amazing was the feeling I got when I realized, as I looked around the room, not just where I was, but who was with me there sharing that moment.  When I glanced at my husband and children sitting there, engulfed in faith, writing in their little pieces of paper their own thoughts, I couldn’t help but feeling blessed.

        We made our way through the rest of the Farm that day and ended our visit at the church.  I felt a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.  Not unlike what I feel after visiting a new place when we travel, but this time with the added feeling of gratitude.  I couldn’t believe that the place I had seen in pictures always crowded with people, was on that day, all ours.  I was so taken by how quiet it was there and how alone we were, in the physical sense that is, not in the spiritual sense.  Because as my husband said after we left, “There was definitely a presence in that farm.”  Now, that was freaky my friends, and definitely special.  

        In that humble farm, a woman had visions of Mary and Jesus, and made public their messages.  Messages containing warnings, reassurances and hope for all of us, skeptics and believers alike.  Which are you?  In her last apparition, our Blessed Mother assured her faithful followers that blessings would continue to be given to all those who visited the Farm and prayed to her.  It is because of that, that I share my story with you; in the hopes that, if you haven’t already, you make some time to visit this holy site, so you too may experience this different kind of farm.

-by Connie Perez

The Farm                    &nbs
p;                                      Statute of Our Loving Mother
     
Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2008 Connie Perez. All rights       Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2008 Connie Perez. All rights
reserved.                                                                                    reserved.

Rosary Hill                                            Apparition Room
     
Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2008 Connie Perez. All rights        Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2008 Connie Perez. All rights
reserved.                                                                                     reserved.

Divine Mercy Room                                            Blessed Well and Water
    
Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2008 Connie Perez. All rights          Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2008 Connie Perez. All rights
reserved.                                                                                       reserved.

Mother of God Catholic Church

Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2008 Connie Perez. All rights
reserved.

You may read all about the history and the apparitions at the Farm in Conyers by
going to http://www.conyers.org/1/e_history.aspx.

Worth Watching: Letter From Hell

        This video goes mainly to my teenaged CCD students.  They often feel apprehensive about expressing their belief in God because they are comsumed with peer pressure.  They don’t want to be excluded if they seem too “religious,” so they opt to stay silent about the Lord, and that can be so harmful.  Most of them don’t realize that for some other teenagers out there, they can serve as the bridge between nowhere and somewhere.  Especially a friend who might be on the edge.  Sometimes just a few words, the right kind of words, can mean a life-time transformation for someone.  I suppose it’s the same with us adults.  We don’t necessarily have to go crazy preaching, but we must certainly try to touch those around us, even if subliminally.  Although think we all know someone who “subliminally” won’t work for.  With that particular individual, we must be crystal clear when passing on the Lord’s message.

        Anyway, this video is a bit intense, but for all intense and purpose, it brings across the point.  I’ve added a couple of relevant poems below also.  Give them a read.

Video Title:  Letter From Hell
Source:  Tangle.com
URL:  http://www.tangle.com/view_video.php?viewkey=dfd8fde4cec5bddc9184

My friend, I stand in the judgment now
And feel that you’re to blame somehow-
On earth, I walked with you day by day
And never did you point the way.

You knew the Lord in Truth and Glory,
But never did you tell the story.
My knowledge then was very dim;
You could have led me safe to Him.

Though we live together on the earth,
You never told me of the second birth,
And now I stand this day condemned,
Because you failed to mention Him.

You taught me many things, that’s true;
I called you “friend” and trusted you,
But I learn now that it’ too late,    
You could have kept me from this fate.

We walked by day and talked by night,
And yet you showed me not the light.
You let me live, and love, and die;
You knew I’d never live on high.

Yes, I called you “friend” in life,
And trusted you through joy and strife.
And yet on coming to the end,
I cannot, now call you “My Friend.”

– Unknown

————————————————————————

“Eternal Ink”

I dreamed I was in heaven
where an angel kept God’s book.
He was writing so intently
I just had to take a look.
It was not, at first, his writing
that made me stop and think
but the fluid in the bottle
that was marked “eternal ink.”
This ink was most amazing,
dark black upon his blotter
but as it touched the parchment
it bacame as clear as water.

The angel kept on writing,
but as quickly as a wink
the words were disappearing
with that strange eternal ink.
The angel took no notice,
but kept writing on and on.
He turned each page and filled it
till all its space was gone.
I thought he wrote to no avail,
his efforts were so vain
for he wrote a thousand pages
that he’d never read again.

And as I watched and wondered
this awesome sight was mine,
I actually saw a word stay black
as it dried upon the line.
The angel wrote and I thought
I saw a look of satisfaction.
At last he had some print to show
for all his earnest action.
A line or two dried dark and stayed
as black as black can be,
but strangely the next paragraph
became invisible to see.

The book was getting fuller,
the angel’s records true,
but most of it was blank, with
just a few words coming through.
I knew there was some reason,
but as hard as I could think,
I couldn’t grasp the significance
of that eternal ink.
The mystery burned within me.
And I finally dared to ask
the angel to explain to me
of his amazing task.

And what I heard was frightful
as the angel turned his head.
He looked directly at me,
and this is what he said:
I know you stand and wonder
at what my writing’s worth
but God has told me to record
the lives of those on earth.
The book that I am filing
is an accurate account
of every word and action
and to what they do amount.

And since you have been watching
I must tell you what is true;
the details of my journal
are the strict accounts of YOU.
The Lord asked me to watch you
as each day you worked and played.
I saw you as you went to church,
I saw you as you prayed.
But I was told to document
your life through all the week.
I wrote when you wre proud and bold,
I wrote when you were meek.

I recorded all your attitudes
whether they were good or bad.
I was sorry that I had to write
the things that make God sad.
So now I’ll tell the wonder
of this eternal ink,
for the reason for its mystery
should make you stop and think.
This ink that God created
to help me keep my journal
will only keep a record of
things that are eternal.

So much of life is wasted
on things that matter not
so instead of my erasing,
smudging ink and ugly blot
I just keep writing faithfully and
let the ink do all the rest
for it is able to decide
what’s useless and what’s best.
And God ordained that as I write
of all you do and say
your deeds that count for nothing
will just disappear away.

When books are opened someday,
as sure as heaven is true;
The Lord’s eternal ink will tell
what mattered most to you.
If you just lived to please yourself
the pages will be bare,
and God will issue no reward
for you when you get there.
In fact, you’ll be embarrassed,
you will hand your head in shame
because you did not give yourself
in love to Jesus’ Name.

Yet maybe there will be a few
recorded lines that sayed
that showed the times you truly cared,
sincerely loved and prayed.
But you will always wonder
as you enter heaven’s door
how much more glad you would have been 
if only you’d done more.
For I record as God sees,
I don’t stop to even think
because the truth is written
with God’s eternal ink.

When I heard the angel’s story
I fell down and wept and cried
for as yet I still was dreaming
I hadn’t really died.
And I said:  O angel tell the Lord
that soon as I awake
I’ll live my life for Jesus
I’ll do all for his dear sake.
I’ll give in full surrender;
I’ll do all He wants me to;
I’ll turn my back on self and sin
and whatever isn’t true.

And though the way seems long and rough
I promise to endure
I’m determined to pursue the things
that are holy, clean and pure.
With Jesus as my helper,
I will win lost souls to Thee,
for I know that they will live with Christ
for all eternity.
And that’s what really matters
when my life on earth is gone
that I will stand before the Lord
and hear Him say, well done.

For is it relly worth it
as my life lies at the brink?
and I realize that God keeps books
with His eternal ink.
Should all my life be focused
on things that turn to dusk?
From this point on I’ll serve the Lord;
I can, I will, I must!
I will NOT send blank pages
up to God’s majestic throne
for where that record’s going now
is my eternal home.

I’m giving all to Jesus
I now have seen the ink
for I saw an angel write my life
with God’s eternal ink.

– Rev. Craig F. Pitt

————————————————————————–

Flicks 2

Here’s the second post of suggested films. Click on them to read about them and view trailers.

The Lost City

Little Miss Sunshine

Children of Heaven

End of the Spear

Something the Lord Made

Freedom Writers

The Last Sin Eater

Stolen Summer

Facing the Giants

I Am David

The Ultimate Gift

The Maldonado Miracle

The Lives of Others

 

Discovering the perks in our routines…a New Year’s resolution?

        
        That customary, unvarying, habitual, everyday, familiar, same ole routine.  For people who crave change, that can be a dreadful thing.  Even for the methodically-inclined OCP types as myself, and who are typically comfortable with the mundane, it sometimes becomes a bit of a drag.  From the most elaborate and time consuming undertakings to the most simple of tasks, we moan and groan about the boredom from our routines.  For most of us, there just isn’t any other way around the repetitiveness in our lives.  Fortunately, most often than not, within the dragginess of our routines, hide some perks…because nothing happens in vain.  Recognizing them and taking advantage of them can turn them into blessings.

        Such was the case for me when the Spring of 2004 found me switching to a new job.  That was exciting indeed.  It also found me moving to a new parking lot.  And that was not.  Now I had to drive to Downtown earlier just to get a decent parking space at this place, and that did not sit well with me, especially since my new start time was half an hour later than before.  I found myself with over an hour to burn every morning and nothing to do except go through withdrawal symptoms from leaving my former workplace of 15 years.  So much wasted time in that routine I thought.  Then, coincidentally, or not (wink, wink), a month into this new job, one of my co-workers dumped a couple of interesting books on my desk, and so I thought I’d give them a read in the mornings.  Viola! I got re-acquainted with reading taking it up like a chain smoker, and soon thereafter it was my writing that resurfaced.

        So I set up camp at this quaint little table downstairs in my building, where most mornings I read and some mornings I write; where sometimes I’m joined by friends who pass by just to say hello or maybe share a cortadito; where I chat with the maintenance ladies, the FedEx office rep, or the shoe polish old man…come one, come all; and where I can also catch up on the phone with those I love.

        Although I’m mostly engulfed in my books or in my writing, occasionally I do look up while I sip my cortaditos (yes, plural, because two cortaditos taste better than one cafe con leche…don’t ask), and it’s usually then that I notice what goes on outside – – like the long-standing, never-ending marching protestors across the street, how can you miss them, with their bucket-drumming, bottle-shaking racket.  After a while your feet go to their beat like you have some uncontrollable twitch…not even the rain is a deterrent to these relentless souls.  And of course people on their way to work, walking off the Bayfront mover station, crossing left or right (because if you work in Downtown you either work at the Wachovia building or at the Miami Center; otherwise, you work in that other part, you know, near the buzzards, from where the rain always comes around lunch time), all adhering to their daily routines.  What perks, if any, have they discovered in them, I wonder?

        Sometimes, however, my staring out sees nothing really, as I sit in stillness amidst the distractions and try to feel God’s presence surrounding me.  Something I realize we don’t get to do much of during the course of our day, and which has turned out to be my favorite perk of this morning routine.  Undoubtedly, the one time dreaded morning routine, turned out to be anything but.  The reading, writing, friendly visits, people-watching, and most of all God-feeling moments, all serve to make up and enhance my so-called hour of sanity.

        May I then highly recommend as a new year’s resolution, whether you’re into those or not, that you maybe try to find the perks hiding in yours.  It’s like the sun rising, quite the routine in this universe, yet how many times do we really see the perks in that?  That with every one of them comes a new day, new opportunities to redeem ourselves, to hope, to grow in our faith.

        So look closely at your routines, some may be a pain in the butt, but others, others may hold the potential to offer you, among other things, God-feeling time.  Take advantage of that and make Him part of your routine, because we should, as someone once said, “Look for God, look for God like a man with his head on fire looks for water.”

        My friend, may 2008 find you looking like never before.

-by Connie Perez

          P  Please consider the environment before printing this article.

Rhyme and Reason: Life

Life passes us by in the blink of an eye…if we’re not careful, we can miss it.

“Dust If You Must’

Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better,
To paint a picture or write a letter,
Bake a cake or plant a seed,
Ponder the difference between want and need?
Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
With rivers to swim and mountains to climb,
Music to hear and books to read,
Friends to cherish and life to lead.
Dust if you must, but the world’s out there
With the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain.
This day will not come ’round again.
Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it’s not always kind.
And when you go and go you must,
You, yourself, will make more dust.
-Unknown

—————————————————-

“Normal Day”

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are.
Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart.
Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect  tomorrow.
Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day
I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or
stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want,
more than all  the world, your return.

-Mary Jean Iron

————————————————————————————————————-

“One Small Rose”

I would rather have one small rose
From the garden of a friend
Than to have the choicest flowers
When my stay on Earth must end.

I would rather have one pleasant word
In kindness said to me
Than flattery when my heart is still
And my life on Earth has ceased to be.

I would rather have a loving smile
From friends I know are true
Than tears shed round my casket
When this world I’ve bid Adieu.

Bring me all your flowers today
Whether pink, white or red:
I’d rather have one blossom now
Than a truckload when I’m dead.

-Author Unknown
————————————————————————————————————

“Storms”

There will be storms, child
There will be storms
And with each tempest
You will seem to stand alone
Against cruel winds

But with time, the rage and fury
Shall subside
And when the sky clears
You will find yourself
Clinging to someone
You would have never known
But for storms.

– Margie DeMerell

————————————————————————————————————

This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meaness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.

Be grateful for whomever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

Jalal ad-Din Rumi

————————————————————————————————————-

“After a While”

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,

And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,

And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,

And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn…
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.

So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure…

That you really are strong

And you really do have worth…

And you learn and learn…

With every good-bye you learn.

-Veronica Shoffstall

In the Same Room as Mother Teresa


I was fresh off a plane from one of my missionary trips, the hardest one yet, when on a hot summer morning on June 28, 1986, I attended a breakfast at the Omni Hotel in downtown Miami, where Mother Teresa was the guest speaker.  She stood there in her crisp white and blue sari, all 4 feet 11 inches of her, barely breaking over the podium, speaking softly and slowly, but her message echoing powerfully the words of our Lord.

        When I first heard she was coming to Miami for this event, I was excited but doubtful that I would get my hands on a ticket to be able to attend.  The $15 tickets for this event were not easy to come by.  Most of the tickets went to leaders from a cross section of religions, others to political leaders, and the rest to members of various anti-abortion groups in South Florida, with all the proceeds going to the Miami Right to Life, which was sponsoring the event.  But I immediately began my quest for one.  I, along with some of my church friends, made various inquiries throughout the archdiocese and followed all roads that lead to possible tickets, but our efforts, regardless of how connected and involved some of us were, proved to be in vain.  I resigned myself to the fact that I was not going to be attending this event, and figured I would just hang out at the hotel that morning and try to get a glimpse of her.  As you might have guessed, however, God had other plans for me.  I received a call from a friend who had pulled off the impossible, and found myself all of a sudden holding a golden ticket.

        As I sat at my table in the ballroom of the hotel that morning, it didn’t hit me at first where I was, what I was about to witness, or what I was about to listen to, because the excitement of just being there clouded my mind.  The room was full to capacity.  Everyone was chatting while we were being served, engaged in various topics of conversation, but mainly anticipating what had brought all of us there.  Some people actually ate.  I couldn’t (strange enough as that may sound).  To this day, I can’t remember what was served.  I mean, the possibility of seeing in person this Nobel Peace Prize recipient, this queen of missionaries, this living saint, was just overwhelming — who could eat?  Mother Teresa was not at her table during that time.  As one of her spokespeople later explained during a press conference, she was absent from her table during the meal because she didn’t eat in public.

        When the time came for her to make her entrance, I remember you could hear a pin drop.  She was escorted into the room and was accompanied to the podium by then Miami Mayor, Xavier Suarez.  I remember feeling a lump in my throat when I first saw her, how old, petite and fragile she looked.  And the indescribable aura that filled the room.

        Mother Teresa spoke that day about her work with the poor and about many experiences she had with people she had encountered throughout the world.  She recounted how she had seen people die for lack of a glass of water, and spoke of a different kind of poverty, what she referred to as “hunger for love.”  She also spoke about AIDS victims, and what a lonely disease it had become.  Most of all, though, she spoke about, and strongly condemned, abortion.  At one point saying words she had been known to repeat over and over, “If you don’t want the child, give it to me.  I want it.”

        Those present listened to her with such attention, almost in awe.  How could we not?  She instilled such reverence and respect from people while leading an incredibly humble and committed life.  Mother Teresa heard and felt a clear calling from Jesus Christ, something almost enviable, because how many of us are worthy of hearing that?  And she answered that calling in a way that is, I think, unattainable to us average souls.  With a body so small in stature but a spirit so large in faith and compassion, she was able to accomplish things in ways I can’t even begin to fathom.  Her life is an example to us all, in more ways than one, and I, for one, take comfort in knowing that even she, during certain times in her life, faltered in her faith and lived through dark nights, and still managed to stay true to God’s plan.  Such hope in that for us unholy people.

        I recall one moment in particular during her speaking, when she shared an anecdote about a poor child giving her his candy to give to an even poorer child, and connecting that to one of my own experiences during my then most current missionary trip.  It was then that it hit me, where I was, and what I was experiencing right at that moment.  It was incredible how in a roomful of people, that whole experience felt so personal to me.  Like she was talking directly to me.  There are moments you remember all your life, this was one of those moments.

        Some of what she recounted that day, I am currently reading about in “Come Be My Light.”  A powerful book containing a collection of her private writings.  My reading this book is actually what prompted me to put down in writing my recollection of my experience that summer day in 1986.  I have shared with my friends throughout the years such experience, and have been asked many times if I got to meet her personally.  And the answer is no, I did not meet her personally.  Nor did I get close enough to shake her hand.  I would have liked to.  But I felt that day, as I do today, that I didn’t need to.  Because that living saint of darkness, as she was known to many, radiated an unusual kind of energy throughout that room, and a beam of it reached me and touched me personally.  My faith was fortified by her presence and by the sound advice I heard from her that remarkable and unforgettable day — that day when I found myself in the same room as Mother Teresa.

  “If I ever become a saint — I will surely be one of ‘darkness,’ I will continually be absent from heaven — to light the light of those in darkness on earth.”
– Mother Teresa, September, 1959

 

In the News: Stem Cell Research


The controversy surrounding stem cell research is enourmous, and this is an issue of paramount importance.  Check out the article linked below.


Don’t use embryos in stem cell research, Pope says.

Thu Oct 11, 2007 11:10am EDT
http://www.reuters.com/article/email/idUSL1132717220071011