“How long should an engagement last?”

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Ask me a question, and I will answer accordingly. In social media, Aleteia started its post by raising this question: “How long should an engagement last?” It sounds rhetoric to me. I am more interested in the question rather than … Continue reading

The House of Belonging

The House of Belonging

This is the bright home
in which I live,
this is where
I ask
my friends
to come,

this is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long
to learn to love.

This is the temple
of my adult aloneness
and I belong
to that aloneness
as I belong to my life.

There is no house
like the house of belonging.

The House of Belonging- David Whyte ©1996

Church service in the future

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This gallery contains 1 photo.

PASTOR:   “The Lord be with you!” CONGREGATION :  “And with your spirit” PASTOR:   “Will everyone please turn on their tablet, PC, iPad, smart phone, and Kindle Bibles to 1 Corinthians, 13:13.  And please switch on your Bluetooth to … Continue reading

What Lies Behind the Wall

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Here I stood at Mount Olive, I could see the structure behind the wall with an onion-shaped golden dome. It’s calling me, and I wanted to visit the place, but it’s not part of our itinerary. Long after I came … Continue reading

The sweet refrain, “Oh take me to church”

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Take me to church sang by Sinead O’Connor has a very catchy tune especially the first three lines of the refrain.

 […]
Oh, take me to church
I’ve done so many bad things it hurts
Yeah, take me to church
[…]

It’s not so much that I have done so many bad things; it’s the bad things that people did to the world that hurts. It has nothing to do with the church either just life in general. You know, the existential angst that is part of living.

When I am hurting mentally, emotionally, physically or spiritually, I take refuge in a church. Even if it’s not a catholic church, it does not matter to me. Even if it’s a temple, I will still go in, sit in the quiet, calm myself down and talk to my invisible God.

In a church, temple, mosque, forest; they are more than an oasis. It’s a place for me to connect and replenish my spiritual needs.

Here’s the song. It’s just a song with a catchy beat. But if you want something deeper, I found the song at Friar Musings and there he wrote more about Sinead.

Enjoy.

when we are hurting it’s difficult (and) to understand where God is. I know that God is using her to educate not just the Catholic but as well as the whole world.

A Poem for a photo

Israel has so many places that is steep in history.  One of them is this Church on the hill.  I believe it’s Baha’i.  We stopped by to take pictures and to admire the beauty of this place.
Church on a hill

The church on the hill

I went up the hill to visit the old man who lives there.
“It’s been a long time,” he said, “Since I’ve seen you.”
“Yes,” I said, “I know. But I’d not forgot you.”
Then, in welcome, he sang to me.
But what I had remembered as a youthful voice
full of vigor and fit for forever was turned now into a croak,
a rasp, a sad affair of the heart.
When he dies, I thought, a little of me will die with him.
“These bones go deep,” he said with an effort
as he stood there proud yet, “How can you forgive yourself?”
I thought about that as I kissed him goodnight
and laid him down to rest, up there on that hill.
“In nomine Patris,” I said gently, “In nomine Patris.”

The poem is written by Book of Pain by John Etheridge.  John wrote a synopsis of this poem and it’s quite touching.  Thank you, John.

Leave of Absence

Leaving work mid-morning, my commitment was at 11 a.m.  It’s close by to work, walking distance but I haven’t been to this place.  Plenty of time to walk the inside streets, enjoy the beauty of the autumn day and the rain stopped.

This is the west side of Vancouver, a beautiful neighbourhood that takes pride of their surroundings.  The environment is warm and welcoming.  Homes are old, mostly heritage, painted houses in living colours and well-kept.  Luscious garden, recycled items, ornamental trees and chair to sit around.

There’s nobody around and understandably so, it was work week and the children were at school.  I found myself alone in sweet serenity to commune with nature.

I reached my destination.

Heritage Building

St. Augustine Church.  This is the first time for me to visit the church.  As mentioned in my previous post, Candle in Spain,  I say the same prayer when I visit a church the first time hoping my wishes will be granted.  I did not because I was there for my friend to attend a Mass of Christian Burial of her mother.

Related Link: Candle in Spain

The Best Part

There are so many parishes around where I live.  I go where ever the wind blows me.

The one closest to me is St. Frances de Sale I go should I feel like walking.  Down the hills is St. Therese but I’ve never went because walking uphill is just a challenge for this old body.  Our Lady of Mercy I visit should I wish to see my family.

Since I prefer the easiest route, I hop on a Sky train and attend a mass at St. Mary’s Church.  Here I love listening to Fr. Pierre, a Frenchie.  Somehow French man has a sing-song way of speaking English and his sense of humour is effective when he speaks his sermon.  It is much easier to shallow his teaching when he lifts the congregation up rather than talking down to us.  That is what I call effective communication.

Should I feel the need to drop by at a church on a way home, I go to the Cathedral.  Here I meet all kinds of people including the pan handlers, the addicts, the alcoholics, the mentally ill or anyone who wants refuge from an inhospitable weather.  Most of the priest here are on the higher echelon.  Their sermons are okay. For as long as I get my dosage of Spiritual healing and thanksgiving, that is what I am after.

When I really missed being with the elders, I go to the Indian Reserve and attend a mass at St. Paul’s.

First Nations Aboriginals

First Nations Aboriginals

As I mentioned before, the whole world is my church.  So far, I haven’t met anyone who understands this mentality until recently I read an article from UCAN News.

Faith revolutionizes our lives…

I would like to tell you what my expectations are regarding this World Youth Day. I would like us to make noise, I would like those inside the Dioceses to go out into the open; I want the Church to be in the streets; I want us to defend ourselves against all that is worldliness, comfort, being closed and turned within – Parishes, colleges and institutions must get out otherwise they risk becoming NGOs, and the Church is not a Non-Governmental Organization….

These are the words of Pope Francis.  Finally, a man who understands me.

The World is my Church, this is the best part.

Related Links:

Where do you belong?

Where do you belong? 
 
The organizer of a church seminar asked me this question.  It was very important for her that I answer the question correctly.  What she means by that was which Church am I registered?
 
For one thing, in my mind, the World is my Church.  I am  not registered to any Catholic Churches; therefore, I belong to all. 
 
That didn’t fly very well with her.
 
Oh, no.  You must register to a church because when you die, you need a church for your Christian burial service.
 
How do I reply to that?  Facetiously.
 
For one thing, when I am dead, what do I know where I will be.  The second thing, it is really up to my family who will decide which church they will have a funeral mass.
 
Silence and end of conversation in a car filled with other people.
 
In terms of what activities I join or minister, I can say the same thing.  I go where the spirit moves me.
 
Let me tell you a story.
 
After church, I have nothing better to do but wandered around the church basement.  In the basement, the toilet facility is huge, library and the kitchen.
 
Pssst….  I heard someone called me.  A voice coming from the kitchen.
 
What are you doing?  She asked.
Nothing.  I responded.
Want to help us? She asked.
Sure.  I responded with no hesitation.
 
This is what I call answering to the Spirit.  No hesitation.
 
I was assigned to prepare a fruit platter.
 
While we were busy working away in the kitchen, we told stories to one another, plenty of jokes to go around and so much laughter.  On top of that, we can sample the  food.
 
In the middle of having fun, a fellow parishioner saw me and he was surprised to see me helping out.
 
He is a very active man in Knights of Columbus and he said: “Sis, will you come and help us in food preparation during the Knights events?”
 
Sure, as long as I become an honorary Knight.  I want to wear the cape, hat and raise the sword.  I answered jokingly.
 
He turned around and left.
 
Men, they have no sense of humour.
 
The number one ministry I support is Talitha Koum Society mainly because I was there when it all started from the beginning.  Most of my donations go to the house to help women live a better life.
 
Back to any activities, in my mind, work is very pleasant when I do service filled by the Spirit.  And I do it for my God.
 
Related Articles:
 

Taste of Santiago de Compostela

For the longest time, I kept an article from Walkers’ World “If You Go…” dated year 2004. 
Gate of Pardon

Gate of Pardon

That year would have been the best time to go because of the Porta Santa or Gate of Pardon opens during Holy Year  when the festival of July 25 falls on a Sunday for the pilgrims to pass through.  Going through the door, your sins would be forgiven.  With all the sins I accumulated over the years, I don’t think I would fit in that door. 
Again I missed out year 2010 and the next time it will open is year 2021.  Another 8 years to go and doing the math, I might as well give you how old I will be then.  Nah. 
One of the reasons I joined the 2012 pilgrimage was because of Santiago de Compostela. 
My best friend spoke constantly about Compostela and asked me when I am going so I can bring pictures and tell her stories.  By the time I went, she has left the earth.  Jan lived vicariously about the stories of my travels. 
I was sad going there because Jan was in my mind.  Bo-ho-ho.  Woe is me.  And I heard her say in my head “shut up and enjoy yourself.”  So I did. 
It was a long walk before we reached the plaza of the main Cathedral, it was breath-taking.  Compostela is the third most important church after Rome and Jerusalem in Christendom.  I can die now having visited all three.  
The legend says that this is the place where St. James remained and died.  The Church has not validated or agreed to this, but hey, if it helps humanity regardless of race and creed, let the sleeping dog lie. 
We attended the Pilgrim’s Mass where the giant incense burner is lit, pulled up and pushed in an upswing, just like a pendulum.  The smell of incense filling my lungs, the choir singing in the background, the soft-spoken prayers, mesmerized by the swinging of the incense burner, suddenly in my mind, there she is.  Jan is hanging on to the rope of the burner and swinging along with it. 
I was laughing, quietly, my mind is so weird.  Did I really see her? 
Finally, I signed up with Walkers’ World to do the walk at Santiago de Compostela this October and I am looking forward to my next annual pilgrimage.

Courage to come back

The sign states: “No Trespassing, Private Property”.  What a strange sign when there is a church in this land?  How can I attend the church as a stranger in this property when it is situated in the middle of an Indian Reserve? 
Took all my courage to trespass in a deserted street and I was cautious of my surrounding.  I felt that there were eyes looking at me as I walked along the street and to my relief I saw a gray nun heading toward the church. 
I felt much better when I was inside the church.  The congregation was mostly Native Indians and elders.  Much to my surprise, they were very hospitable to me.  I felt at home.  Soon, I became a regular every Sunday Mass at St Paul’s Church of North Vancouver for a short period. 
Here I met Starr.  She is kind to me and a little bit on a serious side.  I told her that I was just passing through on my way to Thailand to do volunteer work.  Starr confided that one day she would like to do an altruistic work.  I said by the grace of God, it will happen, just keep praying about it.  That was year 1998. 
Before I left the church, there was an activity of hanging a star on a Charlie Brown Tree.  Anyone can take part to hang a star and share what it means to her or him.  Then Starr came to me and lead me to where the tree was.  She pick up a star and hanged it. 
She introduced me to the congregation that the star represents me as her “hero” because of what I embarked to do in Thailand.  I was a surprised by her kindness. 
When I came back home to Canada, Starr has obtained a home.  Her plan is to help out destitute troubled women.  The house will be a recovery home for addicted women.  I helped her a bit on some legal papers.  I provided her with boxes of books from my own collections of religious books for her house.  As a present, I gave her a meditation book “God in All Things by Anthony de Mello”. 
Then life got in a way.  
I’ve lost in touched with Starr until one night in 2010 I was watching the evening news.  The news was the Courage to Come Back Award presented by Coast Mental Health. They called a name that is so familiar to me, Starr Peardon, a recipient of the award. 
Oh my goodness, I have to watch this, dropped everything and glued watching the television.  
There is so little I know of Starr.  As far as I’m concerned she’s a beautiful person and I never once asked her what her background is.  Then I learnt her story from the news. 
Starr was a drug addict, drug dealer and a criminal.  She was in and out of jail and gave up her children to foster care.  However, it was in the correctional facility where she had her conversion.  
In an article written in The Province Newspaper, I quote: 
It was while doing time at the old Burnaby Correctional Centre for Women that the jail’s chaplain, Hank Smidstra, prayed over her while she detox. 
“This strange thing happened. It was like a warmth. Like God put his arms around me. I didn’t believe in God,” said Peardon. She woke up the next day and knelt on the concrete floor. 
“I prayed to a God I didn’t believe in. I swore and I cried and that same peace descended on me. That was my conversion experience,” 
With her conversion experience, Starr was able to  fulfill her dream.  “Talitha Koum”, meaning “little girl, rise” is the house for “broken women”, a place of healing.  Countless women have turned around their life with her help.  It is going strong until now. 
Courage to come back starr
Last year on March 31, 2012 we celebrated Starr’s retirement party.  And she has all the reason to smile for being an instrument of God.  And I have all the reason to smile outward and inward when I think of her.
God bless you, Starr Pedron. 
This article is a true story written for Writing Challenge: Truth.
 
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One Love, One Heart

On the way home last night, I went to Church for Lenten blessing.  It’s just like Christmas on Ash Wednesday.  It was a crowded service.  I can only assume we came to Church to be redeemed and be forgiven for all the “sins” we have committed in our thoughts, words and deeds. 
I went to be reminded that I am a mere mortal being, impermanent on this Earth and to receive the sign on my forehead.  This sign is given by the Priest.  He dipped his thumb in an ash, made a sign of the cross on my forehead and told me “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”  This line is derived from the story of how God made Adam, from a pile of dirt. Then I went home with a dirt mark while people stare at me with puzzled look.  And I just smiled. 
Meditating while walking and what came up to mind is the heart.  Is the heart the most important part of the body?  How come I have only one heart?  I have two hands, feet, eyes, lungs, ears; a pair of lungs, left and right hemisphere of the brain, etc.  It must be valentines, I brush off my thoughts. 
It’s a good thing that they came up with Valentine’s Day to distract people from the history of Valentine.  Personally, it’s my father’s death anniversary.  We will have a Celebration of Life but I won’t be able to make it due to work obligations.  I know, it’s only once a year.  Father will understand.  I do keep him in my prayers. 
My offering to you for Valentines is this heart: 
St. Francis of Assis

St. Francis of Assisi

Peace be with you.  Seeker

I’ll Be Watching You

Excuse me Dear DP, I know today is Sunday, church day for me.  Are you a Priest who wants to hear my confession and absolve my sins?  I feel like I am in a confessional box today. 
I Plead the Fifth.
Seriously, we are talking about deadly sins here.  It’s scary enough that we are constantly under surveillance.  Even public washroom have signs “I’ll be watching you”. By the way, this song is a stalker’s song. Gee, even in the washroom, there is no privacy. 
Talking about watching, I’ll use a softer word: notice.  After Sunday mass, I get so hungry after the service.  You know, that lengthy sermon that one makes you hungry.  Sister #4 and I bee line to the nearest restaurant once a month.  I notice restaurants have cameras, too. 
Here’s a restaurant called Char Grilled and they offer the best T-shirts.  The site of  CharGrilled.
 
DP Jan 20, 2013 chargrilled
 
In answer to your post, not biting on this one.  Thank you very much. 
One Minute Meditation:
To a disciple who was forever complaining about others the Master said, “If  it is peace you want, seek to change yourself, not other people.  It is easier to protect your feet with slippers than to carpet the whole of the earth.”    Anthony de Mello, 
SJMORSEL:    The paradox of control is simple. The more we try to control life, the less control we have.   –Joan Borysenko, Ph.D. 
This is in response to Daily Prompt: Rule Breaking.  Come and join us, it’s fun.