Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Gift of L.O.V.E.

13 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast,[a] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly,[b] but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13

Monday, July 28, 2014

and more psalms..

     So I haven't written here in some time.  For a while I had a monthly post and well…life happens.  I have been a bit of a blank page lately.  Not in my head of course, just in my writing.  My head is a constant whirlwind of thoughts and ideas by the minute of which I cannot put onto the page because either I am too tired, or nothing comes out on the page.  Sometimes there is no way to provoke expression through writing, one just has to wait…and wait..and its painful..but we must wait.  The thing about me and this blog is also that when I do write I tend to do it in my personal journal and not on my blog.  I wonder if anyone else has this problem?  Anyhow, I'm not sure why I don't just directly write on my blog.  I guess I still feel like some things are just too personal…but I'm working on it.  I am a wounded healer and my life experiences is what builds connection with others…that was the message I received from another wounded healer and Catholic author a few weeks back.  Perhaps I will get into that another time…right now I just want to share a post I wrote in my personal journal on July 16th.  The entry includes two psalms I wrote on the spot.  Here it is:
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
I am very frustrated right now.  I just want to be utterly honest.  I am sitting here in the quiet space of my room trying to write up a blurb for the young adult ministry starting in a few weeks and I can’t think of anything to write.  I have done this before several times.  I have read scripture, spiritual books, quotes, etc and yet I cannot think of anything to write.  I feel empty of words.  Yet there is something in me that wants to burst..

Lord, please here my cry
of utter frustration 
I can’t seem to find my inspiration 
I am not sure what is in the way Lord 
but I pray for you to intervene and remove
the blockage that is in the way
Oh Lord I feel empty of words, empty of imagination
like an empty jar that you can see right through
Life has been quite hectic and noisy but isn’t the
struggle and the hustle what inspires creativity?
I sit here in silence and I hear my own emptiness
I want to be enthusiastic about this young adult ministry
I want to exercise the gift that the Lord put in me
I want to fulfill my purpose in this community, but yet
I feel empty, perhaps I have forgotten how to value silence
how to value the opportunities to read and write or just
sit and become inspired, this is the time Oh Lord
and I just cannot come up with anything but I will continue
to remain hopeful that the Holy Spirit will work in me
and allow me to come up with something solely inspired by

That was my psalm for the day.  I need to write psalms daily.  Since I started writing psalms they have been mostly of lament or frustration.  I need to write psalms of gratitude and hope.  In fact here is an attempt to write a psalm of hope:

The Lord who is slowly revealing to me the meaning of Love
through the life experiences of others, 
through a sweet LOVE song by 
Musiq Soulchild or Tendy Pendergrass
through the beauty of nature and a million trees
right in the center of the this Big Apple City
through the compliments of others
or just a simply random smile
The Lord who embraces me and showers me with Love
who looks at me and sees beauty made in His image
who looks at me and sees greatness and potential
The Lord who opens up the gates and breaks down the walls
built up over the years of walking through the valley of the shadow of death
The Lord who picks up the pieces and makes a masterpiece again
The Lord who lifts me up...Higher than I’ve ever imagined
The Lord who fills me up when I am on empty and makes my cup runneth over
The Lord who redirects my path when I am lost and looking for love
in all the wrong places 
THe Lord who reminds me that only He who is God is Love.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Un Sonero Mayor...

      Hoy Puerto Rico perdio un tesoro en la historia de sus soneros.  Cheo fue producto de la era de la salsa en el Barrio Spanish Harlem en Nueva York en los 70's, y formo parte de la Fania All Starts.  Aqui estan dos de mis canciones favoritas de el….

      Today, Puerto Rico lost one of its great musicians.  He was a product of Spanish Harlem's salsa era in the late 60's and early 70's in New York City, and part of the great Fania-All stars.  Here are two of my favorite songs of his...

Monday, March 10, 2014

March Ministry Madness

     As part of the young adult ministry I am helping to lead at my neighborhood parish, we are showing the bible series which the History Channel showcased last year.  After meeting with the Monsignor, we decided it would be a great activity to prepare and lead us through this Lent season. We are showing one 45-minute episode and having 15 minutes of reflection every Sunday until Easter.  It has been slightly challenging to get people to come but each day it seems like more and more people show up.  I am grateful to the Lord for this ministry and pray that it can provide folks with nourishment in their relationship with the Lord.  The interesting thing happening is that most of the people who are showing up are not necessarily young adults.  Of course, no one is turned away.  I've just had some struggles with the way older people process information and tend to take over conversations.  It has taught me how to set boundaries and also how to be patient with others. I find myself feeling more and more comfortable each Sunday with facilitating the reflection time.  I struggle with speaking in front of others.  I also lack confidence in what I have to say, I guess somehow I am afraid that what I will say is wrong.  I know the only way to get past this feeling, is to practice.  I guess this is practice.  God has provided me the platform in this lay ministry program to practice these things.  I am grateful my supervisor is helping to guide me through this process.

    In fact, a few weeks ago my supervisor in the program came to supervise me during one of the bible episodes and see how I facilitate the reflection time.  Afterwards, she said to me "I would like to see you do more evangelizing."  It was empowering to hear her say this.  In my history of being active in the church and working with priests, I had never heard anyone tell me this.  Here was my supervisor, a woman and lay leader of her parish, encouraging me to evangelize.  She spoke to me as if she felt confident in what I had to say.  She spoke to me as if I already had the potential and capacity in me to evangelize.  This to me is revolutionary in the Catholic Church, where women are not allowed to evangelize.  I think her saying that in front of the Monsignor may have made him feel a bit uncomfortable too.  I admire her courage and know that I have a responsibility to answer that call.  There are no coincidences, and God did not place her in my path to be taken lightly.  God is working in all of us.

     Since then I must say God has opened up opportunities for me to pray and evangelize.  God has also been expanding my horizons to learn about other faiths.  In the lay ministry program we only had two sessions of our inter-religious dialogue course, but God has provided me with more instruction and reflection on this topic and how important it is in my profession as a social worker.  Here are some of the amazing events I have been a part of lately:

Faith Rooted Organizing Conference
Social Work and Religious Diversity
Advocacy Academy

    It has been quite madness this March but it is all for the glory of God!!  I hope to be able to share some reflections from these events in future posts.  I am grateful to my Lord and Savior for these blessings that enrich and nourish my heart, spirit, and soul.  I hope that I can be an instrument of the Lord's peace and be disciplined, organized, and obedient to His calling.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February love

     February is a special month for me.  It is the month of my birthday, it is black history month, and also the month associated with Love.  The last few years of my birthday were challenging but this year..33 has arrived with lots of energy and motivation.  I am grateful that this year feels so good.  Yet in reflecting on my life, there are still plenty of things I struggle with.  One of those things is love.  In a conversation with my spiritual sister she declared that I have a guard around my heart.  I wonder where I can go back in time to remove that guard and just be open and loving.  The other day I was frustrated about love and this is what poured out of me:

Psalm for Love

I am speechless and 
perhaps this is not the right time
to write about love
I am frustrated and disappointed
and I don’t know how to describe it
I have waited much time and busied
myself with other things that have
kept me from love 
I can pursue justice, work, and friendship
but when it comes to love
there is a halt and everything 
just stops and I don’t know 
what to say or what to do
to express my feelings 
I don’t even know if I trust my feelings
my rationality takes over as I try to 
reason and make sense of why this 
may not be a good time or it may 
not be the right person 
Who am I to decide?
Why is it so difficult to pursue love?
I ask myself, what happens in me when
I feel chemistry
that instead of 
opening up, I shut down and sabotage 
any possibility
Lord make me brave for love 
Allow me to pursue love like my
pursuit of food and nutrition when
I am hungry
Allow me to pursue love like I pursue
education and service
Allow me to pursue love like I pursue 
justice and equality
Allow me to pursue love like I pursue 
Allow me to pursue love the way I pursue your
guidance, your love, and your wisdom
Please direct my footsteps and heart in the
direction of love 
Make me brave for the love that awaits 
for the love that you have for me 
Make me brave for Your glory and Your
Will for me to be fulfilled.

This is the lens through which I see is blurry and opaque and I need to give it a good wipe down so I can see clearer with the eyes of faith.  How beautiful it is to realize that we are given an opportunity to love, that a door opens for us, and that there is a possibility that love is near.

Lately..I wouldn't know.  I wonder if love passes me by when I am walking 8 blocks to my train station. I wonder if love knocks me over on the subway hustle.  I wonder if love keeps an eye on me from afar.  I wonder if its around the corner or many miles away and we have not met yet.  I pray for God to be a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  I pray that the Lord can humble me and open my heart to the possibility of love's arrival.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Psalm for Purpose

     In the Fall of 2010 I was nominated to be part of the Lay Ministry Program in the Pastoral Institute of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens.  It is a 3 year program to become a commissioned lay minister in my parish by way of theological education, spiritual formation, mentoring, pastoral skills, and ministry practicum.  I had waited many years for something like this and it came when I least expected it.  The first two years was a refreshing breeze of soaking up education and historical information.  We went through a process of reflection to decide on a ministry.  I went through many phases with this.  I thought about a bereavement group, then I contemplated RCIA, I even got creative enough to think that this blog could be a ministry of some sort.  The last year of the program involved putting the ministry in motion.  It was a very challenging year for me so I had to postpone the last year of the program.  My decision came mainly because it was also my last year of grad school and I needed to focus on getting my degree.   One thing at a time…is what God whispers to me all the time, but at times my options get the best of me.

     Finally once I returned, it was decided that I would do a Young Adult Ministry.  But before that, while I took the year off many changes had taken place in my life.  Radical changes that I resisted greatly at one point, and sometimes I admit that I still wonder why it all happened but I know God will reveal that to me in His time.  One of those changes was my parish.  I had relocated to the town of Astoria in Queens and lived closer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  For that reason and others of which I refer to in this blog post, I took the leap to finish my ministry at my new parish.  Though I was not 100% sure about my decision I went ahead and requested to meet with the Monsignor of the new parish.  I prayed about the meeting and hoped it would all go well.  I remember thinking how I can explain to this priest that I was raised in the church, what words will I use and will that be boasting about myself.  I almost felt like it was going to be another job interview.  Low and behold, it was not.  By the grace of God, the Monsignor opened the doors of his church to me and extended an invitation for me to finish my ministry at his parish.  It was a blessing! The parish happened to be in dire need of a young adult ministry which has always been tugging away at my heart, especially scripture based ministry.  The Monsignor made me feel very welcomed and as if he knew me for many years.  It felt right to take those steps forward in faith.  But of course nothing comes that easy and I've struggled so much during this ministry.  It has been an internal battle within myself, my confidence, my ability to speak with authority, and to let the holy spirit reside in me.  I have these desires of the heart but I can hardly put them into words.  

     This past weekend I was distraught about the condition of my ministry.  I felt troubled that the few times we had gotten together that it was not purposeful for God.  There is a flame within me that is just waiting to be lit up.  On Sunday morning I had a minor meltdown about it and pleaded to God to help me see what I needed to see.  In the midst of my painful heartache, I wrote a psalm for purpose:

Lord, my heart aches to do Your will. 
my heart aches to make things purposeful for you
When I sit in the midst of others, especially in my ministry
and we speak of our day it doesn’t feel purposeful
I don’t feel that this ministry is being used for the purpose of 
giving You the glory, oh God, but more to give each other glory 
my heart longs to give you glory, my voice longs to speak your name
my spirit longs to sing your praise!
I don’t know where to begin, I long to be brave for you
I feel like I have failed in all these opportunities I have
been given to evangelize and speak of you to others
I just don’t know what it is but my heart aches over it
it is a deep sorrow..a weeping sorrow 
and I just don’t know when it will end
I can think of the many things I can say but when I am 
in the moment of saying them I feel drowned out by others
I don’t feel like I have authority to speak 

It’s not for certificates sake that I want to continue this ministry
It’s because there is a dire need for someone to minister to young adults
there is a dire need for someone to guide, inspire, and stir up the hearts
of young adults who all desire to have a heart for God.
What does it mean to have a heart for God?
and if I have a heart for God then how can I speak from that heart
how can I see beyond the fears and insecurities
and just speak for the glory of God
Just like David says in Psalm 40:8

“I delight to do Your will, o my God;
Your law is within my heart.”

I long to speak from that place; I long 
to hear from that place where the holy spirit 
lies within me; where You, dear God, are able to use me
as an instrument of Your peace for Your glory.

Oh dear God, help me to make this ministry 
purposeful for You.  That no matter what happens
I have spoken from that place where you are within me
to bring you glory, worship, and praise.

     I felt a great sense of relief when I wrote the above.  In fact, by the grace of God I received clarity from it.  So many things made sense all of a sudden and I began to take some steps forward to focus on my ministry.  Somehow I wasn't utilizing the people that have been placed in my path to guide me with my ministry.  I finally contacted my supervisor of the program, Hyda, and it just felt like she was waiting for my call.  She was very attentive and patient with me as I told her about some of my struggles.  We agreed to speak weekly and it was so comforting to have that conversation with her.  Its a true blessing to be able to receive clarity and to experience a shift in understanding.  It is what I call a tender moment with God.  Oh how I wish I can have tender moments with God everyday and I'm sure that I do but with life's adversity and rat race its hard to pay attention to those tender moments.  I am going to make a conscious effort to point out the many tender moments I have with God.  I hope I can share many more of these moments here on this blog.  

    As far as the ministry, I pray to God to continue providing me with the wisdom and understanding I need to guide and continue this ministry for His glory!

Saturday, January 25, 2014


     Mi amiga Samantha me enseño este video…me encanta empezar el dia con alabanzas a Jesus...que hermoso es nuestro Dios!