Sunday, November 3, 2013

Celebrating my 100th post..

   I just realized I've written 100 posts and wanted to celebrate this small accomplishment in my life when it comes to writing.  I am truly grateful for this space to express myself and share a part of me with others.  May God continue to guide me and encourage me to continue writing for His glory.  I want to thank all my special friends and family for being supportive and encouraging.  Celebrating in gratitude...





Saturday, November 2, 2013

Un homenaje humilde

     En este dia de recordar las personas 
queridas que han fallecido, queria recordar a una persona que siempre admire en la communidad Puertoriqueña de Chicago.  Esa persona es Irma Romero, una mujer que fue revolucionaria, educatora, luchadora, y superadora de varios obstaculos en su vida.  Siendo Mexicana, Irma fue la mayor representante de la solidaridad entre boricua y mexicano en Humboldt Park.  Yo pienso que no soy la persona indicada para hablar sobre ella porque solo tuve encuentros limitados con ella, pero por la gracia de Dios he sido inspirada a escribir este homenaje.  De esos pocos encuentros se que Irma siempre estuvo involucrada en los esfuerzos comunitarios, sea en Humboldt Park, en el ambiente estudiantil de NEIU, o dondequiera que tenia la oportunidad de inspirar y motivar el espíritu revolucionario de una activista comunitaria con mucha pasión para ayudar y apoyar al próximo.  

   No es coincidencia que hace unos días encontré un documento que contenía unas palabras dichas por Irma.  En Diciembre del 2003, durante uno de nuestros encuentros, yo tuve el privilegio de entrevistarla para un proyecto estudiantil en Chicago.  Cuando encontré este documento y lo leí tuve una fuerte sensación de tener que compartirlo.  Mi proyecto estudiantil era sobre el apoyo de los Mexicanos en la comunidad Puertorriqueña de Chicago.  Escogí ese tema porque era lo mas que me impresionaba sobre la lucha comunitaria en Humboldt Park, Paseo Boricua.  Era y sigue siendo una lucha en solidaridad con varios grupos de otros países que han sido oprimidos por el gobierno de los Estados Unidos.  Por ejemplo los Mexicanos con su lucha de amnistía, por la reforma migratoria, y derechos humanos.  También los Palestinos en su lucha contra la ocupación en Israel que también tiene que ver con los derechos humanos.  Irma siempre estuvo presente en cada marcha sobre los derechos humanos de la gente oprimida y siempre tomaba la oportunidad de empoderar a los trabajadores obreros y las personas oprimidas por el gobierno.  Otra causa que fue muy importante para ella era la de los presos políticos y la injusticia de su encarcelamiento.  Aunque me da mucha pena que no pudo ver el día en que será libre Oscar Lopez Rivera, se que ella sentía en su corazón que ese día si llegara.

  Bueno, aquí comparto con ustedes estas palabras dichas por Irma cuando le pedí que reflexionara sobre como organizar a la gente o a los estudiantes…

"Cuando uno trata de organizar a la gente llega el momento en que uno se desespera porque ve que la gente no reaccionan inmediatamente.  Pero la vida me ha enseñado una cosa y es que no importa que la gente no reaccionen inmediatamente esa gente van a reaccionar un día cuando ha ellos les toque hacer una decisión entones ellos van a tener que reaccionar y entonces ellos van a recordar de todo lo que tu dijiste por eso es que en el proceso de organizar nosotros tenemos que ser auténticos, que ser genuinos, tenemos que creer lo que decimos porque cuando uno no habla con convicción de nuestra posición política es lo que va convencer a cualquiera si no tenemos convicción como vamos a convencer a alguien si yo misma no estoy convencida, eso es parte de este proceso que nosotros debemos hablar con el corazón, con pasión, con resolución de decir mira esto es así por tal razón...

Yo quiero que tu supieras que cuando nosotros tuvimos que hablarle a este pueblo que esta allá afuera de que teníamos presos puertorriqueños prisionera de guerra, mira eso era un issue que teníamos que nosotros debatirlo con pasión porque nos decían -ustedes están locos de que están hablando- y había que convencer a ese pueblo y lo convencimos tan bien que todo el mundo acepto que si eso son los presos, los prisioneros de guerra puertorriqueños.  Porque de la noche a la mañana uno no hace las cosas pero uno le habla, y le habla, y le habla, y le habla y uno nunca se cansa ni de hablarle ni de invitarlos y un día ellos vienen…

pues hay que tener fe.  Yo tengo dos clases de fe, tengo una fe revolucionaria pero también tengo una fe cristiana que yo siempre he tenido y yo creo en lo que digo y cuando digo las cosas las digo con pasión y convicción porque yo estoy convencida de que nuestros presos políticos deben de salir ni deben de estar presos porque?  Porque ellos no son criminales, ellos son unos luchadores porque el crimen es el colonialismo y es lo que los tiene allí presos.  Pues hay que ver eso y si nosotros no estamos convencidos de lo que hablamos, como vamos a convencer a los demás."

     Irma tu espíritu sigue muy activo en las personas que tuvieron el privilegio de conocerte..y se que aunque no pudiste ver los frutos de tus luchas, tu pasión y fuerte convicción indicaban que ya estabas en tu tierra prometida…que descanses en paz y en la gloria de Cristo Jesus.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A dose of inspiration

 Two of my favorite Nuyorican artists have been inspiring me lately with their words...


"You 
are 
more
powerful
 than
 you
 think."


   
"You have to trust that you
 can formulate your own identity,"
 said by Manny Vega






Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Groovin….

    I love the music of Ziggy Marley…he is a true extension of his father…picked up right where he left off...


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Oh St. Francis!

The last few days have been interesting.  On Monday my co-worker randomly shares with me the Prayer of St. Francis.  She had shared with me that she had never heard it before until she went to a friend's funeral and it was on his funeral card.  I couldn't believe she had never heard that prayer.  It's such a common and beautiful prayer. It is actually one of my favorites that I remember reading since I was very young.

That same co-worker inspired me to google the prayer and print out a few copies of it to share with others.  I shared it with various people that day.  So, today being the crazy day that it was...I left my personal phone at my desk.  I was scheduled for my first adult faith formation workshop today for the lay ministry program and I had the address on my phone which I had left behind.  I did remember that the church was called St. Francis of Assisi.  It was a bit of a journey to get there but I made it thanks to God!  I blended right into the workshop which I found to be very interesting.  I was really excited that we received a book for the class and have already started reading it and writing notes.  Anyhow...right before I walk out of the classroom at the completion of the workshop I look to the side and there it was in a frame..."Lord make me an instrument of your peace."  I did a double take when I saw it and that is when I realized that St. Francis has been trying to get my attention all week! How significant!

 As I sat in that classroom which seemed a bit old and dusty, I felt a strong urge to take photos.  Maybe next Tuesday I will take my camera and shoot some photos.  I'm not sure what lies ahead but I am excited and want to embrace it.

    On another note regarding my thoughts on the class,  as I was contemplating on my way home, I realized that whenever I feel that something limits me I begin to resist it.  I feel like someone is pushing me back and telling me I can't do it, which makes me want to push forward harder.  These thoughts came from the first few pages I read in our new book for the workshop called "Adult Faith Formation."  It talked about how important it is to evangelize.  Yet women are not allowed to evangelize in the church.  They can run groups, ministries, and teach CCD classes but more than often these things have a curriculum to follow.  I'm still having a really hard time with this and feel resistant towards the patriarchy in the church, however I continue to endure and attempt to break through those barriers...in the meantime as the professor giving the workshop stated, "we have to do the best we can within what we are allowed to do."

tygwamh

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fun and Blessed Weekend : )

   This past weekend I had the opportunity to connect with some new and old friends.  On Friday after work, me and my new friend (and co-worker) Lili went for a drink at a small bar near the job.  This was the second time we went to this place and again we were pressed for time because we had plans afterwards.  However, even if it was for just about 45 minutes, we sat to unwind from work with good spirits and a really good looking bartender.  I am really grateful to have met someone like Lili and I truly appreciate our talks at work and our seamless laughter at the little things to appreciate about life.

    That same night I was scheduled to meet up with some old friends.  My roommate Hil and I took the 1 train out to Washington Heights to meet up with my friend Christian and Christine for some dinner and dancing.  We were running late, however, Christian and Christine arrived on time.  They actually did not know each other but they found one another and by the time we arrived they seemed like old friends catching up.  Before we were done with dinner, my friend Cesar showed up to join us for a little dancing.  I know Christian and Cesar from Chicago, we all went to University of Illinois at Chicago for undergrad.  What a blessing it has been that moving to NY has allowed me to still reconnect with my old friends.  Here we all are doing big things and taking the time to celebrate with one another.  Speaking of celebration, we were celebrating my friend Christine's new job she landed last week.  I met Christine at my last job at a law firm in Manhattan.  We became close at work sending each other motivational and spiritual messages to help each other get through our days in the corporate world.  She shared with me that she recently found a spiritual message about employment I had sent to her a few years ago and that reading it again inspired her.  I am grateful we continue to remain close and be supportive of one another in our journey through life.  Boy, did we have a great time dancing and celebrating! I'm so happy for Christine...Praise God!

    On Saturday morning I met up with Julissa who used to be my supervisor at a hospital in Queens.  She is no longer my supervisor, she is my friend and like a big sister to me.  She has a beautiful daughter Julianna who is so smart and sweet.  She has the cutest curly hair and smile ever! There is nothing like being around children with their innocence and curiosity about everything.  I had such an amazing time with them.  We had brunch and then shared dessert at Martha's Bakery..YUM! I'm so grateful that God placed Julissa in my path, I have learned so much from her in the work but also about being a mom in the short time that I've known her.  I know that much of who I will become as a social worker will be because of my rich experience at the hospital under her supervision.

     Mid-Saturday afternoon I spent some quality time with my aunt (Titi Monin).  We did one of the things that we both LOVE to do.  I took her to this little thrift shop in Astoria where they have a huge collection of books for sale at a very cheap rate.  We spent at least an hour scanning all the books.  We were both able to find some that we really liked (see pic below for my books).  Afterwards we drove over to Best Buy to pick up the movie Star Trek she wanted to get for my uncle.  While there I saw that "The Bible"  DVD series was on sale for $30.  I had to get it!  It's a 4 disc movie series about the stories of the bible from Genesis to Revelation.  I decided that if I would purchase it then I would also share it with others.  I think it is a great way to have conversations about the bible and about Christ. I am looking forward to watching it and sharing it with others.  After Best Buy I took my aunt back home, watched some Star Trek and had dinner with her and my uncle and rushed home.  I truly cherish the quality time I spend with my family in New York.  

       When I got home I chatted with my roommate for a while and then my new friend and co-worker Samantha came to pick me up with her husband.  She invited me to see the Mayweather boxing fight with her husband's family at the Rosedale projects (n/k/a Sonia Sotomayor projects) in the Bronx.  I had a really great time with everyone.  I felt like I was back at home watching the fight surrounded by my brother and cousins.  Samantha and I also got a chance to share some psalms and proverbs.  I am truly grateful for my new found friend of which we can talk about Christ all day and never get tired or bored!  

       On Sunday I went to mass and had to announce an event to kick off my ministry at Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  I am blessed to have the support of Monsignor Ogle and the rest of the young adult leaders at the parish.  We will be doing a "meet and greet" with coffee and donuts to see if we can build a solid foundation for a consistent group.  I pray that God can make it all work out for the good.  I was a bit nervous making the announcement and didn't quite say everything I wanted to say but nevertheless I got through it.  I sure hope it reached some folks and they show up next week.  I have to say that lately I haven't been too motivated about the ministry.  I had been contemplating if I went through the process of choosing too fast but perhaps that is not coming from a good place.  So I claim in the name of Jesus that this ministry will flourish and become a community of young adults that Jesus will be pleased with! I have this part of me that always wants to plan things ahead of time and the uncertainty of the structure of the ministry can consume me at times.  But I know that God will make it all work out for the good..like He always does.

     Sunday evening I watched the movie "Life of Pi" with my roommate Hil and our friend David.  It was interesting for me to watch the movie since I had read the book a few years ago.  It's amazing what movie makers can do.  The animation and graphics were amazing, I imagine it had to be a difficult movie to make.  Besides the animals and the beautiful scenery in the movie, I loved the storyline about how Pi, the Hindu boy, also became Muslim and Christian.  His innocent curiosity as a boy and his family's ability to allow him to decide for himself was really inspiring.  As he explored all three religions, he ultimately sought to just love God and his faith was reflected throughout the movie.

     And that, my friends, was my fun and blessed weekend.  Here are some pics:

Dinner in Washington Heights!

Mini UIC undergrad reunion!

She only ate the M&M's! So Sweet!

My curly sweety...I love her!

My weekend treasures...religion, social justice, and magical realism!

tygijn

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

PROGRESS

     This message from www.dailyword.com spoke to me today...so grateful:


I APPRECIATE MY PROGRESS!

Living in the moment is a powerful practice; yet at times I may need to step back for a larger perspective. As I contemplate where I have been and what I have accomplished, I awaken to and appreciate the progress I have made.
I may not have reached my full potential yet, but I can appreciate every phase of my journey—past, present, and future. Each step forward deepens the meaning and purpose of my life.
I need not rush or force my progress. I am one with the One Presence—in everything that is and will be. Knowing I am divinely supported, I relax and enjoy life’s abundant opportunities to learn and grow.

"I am going to send an angel in front of you, to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared."-Exodus 23:20

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Spiritual Sunday 08-18-2013

     Lately, I’ve felt a bit outside of myself and I’m not sure what that means.  I’ve just been going with the flow of life instead of having everything planned or getting myself into doing stuff just to do it.  I feel like I am staying open to the possibilities in life, yet it is a bit nerve wrecking.  I am used to being part of many things and right now I am sort of free to just sit back and take it all in.  Perhaps it is because I just finished grad school a few months ago and it took a lot of thinking, concentrating, studying, and focusing to get me through it all.  I’m not quite sure how to take all that I have learned and put it into perspective in my life, when I am often too busy thinking about what comes next. 
       Somehow I feel like I had a mental shift and my mind is often now on wondering who will be the man I will share my life with.  I remember thinking that it would be nice to have a crush.  But be careful what you wish for.  I don’t want to worry about who will be the one for me.  I just want to live my life and be open to all the possibilities that God places in my path whether its friendship or potential romantic relationship until it feels right with the one He has for me.  It has felt pretty tough to meet people in this day and age and perhaps it is because most people are doing online dating.  Somehow I don’t’ feel motivated to put myself out there like that.  But folks who do are brave souls indeed! Yesterday I heard another success story through online communication.  I wonder what God thinks about online dating.  Either way whether I do it or not, I am always waiting on the Lord.  I wait for His indication in my heart, in my soul, and in my spirit.  Which is why when someone comes into my life and I feel drawn to them, it makes me wonder what their purpose is in my life.  Not everything that shines is gold...but God has come to put the fire on this earth indeed.  If we are not refined already..He will put the fire on us so we can become shiny and pure hearted for Him.  (Oh God, please make me pure hearted  and brave for you.)

     Today’s scriptures were really moving for me.  In the first reading we hear how the
prophet Jeremiah was sent to be put to death by those who were close to the king.  According to them, Jeremiah was not looking after the welfare of the people.  The king’s men believed Jeremiah was blaspheming and that he was on the side of Babylon.  Little did they know that it was the Lord himself speaking through Jeremiah.  It is inspiring to see how Jeremiah spoke the truth.  When I think about modern times I wonder what is the truth.  It feels like nowadays there is a thin line between right and wrong.  It’s hard to think about what would Jesus do in modern times.  But as He used Jeremiah, so He will use us to bring messages, signs, and peace to the world. (Oh God, use me as you used Jeremiah to spread the truth.)

     The second reading was from the Book of Hebrews.  Paul’s words cannot be paraphrased here are the verses:

Brothers and sisters:
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us
and persevere in running the race that lies before us
while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus,
the leader and perfecter of faith.
For the sake of the joy that lay before him
he endured the cross, despising its shame,
and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God. 
Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners,
in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart. 
In your struggle against sin
you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.

That’s deep right?  Well I just want to emphasize again the last two lines because they stood out to me the most:

In your struggle against sin
you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.

     I went to mass today.  I thank the Holy Spirit for pushing me to get up and go.  After reading the gospel this morning, I was actually looking forward to Father Bartalomew’s homily.  He is a visiting priest form Africa who has been giving the 11am English mass, and when I went last week I took a whole bunch of notes on my phone.  This time around I knew better so I took my pen and notebook.  His homily was powerful.  He reminded me of Jeremiah speaking up there in the altar with conviction.  He was spitting bible verses and I was really trying to keep up.  His homilies make me want to go to church again.  I thank God for that.  

     The Gospel was from the book of Luke and it took a lot of contemplating for me to understand it.  The priest’s homily really helped to put it into perspective.  Here are some of the notes I took:

God wants us to be thinking...He wants to challenge us to think critically about the circumstances in our lives.
Why do the Gospels seem to contradict themselves..Jesus came for Division (Book of Luke) and Jesus prince of peace? (Book of Matthew) which one is it?

In the Gospel of today Jesus is talking about opinions.  We have to endure opposition against sin.  Peace does not mean to agree with what everyone says.  It's ok to disagree with mom, dad, or other loved ones for the cause of Christ.  The challenge of Christians is to know the truth and to stand by the truth.

Christians are always being attacked in the world.  Your life is a challenge to people.  Your life is a symbol of Christ!
Our position should be where there is truth.  Disagreeing does not mean you don't love the person you disagree with.

There are disadvantages and consequences for standing up for the truth.  People will turn against you (look at Jeremiah)
However, it's not always bad consequences when you stand up for the truth, as there are always witnesses in the heavens and they will come forth in due time including the saints, the angels, and the Virgin Mary.  


Today's challenge:

Be positioned against evil, against what is not good .  You will suffer in the body but your spirit will be saved! 

tygijn


(c)rosewillberose 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

True to myself...

...a little music therapy for the soul.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Son las cosas pequeñas...(It's the little things...)

     Este fin de semana he recibido unos regalitos especiales y inesperados... (This weekend I received some unexpected special gifts.....)


Una cartita especial de mi querida mama, que me alegro el corazon! Yo se que mi motivacion 
para escribir o hacer algo creativo siempre ha venido de mi madre 
(A special letter from my dear mom that brought joy to my heart! I know my motivation 
to write or do anything creative comes from my mom!)


Monedas y billetes de otro pais que me trajo una amiga en su aventura del verano (Kuna and BAM currency of Croatia and Bosnia which a friend brought back from her summer adventure back to her homeland..she even wrote a blog about it here!


Son las cosas pequenas y inesperadas que significan algo GRANDE!

   (It's always the little things that are meaningful in a BIG way.)

Estoy muy agradecida..

(Truly Grateful....)

tygijn


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Revelations...

     Earlier last week I posted on my Facebook that God has revealed himself to me in many ways.  This indeed is true and continues to be true.  Of course, I am a firm believer that God constantly reveals himself to us in many ways, but we are not always paying attention.  I have been feeling beyond grateful for the many blessings in my life.  It has been such a relief to finish grad school and finally begin my life's work at Mount Sinai.  The Lord opened many doors for me but this one was the one that felt right.  Only God knows what plans He has laid out for me.  I had no clue I'd be working with high risk patients who are over 65 and live with multiple chronic illnesses for the beginning of this work.  But I know that in time the purpose of this will be revealed to me.  I pray for the holy spirit to guide me every step of the way.  That I can be an instrument of His peace.  That everything that I do may be for the glory of God.  

     Working in a hospital is not for everyone.  For me, I know I am surrounded by people who have dedicated their lives to serving others every day.  When I first began my journey in contemplating my life's work, medical social work was not an option for me.  Now, I am part of the medical team.  This is a very exciting time to be part of a medical profession as things are rapidly changing for the good. The medical professions are becoming interdisciplinary teams instead of separate professions. Regardless of our titles, we all have the responsibility of providing our patients with the best care possible.  It is our duty to work together as a team.  It is a great concept that has been coming to fruition slowly but surely among the many medical disciplines.  This is also an exciting time to be part of Mount Sinai as it is expanding to become one of the largest medical centers and schools of medicine in the state.  I am looking forward to growing and learning to push the envelope of what I can do, and I know this is where I will do it.  I am already being inspired by my team who has been so supportive and amazing in such short time I have been there.  I am grateful to be part of this team and to have found my life's work.  

True humility and fear of the LORD lead to riches, honor, and long life.  
Proverbs 22:4

Each time he said, "My grace is all you need.  My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 
2 Corinthians 12:9

Whoever does not love does not know God because God is love. 
1 John 4:8



Thursday, July 4, 2013

Mi vida bilingüe

     Me tomó mucho tiempo empezar este blog hace mas de tres años.  Ni siquiera me he dado cuenta del tiempo que ha pasado hasta ahora.  Pero cuando regreso a leer las entradas del pasado me alegra mucho saber que he evolucionado con el tiempo.  Es interesante ver los cambios en mi misma mientras voy aprendiendo a traves de mis experiencias vividas.  Pienso que mientras pasa el tiempo voy transformandome poquito a poco mas en mi ser auténtico.

     Entonces para celebrar la existencia de este blog y estar mas cerca de mi ser autentico, este blog tiene que ser bilingüe.  Por mucho tiempo he querido hacerlo pero siempre me quedo con el pensamiento de lo complicado que puede ser.  Pues la vida bilingüe no es fácil.  Aveces se me hace difícil escribir una entrada por falta de tiempo que solo pensar en tener que traducirlo es una locura y casi imposible.  Pero como nada es imposible con la ayuda de Dios he decidido solo escribir y no pensar tanto en que lenguaje será.  La verdad es que en el proceso de aprender ingles y tener que hablarlo en este país se me ha puesto un poco opaco el español.  Pero mi vida empezó en español y mis oraciones son en español y todavía el español es mi lengua principal.  Y mira que al fin encontré una profesión que me llena el corazón y que podría satisfacer mi sed de servirle a mi comunidad hispana.  La mayoría de mis pacientes son personas hispanas que no hablan ni un poquito de ingles.  Me pregunto como voy a tener un blog que me permite compartir con otros y no hacerlo en español también.

     Se que mi espíritu me esta empujando a seguir este viaje en bilingüe.  Es más, hace unos años atrás fui a un retiro espiritual de jóvenes.  Cuando llegue adonde nos íbamos a quedar por el fin de semana y entre a mi cuarto allí estaba una Biblia encima de mi cama.  Nos regalaron Biblias a todos y algunos recibieron Biblias en ingles y algunos en español.  Yo pensaba que la mía iba ser en ingles pero allí estaba una nueva y brillante Biblia en español con un papelito adentro.  El papelito fue escrito por una persona extraña que no había conocido hasta después del retiro.  La foto en este blog es ese mensaje que recibí.  Dice "Rosa, que Dios te conceda la comprensión del viaje bilingüe que el a establecido para ti."  Bueno, hay que hacerle caso a Dios y a las personas en nuestro camino que Dios usa para mandarnos mensajes, aunque a pasado el tiempo nunca es tarde.

     Le doy gracias a Dios por la fortaleza de poder seguir este viaje de escribir mis pensamientos y compartir tanto de mi con el mundo, especialmente mi familia y mis amistades.  Le doy gracias a Dios también por iluminarme el camino a través de mis seres queridos y hasta de personas que tal vez nunca tendría mas que solo un encuentro.  Dios nos inspira de muchas maneras y nos extiende el camino para seguir creciendo y aprendiendo ha acercarnos mas a nuestro ser auténtico.
gadendj


(c)  rosaserárosa (rosewillberose)


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Reflections on "In the Name of Jesus"

     Today I finally began to read books that are not school related.  In fact, they are books that enhance my spirituality. Graduate school has taken a lot out of me.  Lord knows I have to recover mentally, physically, and spiritually.  I have already begun to work on myself physically by making good use of the running track two blocks away from my house in Astoria Park.  It feels great to be able to do physical activity on purpose.  I am very grateful that I was given three full weeks of time off before I start my full-time job which, by the way, I haven't announced yet but I GOT THE JOB AT MOUNT SINAI! I am grateful to God for so many blessings and the opportunity to begin my career at Mount Sinai as a Social Worker is truly a blessing.  It's difficult for one to think about how strong our faith is but I think of moments like this when I stood my ground mentally and emotionally about placing my faith in Christ and not on what society was dictating and it makes me want to rejoice!  Thank you Jesus for all your blessings! Speaking of Jesus, I started reading the book "In the Name of Jesus" by Henri J.M. Nouwen and it has been a great source of bringing me closer to Christ through the deep meditations of Nouwen. It was difficult to put the book down every so often to meditate on something I felt was profound but I managed to do so and completed the book.  Nouwen uses the experiences that Jesus had in the desert to write about christian leadership.  It is a great book for those who are trying to lead a Christian life during these trying times.  It spoke to me very profoundly as I've had times when I've gotten frustrated with the clergymen and the church in their interpretations and actions done in the name of Jesus.  Nouwen gives constructive criticism that brings peace to my soul about many frustrations I have about the church today.

     While reading this book a situation came up where I had to return to my old neighborhood parish (which I truly deeply love).  In the past, I had some disagreements with the Monsignor there and I didn't quite know exactly why.  I just knew that the times I encountered him my spirit felt very uneasy.  I respectfully communicated this to him and although we tried to get past it, it was a feeling I still cannot explain.  Last week when I visited the parish he was giving mass.  For some reason, I no longer felt uneasy in his presence.  After mass, he came over to say hello and I felt truly glad to see him and no longer felt uneasy.  Perhaps I was not in a good place spiritually then or perhaps it was the only way for me to explore a new parish.  I don't know what it all meant but I am glad to be at peace about it.  Reading this book also comforted me in knowing that even Nouwen at the time he wrote this book had the many concerns that many of us still have today.  I have written down some quotes below that stood out from the book and share some reflections of my own.  I welcome you to use the quotes by Nouwen as meditations or even more so I encourage any person interested in Christian leadership to read this book.

Quotes from "In the Name of Jesus" and some of my reflections:

"Jesus did not send His disciples out alone to preach the word.  He sent them two-by-two."

     Nouwen reminds us that in Mark 6:7, Jesus sends the disciples out in pairs to share the good news.  He talks about how we are often called to share the Gospel in community.  He also reminds us that in Matthew 18:19-20 Jesus is again referring to how the power of God comes fervently when people gather.  When I think about my life I can say that praying and serving in community is definitely a powerful experience. It is those experiences that have strengthened me spiritually to stand up for many causes I am passionate about. 

"Indeed, whenever we minister together, it is easier for people to recognize that we do not come in our own name, but in the name of the Lord Jesus who sent us." 

----

"These broken, wounded, and completely unpretentious people forced me to let go of my relevant self-the self that can do things, show things, prove things, build things-and forced me to reclaim that unadorned self in which I am completely vulnerable, open to receive and give love regardless of any accomplishments."  

     I thought the quote above was very profound as one of the journey's that Nouwen was lead to after he had written several books and became well-known for his many accomplishments, was to a community with people who had intellectual disabilities.  In other words, everything he had done and accomplished was irrelevant to the people he was going to serve.  It was as if he had started all over just being his plain, vulnerable self and not the "famous" Henri Nouwen.  How many of us often take the time to return to that vulnerable self we once were before the titles, before the accomplishments, before becoming well known?

"I am convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her vulnerable self. That is the way Jesus came to reveal God's love.  The great message that we have to carry, as ministers of God's word and followers of Jesus, is that God loves us not because of what we do or accomplish, but because God has created and redeemed us in love and has chosen us to proclaim that love as the true source of all human life." 

"Feeling irrelevant is a much more general experience than we might think when we look at our seemingly self-confident society."

----

"Knowing God's heart means consistently, radically, and very concretely to announce and reveal that God is love and only love, and that every time fear, isolation, or despair begin to invade the human soul, this is not something that comes from God."

    It is hard to remember this during times of fear, isolation or despair but it is necessary in order to live a healthy quality of life with peace in our mind and soul.

"...very few people know that they are loved without any conditions or limits."

     The above quote moves me to tears because so many of us rely on a conditional and limited love that often comes from human beings.  Nouwen refers to this kind of love as secondary love, which is the love we get from parents, family, and friends.  Yet, as Nouwen states, we need to rely on God's love which is primary, unconditional and unlimited.

"Contemplative prayer keeps us home, rooted, and safe, even when we are on the road, moving from place to place and often surrounded by sounds of violence and war."

     This reminds me that I have access to God from anywhere I am and through prayer and meditation I can feel safe and secure of that.  Even just meditating on scripture (such as Galatians 2:20 where Paul says "It is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me") during times of trouble can bring me peace that God is constantly present.

"Through contemplative prayer we can keep ourselves from being pulled from one urgent issue to another and from becoming strangers to our own heart and God's heart."

---

"...many discussions then seem more like political battles for power than spiritual searches for truth."

   This spoke to me as we are living in a society where everyone has their opinion about morality and hardly is the mystery of Christ ever mentioned.

"The original meaning of the word "Theology" was "union with God", it has now become another academic discipline."

     Again, society is rapidly plunging into secularity and distancing itself from the spiritual.

"For Christian leadership to be truly fruitful in the future, a movement from the moral to the mystical is required."

---

The following excerpts from the book spoke to my new journey as a social worker:

"Jesus, speaking about his own shepherding ministry, says, "I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep" (John 10:14-15).  As Jesus ministers, so he wants us to minister.  He wants Peter to feed his sheep and care for them, not as "professionals" who know their client's problems and take care of them, but as vulnerable brothers and sisters who know and are known, who care and are cared for, who forgive and are being forgiven, who love and are being loved."

"Somehow we have come to believe that good leadership requires a safe distance from those we are called to lead.  Medicine, psychiatry, and social work all offer us models in which "service" takes place in a one-way direction.  Someone serves, someone else is being served, and be sure not to mix those two up!  But how can we lay down our life for those with whom we are not even allowed to enter into a deep personal relationship?  Laying down your life means making your own faith and doubt, hope and despair, joy and sadness, courage and fear available to others as ways of getting in touch with the Lord of life."

"We are not the healers, we are not the reconcilers, we are not the givers of life. We are sinful, broken, vulnerable people who need as much care as anyone we care for.  The mystery of ministry is that we have been chosen to make our own limited and very conditional love the gateway for the unlimited and unconditional love of God."

"Even the so called "helping professions" have been so thoroughly secularized that mutuality can only be seen as a weakness and a dangerous form of role confusion.  The leadership about which Jesus speaks is of a radically different kind from the leadership offered by the world."

TYGIJN

(c) rosewillberose
     

Monday, May 13, 2013

Good things come to those who....

      I am truly grateful for all the doors of opportunity that have been opening up for me in the world of Social Work.  I have heard different experiences from different people in their struggle to find employment after grad school.  It so difficult to stay in the right place spiritually and mentally when so much is going on.  Not only do I have finals to complete, but I have to prepare for each particular interview.  I certainly do not always remember to do this but I do make an effort to stay focused on the faith that God is going to make it all work out for the good.

      In reflecting on some of my experiences, I remember in high school being part of a Business Career program my Junior year.  Everyone in the program had to work a part-time job until graduation.  While others worked in retail or fast food jobs, I was hoping for an administrative position.  This meant that I waited...and waited..and waited..until finally 3 months into the school year my opportunity came.  I remember thinking "good things DO come to those who wait."  I began to work at a small law firm assisting an attorney with administrative work.  I stayed there for ten years.  Then I moved to NYC.  My plan was to go to grad school in NYC but I felt I needed to be established first. Once I arrived to NYC I began sending my resume out and writing tailored cover letters to different positions.  I remember juggling between 3 different job offers.  I finally chose working at a large law firm and stayed there for four years.  Again I waited...and waited but finally my time came to apply to grad school.  That was two years ago and here I am just weeks away from getting my Master's Degree in Social Work!

   By the grace of God I've been getting several interviews for promising job prospects.   I am still in the interview process and have not gotten any job offers yet, but I have faith that they will come.  I pray for God to provide me with the wisdom to choose right.  Interviewing in the midst of finals has been brutal, but God has provided me with the tools and the courage to show up and shine.  I have already gained an enormous amount of knowledge just by interviewing.  Having to talk about myself and reflect on my experiences has opened up a sea of knowledge about the self.  It has also allowed me to break down barriers that I didn't realize had been there.  I just want to thank God for helping me to put all these experiences into perspective and make them count.  As my academic journey into social work comes to a close, I am looking forward to beginning my professional career.

     I am grateful to everyone who has taken the time to be part of my journey.  Even folks who may no longer be a part of my life contributed to my success in their own way.  I am grateful that I can look back and give those relationships meaning in my life.  I hope that in some way I have also been able to bring meaning into their lives.  I have been blessed throughout this journey and know that I will continue to do so.  This is a new beginning.  I remember writing once that my life was a combination of many "new beginnings."  Well this is another one!  The life work that I have always done will now be my career.  I was born to serve others and I will finally get to do so on a full-time basis!  Amen to that!

(c)rosewillberose
  

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Make your life count

     I had an inspiring conversation today in social work school with a fellow I had not met before and a friend we both had in common.  There are a few things I learned from it as we shared certain experiences with one another.  Particularly he shared part of his life story and I was in awe at how he was able to put it all into perspective.  The conversation began with the challenges we have had to face as students of color in a predominantly white institution. Its a hard reality that even in social work school, students of color are marginalized.  Yet no matter how difficult things may get, we must strive to continue our education.  We also talked about the messages we tend to receive from people in our lives, and how those messages don't always resonate with us in that moment.  Yet as we live life and have different experiences those messages begin to give our lives meaning.  This fellow told a story about back when he was growing up one of his professors said to him "boy, you gotta make your life count." He talked about not having any idea what the professor meant at that time, but how meaningful those words are to him now.  They may have sounded like simple words then,  but eventually they brought meaning into his life.

  What I took from the conversation were a few things.  First of all, you never know how God is going to use you to carry His message and to manifest His glory through your life.  Second of all, what we may see at one point in our life as a curse, will later turn out to be a blessing because we were able to see the bigger picture.  I say this because the fellow talked about his experience being in prison for a crime he did not commit.  Finally, one of the social work theories I keep coming across is the "use of self".  The idea that someone can take their life experiences and use them to empower and do good unto others is very powerful.  This fellow decided to become educated in prison and after serving time he dedicated his life to serving others.  It makes me realize that its not always about what you go through, it's what you do with what you go through.  As social workers, we never know what journey our clients have been through.  This is why it is so important to LISTEN, its the only way to be able to validate a client's story and collaboratively help the client give it meaning.  One thing my friend mentioned in the conversation was a good exercise to use to help empower clients and that is to think of them as their "highest self."  Once we picture them as their "highest self" we can empower in a way as if they have already reached it.

As future social workers we have to be aware that we are wounded healers.  The fellow in the conversation brought this up and referred to it as "working with our wounds."  He shared another experience with us about how taking a class one time where he learned about the origins of comedy.  In the process he mentioned Richard Pryor...good ole Richard Pryor.  I thought this was important to mention because Richard Pryor is a prime example of a wounded healer.  He was a really great comedian who addressed really important issues in his time in such a unique way.  He was very genuine and talented.  Yet I wonder how many people knew his story.  He is also a prime example of someone who was able to use himself in such a way to bring healing through laughter to so many people around the world.  I wonder if someone he encountered in his life said to him, "boy, you gotta make your life count."

Here is a sneak peek at one of Pryor's comedy clips:



Some things I am grateful to God for today:
  • for all the lessons, messages, unexpected encounters and conversations with others
  • that God has brought me to such a noble profession as social work
  • to be surrounded around people who are not afraid to talk about God and spirituality.  (I thought it was interesting that this fellow I encountered said that he was not religious at all but that he has been able to live his life based on "Christian-like"principles.) 
  • remembering the book I had read long ago "The Wounded Healer"by Henri Nouwen  
  • incorporating spirituality into everything we do including our profession 
  • a safe space to share our narratives 
  • for always empowering me to make my life count
  • for Richard Pryor and his ability to persevere and truly use himself in his life's work ( I encourage you to read his life story)

(c)rosewillberose
       

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spiritual Sunday

     Today I woke up feeling renewed and refreshed.  After reading the scriptures of today I decided to go for a walk in my new neighborhood.  Although I do miss my old neighborhood and neighbors, I must say I truly heart my new nook in Astoria, Queens.  Since I've lived in Queens New York I have had a desire to move to Astoria and here I am just a few blocks from the park.  I took a few photos while I took my morning walk on such a beautiful sunny day.  Here are some of them:











         The scripture readings for today were deep and meaningful and I am glad I was able to take a walk before mass to contemplate on them.   The first reading was about the apostles being reprimanded for teaching in the name of Jesus. Though they were given a warning not to, the apostles were pleased that they were able to suffer for the sake of Jesus' name.  It makes me wonder how often do we place ourselves in a position of suffering or ridicule or awkwardness for the sake of Jesus' name???  The second reading was from the Book of Revelations which is said to have been written by John the apostle.  This reading was hard to comprehend but if you read it for yourself you might get a clear picture in your mind of angels and our elders gathering to worship the Lord (Beautiful!)  The Gospel reading was from the Book of Acts about the third time that Jesus appeared to the apostles since His Resurrection.  This time the apostles were attempting to fish on a boat but could not make a good catch.  When Jesus spoke to them and at least one of them believed it was Jesus, their nets were suddenly bursting with catch.  It made me think about how just one person's faith can change things for the better of themselves and others.  

        My walk ended at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church where I made it just in time for 12:30 Spanish mass.  Father Ogle gave the mass today and also did the homily.  Here are some of the notes I took from the homily:

Faith + Faithfulness = Easter

Two basic principles in the readings:
1) put our faith into action and
2) reaffirm our faithfulness to Christ

How do I live my faith in action?
How can I reaffirm my faith in Christ?
How can that faith be lived in my relationships with others and for the good of the church?
How can we LIVE our baptism?

      These will be just a few things for me to contemplate on this week.  Also during the mass there was also a special ceremony done for a gentleman who is becoming a deacon.  At the end of the homily he reaffirmed his faith in Christ and made his vows and/or promises accordingly.  It was beautiful and unexpected to witness such an event (and it gave me an opportunity to pull out my camera and snap a few pics..wink, wink).  As I sat there and watched the ceremony I wondered how it felt to become a deacon.  I know many women in the Catholic Church are often contemplating on what their place is when our options are limited.  Today I will pray for this deacon and his ministry, and I will also pray for the future of women in the church.  

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Astoria 


Celebrating Easter Season



(c) rosewillberose 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Reflections on Easter Vigil

     Easter is such an exciting time in the life of a Christian.  The resurrection of Jesus is basically the foundation of Christianity.  Growing up my parents were always avid churchgoers, so we had a close knit community that would come together every Sunday.  However, I remember that on Easter Sunday the church was filled with folks celebrating the resurrection of Christ.  In the Catholic church it is the time of year to see images of Christ resurrecting instead of suffering on the cross.  It is a time to rejoice and be glad that the Lord has risen! 

    It wasn't until 2008, while living in New York City, that I attended the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday.  I had no idea this ceremony took place in all the years growing up in the church.  What a beautiful ceremony it is.  I remember walking to my parish and entering a pitch black church and someone handing me a candle upon entering.  There was just but a small spark of light coming from one of the altar servers holding a candle while the priest read from the book of Genesis.  I was moved by just seeing that tiny spark of light.  Then that tiny spark of light lit up a parishioner's candle and that parishioner lit up the next person's candle and so forth until it got all the way to me.  I felt so blessed and connected with my parish members.  It was beautiful to see us all provide each other with light.  From then on I knew I wanted to attend the Easter Vigil every year.  

    Unfortunately I did not attend this year's Easter Vigil, but I wanted to write about my first encounter of it to remember how special this day is in my life.  I almost felt like that day in 2008 it was a renewal of my commitment to Christ and to my neighbors.  I did not know about the Easter Vigil through my parents who baptized me Catholic and raised me in the church.  I learned about it on my own through the guidance of the Lord.  So this year I will celebrate the Lord's resurrection on Easter Sunday-just like old times.  It will be a day to remember my commitment to Christ and to celebrate life! 

This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it!
Psalm 118:24


P.S. If anyone is reading this, I am wondering if you have any reflections on a time you felt you were making or renewing your commitment to Christ?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday Reflections

     Though I am swamped with schoolwork and did not allow myself to step outside of my house, I am grateful to Busted Halo (BH) for creating the virtual stations on the cross.  I was able to take some time out of my day to let reflect on Jesus and His journey on the cross.  Here are a few prayers and reflections that spoke to me:


Oh God help me to be courageous with Jesus like Veronica was when she wiped the face of Jesus on the Cross.

"Grow your kingdom with us, Jesus.  Be there for us  in our trials and sufferings, and let us do the same for others." (BH)

Oh God, help us to understand that just "being there" for others helps, the way the women of Jerusalem were there for Jesus during His carrying of the cross.

Oh Lord help us not to fall for the wrong reasons but if we do fall may it be for the right reasons as Jesus did.

"The kingdom begins with nothing more than a deep, personal, intimate and real relationship with Him." (BH)

"...we are Christians only if we encounter Christ...." (Pope Benedict)

Oh God help me to have a daily encounter with Christ Jesus.

"We cannot be part-time disciples." (BH)

Oh God help me to know and focus on the fact that the good outweighs the bad.

Help us Oh Lord "to let go of relationships that no longer give life, to let go of old opinions that hurt others, and to let go of old patterns of living that spread only bad."  (BH)

"Please free our fears of letting go.."  (BH)

"...and help us to know that you will be there to open new life for us." (BH)

     I haven't gotten to do as much for Holy week as I would have liked but I did go to Adoration on Tuesday at St. Malachy's on 49th and Broadway.  It was very comforting for me to return to this place I used to frequent when I worked in that area.  I met up with a good old friend of mine and as we sat there in adoration a few other friends and fellow christians joined us in silence.  After our quiet time with Christ we shared a meal and fellowship at a restaurant on 9th avenue.  I felt blessed to be gathered there with fellow young adult Catholics, some new and some old friends.  

     One of the topics that came up in conversation was how many of us are known as "cradle" Catholics and how difficult it has been to define or explain our reasons for remaining Catholic throughout our lives besides of course saying that "my parents are Catholic."  One of the difficulties mentioned were how we do not remember our baptism, and how we secretly long to renew our baptismal vows with Christ in some kind of rebirth ceremony.  I remember mentioning that I do have some recollection of my confirmation ceremony and process, but unfortunately do not remember who was my Saint nor much of what I was taught then.  I mentioned how I secretly would love to experience my confirmation once again in my young adult life and truly understand the magnitude of receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit of Christ.  Though some did talk about remembering the ceremony and knowing their saint, they agreed that it would be a whole different experience as a young adult.

     The conversation made me further contemplate about how much we long for belonging and how much we are a people of ritual.  In our group there was one fellow who had converted to Catholicism five years ago.  He was not a cradle Catholic and remembers receiving his sacraments of initiation.  It was quite inspiring to see his conviction for Christ and the Catholic Church.  Though we "cradle" Catholics are fortunate to have been born into the church, I think most of us secretly long to renew our vows to Christ so that we can feel more connected to His church, the saints, and the Holy Spirit.  May God fulfill this longing for us through Christ Jesus.

Amen.



Thank you Jesus!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

     As I sit here struggling to focus on my schoolwork, I think about how crazy it is that I am going to be done with grad school at the end of May (God willing!).  This will be a huge milestone in my life that I know is going to open many doors for me and take me many places.  I am looking forward to knowing what it feels like to grow in a profession and to feel that I was made for it.  I don't know where this journey will take me next but I am grateful and openhearted....

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

He is my Lord...who knows me well.

     Lately, I have been paying attention to the details of my life and God has been sending me messages through people.  One of those people has been my auntie Teresa in Chicago.  She is a woman of God who has always spoken truth and light into my life.  This is the latest message she sent me from the women's bible she gifted me..

"Every woman who walks with God walks through storms, winds, and rain.  O woman of God, your life is filled with challenges and victories, smiles and tears.  You are a careful blend of life's many spices.  Your personality is a potpourri of so many different things that years of knowing you will not reveal everything that makes you who you are.  You are carefully concocted and slowly simmered, stirred patiently by the Lord.  It is amazing how deliberate God is in preparing you for your destiny.  He knows exactly how long it will take.  He knows who to send into your life.  He knows what events it will take to bring you to a place of maturity in Him.  He is your lord.

It does not take long to realize that though you may have many admirers, friends, and family, none will ever take the place of your Lord.  His place in your life is the foundation of every success you will ever enjoy.  He will be there in every moment of pain and glory.  He is the force that brings the pieces of your life together.  It is His tender love for you that keeps your mind from breaking under the stress of life.  And when all is said and done, no one can comfort you or hold you like He can.

You may be prosperous in your business, secure in your relationships, confident in who you are, but it is all because of Him.  It is knowing Him that gives you the grace to endure transitions, to withstand opposition, and to deflect the ammunition of the enemy.  He enables you to know when the day is at its end.  He will watch you through the night and His kiss will being you out of your sleep come dawn.  He is your Lord.

Oh yes, for men it is a privilege to know and love, hold and touch a lady of excellence.  It is an honor to be born out of your womb.  It is a distinct privilege to take your hand in marriage.  It is a joy to hear the laughter that comes from the mouth of a woman whose heart is filled with love and peace.  We watch you like admirers in a museum.  We appreciate you like connoisseurs of fine cuisine.  But, when all is said and done, there is a part of your life that none can touch-but your Lord.

So know Him and love Him and worship Him.  Of all the men on earth, no one can ever speak to your spirit or heal your heart like your Lord."  
                                                                        (from Women's Bible, T.D. Jakes)

Thank you Titi Tere for sharing this with me and always guiding me back to what is good and true.  Thank you for being an instrument of God's glory to bring others peace and light and always teaching me to do the same.  To God all the glory!