If you’re Catholic and you haven’t been to Reconciliation in a while, here’s food for thought.
If you have been to Reconciliation recently, here’s food for thought 🙂
One of my favorite quotes is: “The Church is a hospital for sinners, not a hotel for saints!” 🙂

HEARTS ON FIRE

The Miraculous Mercy of God Pictures, Images and Photos

In my life time, the Sacrament of Reconciliation has gone from one of the most frequently celebrated to one of the least. There were usually long lines every week and not before Christmas and Easter.  Part of the reason for this has to do with misconceptions people have about this sacrament. Here is a by-no-means-complete list of misconceptions.

01.  Most people come to the sacrament with the idea that it is God who will change rather than themselves.  The idea is that God seemingly withholds forgiveness until the sinner has sought and deserved it.  But the fact is that reconciliation requires no change in God, but rather a change in us:  God’s healing.

02.  It is commonly misunderstood that the initiative rests with the penitent, but in the gospels it is the other way around.  Jesus offers forgiveness, urges it upon his hearers, and always makes the approach.  In February…

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Are We Seeking Truth, or Convenience?

“Confusing “inconvenient” with “false” is dangerous, because it tempts us to optimize our lives around what is convenient. When we concoct for ourselves a moral code that is easy to adhere to because it never challenges us, it sets us on a trajectory toward a cold and selfish worldview devoid of generosity. After all, what is a life of perfect love toward our fellow human beings, if not inconvenient?” – Jennifer Fulwiler

A great article from another one of my favorite bloggers 🙂

A Theology of Dance – Part 1 (really, how a clumsy introvert finds God on stage)

In addition to being a Catholic youth minister, another major aspect of my life right now is Kayamanan ng Lahi, “Treasures of our People,” an LA-based community folk arts organization committed to presenting, promoting and preserving the richness and diversity of Philippine culture through dance and music, to educate, entertain and enlighten:

(Video credit to UCLA PAA)

Now that we’ve just finished putting on a great show, Agos, for the Sounds of LA series at the Getty Center, I finally have the opportunity to sit back and reflect on where the past 10 years of Filipino folk dance, beginning at UCLA and continuing today through KnL, has lead me.

When one thinks about a “dancer,” one generally thinks of someone who is highly talented, self-confident, out-going and extroverted, loves the spotlight, creative, has a great sense of rhythm and music, graceful, poised, expressive, and is super-comfortable with his/her body and expressing various emotions and characters through movement.

Now if you take all those qualities, stuff them in a bag…then exchange that bag for a bag that holds the exact opposite of the first one, that’s a pretty good partial description of me: an introvert that would probably be much more comfortable in a monastery or chapel than on center stage, not very confident in myself, not particularly coordinated or graceful, and generally finds the experience of being on stage trying to share something of myself and my culture with an audience to be very paradoxically draining and energizing experience.

From a talent-centered view, the best I can say about myself is that I like to work hard at what I do despite having little natural talent at it. Also, I have been fortunate enough to have been well-trained over the years by immensely talented, wonderful, patient teachers, mentors, and partners who somehow (by the grace of God, seriously) manage to make me not look like the scrub that I am, and I submit this as empirical evidence of the existence of God 😛 But overall, to call me a “dancer” in the usual sense of the word (I think) is to use the term in a very loose and generous manner.

So the questions here are, how does someone who seems (or at least feels) so ill-suited to the nature of the performing arts end up on the stage, not just once, but for 10 years? What motivates me to do the exact opposite of what my personality and natural inclinations would generally lead me to do? Why do I do this?

The answer is that for me, Kayamanan ng Lahi (and more generally FIlipino folk arts) is an encounter with the living God, which is pretty much the best reason, and in the final analysis, the only enduring reason, to do anything, no? The Jesuits have a simple motto that reflects their spirituality: finding God in all things; and I find God very clearly and easily in KnL and in Filipino folk dance. My experiences in Kayamanan have, as the old Baltimore catechism said, helped me to know, love, and serve God in this life so that I may (hopefully) be with Him forever in the next.

So how do I find God in KnL? Well, stay tuned for the next episode of “A Theology of Dance (really, how a clumsy introvert finds God on stage)” 🙂

LA Religious Education Congress in Quotes and Paraphrases

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning to sail my ship.”

– Sr. Edith Prendergast

Food is Love!

We need more PB&J (Patience, Balance, Joy).

Jesus may be 1/4 Filipino =D

– Cooking Priest, Fr. Leo Patalinghug

“We ain’t Chickens! We Eagles!”

– Fr. Tony Ricard

“There’s nothing wrong with Catholicism that can’t be fixed with what’s right about Catholicism.”

“Meet people where they are, and lead them where God is calling them to be.”

– Matthew Kelly

“When you can look into the eyes of another and see them as a brother or a sister, it is dawn. Until then it is still night.”

– Fr. Anthony Gittins

“Like ill-taught piano players, we don’t hear the music, we only play the right notes.”

“Whether you like it or not, or believe it or not, you have the light of Christ within you, and you look just like your Father.”

– Terry Hershey

“I cannot believe that they would elect a cowboy Pope. But can you imagine how much fun it would be?!?” (a paraphrase from a colleague journalist RE: Cardinal Dolan’s chances of becoming pope one day)

– John Allen Jr.

“If you’re deadly serious, you’re seriously dead!”

“Imagine looking at God looking at you and smiling!”

“Don’t should all over yourself!”

– Fr. James Martin S.J.

And one more just for fun: “It’s like the Twinkie fairy came to our doorstep!”

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Dance of the Porcupines

“We all want to get close without getting hurt. We meet neighbors, talk with coworkers, go on dates, and join church groups. We try to stay away from particularly prickly people. But the problem is not just them.

It’s us. I’m someone’s porcupine. And so are you.” – Brandon Vogt

So freaking true! I’ve been working on the dancing part, but I gotta remember about pulling in my quills too 😛