Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Soften Hearts Like 24K Gold

Gold is placed in the fire to rid itself of impurities.  The longer it remains in the fire the more pure it becomes and its worth also increases.  It goes from nine karats and shrinks down to twenty-four.  This purification process not only refines gold, but it also makes it softer.  Thus, while a 9K ring (with use) will eventually wear and break a 24K ring will only bend.  When shopping for gold jewelry, even if there are two rings that to the eye look exactly the same, people will often pay more for the higher karats because of the quality and the reassurance that the piece will last a lifetime.  God uses a similar process not to increase our value, but to assist us in becoming pure.  Suffering helps our hearts soften and soft hearts, like 24K gold, are malleable…
Yesterday’s Gospel reading spoke of turning the other cheek of not retaliating hurt for hurt.  A hard heart doesn’t understand this and will return each hit thinking “an eye for an eye.”   This is the message of the world we live in that glorifies vengeance.  Some of the most popular stories that get told in books, film and art are tales of creating our own justice.  I find myself often cheering at the screen and even feeling vindicated when the bad guys get what they deserve.  Yet, our faith tells us to turn the other cheek to surprise the offender by offering peace instead of retaliation - to give instead of take.
I grew up with my mom often repeating, “Turn the other cheek.”  I always found her logic amusing and not at all productive; to me getting a sense of justice was bigger than showing mercy.  Fueled by my desire to get vengeance for the people who hurt me, I didn’t realize that I was also filling myself with darkness.  When my brother died, the suffering was so great and the awareness of death so close that slowly I realized that I didn’t want to carry all the anger, hurt and evil inside me.  I wanted a new heart to replace the heart of stone that was inside me.  After a lifetime of laughing at my mom’s message of “turning the other cheek,” I realized that my desire for justice to inflict pain on those who hurt me, only filled me with hate.  Hate that I had carried far too long. 

I’m still learning to live true to yesterday’s Gospel, of choosing peace even when I really want to retaliate. However, I am in this lifetime process of purification and sometimes I forget and lose my temper, I choose to attack instead of patience, I choose hurt over forgiveness…  I am no saint, my weaknesses are many and because I am pretty clear of my limitations I try to be understanding of others, but sometimes I grow tired of my futile efforts.  Luckily, when God exhorts us to be more like Him, He knows that we can’t do it on our own so He provides the help to slowly get us from 9K to 10K (and eventually 24K).  Yesterday, I went to a healing service to offer the hurt and receive more of Him.  Worshiping, getting hands laid on me with prayer and receiving Him in the Eucharist sent me home a little lighter.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Wieliczka Salt Mine Cathedral

When I was in Poland we toured an underground Cathedral in the Wieliczka Salt Mine where the sculptures were sculpted out of salt by artists.  It was quite the process getting down to it, but once inside it was absolutely stunning.  I’ve been feeling a bit ill this week so for today’s post I just want to give you a photo tour of this great natural wonder.  The Chapel of Saint Kinga is the pride of the miners and with great reason too, it hosts some of the best carvings completely made from salt!
View from the top.
 The chandeliers had so much detail, so pretty.
 Mother Mary.
 The front of the altar.
 Beautiful image of the holy family.
 Not sure if you can tell, but this is a nativity.
 Saint John Paul II
 There's also a lake near the chapel.
The salt is always cold.

Am not sure how often the church gets used, but it sure is a popular place to tour.  As I walked through it, I kept thinking is this the weirdest place I have seen a church at? It might be.

Monday, June 12, 2017

My Little Piece of Heaven

My first seven formative years were spent in Michoacán a place known for its beautiful forests.  My house was located in the outskirts of the pueblo where I could take a few steps and I was out in nature.  In the forest we had a small cabin to visit throughout the year, we would hike up to it and camp there many times during the year.  There were also at least two other times during the year when the whole town would go into the forest: after the rain for mushroom collecting and during the spring for Amapola (Poppy) picking.  We would pick the soft, pink flowers to adorn our heads with lovely crowns.  It was one of my favorite days of the year, sitting in Poppy fields with my friends while the adults prepared a feast for lunch.  When we moved to California, I yearned for a little piece of nature.  While other kids dreamt of toys, cramped in an apartment like sardines, I wished for a little piece of nature a home with a small backyard and a tree big enough for a treehouse.  How I dreamt of that house with a white picket fence and a little dog who belonged to me.  I grew up stuffed in that apartment, but my dreams flourished coming to fruition as an adult.  I have a home now with the little piece of nature I always wanted and a thriving avocado tree that produces yummy treats and the best shade!  Though no tree house has been built, I love spending time underneath my tree.  It might be my favorite place in the world.
Underneath its arms I get lost in thought, in prayer, sometimes I even nap.  Dad placed a beach lounge chair underneath the tree and he also spends a great deal of time resting underneath its branches.  When I am outside my little Cockatiel sings joyfully while my furball finds a place next to me to relax.  It’s no equivalent to the beautiful forests of my past, but it’s a little reminder of God’s providence.  This weekend I went to a birthday party, a wedding, a bridal shower and my Third Order Franciscans meeting and while my busy schedule might say that I love parties- the truth is I would rather spend my days underneath my tree.  Yet, God has blessed me with a large family and many friends – and relationships require sacrifice and being present…  So, many times I return to my comfortable haven to reenergize and even recuperate from so much social activity.  People often tell me that I do a lot, others think that I am a party girl because my schedule can sometimes be so full of activity; but, I really love being home.  I love alone time with my animal friends in my simple backyard.  I am quite boring really, but I do have a responsibility to cultivate the lot God gave me and since my love language is quality time – I often love in the manner I like to be loved.  Though as an introvert it’s a challenge to find balance between my need for alone time and the need to be there for others. 

This past weekend I was at a family wedding mostly because my parents wanted to go, so I took them.  Lots of family that I don’t get to see often were there and there was a banda because it’s not a Michoacán party without a live banda; yet, I really wanted to be home with my pets and my tree.  Yesterday, afternoon tired with a migraine from fulfilling all my commitments I retreated to my backyard and there underneath the natural shade I plugged myself for an energy uplift.  My home is my piece of heaven, my favorite place to be underneath my blessed tree…. What’s yours? 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Wonder Woman A Tale of Feminine Beauty

During my college years I took a class on the history of film- and it was during this time that my bedroom was covered with black and white portraits of the “Golden Age of film” actors.  Right in the center, between Clark Gable and Pedro Infante I had a picture of Linda Carter in her Wonder Woman outfit. She was the only modern (1975) film actress on my wall because I loved the black and white image of her I found at a flea market.  It made me think of my sister who had grown up watching Wonder Woman and who held a strong affection for the actress.  It’s been many seasons since my walls were covered with made belief heroes, but I still wanted to watch the 2017 remake of “Wonder Woman.” I had no problem recruiting my sister and a couple other friends to watch it with me.  Yet, I didn’t think that I would like it as much as I did.
It didn’t try to be feminist.  I was expecting it to be about girl power and even about the erroneous definition of feminism that celebrities are so candidly voicing.  Surprisingly it was a story of a woman superhero who has beauty, brains and a big heart.  Though she can probably tackle any battle alone, she allows others to help her.  It reminds me of that phrase, “I need you because I love you.”  When you care about another person they start becoming a healthy need because God created us for community and together is where we find our super powers. Wonder Woman accepting help from others, doesn’t take away from her awesomeness I think it actually adds depth to her character.  There’s strength in allowing and accepting another’s help – even when we know that she can probably do all on her own.
It told a story about love.  Sure there’s a beautiful romantic story taking place, but there’s a bigger one about love for your neighbor.  There’s this question about why Zeus would allow humankind to continue existing even when society is corrupted and man is fighting against each other.  After all the film is set during World War I and we get a vivid sense of the nastiness of war in many scenes especially when it takes us to No Man’s Land.  That’s a fair question that the villain uses to confound Wonder Woman and sends her in a huge inner struggle trying to find the answer.  Then she remembers all the moments that the people she has met have shown a denial of self for the greater good of society.  She understands that love is why Zeus decides to keep his creation alive.  No truer Christian message. 

In a time when celebrities tell us that feminism is strutting in little to no clothes, using obscene language, and being more powerful than men; Wonder Woman takes us back to the roots and authenticity of what it means to be truly feminist.  She’s a superhero who is a woman and keeping those traits that make the female sex beautiful made this movie an anthem for femininity and girl power- but it also made it much more.  Now go watch it if you haven’t!          

Monday, June 5, 2017

Summer Time Plans

Yesterday, concluded my third year assisting the RCIA ministry.  On the last day we hand out the Sacrament Certificates to each student in a like graduation style celebration.  First we open the day with prayer, then we watch a slide show of the whole year, then we give recognitions to the top students.  Finally, handing out their initiation to the Catholic Church “diplomas,” before closing with a potluck style luncheon (families and sponsors are also invited).  It’s usually a day full of smiles and a bittersweet closure, because as excited as we are for the summer break it’s an ending to our class gatherings.  Lots of hugs are given and then we head to Mass to close with the celebration of celebrations.
Given that my commitment to RCIA is done and I get a couple months break in addition to also having a break from my classes at the diocese – I have extra time to fill with new activities.  At a parish near my home on Thursday nights they are showing “The Pivotal Players” videos accompanied by classroom discussion.  Last week I attended my first night, there’s about twenty of us in the class.  We usually watch a portion of the series then we have an open classroom discussion.  I love that it’s done this way because I am not fond of small groups.  It also feels more efficient to share our thoughts from our seats.  Last week I was given a booklet that goes with the videos, there’s summaries of the pivotal players in addition to questions for discussion and application.  I really like that the program is so organized and our facilitator is a sweet, older lady.  In fact, my class is mostly retired folk, but I enjoy being around people of much wisdom.  Though I started the series two weeks late, I am so looking forward to viewing Bishop Barron’s wonderful series.
Recently, I also started my Third Order Franciscan journey.  It took me awhile because I didn’t want to commit to the drive- I know I can be so lazy!  They also meet on the second Sunday of every month so with RCIA it was a little overwhelming.  Thus, I decided to wait until the RCIA year was over so that I could go to the meetings with a more energized mind.  Last month due to Mother’s Day the meeting was held on the third Sunday and I went for the first time.  I received such a warm welcome that I knew I had found the fraternity I had been looking for.  I love how the meetings are organized, there’s even a moment for a photo op because we have a member who writes a newsletter for our fraternity and she publishes a picture of each meeting’s group!  Kindred Spirit for sure (smile).  We also have a couple in charge of a traveling library with every book relating to Franciscan spirituality!  I am so looking forward to growing some roots with this group!
Los Alamitos Fraternity

Our faith journey should always challenge us to grow, to try different paths that show us a different angle to our Creator.  I am lucky that I live in an area where there’s so many different opportunities, so many different activities and so many groups to help me get to heaven.  Last week, I also attended a woman’s group that was a really neat experience.  It was more of a Catholic social group where I got to have really deep, insightful conversations with other women.  The group is led by Father Bartus’ wife.  These new activities have me extremely excited about my summer!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Dollar and Penny Fourteen Years

Fourteen years ago this little animal soul was born.  At two months-and-a-half he came home with me.  I had just suffered the demise of my first romantic relationship and had gone shopping hoping for the distraction. As customary, I peeked in the pet store and came across the cage of my animal soulmate.  I knocked on his glass window and unlike all the other doggies eager for attention this little guy didn’t move from his comfortable resting position.  The store attendant asked if I would like to hold him, but I declined stating that I was just looking and not intending to buy.  He convinced me to hold future Dollar stating that animals at the pet store don’t get held a whole lot.  He placed him in my arms and the little guy laid limp - only a broken heart can recognize another.  Noticing that this tiny dog was suffering as much as I was, I swiped my credit card on impulse and brought him home.  These past fourteen years have been the greatest adventure, just-the-two-of-us.
1) Initially I thought he was mute because he never let out a sound.  I had to scare him in order to get his first bark confirming that indeed he could speak.

2) Not only does he have good looks, but he’s a genius!  He graduated with honors from home puppy school- the valedictorian indeed!

3) When he was a young pup he tested his luck and ran across the street getting scraped by a car.

4) He was the best therapy when I lost my brother- such a loving presence.  

5) While walking at Mile Square Park he accidently stepped on a fallen beehive, luckily his momma had a hat and swatted the bees away- both surviving the attack.

6) He reciprocated saving my life when I was at my lowest point, suffering from the worst depression.

7) While trying to stand up for his best doggie friend, he survived a terrifying attack by a Pitbull.
8) Leisurely walks are his absolute favorite, the more bushes to stop at the better.

9) And prefers the park to the beach.

10) On bath day he tries to hide underneath the bed because he hates showers.

10) He’s extremely sensitive, when I return from my travels he always expresses his displeasure (at my leaving) by not coming near me for a couple of hours.

11) But has a forgetful mind, so forgetful that he thinks I am perfect at all times.

12) We tried having a doggy sibling, but found out that he loves being the only one.

13) He will only do tricks on carpeted floors.

14) In terms of unconditional love, forgiveness and joy; he’s one of the best teachers I have ever had.
Let me go, I hate pictures!

I love a poem Pablo Neruda wrote as a eulogy for his beloved friend, I plan on reading it on the day that Dollar and I must part.  There’s a line where Neruda says, “he never climbed all over my clothes filling me full of his hair or his mange / he never rubbed up against my knee like dogs obsessed with sex…” Dollar is the same way, he has never been an annoying, yappy dog who jumps on people at first sight.  Some would even say he’s a bit of a snob, because he only gives joyous welcomes to those in his pack. Every day coming home is a celebration.  My day might have been a total chaos, but when I cross the gates to my safe haven a little fur ball awaits to drench me in his pure, pure love.  Happy Birthday my love, Dollarin!  

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Saint Peregrine's Chapel

On Sunday, we packed in my car and drove in tune to Vicente Fernandez on our way to the San Juan Capistrano Mission… Two weeks ago my mom went to Urgent Care after complaining of pain in her jaw and the doctor on call told her based on her symptoms and what he saw that to him it was most likely cancer.  He sent her to get a referral for a biopsy and numerous tests.  During the time that followed as we waited to get confirmation we came together in prayer.  I learned that Saint Peregrine is the patron saint for cancer sufferers and my siblings and I asked for his intercession through a beautiful novena.  I promised him that at the conclusion of the nine day prayer I would go visit him to thank him either way.  During my time of prayer with Saint Peregrine, I learned that he is a saint of the Servite Order and has a reputation as a great, holy priest.  He was afflicted with cancer on his leg and foot and suffered great pains.  The night before he was to have an amputation he prayed fervently and was miraculously healed.  This healing caused his reputation to grow and throughout his long life he performed many miracles.  I also discovered that at the San Juan Capistrano Mission there was a small chapel dedicated to him and I promised him I would visit him there at the conclusion of my novena.
Growing up in my home, I learned about solemn promises from my mother.  Every time she felt things out of her control she would make a vow, usually to visit the saint she was asking for intercession at the location she knew he was venerated.  When giving birth to my sister she had complications and she asked Mother Mary for intercession promising that she would name my sister after Our Lady of Sorrows.  When my brother was dying she promised she would visit the Temple Sagrario in Patzcuaro.   When I was really sick she asked Mother Mary for intercession promising she would visit her at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Throughout my life, I have seen this spiritual practice give her strength during the most challenging moments.  Thus, when I felt like things were out of my control I imitated my mother in her strong faith.  I promised Saint Peregrine that I would visit him personally at the Saint Peregrine Chapel.  As I prayed his novena with my siblings, I noticed that hope in the difficult waiting period grew.  We were able to laugh and enjoy each day, even with a shadow looming over us.  Did my mom receive a miraculous healing or was it a misdiagnosis?  Probably the second, but regardless the time spent praying with Saint Peregrine helped us find courage and hope in God’s will. 
Thus, on Sunday I took my mom, dad and my nephew to pay my vow.  We toured the mission extremely happy and grateful for God’s providence.  When we made it to Saint Peregrine’s Chapel we went in and prayed a short prayer together in thanks for his intercession.  We also played the recording that came with our tour package and heard a short bio of the life of the saint.  I turned around and my mom had tears in her eyes, they were tears of relief because even when she’s ill she always gives us so much strength!  We toured the rest of the mission in laughter, my parents admiring the flowers and my nephew and I completing an interactive children’s tour. 
A little silliness! 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Power of Prayer

Today, my family and I conclude a novena to Saint Peregrine.  After receiving some alarming news in regards to my mother’s health we pulled together and sought refuge in God and one another as we anxiously waited for results to come confirming things one way or the other.  We joined forces and together we sought God for comfort and an audience.  We brought to him our pleas and joined forces with Mother Mary and Saint Peregrine to help us intercede for our petitions.  Prayer has always been a struggle for me.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t pray it just means that sometimes I pray with a very doubtful mind.  A doubtful mind that sometimes tells me that I am really doing nothing of consequence when I pray.  Yet, things happen when I pray, things that always shut my skeptic mind and prove to me that prayer like Jesus said, “moves mountains.”
The day after my trip, I received some news that knocked the wind out of me- that brought death back into my realm.  I felt this great impotence so I got down on my knees and I prayed.  Then I found a Saint Peregrine Novena and recruited my siblings to join me in prayer.  All three of us, were experiencing the same level of anxiety and fear of the unknown.  Yet, as we prayed guiding ourselves with the beautiful prayers of the novena - things happened. 

For one, the worry and fear was lifted and we waited trusting the will of God.  We were able to enjoy the present moment.  This freedom from worry enabled us to enjoy our mom and while the first days after the bad news were hard- the power of prayer gave us positive dispositions and courage to confront things as they came.
Two, it brought my family closer.  We were able to share our pain, our anxieties and to encourage one another.  The novena joined us in supplication, together we begged God for a miracle.  Yet, the prayers that went with the novena also had portions were they focused on us accepting the will of God, on letting go and trusting in Him alone.  Together we implored God to listen to our petitions, but we also learned to have faith in Him.  We learned that we had to trust in his divine providence.  Every day (unrehearsed) we shared with one another a way we felt God’s presence.  For example, my sister came into my room to share with me that when she was speaking with her mother-in-law, her mother-in-law told her that her son had just brought home a statue of Saint Peregrine.  Her mother-in-law didn’t know we were praying for his intersession.  Saint Peregrine is not a very popular saint so the mention of his name in conversation made us smile knowing the saint was with us.
I am a big believer in lighting a candle for my intentions.

Three, it moved the focus from the diagnoses to God.  I thought of the many saints that died happily knowing they were going home.  I thought of heaven and things didn’t seem as hard (though the separation would be) because death was defeated on the cross.  As Catholic’s heaven is our destination and the promise that we will all be reunited gave me hope.

Prayer is not just about getting a yes reply to our petition.  Prayer is a journey that helps us at all times focus on God.  This focus feeds us with courage, hope and perseverance.  And if we are saints with joy in the will of God.  While I joined my siblings in prayer, I had this epiphany that prayer does more than reach God with our desires, it helps each of us attain sanctity.  What happens internally while we pray can be as important as the answer to our prayers.  Yesterday, we got positive news about mom’s medical exams, on Friday we get the results for the rest of the tests and hopefully she will be in the clear.  Now we need to visit Saint Peregrine and thank him for his intersession! 

Monday, May 22, 2017

What is a Pilgrimage?

What is a Pilgrimage?
As we hopped on the bus at Saint Vincent de Paul Church on our way to Los Angeles Airport, Father began by explaining that we were about to depart on a journey not as tourist, but pilgrims.  A pilgrimage is a journey with a purpose, usually to venerate sites in connection with our Catholic faith.  Early Christians made journeys to the sites associated with Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.  This tradition continued and expanded to following the footsteps of the apostles, Marian apparitions and important locations of Saints and Christian Martyrs.  The purpose always to enrich our faith while carrying special prayer intentions.  During my trip, continuously I heard a woman in our group repeat, “I have to remember, this is not a vacation, but a pilgrimage.”  She kept repeating this at moments when I believe she needed to remember Christian charity because in our group we had older people with difficulty in mobility.  One day one of the members in our group got lost, another day someone got their purse stolen and these issues affected the group since we travel as a large family.  Thus, the journey is also an exercise in Christian virtue.

Does it cost money?
Some people think that if one has a good relationship with the priest and is involved with the parish that one is selected to travel free of charge.  Unfortunately, no discounts are made nor do priests use the Sunday collection to sponsor trips for their favorite parishioners.  If one is interested in joining a group on a pilgrimage one is responsible to pay for the trip and to bring money to spend during the trip.

What happens during the journey?
A pilgrimage is journey with a purpose.  The pilgrimage I just went on, had the themes of following in the footsteps of Saint John Paul II and Divine Mercy.  Thus, we toured areas that correlated with the themes of our journey.  Usually we have a qualified guide that will share information about each of the sites we are visiting imparting lots of great knowledge.  In addition, every day we have a chapel reserved for daily Mass and time to pray the rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet together as a group.  Usually, we also have some free time for reflection.  

Pros & Cons:
I love traveling with other Catholics because I feel safe and I learn a great deal from them.  My experiences have always been really positive because for the most part it feels like one is traveling with one’s family.  We do get to visit both religious and secular sites.
The downside is that sometimes the scheduling can be a little overwhelming with activity.  This recent trip I felt like we were always rushing - fighting against time.  Our "on our own" lunches were always an hour or so long (which in European countries this is never long enough), we didn’t have much free time, some people missed not being able to shop, and I missed not being able to reflect on my day (alone).  My roommate one day said, “I don’t want to see the inside of another church again.”  She meant that we were seeing so many that the details of each were starting to get confused in our minds.  Yet, it seemed like God heard her because after that we began exploring the historical sites of each country.
Closing Thoughts:

Though this pilgrimage that I just came from was too full of activity, I still had some super meaningful moments and I learned a great deal both culturally and spiritually.  Each pilgrimage is different, but the objective is always to get closer to God.  Thus, for me this will always be an option for travel.  

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Visiting the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy

When I was touring Prague, I had this very informative tour guide, after describing the political and religious turmoil the Czech Republic has faced she said, “when things are good people forget about God, but when troubles come they cling to their faith and fight for their beliefs.”  That statement rattled my brain.  I know from personal experience that when challenges come my way I cling to God with all my might, but in times of plenty I can get a little loose in my relationship with Him.  When my dog was a couple months old he used to remain between my legs when I took him to the dog park as he got older he began to wander a little further from me.  I think that’s what my relationship with God is like, when I am in trouble I try to remain super close, but as my confidence increases I can start to wander.  I don’t visit him in adoration as much, or I dismiss prayer times for other activities.  Yet, just like my dog might go exploring, he always knows where I am and keeps a close eye to run towards me before I am out of sight… I guess that’s one of the reasons that I enjoy saint literature because their stories of faith help me want to desire God with the same intensity at all times.  
A great place for prayer and the window of the room belonging to Saint Faustina.

I have been reading the Diary of Saint Faustina, before my trip I got half way through it.  I knew we would be visiting some of the sites dedicated to her so I wanted to have a better grasp of who she was.  Her writings are great insight into someone with a deep-unwavering connection to God.  Whether she is celebrating or deeply troubled her refuge is the same Lord, Jesus Christ.  During my trip, I was excited to tour the places that I had only imagined while reading her manuscript. When the bus pulled to the Divine Mercy Shrine, I was completely disappointed because the building looks out of place and washed in tacky modern style! It just doesn’t go with the beautiful, historical myriad of classic architecture known in these European countries.  I entered the shrine and the bare white walls made my heart sink.  As I moved deeper into the building following the pilgrims, I noticed that we were entering a simply decorated chapel dedicated to Saint Faustina.  The chapel had been evacuated for our use, Father would celebrate Mass here.  As he got ready in the sacristy, I knelt in front of the altar and touched a relic of Saint Faustina. I closed my eyes and imagined her speaking to Jesus, and he revealing the painting of the Divine Mercy to her.  I saw her kneeling and talking to him lively and he responding.  This image made me smile.  This image made me desire this level of intimacy with God.  I was lost in thought and could feel tears streaming down my face because I knew that God desires the same with me.  During Mass, I thanked God for giving me so many blessings – especially to bring to life the books I have read.
The Inside of the shrine.  The chapel where they have the original painting and the body of Saint Faustina are off limits to photos. Below the outside of the shrine.
Leaving the shrine we headed to an area with a little more history, the convent where Saint Faustina lived.  The guide pointed to the window where her room was located, the same room she died in.  Then we were led into the chapel of the convent where the original Divine Mercy painting sits above the tomb of Saint Faustina.  I went to the very front and knelt right in front of the image and I couldn’t imagine Jesus more beautiful- though Saint Faustina tells us he is.  I also was surprised because the rays that come forth are red and white- sometimes in replicas I have seen them to be red and blue. I remained kneeling until I was tapped on the shoulder indicating that my time was up.  I took with me the message that long ago attracted me to this image, “Jesus, I trust in You.”  I want those five words to be my comfort and refuge because sometimes I can so easily doubt in His providence. 

As I got on the bus, I was delighted by the many blessings that I had received in just one day!  For a book nerd (like myself) nothing gives more pleasure than bringing a book to life.  Usually I have to settle for a movie remake of a novel, but in this case I was walking into the pages written years ago by a real Saint about true events.  A woman who loved God in goodness and in sickness and who’s legacy is to do the same, to say and mean with complete confidence, “Jesus, I trust in you!”