The Devil in a Piece of Pie

Waiting for a friend at a local coffee shop, I used my smartphone to read a portion of the first letter of John. God took the initiative to sit with me in that moment. My heart was deeply at peace. I was aware of a presence beyond myself. I was warmed by God loving me. I breathed deeply, looked out the window at freshly mown grass and marveled. I was glad my friend was late. […]

Listening for God in Nature

My love of nature began when I was a young child nurtured through the witness of my parents’ respect and awe of creation in our own backyard. Avid gardeners, they spent their free time designing and creating beautiful gardens, flowerbeds, and sanctuary nature nooks in our backyard that magnified the natural beauty of the Louisiana landscape. Their craft of cultivating the soil brought the magnificence of creation close up to my eyes as a child. […]

Taking Off My Shoes

“Nor can foot feel, being shod” This line from Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poem “God’s Grandeur” is a commentary on what the poet saw as one of many pitfalls of the burgeoning industrial revolution, which, in his imagination, divorced people from knowledge of the natural world in which they lived. People are “shod”—shoe-wearing, meaning that they can no longer feel the earth beneath their feet. For decades I’ve held this line as a metaphor—until now, when, […]

What Time Is It?

“What time is it?” “It’s time to die.” Although the conversation between Mamma and her oncologist several months ago didn’t exactly happen with those words, that’s what the doctor meant when he relayed Mamma’s test results to us. Most people would greet such news with fear and sadness. Clearly, my mom had already laid those emotions aside and felt that she was ready to go. She asked directly, “How long do I have to live?” […]

Riding the Wave of God’s Surprises

Today the Lord invites us to assume an attitude of humble listening and docile waiting, because the grace of God often presents itself to us in surprising ways, which don’t line up with our expectations. —Pope Francis, July 8, 2018 I am most aware of God’s handiwork in my day when I remember Pope Francis’s advice to let God surprise us. So, when he revisited this theme last month, it renewed my resolve to step […]

The Dark Night of Seeds

One of Jesus’ parables about the Kingdom of God depicts us as various types of soil into which the sower plants seeds. I found myself imagining that I was the seed instead. It led to a fruitful contemplation about heaven. I see myself planted deep in the earth, with its darkness and grime. I cannot see heaven above, but I know in faith that it is there, somewhere. I wait. God’s living water cracks the […]

Finding God in the Birds

Growing up in Inner City Los Angeles, I hadn’t really seen a bird that wasn’t a pigeon unless I went to the beach. You know what they call pigeons in East L.A.? Flying rats. The only other experience I had with birds was the Alfred Hitchcock movie by the same name. One of the local networks would show the film on television each year around Halloween. So yes, I was never what you might call […]

On Gratitude

Driving home recently, I couldn’t help but notice that God seemed intent on slowing me down—behind a bus first, then a delivery truck; then a traffic light turned red just as I approached. Far from a waste of time, delays like this signal that God is trying to get my attention. I smile interiorly, grateful for the chance to ponder God’s presence in the brief moments of stillness the detainment affords. Every tree and flower, […]

I Am Not Worthy

I slipped into the church, unseen by the women cleaning on Saturday morning; the vacuum’s blare wiped out my footsteps. Early for a women’s breakfast, I thought I’d say hi to Jesus. In our church, an alcove creates a private space in front of the tabernacle. When I sat there, I sang a Communion hymn from my childhood so I wouldn’t scare anyone when I emerged from the hidden spot: Oh, Lord, I am not […]

Angels and Ice Cream

One day a father and his six small children troop single file into the thrift store. The tops of the little ones’ heads are staggered at four-inch intervals of height, like stair steps. At first, we clerks exchange glances, doubting whether one lone man is sufficient to keep twelve little hands off the breakables, but we needn’t have worried. The children follow along behind him to the back of the store and wait patiently while […]

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