Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Pope would be at Sycamore and Romaine!

When the pope was a Cardinal in Argentina, he used to go out into the streets late at night to care for the poor. It's harder for him to sneak out of the Vatican now that he is pope, but he has a new strategy that allows him to make the same impact. It's called the Vatican Almoner.

Pope Francis has ramped up the Vatican’s charity work by sending his chief alms-giver and a contingent of Swiss guards onto the streets of Rome at night to do what he usually can’t do: comfort the poor and the homeless. A few nights a week, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski takes a few off-duty Swiss guards with him in his modest white Fiat to make the rounds at Rome’s train stations, where charities offer makeshift soup kitchens that feed 400-500 people a night. Often they bring the leftovers from the Vatican mess halls to share. Take a look at this beautiful article about his work: Vatican Almoner
I love this pope and what he is doing. If he was here in Los Angeles, I get the feeling he would come out and join us for the St. Paul's Sycamore and Romaine Outreach Ministry

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fantastic Group at Sandwich Builders!

Tonight was a wonderful night at Sandwich Builders! A massive crowd turned out to build lunches for the homeless. Lead by Jim and Elizabeth Burgess the volunteers made over 1,000 delicious lunches in record time. Many thanks to Sue BJ who inspired the troops!

We had a massive group...

The music was rockin
and made for a festive atmosphere. 

...and everybody pitched in.

We made well over 1,000 sandwiches... less than 40 minutes! 

Everybody pitched in, parents and students.

Including a great crew that created beautiful prayer cards.

Great job on the prayer cards! 

We filled the Burgess van with so many lunches the axle almost broke! 

And Sue BJ never stopped working and never stopped smiling! 

Everybody had a ton of fun! 

And it was awesome to see Daniel and Ariane Noji
who's son Holden was recently baptized at St. Paul's!! 

Many thanks and God bless to all who came out this Friday
night to an amazing Sandwich Builders outreach !
Hope to see everybody next month.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Created in the Image of God

This is a beautiful modern day description of the timeless concept of Imago Dei.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Congratulations Colin Salazar!

Congratulations to the Salazar Family! 
Congratulations to Colin Salazar on his baptism which took place on November 16, 2013 at St. Paul the Apostle Church! Colin was surrounded by the love of his parents Paul and Summer, his big sister, and family and friends who came from near and far including San Diego and Sacramento to celebrate this beautiful sacrament with the family. God bless you always Colin!  You are a child of God.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Vatican Asks Bishops for Survey on Church Teachings

The Vatican recently asked the bishops of the world to seek the opinions of all Catholics on a number of church teachings including contraception, same-sex marriage and divorce. The bishops of the United States have not yet decided how to collect this information. Several lay Catholic groups have put together a survey which is based on one that is already in use in Europe. 

If you would like to take the survey you can find it here: TAKE THE SURVEY
For more information about this go to National Catholic Reporter here: NCR 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Say "Yes"

You Must Start With Yes

By teaching “Do not judge” (Matthew 7:1), the great teachers are saying that you cannot start seeing or understanding anything if you start with “no.” You have to start with a “yes” of basic acceptance, which means not too quickly labeling, analyzing, or categorizing things as in or out, good or bad, up or down. You have to leave the field open, a field in which God and grace can move. Ego leads with “no” whereas soul leads with “yes.”
The ego seems to strengthen itself by constriction, by being against things; and it feels loss or fear when it opens up. “No” always comes easier than “yes,” and a deep, conscious “yes” is the work of freedom and grace. So the soul lives by expansion instead of constriction. Spiritual teachers want you to live by positive action, an open field, and studied understanding, and not by resistance, knee-jerk reactions, or defensiveness, and so they always say something like “Do not judge,” as judging is merely a control mechanism.
Words and thoughts are invariably dualistic, but pure experience is always non-dualistic. You cannot really experience reality with the judgmental mind, because you are dividing the moment before you give yourself to it. The judgmental mind prevents you from being present to the full moment by trying to “divide and conquer.” Instead, you end up dividing yourself and being conquered.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Richard Rohr on Spirituality vs. Religion


Meditation 1 of 52

One could easily say that what makes something “spiritual” is precisely that it is paradoxical. “Spiritual things,” as we call them, always have a character of mystery, seeming contradiction, awesomeness, invisibility, or a kind of impossibility to them. That is exactly why we call them spiritual! Isn’t that true for you?
Organized religion has tended to recognize this, but then tries to “organize” what is always Mystery so that it does not seem so impossible, invisible, or contradictory. This was probably good and inevitable, and is much of the function of Scripture and Sacred Story. They take away some of the shock and impossibility of what we are actually saying. This made for a much more beautiful and engaging story than mere literal telling of bare theological “facts.” (Read the book or see the movie, Life of Pi, where this very point is made brilliantly. Both the literal and the symbolic story are in their own way true, and you can choose the one you prefer to believe at the end.) I really doubt if God cares, as long as you get inside of the Great Mystery of Life and Love.
Organized religion makes for a highly communicable message, one that is much more accessible and often more attractive, that allows us to take great things in necessarily small doses, and creates a sharable and sacred language that we can all agree upon and talk about in a hushed or authoritative voice. It also creates a lot of backlash from those who hate or fear symbolism, because it all seems so fanciful to them. This has largely been the case since the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in the countries that were influenced by what was called the Enlightenment, and now the rest of the world which they in great part colonized.
But organized religion also created fast-food religion that did not make actual God experience needed or even available to most people. They just believed things or belonged to so-called special and superior groups. Transformation of self or transformation of consciousness was not deemed necessary, except at a few artificial behavioral levels. (“We fast on this day,” “We don’t drink alcohol or caffeine,” “We attend this kind of service.”) Such agreed-upon practices were very good for creating a kind of social order in a country, but of themselves they did not lead people to any deep experience of union with God—or themselves. This, of course, is much of the point that St. Paul goes to great length to demonstrate in two of his most important letters: Romans and Galatians.
As many have said in varying ways, you can (1) Do the old thing with the old mind (“conservatives”), (2) Do a new thing with the old mind (“liberals”), or (3) Do a new thing with a new mind. Only the third way deserves to be called authentic religion. The other two stances often avoid the necessary dying to self which is called transformation. The new mind could be called the contemplative mind. The new thing is always love—at ever-deeper levels.
What was originally just thought of as “prayer” was an attempt to “change your thinking cap” and look out at reality from a different pair of eyes. Because the word became cheapened by ego usage, many of us now use the word contemplation to describe this new mind or alternative consciousness. The single most precise way to describe this mind is that it sees things in a non-dual way, which is precisely why holy people can love enemies, overlook offenses, see things as paradoxical without giving up their reason, and believe in Jesus as both fully human and fully divine at the same time. Frankly, without the contemplative mind almost all major religious doctrines and dogmas are just silly nonsense, and worse, they are not even helpful to humanity—or God!
With the contemplative mind, things like forgiveness, love, embrace of the outsider, surrender to Mystery, the integration of contradictory ego and shadow, all become possible and even attractive. Now the goal of all religion is in sight—actual union with what is. And “what is” is called God.

The Daily Meditations for 2013 are now available
in Fr. Richard’s new book Yes, And . . . .

Friday, November 8, 2013

Christmas for a Dollar!

Christmas for a Dollar
I had the pleasure of seeing a great family Christmas movie which was produced by our very own Father Eric Andrews, CSP. It would make a wonderful gift for your whole family. So make some popcorn, light the fire and watch it together for a great family experience!
Check out the trailer at Paulist Productions.  Buy it on DVD at Paulist Press.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sycamore and Romaine outreach

Many thanks to Rick Bisetti, David Tilles and Theo Laksmana
for the fantastic work they did at the Sycamore and Romaine
outreach project last night!
Theo, David and Rick really rocked it! 
Rick was a fantastic manager...
Theo was the finisher...

...and David mastered the art of salad making! 

Hundreds of people enjoyed a great hot meal. 
Rick made sure it was a well run team!

...although he kept pushing the frozen coconut milk to go with each meal!

...and Daivd was thrilled when we finally
found the lost green beans!

Someone also hid the last tray of Starbucks desserts but Theo found them!

After serving we all went back to the kitchen
 (disguised as an auto repair and smog shop)
to help clean the pots and pans.

...and in the great Tilles family tradition,
David wouldn't quit until it was all cleaned up.
Great work from tonights team!
Thank you.