Sunday, October 19, 2014

Song: Ten Thousand Reasons (Bless the Lord) by Matt Redman

What do you do so you don't lose your connection with God?

I surmise prayer and Scripture reading are some of your answers. Nice! We must be grounded in prayer and Scripture to begin with. During the course of the day, what do you do? One of the ways I find helpful is singing or humming a song. This one particular song I'm sharing with you, which is quite popular, is what reverberates into my heart these days as I go about my daily routines.

You must already know the words of St. Francis, "Singing is twice praying," so much so that you do sing to God. Wonderful! There's one great connection between God and you that gets you going throughout the day because as you sing for him you are honoring God, blessing him, and thanking him: for all that he is, all that he is about, and the ten thousand reasons he blesses you.

Music as a way of prayer brings us to the words of St. Paul, "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess 5:11), which then brings us to the continuity of our connection with God: that when we sing to God we continue to be in tune with him.

What is your favorite song for God? Enjoy the moment of being with him as you sing it.

"Music is among the many and great gifts of nature with which God, in Whom is the harmony of the most perfect concord and the most perfect order, has enriched men, whom He has created in His image and likeness.Together with the other liberal arts, music contributes to spiritual joy and the delight of the soul" (Pope Pius XII, Musicae Sarcae #4).

"Music, that is the science or the sense of proper modulation, is likewise given by God's generosity to mortals having rational souls in order to lead them to higher things" (Quote by St. Augustine, Musicae Sarcae #5 by Pope Pius XII).

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Poem: Moonlight Paddling by Easter Almuena

picture by Dann Ebina

A sense of eerie feeling pervaded the Pacific beach before the first ray of light is cast upon the darkness of the evening. It couldn't have been 8 p.m. Slowly yet steadily, the clouds moved to the side to make way for this whitish moon cake. Looking gentle and serene, the presence of this majestic moon succeeded in calming the face of the earth with its faint light.

Let's go! For we could now see the shimmering light upon the vast ocean. So dash we dared to the kayaks, feeling all the exhilaration rushing to our veins. We proceeded to the ocean deep... for moonlight paddling.

In that journey three families and a visiting priest from Africa had a glimpse of eternity.

Bourn out of this most memorable experience is a poem I wrote. This poem is published in the Hawaii Catholic Herald. Enjoy!

Moonlight Paddling
By Easter Almuena

Moon cake of light gold crusting
Marking the eerie dark of the night
With a taste of quaint entrance
As if mocking the daylight turn

Rush to the kayaks!
We keikies of the morning light
Who dive into the Pacific in beats
Of pounding hearts and vigilant eyes

Arms move to the rhythm of paddles
With movements of incandescence
Below in silence, moon meets moon
With moon maker in shadow crest

Copyright © 2014 Easter Almuena
All rights reserved.

(Moonlight paddling took place on September 9, 2014.)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Book: Theology of the Body by Karen Doyle

Theology of the Body, some thoughts and reflections by Karen Doyle: This book, to me, contains the most simple and concise text that beautifully illustrates in words and graphics what Theology of the Body encompasses in a marital covenant. I found it necessary to read this book slowly and meditatively. What I did also was to reread it to capture its essence and meaning. It was an enjoyable experience overall. Not only did it ground my faith and belief in marriage, but it also added a level of depth and beauty to my own marriage.

This book is available for $10.00 at the Pauline Books and Media Center in your area or on-line here. Enjoy!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Poem: On This Journey of Drought

photo found at Wide Sahara Desert Image

Sometimes comes a time in one's place when a more intense form of silence is to be observed. This is nothing new to me. The call to be quiet, to be immersed in God alone is a place he draws me to. Every other month I stay in a monastery for two days and one night. Something out of the ordinary, however, had to occur in me for a big pause to take place -- a place where God's embrace and the outpouring of his most loving presence is felt in a different way. I was ill for awhile. Though I may not have understood why it had to happen, I do now, and it's all that matters. It has been a long journey to full recovery, but necessary. Things have been then become arranged in proper places, as God designed them to be. I am very close to full recovery and -- funny as it may seem -- sometimes, I'd find myself wishing that the time of recuperation was longer. I cannot kid myself, of course. Time moves with God's plans. I am almost there. I know because the line of things needed to be done has become clearer, and longer. It's almost time to swing to full speed.

Anyhow, I'd like to share with you a poem I had written possibly five years ago. I didn't know then why I wrote it, but at the time of illness which occurred months ago, this poem seemed to fit. Mind you, it has a gloomy tone, as gloomy as one's experiences when one is in a desert. I call it my "dark night of the soul," which certainly is, to me, a resonance yet just a small taste of the dark night of the soul of my favorite male saint, St. John of the Cross.

I thank you for listening. Here's the poem:

At the Hawaii Catholic Herald, On This Journey of Drought.

Books about or by St. John of the Cross may be purchased at Pauline Books and Media website, or at any of their stores. Thank you.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Book and Movie: Heaven is for Real

Have you read the book or watched the movie yet? Heaven is for Real. The book is an easy-read and the movie engaging. It took me about 2 days to read the book; I enjoyed watching the movie with my teen.

The experiences of Colton, the three-year-old boy who went through near-death, were genuine to me. I recommend it to everyone or anyone who might be curious about the unknown, the afterlife, or Heaven. You might be one of those persons who don't need proof that Heaven exists and it's O.K., too. Read the book or view the movie. I did both and I'm quite satisfied.

"'Heaven Is For Real'" stars Greg Kinnear as Todd Burpo and co-stars Kelly Reilly as Sonja Burpo, the real-life couple whose son Colton (newcomer Connor Corum) experiences Heaven during emergency surgery. Colton recounts the details of his amazing journey with childlike innocence. He describes Heaven in vivid detail, and speaks matter-of-factly about things that happened before his birth ... things he couldn't possibly know. Todd is called upon by his congregation to explain the meaning of Colton's revelations, and he and his family are challenged to examine their faith and draw meaning from this remarkable event."

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Book: "Mother Mary Comes To Me" by Dennis Muth

This story is about the journey of a young man who goes on a trip to Europe after having finished college. The trip is his parent’s graduation gift to him. Amazingly, that gift later bears fruit that his parents savor with delight. The events weave in and out. Unexpectedly, a small piece to a puzzle is uncovered to him that eventually leads to a discovery, a most wonderful discovery that keeps him grounded in faith -- to this day.

As we go through changes in life plateaus are inescapable, even for this author’s life. No matter how busy and how far he gets in life, however, we see God drawing him back to himself through two elements: Mary at Medjugorje and the Beatles’ music.

Dennis Muth the author and his life in the book, Mother Mary Comes to Me, is an unfolding of the love of our Mother, who desires for all people two very important aspects of a faith-filled life: conversion and intimacy with God. Dennis experiences both through Mary at Medjugorje and the Beatles’ music.

Dennis brings the reader to a pause to think of God-given gifts, those that our Maker carves within us to use to respond to his love. God loved us first (1 John 4:19). He takes the first initiative to love us. The gifts we have been given become tools in our response to God’s love. Because God’s love is encompassing, it overflows in abundance, becoming an intrinsic gift that suffuses others. Those people around us will experience conversion and will be drawn to intimacy with God. It’s inevitable.

Dennis is married to a beautiful woman named Hedy. They have two children. Read the book and find out where God takes him to renew in his life conversion and intimacy with him. Here’s a clue: it is a communion of people where love is experienced in a greater degree, so much so that when those who belong there go out into the world, there is enough love for others.

This book is both for the young and old. It gives everyone hope in looking forward to a journey of unexpected turns. As long as we allow God to love us first, openly receive his gifts, and use them along the way that benefit us and those around us, we shall see the fruits of it all.

Here's Dennis Muth's website where you can order a copy: Mother Mary Comes To Me.

By Easter Almuena, MPT

Monday, May 26, 2014

Learning from Team Power

In a world with a growing sense of individualism and self-reliance, it's nice to be reminded of teamwork or team power. I invite you to watch this clip. Then, think of places where team power can work. The first one that comes to mind is family. How about you?