God in a Purple Flower

By Maleny Quiroz

God’s infinite power does not lead us to flee His fatherly tenderness, because in Him affection and strength are joined” (paragraph 73). Indeed, God doesn’t fail to show me affection and at the same time provide strength, sometimes in unexpected ways. Let me paint a picture of how God continually has been doing so in my life, in the hopes that you might be able to see it in your life as well.

As a college student, I’m constantly running (not just figuratively) around campus, trying to get from class to a meeting to work, attempting (and not always succeeding) to turn in assignments on time and always filling my head with thoughts of what I have to do next. There comes a time in the quarter when all this awkward scrambling through responsibilities and trying to meet deadlines like an adult while still feeling like a clueless child wears me down to point where I constantly question if I can even continue breathing, let alone meet all the expectations that are placed on me. But God has funny ways of letting me know that He’s still there, that “He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless” (Is 40:28b-29) (read: sleep deprived college students).

Whenever I’m walking/running on campus (not for exercise purposes, I wish I had time for that), worried about this or that assignment, I look around and there always seem to be purple flowers. If you know me, you know I love purple and flowers, but it’s not primarily their color that attracts me when I’m running around campus, rather what they seem to be whispering: “Sí se puede, Maleny, sí se puede”(roughly translated as “you can do it Maleny, you can do it”). Call me kooky, but I really do think these are tiny whispers of love coming from God, or as Pope Francis puts it in Laudato Si’ “The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affections for us…everything is as it were, a caress of God…From panoramic vistas to the tiniest living form, nature is a constant source of wonder and awe…To sense each creature singing the hymn of its existence is to live joyfully in God’s love and hope…For the believer, to contemplate creation is to hear a message, to listen to a paradoxical and silent voice.” (paragraphs 84-85).

Just like I was able to hear God’s voice through the chaos of college, I recently was able to understand His love as well, this time through the Eucharist. I went to Eucharistic adoration not so long ago and there were various things that really hit me. Before we started the adoration itself, one of the students gave a talk about his faith life, where he talked about knowing God, God’s love, and Jesus dying for us. He talked about how when he got to college, in an attempt to defend his faith, he started reading a lot about religion. But then He heard a priest a say “It doesn’t matter how much you know about God, if you don’t know God,” which lead to his desire to be in relationship with Christ, to really know Him. We can only know Him through His love, but what does that mean? You always hear that God loves you, but it’s so thrown in your face so often, that with time, it looses meaning. The student speaker explained it this way “You understand God’s love, when you understand how little you deserve it.” He made it seem more concrete by talking about how he has a sister that holds grudges for a really long time, and that one time he said something really cruel to her, so he expected her to not talk to him at least for a really long time. Yet, only a few minutes passed when she said she forgave him. He said that he has never felt more loved by her. God sees absolutely everything we do to others and to Him, and He still loves and forgives us.

The student then talked about the sacrifice of Jesus. Like His love, His sacrifice or the phrase “Jesus died for us” is heard so often that we lose sight of all the meaning that holds. The student said, “If Jesus had to go through everything again, the beating, all the suffering, going up a hill with the cross, and dying just for one person, He would do it, even if that person was just you.” When adoration started, I closed my eyes and I saw Jesus on the cross. Whenever I imagined Jesus on the cross before that, it would seem as something really far away, thousands of years ago, and somewhere where I had definitely not been. This time, however, I was at the feet of the cross. Jesus was covered in blood, fragile, beaten, in more pain than any other human could ever endure, yet, even in those conditions He managed to smile and tell me “I do it for you.” I cried throughout the entire time of adoration, not out of sadness but rather, out of final recognition of how truly profound is God’s love for me; I had always known that God loved me, but I had never really understood until that moment. Dear reader, if you’re to take anything away from this, it should be that “each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.”(paragraph 65).

God bless.


Passion flower, named after the passion of Christ and its parts that represent the crown of thorns, the apostles, the stigmas, among other aspects of the crucifixion.

Cosmo Actually Knows Nothing About Relationships

By Claire Dixon


As a kid growing up, I would always accompany my mom to the grocery store. As we stood in line for check-out I would stare at the bright pink and purple magazines with beautiful women on the cover. The headlines jumped out in bold fonts, catching my eye. Titles such as “6 Steps to Sexy Hair,” or “Get a Flatter Tummy in 24 hours,” or “How to Find the Perfect Party Dress.” Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, all of these magazines appealed to the girl in the grocery aisle. I would flip through them for a few moments and before I knew it my mom was telling me to grab our bags. She would never buy them for me and never allowed me to buy them for myself.

I’m glad she didn’t.

What I didn’t see were the other titles. The titles that were screaming SEX SEX SEX, LOOKS LOOKS LOOKS, GUYS GUYS GUYS.

These magazines are making their money off the fact that so many women buy into their looks, their sex life and their romantic life. And what’s so concerning is that they have it so wrong.

It struck me the other day as I was browsing around snapchat via the discover circles. I always take a look at Cosmo’s circle. I skip over the ones titled “50 Sex Tips” or “His #1 Sex Fantasy,” simply because those aren’t applicable to me. There are a few gems such as “This is what a $150 Donut Tastes like” or “Find Out What Movie Everyone was Obsessed with the Year you were Born.

One article stood out to me: “13 Things You Can Learn About Getting Over Cheating From Beyoncé.” The big hullabaloo this past week was the release of Beyonce’s new visual album. Rumors behind the lyrics began to spread that Jay-Z had cheated on her. But scrolling down more, #7 stated “Know that people in happy relationships cheat” and further in #10 “Reconcile, if the other person is worth it.”

Um, no. Cheating is not okay. Under any circumstance. I don’t know what relationships they would consider “happy” but it would only make me happy knowing that the person that I was with only wanted to be with me. If they were worth it, they wouldn’t be cheating in the first place. It is an act of betrayal and dishonesty. It should not be tolerated.

Another article caught me eye, “My Boyfriend Wants to Wait till Marriage to Have Sex.” I clicked on it, hoping for something relatable. The article spoke of a girl struggling with the fact that her boyfriend wanted to wait until marriage to have sex. A Cosmo columnist responded saying: “In fact, if sex with him is what you want, it seems like you have good reason to be unsatisfied. If you do think premarital sex is important, you should be just as aggressive about articulating your desire to your boyfriend as he is about explaining the opposite. The bottom line: Your desires are just as important as his.” Interesting. The columnist seems to be saying that desire is what should rule the relationship, and if this woman is not getting what she desires, there is a problem. Now, of course this would be an interesting problem in any relationship, but the fact that the columnist highlights the need for desires to be fulfilled is interesting to me. He doesn’t seem to highlight the importance of respect for each other’s opinions or views. The fact that this woman needed to write to Cosmo worries me. It seems to show that women are so heavily dependent on magazines such as Cosmo to tell them and guide them in getting what they want, and in fulfilling their desires.

A relationship is not about fulfilling your desires.

Yet another article jumped out at me: “My Boyfriend Thinks I’m cheating by Watching Porn.” First of all, porn is plain stupid. I just had a conversation with my ethics professor about the ethical dialogue surrounding porn in terms of the philosopher Immanuel Kant. Immanuel Kant believes that we should treat people with dignity, and as ends in themselves, not as a means to an end. This means that we should not exploit people or use them as a means to get what we want.

That’s exactly what porn does. Porn preys on men and their sexual desires and fantasies. The industry knows that men have a difficult time with these desires, and therefore uses men as a means to make their money. Further, the more obvious issue is that the porn audience uses the women and men in the showcase as a means to fulfill their desires.

It exploits both parties.

Going back to the article, a columnist responded to the woman saying “If your boyfriend feels like you’re not entitled to a fantasy life of your own choosing, that’s a troublesome sign of insecurity and, perhaps, an unhealthy will to control your desire.” Whoa, okay. There are many layers to this problem. First, is porn considered cheating? I would say yes. You’re watching other people have sex in order to arouse yourself. In a committed relationship the primary form of arousal should be between you and your partner alone. Second, does her boyfriend have an “insecurity”? Maybe. But the columnist doesn’t mention that perhaps the boyfriend only wants his girlfriend focused on him. That’s what a relationship is, isn’t it? Two people, focused on each other. Third, you should be able to control your own desires. The boyfriend can’t do that for you. There will always be that sexual desire but it’s up to the individual to reorient it in a healthy way, and that way should not be directed towards porn.

Further down in the article, a woman asks Cosmo whether or not her boyfriend is cheating. The boyfriend would meet women online and sext them. The columnist responds: “I’m not sure if what he’s doing is technically “cheating,” but it sure as hell sucks. I wouldn’t blame you for calling it quits.”

What? If your boyfriend is sexting other woman, please do yourself a favor and tell him goodbye. Why is that even a question?

Well Cosmo answers it for me: “A lot of people get caught up in this idea of what’s “cheating” and what’s not. But the word itself can be a distraction, because in an age of open-relationships, blurry boundaries, and virtual, anonymous personas, it can be hard to draw sharp lines that indicate what’s cheating and what’s just plain lame.”

Cheating IS plain lame and you  deserve a guy who doesn’t do any form of it.

See, the problem with Cosmo is that their view of relationships, or anything for that matter lies in looks and sex. When actually, a happy relationship is found when two people respect each other and love each other because they recognize the dignity in each other. Cosmo is selling the idea that a woman’s worth rests in her looks, her sexual activity and her ability to get guys. This is not true at all. A relationship isn’t and shouldn’t be formed based on looks or how good you are in the bedroom or how many guys you’ve been with.Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 11.30.44 AM

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You, as a woman are not defined by your relationship, sexual history, or looks. That seems to be a theme that Cosmo is missing. Cosmo isn’t doing anything good for woman, they are allowing us to buy into the trap that we need to be so much more. Never do they mention that we have self-worth and that we should know our self-worth. They play on the fact that society is telling us that our worth is found in our flat tummy or how we fulfill our desires.

So, let’s start buying into ourselves and how much are loved and deserve a love that is above anything that can be found in a Cosmo magazine.



Laudato Si’ and Veganism?

By Maleny Quiroz

I had been wanting to write this post for a long time but hadn’t done so out of fear of being controversial. However, lately I have come to the realization that the only one whom I should please, and care about pleasing, is God, so I’m asking for guidance from the Holy Spirit as I’m writing this, hoping to follow His will.

So what’s with the controversy? For one thing, most of the time it seems like the only people that like veganism are already vegan, and that many of those who aren’t feel the constant need to attack it. On the other side, Laudato Si’, which now that I’m reading it seems to align very well with the point of view that I have of the intersection between veganism and Catholicism, has created some sort of divide between those who identify as “liberal” or “conservative” primarily in the U.S., with both peoples allowing their religion to be shaped by their political stances first, instead of the other way around. Pope Francis said so himself: “It is time to rise above partisanship and controversy over climate change and heed the moral imperative to act now,” but he’s certainly not the first one to do so. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI also talked about the importance of caring for the environment: “A…key area where you are called to make a contribution is in showing concern for the environment. This is not only because this country, more than many others, is likely to be seriously affected by climate change. You are called to care for creation not only as responsible citizens, but also as followers of Christ!” In order to answer to that call, I became vegan almost 7 years ago, though I’ve been learning more about the impact of that decision in the recent years.

Though there is not one reason why I’m vegan, there are probably too many to count, there are some that struck me more than others. At first when I was deciding whether to make that lifestyle change or not, I encountered many people who would tell me “but God put animals on Earth so that we could eat them!” Yet, as we can see in Laudato Si’ “it is not enough, however, to think of different species merely as potential ‘resources’ to be exploited, while overlooking the fact that they have value in themselves”(paragraph 33). I think that was one of the first steps for me in recognizing that the meat in my plate wasn’t just a “thing” to satisfy my palate, but that it came from a being that glorified God in its mere existence, which we can also see in the writings of St. Francis of Assisi that inspired this text and gave it its title referring to how God is praised through the beauty in His creation. Regardless of what God’s initial intentions were for when He first put animals on Earth, what the meat industry is doing today is causing terrible damage not just to the Earth, but to the most vulnerable of peoples.

The production of animal-based foods such as meat, dairy, and eggs, accounts for much of the deterioration that is happening today in the environment. The highest amount of greenhouse gases is emitted, not by cars or airplanes or even factories, but by animal products. A huge contributor to water shortage is also this industry, since it takes about 53 gallons of water alone to produce an egg, and about 715 to produce a hamburger, in comparison to 1 for each almond, which concerned many people during the drought here in California. Many argue that perhaps, more humane meat would be the answer, but this would be at the cost of even more deforestation since more space would be needed for the animals to live and for their food to be harvested. I have to admit that I’m not a huge animal person (I know it sounds like an oxymoron coming from a vegan), but what really made me change my eating habits was seeing the way in which eating animal products affects others, not just me, or the animals themselves or the environment.

As it is stated multiple times throughout Laudato Si’ “the deterioration of the environment and of society affects the most vulnerable people on the planet: ‘Both everyday experience and scientific research show that the gravest effects of all attacks on the environment are suffered by the poorest'”(paragraph 48). What does that mean? That climate change isn’t just a hoity-toity theory in the air about what may happen in a trillion years, but that it is something that is happening right now, something that is making the poor poorer, forcing them to relocate, or at times killing them. How? “Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture…and forestry. They have no other financial activities or resources which can enable them to adapt to climate change or to face natural disasters, and their access to social services and protection is very limited…changes in climate, to which animals and plants cannot adapt, lead them to migrate; this in turn affects the livelihood of the poor, who are then forced to leave their homes, with great uncertainty for their future and that of their children” (paragraph 25).

The people cutting down trees and working in polluting corporations aren’t the only bad guys. We have to realize that much of the damage being done is caused by you and me, but we can make a change, if not for ourselves, at least for those who don’t have a voice.


¿Laudato Si’ y el veganismo?

Por Maleny Quiroz

He estado queriendo escribir este artículo desde hace mucho pero no lo había hecho por miedo a ser controversial. Sin embargo, últimamente he llegado a darme cuenta que al único al que debería de complacer, y que me importe complacer, es Dios, así que le estoy pidiendo al Espíritu Santo que me de dirección al escribir esto, esperando seguir Su voluntad.

¿Qué onda con la controversia? De un lado, la mayor parte del tiempo parece que a las únicas personas a las que les gusta el veganismo ya son veganas y que muchas de las que no lo son sienten la necesidad constante de atacarlo. Del otro lado, Laudato Si’, que ahora que lo estoy leyendo parece alinearse muy bien con el punto de vista que tengo acerca de la intersección entre el veganismo y el catolicismo, ha creado un tipo de división entre aquellos que se identifican como “liberales” o “conservadores” principalmente en los EE.UU, con ambas gentes permitiendo que su religión se moldee a través de su afiliación política primero, en vez de hacerlo al revés. El mismo Papa Francisco lo dice: “Es ora de ir más allá del partidismo y la controversia del cambio de clima y prestarle atención al imperativo moral de actuar ahora ” pero definitivamente no es el primero en hacerlo. El Papa Emérito Benedicto XVI también ha hablado acerca de la importancia de cuidar el ambiente:  “Un… área donde están llamados a hacer una contribución es en mostrar interés y preocupación por el medio ambiente. Esto no es solo porque este país, más que muchos otros, probablemente se vea seriamente afectado por el cambio de clima. Ustedes están llamados a cuidar la creación no solo como ciudadanos responsables, sino como seguidores de Cristo!” Para poder responder a ese llamado, Me hice vegana hace casi 7 años, aunque he estado aprendiendo más acerca del impacto de mi decisión en los últimos años.

Aunque no hay una sola razón por la que soy vegana, probablemente hay demasiadas para contar, hay algunas que me llegaron más que otras. Al principio cuando estaba decidiendo si hacer ese cambio de estilo de vida o no, me encontré con mucha gente que me decía “¡pero Dios puso a los animales en la Tierra para que no los pudiéramos comer!” Sin embargo, como lo vemos en Laudato Si’ “no es suficiente, no obstante, pensar en diferentes especies simplemente como ‘recursos’ potenciales para ser explotados, pasando por alto el hecho de que tienen valor en sí mismos” (párrafo 33). Pienso que ese fue uno de los primeros pasos para que yo reconociera que la carne en mi plato no era nada más que una “cosa” para satisfacer a mi paladar, sino que venía de un ser que glorificaba a Dios con su simple existencia, lo que también podemos ver en las obras de San Francisco de Asís que inspiraron este texto y le dieron él título refiriéndose a como Dios es alabado a través de la belleza de Su creación. Independientemente de cuales hubieran sido las intenciones iniciales de Dios cuando puso a los animales en la Tierra, lo que la industria de la carne está haciendo hoy está causando terribles daños no solo a la Tierra, sino a las más vulnerables de las personas.

La producción de comidas provenientes de un animal tales como la carne, los lácteos, y los huevos, es la causa de mucha de la deterioración que está pasando hoy en el ambiente. La cantidad más grande de gases de efecto invernadero se emite, no por los carros o los aviones o incluso las fábricas, sino por productos de origen animal. Un gran contribuyente a la escasez de agua es también esta industria, ya que se necesitan alrededor de 53 galones de agua solo para producir un huevo, y alrededor de 715 para producir una hamburguesa, en comparación con 1 por cada almendra, algo que les preocupaba a muchas personas durante la sequía aquí en California. Muchos argumentan que tal vez, la carne producida más humanamente sería la respuesta, pero esto sería a expensas de aún más deforestación ya que se necesitaría más espacio para que vivieran los animales y para que se produjera su comida. Tengo que admitir que no soy una persona súper amante de los animales (sé que suena como una contradicción viniendo de una vegana), pero lo que realmente me hizo cambiar mis hábitos alimenticios fue ver la forma en la que el consumo de productos animales afecta a otros, no sólo a mi, o a los mismos animales o al medio ambiente.

Como se afirma varias veces a lo largo de Laudato Si’ “el deterioro del medio ambiente y de la sociedad afecta a las personas más vulnerables del planeta: ‘Tanto la experiencia cotidiana, como la investigación científica muestran que los efectos más graves de todos los ataques contra el medio ambiente son sufridos por los más pobres’”(párrafo 48). ¿Qué significa? Que el cambio climático no es sólo una teoría pretenciosa en el aire acerca de lo que puede suceder en un billón de años, sino que es algo que está sucediendo en este momento, algo que está haciendo más pobres a los pobres, obligándolos a desplazarse, o a veces matándolos. ¿Cómo? “Muchos de los pobres viven en zonas especialmente afectadas por los fenómenos relacionados con el calentamiento, y sus medios de subsistencia dependen en gran medida de las reservas naturales y los servicios ecosistémicos, como la agricultura… y la silvicultura. No tienen otras actividades financieras o recursos que puedan permitirles adaptarse al cambio climático o para hacer frente a los desastres naturales, y su acceso a los servicios sociales y la protección es muy limitada … cambios en el clima, a la que los animales y las plantas no pueden adaptarse, les llevan a emigrar; esto a su vez afecta a la subsistencia de los pobres, que se ven obligados a abandonar sus hogares, con una gran incertidumbre por su futuro y el de sus hijos “(párrafo 25).

La gente que tala árboles y que trabajan en empresas contaminantes no son los únicos malos. Tenemos que darnos cuenta de que gran parte del daño está siendo causado por ti y por mí, pero podemos cambiar, si no por nosotros mismos, al menos por los que no tienen voz.


Going Against the Cultural Tide

By Brianna Eremita


Growing up I was told college would be the best time of my life. Countless conversations spent with those older than me advising, “Make sure to experience all you can while you’re there! It will be the best four years of your life!” Especially with two older sisters, it was very hard not to idealize my college years.

Then finally the day came, and I packed up my whole life and moved away for college. An eight hour drive north, from San Diego to the Bay Area, and I was finally there. It marked the beginning of a new life, new experiences, and away from my parents. I moved into my dorm room, which unbeknown to me at the time, was the “party dorm” with 100% of the building filled with other freshman, who were just as excited as me to start our “college experience” that everyone seemed to rave about.

I quickly came to realize that I had been lied to my whole life.

The first month in school I spent comforting friends as they threw up night after night in the bathroom after a night of “fun.” I rushed and joined a sorority, only to quickly realize a lot of the bonds were built upon getting drunk together, or confiding in others about most recent hook ups. It seemed everyone was content with living a life of complacency—living for the next drink.

Irrefutably the hardest part of this transition was maintaining faith. I was blessed enough to have a boyfriend from high school who also doesn’t drink, so we went through the transition together. As Catholics who believe there is a systematic abuse of alcohol on campus, we both went into college with a resolve not to drink.

That was probably the best choice of my life. And through the grace of God, I was saved to see and understand the “college experience” for what it really is.

Witnessing drunkenness 24/7 and constantly fighting the fear of “missing out” I struggled a lot with going against the cultural tide. My faith, which up until that point didn’t really challenge me, was now becoming a make it or break it deal. I could either commit myself fully into what I believe, that Christ and Catholicism is an eternal truth and God’s love will sustain me these next four years, or that this “faith” thing was nice to have, but obviously not going to make me happy.

There were plenty of times I yearned to have that one night of “fun” of letting go and getting drunk with my friends. I wanted to be normal. I so desired what the world offered me, and my faith wasn’t that strong. This hole in my heart, this desire, I decided to take to prayer. I prayed and prayed for friends that understood me, and for help. Catholics often speak of the happiness one has in Christ is far better than anything the world could offer, yet that first quarter of college I was definitely in a state of despair rather than rejoicing. After a lot of time spent in isolation and despair and turning to prayer, two quarters later in college I found myself surrounded by two best friends I could only ever dream of having—virtuous women who hold me accountable and share the same values I do. They constantly challenge and encourage me to grow in my faith, and strengthen my resolve to not buy into the lies that the world offers. And while it still is hard at times, I have come to know and rejoice deeply in the time I spend in the chapel rather than endorsing the temporary happiness that drinking and hookups provide.

If I had any advice to incoming college students I would have you ask yourself, what do you really believe? I know for me, just spending a month sober in college was enough to make it obvious that the lifestyle college students endorse is broken. What makes you really fulfilled? Does the college culture offer happiness, or a temporary fulfillment to that deep set longing in your heart?

Truth is, the temptations of the world, such as alcohol and temporary hook ups, truly do serve as temporary fulfillment. Not only does it not bring deep joy, but in most college students’ cases, they are hushing a God shaped hole in our hearts.  C.S. Lewis couldn’t have put it better when he said, “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” We are just a bunch of kids offered a holiday at the sea, yet we decline the offer since we are too easily pleased with eating mud pies. We settle for the lies of the world simply because we cannot fully comprehend the greater happiness that is offered to us through Christ.

God truly yearns for our happiness. Even at times when it feels like we are suffering or isolated, it is during those troughs in our lives in which God draws nearest. He wants to offer us this deeper love, and call us to follow Him. Matthew 16:24 says, “Then said Jesus to his disciples, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me’” I read a while back in my Bible a footnote which clarified that to “deny oneself” means to disown oneself as the center of his or her existence. Christ calls us literally to put Him at the center of our existence in place of ourselves. And in response to this, Psalm 50:15 says, “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee.”

So call upon God. He is waiting for a relationship with us, and will never abandon any of us. He loves you, and wants whats best for you. In my life, He helped me through the isolation, and I can honestly say I’m happier than I have ever been. What does your “yes” or disowning of oneself as the center of existence look like in your life? I know for me, college, because of God’s grace, is now a time I will always remember as revolutionary—a complete surrender to God’s will that will forever sustain me. I’ve had new experiences—not ones filled with drunkenness but life-giving joy.


Brianna Eremita is a freshman at Santa Clara University majoring in Mechanical Engineering. She describes herself as “a San Diego girl at heart, and my two greatest loves would be a tie between hanging out at the beach and playing soccer with friends.” Brianna says that her time in college has been a crazy trip of faith that she has enjoyed every second of! She continues to learn and discover the infinite ways we can know and praise God. Brianna adds that “seeing Him in the most unexpected places has been a perk of college that I rejoice in!”

Yendo contra la corriente cultural

Por Brianna Eremita


Desde que estaba chica me decían que la universidad sería el mejor momento de mi vida. Innumerables conversaciones se pasaban con los mayores de aconsejándome, “Asegúrate de vivir todo lo que pueda mientras estés allí! Serán los mejores cuatro años de tu vida!” Especialmente con dos hermanas mayores, era muy difícil no idealizar mis años universitarios.

Entonces finalmente llegó el día, y empaqué toda mi vida y me mudé lejos a la universidad. Un viaje en coche de ocho oras al norte, desde San Diego hasta el área de la bahía y  finalmente llegue ahí. Esto marcó el comienzo de una nueva vida, nuevas experiencias, y estar lejos de mis padres. Me mudé a un dormitorio, que sin saberlo en ese entonces, era el “dormitorio fiestero” con 100% del edificio lleno de otros estudiantes de primer año, que estaban tan emocionados como yo de empezar nuestra “experiencia universitaria” de la que todos parecían hablar maravillas.

Rápidamente me di cuenta de que me habían mentido toda la vida.

El primer mes en la escuela me la pasé consolando a mis amigas mientras vomitaban noche tras noche en el baño después de una noche de “diversión.” Me sometí al proceso de ser elegida para entrar a sororidad y me uní a una, sólo para darme cuenta rápidamente de que una gran cantidad de amistades y relaciones se construían sobre el hecho de emborracharse o drogarse juntos, o contarles a los demás acerca de las acostadas más recientes. Parecía que todo el mundo estaba contento de vivir una vida de complacencia—de vivir para la siguiente borrachera.

Irrefutablemente la parte más difícil de esta transición fue mantener la fe. Tuve la suficiente bendición de tener un novio de la prepa que tampoco toma, entonces pasamos por la transición juntos. Como católicos que creemos que hay un abuso sistemático de alcohol en el campus, los dos entramos a la universidad con el propósito de no tomar.

Esa fue probablemente la mejor opción de mi vida. Y a través de la gracia de Dios, me salvó para ver y entender la “experiencia universitaria” como lo que realmente es.

Ser testigo de borracheras 24horas al día, 7 a la semana y luchar constantemente el temor de “perderme” de algo divertido, se me dificultó mucho con ir contra la corriente cultural. Mi fe, que hasta ese momento realmente no me había puesto desafíos, se estaba convirtiendo en algo decisivo, algo que podría transformar en un gran éxito o en un rotundo fracaso. Podría ya sea encomendarme completamente en lo que yo creo, que Cristo y el catolicismo es una verdad eterna y que el amor de Dios me va a sustentar estos próximos cuatro años, o que esta cosa de la “fe” era algo bueno de tener, pero que obviamente no me iba a hacer feliz .

Había muchas veces que anhelaba tener que una noche de “diversión”. Quería ser normal. Yo tanto deseaba lo que el mundo me ofrecía, y mi fe no era tan fuerte. Este agujero en mi corazón, este deseo, decidí poner en oración. Rezaba y rezaba porque mis amigos me entendieran, y por ayuda. Los católicos a menudo hablan de que la felicidad que uno tiene en Cristo es mucho mejor que cualquier cosa que el mundo podría ofrecer, sin embargo, durante el primer trimestre de la universidad sin duda estaba en un estado de desesperación en vez de regocijo. Después de pasar mucho tiempo en el aislamiento y la desesperación y de regresar a la oración, dos trimestres más tarde en la universidad me encontré rodeada por dos mejores amigas que sólo podía haber soñado de tener—mujeres virtuosas con las que puedo contar y que comparten los mismos valores que yo. Constantemente me estimulan y me animan a crecer en mi fe, y fortalecen mi decisión de no dejarme engañar por las mentiras que ofrece el mundo. Y si bien todavía es difícil a veces, he llegado a conocer y alegrarme profundamente en el tiempo que paso en la capilla en vez de respaldar la felicidad temporal que tomar y acostarse dan.

Si tuviera algún consejo que darles a los nuevos estudiantes universitarios les diría que se hicieran la siguiente pregunta, ¿qué es lo que realmente crees? Sé que para mí, simplemente pasar un mes sobria en la universidad fue suficiente para ver que es obvio que el estilo de vida que los estudiantes universitarios avalan es de una vida quebrantada. ¿Qué te llena en realidad? ¿La cultura universitaria te ofrece felicidad, o algo que llena temporalmente ese anhelo profundo de tu corazón?

La verdad es que las tentaciones del mundo, como el alcohol y las acostadas, realmente sirven solo como algo que te llena temporalmente. No sólo no te da alegría profunda, pero en la mayoría de los casos los estudiantes universitarios, están silenciando un agujero en forma de Dios en nuestros corazones. CS Lewis no lo pudo haber puesto mejor cuando dijo: “Somos criaturas de poco entusiasmo, jugueteando con bebidas y sexo y ambición cuando la alegría infinita se nos ofrece, como un niño ignorante que quiere seguir haciendo pasteles de lodo en un barrio pobre porque no puede imaginar lo que significa ir de vacaciones a la playa. Nos complacemos con demasiada facilidad.” Solo somos un grupo de niños a los que se nos ofrecen unas vacaciones en la playa, pero rechazamos la invitación, ya que nos satisfacemos demasiado fácilmente con comer pasteles de lodo. Nos conformamos con las mentiras del mundo, simplemente porque no podemos comprender plenamente la mayor felicidad que se se nos ofrece a través de Cristo.

Dios verdaderamente anhela nuestra felicidad. Incluso en los momentos en que se siente como que estamos sufriendo o que estamos aislados, es durante esos puntos más bajos en nuestras vidas en los que Él se acerca más. Él nos quiere ofrecer este amor más profundo, y nos llama a seguirlo. Mateo 16:24 dice: “Entonces Jesús dijo a sus discípulos: Si alguno quiere venir en pos de mí, niéguese a sí mismo, tome su cruz, y sígame.'” Hace un tiempo leí en mi Biblia una nota al pie de pagina que aclaró que “negarse a sí mismo” significa quitarse uno mismo como el centro de su propia existencia. Cristo nos llama a ponerlo literalmente en el centro de nuestra existencia en el lugar de nosotros mismos. Y en respuesta a esto, el Salmo 50:15 dice: “E invócame en el día de la angustia; te libraré”.

Así que invoca a Dios. Él está esperando una relación con nosotros, y nunca abandonará a ninguno de nosotros. Él te ama y quiere lo que es mejor para ti. En mi vida, Él me ayudó a través del aislamiento, y puedo decir honestamente que estoy más feliz de lo que nunca he estado. ¿Cómo se manifiesta en tu vida tu “sí” o el quitarte a ti mismo como el centro tu existencia? Sé que para mí, la universidad, por la gracia de Dios, es ahora un momento que siempre recordaré como revolucionario—una rendición completa a la voluntad de Dios que siempre me sostendrá. He tenido nuevas experiencias—no llenas de embriaguez, sino de alegría que da vida.


Brianna Eremita es un estudiante de primer año en la Universidad de Santa Clara estudiando una licenciatura en ingeniería mecánica. Es una chica de San Diego de corazón, y dice que sus “dos grandes amores serían un empate entre pasar un rato en la playa y jugar al fútbol con los amigos.” Ella describe su tiempo en la universidad como “un viaje loco de fe del cual he disfrutado cada segundo!” Ella continúa a aprender y a descubrir las infinitas maneras en las que podemos conocer y alabar a Dios. Ella dice que “verlo en los lugares más inesperados ha sido un beneficio de la universidad que me trae una felicidad enorme!”

Learning to Trust in the Slow Work of God

By Andrea Garcia

They say life is too short to live in the past, yet, these days, I have been stuck in a (metaphorical) sinking quicksand hole that threatens to engulf me with despairing thoughts and unrelenting memories of shame, guilt, and failure. It is difficult to live in the present moment when these thoughts come barging in, robbing me of my peace and sense of worth. Painfully honest, I know. But allow me to be raw and real on this screen, as I share with you my story of loss, shame, and the Resurrection.

About two months ago, I received sad news about the death of my mother’s dear aunt from Mexico, la tía Cuca (“Cuca” is the nickname given to Mexican women who are named Refugio). Typically, when a relative in my family passes away, it doesn’t “hit” me very hard. Perhaps it is because, until now, those who’ve been called from this world into eternity have been people I did not have a chance to meet or simply did not know very well. In any case, my response is usually the same: brief sadness for those mourning their loss, a prayer for their soul’s eternal rest, and a Mass offered in their name. That would have been the extent of my prayer and reflection had this been anyone else but this beloved woman wasn’t just anybody.

I first met mi tía Cuca when I was 12 years old and visiting my family in Mexico for the second time. As I recall, my first week there was not a pleasant one. While my brother who had traveled with me was off on fun adventures, roaming the countryside of my parents’ childhood, I was stuck at my tía Lupita’s house in Guadalajara, just like the cars of that city’s traffic-congested streets. (Lupita is the nickname given to Mexican women whose names is Guadalupe, after Our Lady of Guadalupe).  Even before my arrival, my mom had arranged a series of appointments to see her cousin the dentist, who had accepted the impossible challenge of fixing my crooked teeth in just one short week. I was grateful–after all, I was entering my teenage years and wanted to look good. Plus, all the dental work would come at a cheaper cost to my parents here than it would back home in California. But I was in a lot of pain that week, as my aggravated teeth endured one procedure after another and my restless body suffered through boredom and a serious case of FOMO (a.k.a. Fear Of Missing Out). Then, on the third day of confinement, in walks a woman of short stature and pale skin, her eyes closed. “Andrea, this is your tía Cuca, the sister of your grandfather Salvador,” my aunt tells me in Spanish, beckoning with her hand for me to come meet this woman.

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It’s the first thing I notice, her blind condition. I’m not sure how to interact with her; I’ve never spent time with someone who had lost their sight. I figure I’ll just keep to myself so as to not have to worry about how to be around her. A few hours later, the pain in my teeth has kicked in again so I ask my tia Lupita for medicine. “Sorry corazón (sweetheart), but it’s too soon for medicine” she says, apologetically. I go to my room and stay there, paralyzed by the pain in my mouth. I hear someone at my door and, suddenly, without asking, tia Cuca comes in and sits by my bed. She sits next to me without a problem, and asks me for my hand. Hesitantly, I place it on her lap. She grabs my hand and begins to rub it with a soothing touch. “I want to pray over you, to make your awful pain go away” she tells me, so reassuringly. I was doubtful, just like Doubting Thomas was at the sight of a resurrected Jesus. What transpired in the following ten minutes I will never forget. As she prayed, my whole being went to another place, far, far away from physical pain and childish agony. I remember thinking, “Wow, she prays so beautifully.” When she finished, we both looked up and she must have sensed my surprise because she said, “There. No more pain, right?”. Sure enough, everything was better, not a twinge of pain. I stood in awe of her faith, and in sheepish embarrassment of my own.

I have returned to this memory now that she has passed into eternal glory, feeling a similar shame for my lacking faith and broken commitment to living a testimonial life of love, compassion, and solidarity. More so, I am regretful and ashamed of myself for not having acknowledged her with dignity and respect in the years after we first met. On my subsequent visits to Mexico, I would hear she was visiting a relative nearby but I never did make an effort to visit her to reaffirm my gratitude. She may have lost her ability to see, but not her ability to recognize abandonment.

This toxic shame, compounded with guilt, weakness, and failure, is enough for some to turn away from our loving Father, especially when the world tricks us into believing we are unlovable and unworthy of Divine Mercy. We stop short of permitting ourselves to be swept up and embraced, just as we are, by the Most Holy One. God’s promise to us, through his son Jesus Christ’s ultimate act of sacrificial love, is eternal glory. He will wash us free of sin if only we allow our hearts to return to him. We do this through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in which our sins are not only absolved but forgotten by the Father. Just as he passed from death into life, we too will break free from captivity of our shame and shortcomings and live as complete human beings, called to share the Good News to the world. This year, the Year of Mercy which Pope Francis has declared, is about accepting in our mind, heart, and soul the Truth made known to us by the Risen Lord and sharing his Light through our words and actions. As Father Greg Boyle, SJ, puts it in his book Tattoos on the Heart: Stories of Hope and Compassion,

Out of the wreck of our disfigured, misshapen selves, so darkened by shame and disgrace, indeed the Lord comes to us disguised as ourselves. And we don’t grow into this– we just learn to pay better attention. The ‘no matter whatness’ of God dissolves the toxicity of shame and fills us with tender mercy.

Truly, “recognizing that we are wholly acceptable is God’s own truth for us–waiting to be discovered.” I invite you, wherever it is you are in your journey of faith, to surrender your heart to the God of Mercy, who seeks to rid you of your pain, hurt, and brokenness. As a young follower of the Christian faith, I am learning to, in the words of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ, trust in the slow work of God. I am learning to pay better attention to the goodness stirring within me, and stirring within others. I am learning to accept my deeply flawed self and be quick to forgive myself, and to forgive others. I am learning, and in that learning is God. A God in the midst of brokenness, calling us to celebrate.

There. No more pain. Right?

Aprendiendo a confiar en el trabajo lento de Dios

Por Andrea García

Dicen que la vida es demasiado corta como para vivir en el pasado, sin embargo, en estos días, he estado atrapada en un agujero (metafórico) de arenas movedizas que me hunde y amenaza con tragarme con pensamientos de desesperación y memorias implacables de remordimiento, culpa y fracaso. Es difícil vivir en el momento presente cuando estos pensamientos vienen irrumpiendo, robándome de mi paz y sentido de valor. Esto es dolorosamente honesto, lo sé. Pero permíteme ser franca y real en esta pantalla al compartir contigo mi historia de pérdida, remordimiento y Resurrección.

Hace aproximadamente dos meses, recibí la triste noticia de la muerte de la tía querida de mi mamá, la cual vivía en México, La Tía Cuca ( “Cuca” es el apodo dado a las mujeres mexicanas que llevan el nombre Refugio). Por lo general, cuando un pariente de mi familia muere, no lo siento tanto. Tal vez es porque, hasta ahora, los que han sido llamados de este mundo a la eternidad han sido personas a las que no tengo la oportunidad de conocer o, simplemente, no conocía muy bien. En cualquier caso, mi respuesta suele ser la misma; breve tristeza por los que lloran su pérdida, una oración por el eterno descanso de su alma y una misa ofrecida en su nombre. Hasta ese punto hubiera llegado mi oración y reflexión si hubiera sido cualquier otra persona, pero esta mujer amada no lo era.

Conocí a mi tía Cuca cuando tenía 12 años y estaba visitando a mi familia en México por segunda vez. Por lo que recuerdo, mi primera semana no fue agradable. Mientras mi hermano que había viajado conmigo se había ido a divertir en aventuras, vagando por el campo de la infancia de mis padres, yo me quede atrapada en la casa mi tía Lupita en Guadalajara, al igual que los coches de las calles congestionadas de esa ciudad. (Lupita es el apodo dado a las mujeres mexicanas cuyo nombre es Guadalupe, por la Virgen de Guadalupe). Incluso antes de mi llegada, mi madre había organizado una serie de citas para ver a su prima la dentista, que había aceptado el reto imposible de arreglar mis dientes torcidos en sólo una corta semana. Estaba agradecida—después de todo, estaba entrando en mi adolescencia y quería verme bien. Además, todo el trabajo dental saldría a un costo más barato para mis padres aquí de lo que sería en California. Pero esa semana yo estaba bajo mucho dolor, ya que los dientes agravados soportaron un procedimiento tras otro y mi cuerpo inquieto sufrió tras el aburrimiento y un caso grave de FOMO (miedo de perderme de algo divertido, por sus siglas en inglés). Después, en el tercer día de estar encerrada, entra una mujer de baja estatura y piel pálida, con los ojos cerrados. “Andrea, está es tu tía Cuca, la hermana de tu abuelo Salvador,” me dice mi tía, haciendo señas con la mano para que yo venga a conocerla.

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Lo primero que noto, es su condición de ciega. No estoy segura de cómo interactuar con ella; nunca había pasado tiempo con alguien que había perdido la vista. Asumo que estaré alejada a fin de no tener que preocuparme acerca de cómo comportarme alrededor de ella. Unas horas más tarde, el dolor de dientes me vuelve a atacar por lo que pido a mi tía Lupita medicina. “Corazón lo siento, pero es demasiado pronto para la medicina”, dice en tono de disculpa. Voy a mi habitación y me quedo allí, paralizada por el dolor en la boca. Escucho a alguien detrás de la puerta y, sin preguntar, la tía Cuca entra y se sienta junto a mi cama. Se sienta a mi lado sin ningún problema, y pide que le de mi mano. Vacilante, pongo mi mano en su regazo. Ella agarra mi mano y empieza a frotarla con un toque suave. “Quiero rezar por ti, para que tu terrible dolor desaparezca”, me dice, de modo tranquilizante. Yo dudaba, como Santo Thomas al estar en la visión de un Jesús resucitado. Nunca olvidaré lo que ocurrió en los siguientes diez minutos. Mientras rezaba, todo mi ser se fue a otro lugar, lejos, muy lejos del dolor físico y la agonía infantil. Recuerdo que pensé: “Guau, reza tan bonito.” Cuando terminó, ambas alzamos la mirada y ella debió sentir mi sorpresa porque dijo: “ya no te duele, ¿verdad?”. Efectivamente, todo estaba mejor, ni una punzada de dolor. Me quedé pasmada por su fe, y por tímidamente avergonzada de mí misma.

He vuelto a este recuerdo ahora que ha pasado a la gloria eterna, sintiendo una pena similar por mi carencia fe y por mi compromiso roto de vivir una vida de testimonio de amor, compasión y solidaridad. Más aún, estoy arrepentida y avergonzada de mí misma por no haberla reconocido con dignidad y respeto en los años después de nuestro primer encuentro. En mis visitas posteriores a México, escuchaba que estaba visitando a un pariente cercano, pero nunca hice un esfuerzo para visitarla reiterarle mi agradecimiento. Ella pudo haber perdido su capacidad de ver, pero no su capacidad de reconocer el abandono.

Este remordimiento tóxico, agravado por la culpa, debilidad y fracaso, es suficiente para que algunos se alejen de nuestro amoroso Padre, sobre todo cuando el mundo nos engaña en la creencia de que somos difíciles de amar e indignos de la Divina Misericordia. No nos dejamos llevar, ser abrazados y aceptados tal y como somos por el Santísimo. La promesa de Dios a nosotros, a través del acto definitivo de amor sacrificado de su hijo Jesucristo, es la gloria eterna. Él nos lavará para librarnos de pecado si tan solo permitimos que nuestros corazones vuelvan a él. Hacemos esto a través del Sacramento de la Reconciliación, en el que nuestros pecados no sólo son absueltos, sino olvidados por el Padre. Justo al pasar de la muerte a la vida, nosotros también nos liberaremos del cautiverio de nuestra pena y nuestras deficiencias y vivir como seres humanos completos, llamados a compartir la buena nueva al mundo. Este año, el Año de la Misericordia el cual el Papa Francisco ha declarado, se trata de aceptar en nuestra mente, corazón y alma la verdad que se nos dio a conocer por el Señor Resucitado y compartir su luz a través de nuestras palabras y acciones. Como el Padre Greg Boyle, SJ, lo pone en su libro Tatuajes en el corazón: El poder de la compasión sin límite,

En medio del desastre de nuestro yo desfigurado y deforme, tan oscurecido por la vergüenza y la desgracia, el Señor realmente viene a nosotros disfrazado de nosotros mismos. Y nosotros no crecemos, sino que simplemente aprendemos a prestar más atención. El “sin importar qué” de Dios disuelve la toxicidad de la vergüenza y nos llena de misericordia tierna.

En verdad, “reconocer que somos totalmente aceptables es la verdad propia de Dios por nosotros—esperando a ser descubiertos.” Te invito, donde quiera que sea que te encuentres en tu camino de fe, a entregar tu corazón al Dios de la Misericordia, que busca deshacerse de tu dolor, sufrimiento y quebrantamiento. Como una joven seguidora de la fe cristiana, estoy aprendiendo a, en las palabras de Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ, a confiar en el trabajo lento de Dios. Estoy aprendiendo a prestar más atención a la bondad moviéndose dentro de mí y dentro de otros. Estoy aprendiendo a aceptar mi ser profundamente defectuoso y ser rápida para perdonarme y perdonar a los demás. Estoy aprendiendo y en el aprendizaje está Dios. Un Dios en medio del quebrantamiento, que nos llama a celebrar.

Ya no te duele ¿verdad?

Mary Is Pretty Awesome, and Here’s Why

By Claire Dixon

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I grew up knowing Mary. I was familiar with her. I knew her son very well. He was the one I was introduced to first. However, little did I know that I would come to know her son even better and fuller through Mary, herself. For, a mother knows most about her son.

Yes, I’m talking about Mary, the Mother of God, Queen of Heaven, Mary Most Holy. I grew up saying the rosary at school and praying a Hail Mary when I visited my great-grandmother’s grave. I crowned Mary in second grade when it was the Feast of May Crowning. I remember all the other girls being jealous of me. I was given rosaries and miraculous medals. I’ve seen an abundance of movies about St. Juan Diego, St. Bernadette and the children of Fatima. I even went to Rosary High School. Although I am a tad ashamed of this, I do admit that even through all of these experiences, Mary wasn’t that big of a deal to me.

She was Jesus’ Mother, okay! She said yes to an angel, big deal! She was born without sin, wow!

However, I was starkly wrong to think of her as “not that big of a deal.” This past year I started learning more about Mary, this lady that I’ve been so familiar with, yet have never developed a relationship with.

What I’ve discovered is that Mary is pretty darn amazing. And here’s why:

Satan hates her

“Satan fears her not only more than the angels and saints but, in a sense, even more than God himself!” (Gaitley, 2011, p.37).

We’ve seen those pictures of Mary with the serpent under her foot, the serpent being the devil, of course!

This is why: Satan hates life, and above all a holy life. Mary, a life of pure holiness, a life born without sin gave birth to Christ. She bore life!

She is the spouse of the Holy Spirit

“The Holy Spirit dwells in her, lives in her. This was true from the first instant of her existence. It was always true; it will always be true” (Gaitley, 2011, p. 53).

Mary’s union with the Holy Spirit is even deeper than a spousal relationship. The Holy Spirit lives within her and made possible the birth of Christ. The Holy Spirit and Mary are the partners of the conception of Christ.

And hey, remember those graces of the Holy Spirit (also known as gifts)? Yeah, so those graces are only made possible through Mary. She is the Mediatrix of all graces of the Holy Spirit, meaning that all graces are given through her.

She wants to give us her heart

“We give Mary our hearts, and she gives us her Immaculate Heart” (Gaitley, 2011, p. 75).

Mary wants to help us encounter Christ. She wants to bring us closer to His Most Sacred Heart. Sin keeps us from this, however Mary wants to help us get there. She promises that if we only give her our heart and entrust it to her, we will not only live in her heart, but also she will give us hers. May I remind you that her heart is the most pure, sinless and immaculate heart!

She is our mother

“Mary is our spiritual mother who assists us from heaven with her prayers and motherly care to help bring us to God” (Gaitley, 2011, p.90).

Mary does so much for us, just as a mother does. She is constantly praying for us and leading us to Christ. She is deeply concerned for us. She worries about us, just as a mother would! She has a personal relationship with each and every one of us, and she wants us to talk to her. Just like when my mom calls every weekend!

God entrusted Himself to her

“…Before anyone else it was God himself, the Eternal Father, who entrusted himself to the Virgin of Nazareth, giving her his own Son in the mystery of the Incarnation” (Gaitley, 2011, p. 93).

Wow, that’s pretty crazy. God himself ENTRUSTED himself to Mary. That’s pretty darn important.

Mary has a lot of responsibility. She was the Mother of God, and is also the Mother of all of us. When Jesus tells his mother that his disciple is now her son in John 19:26, Jesus is entrusting all of humanity to Mary’s care.  By doing this, Jesus is bringing us closer to Him through his Blessed Mother.

She intercedes for us

“Mary places herself between her Son and mankind in the reality of their wants, needs, and sufferings” (Gaitley, 2011, p. 96).

By praying to Mary, we get one step closer to her Son. Mary offers the prayers that we have, up to her Son. We know that we can trust her, because we are placing our prayers into the hands of the holiest woman. We are placing our prayers into her Immaculate Heart. Mary points out to Christ the needs of humanity, thus the very personal needs of ourselves.

We can be consecrated to her

So you wanna know how to start a close relationship with this awesome woman? You can be consecrated to her! What does that mean? Basically, you give Mary everything that you are. Seems a little scary? I understand. I was right in your shoes a couple of months ago. I didn’t know what I was doing or even what to expect. But, let me just say that it has been one of the best decisions in my faith life. Coming into relationship with Mary means that you come into a closer relationship with Jesus Himself. Mary showers you with grace, she gives you her Immaculate Heart, and you give yourself to the most beautiful, holy and amazing woman.

Want to do it?! Here’s the book that I used (and also got all my quotes from). I hope that you consider it!

María es super chida, he aquí por qué

Por Claire Dixon

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Crecí conociendo a María. Yo estaba familiarizada con ella. Yo conocía a su hijo muy bien. A él fue al que me presentaron primero. Sin embargo, poco sabía que iba a llegar a conocer a su hijo aún mejor y más completamente a través de ella misma, de María. Porque, una madre es la que mejor conoce a su hijo.

Sí, estoy hablando de María, la Madre de Dios, Reina del cielo, María Santísima. Crecí rezando el rosario en la escuela y rezando un Ave María cuando visitaba la tumba de mi bisabuela. Coroné a María cuando estaba en segundo, en la Fiesta de Coronación de Mayo. Recuerdo que todas las otras niñas me envidiaban. Me daban rosarios y medallas milagrosas. He visto una gran cantidad de películas sobre San Juan Diego, Santa Bernadette y los niños de Fátima. Hasta fui a una prepa que se llamaba Rosary High School (Preparatoria del Rosario). Aunque estoy algo avergonzado de esta, también debo reconocer que incluso a través de todas estas experiencias, María no era alguien tan importante para mí.

Ella era la madre de Jesús, ok. Ella le dijo que sí a un ángel, ¿y a mí qué? Ella nació sin pecado, equis.

Sin embargo, yo estaba severamente mal al pensar en ella como poco cosa. El año pasado empecé a aprender más acerca de María, esta señora que me era tan conocida, aunque en realidad nunca había desarrollado una relación con ella.

Lo que he descubierto es que María es algo bastante increíble. Y he aquí por qué:

Satanás la odia

“Satanás le teme no sólo más que a los ángeles y que a los santos, sino que en un sentido, incluso más que a Dios mismo!” (Gaitley, 2011, p.37).

Hemos visto esas fotos de María con la serpiente debajo de su pie, siendo la serpiente el diablo, por supuesto!

Esta es la razón: Satanás odia la vida, y sobre todo una vida santa. María, una vida de santidad pura, una vida que nace sin pecado dio a luz a Cristo. ¡Ella dio a luz a la vida!

Es la esposa del Espíritu Santo

“El Espíritu Santo mora en ella, vive en ella. Esto fue así desde el primer instante de su existencia. Siempre ha sido cierto; siempre va a ser verdad “(Gaitley, 2011, p. 53).

La unión de María con el Espíritu Santo es aún más profundo que una relación conyugal. El Espíritu Santo vive dentro de ella e hizo posible el nacimiento de Cristo. El Espíritu Santo y María son los socios de la concepción de Cristo.

Y bueno, recordar esas gracias del Espíritu Santo (también conocido como regalos)? Sí, por lo que las gracias son solamente posibles por medio de María. Ella es la Mediadora de todas las gracias del Espíritu Santo, lo que significa que todas las gracias se dan a través de ella.

Nos quiere dar su corazón

“Le damos nuestros corazones a María y ella nos da su Corazón Inmaculado” (Gaitley, 2011, p. 75).

María quiere ayudarnos a encontrar a Cristo. Ella quiere acercarnos a su Santísimo Corazón. El pecado nos aleja de esto, sin embargo María quiere ayudarnos a llegar allí. Ella promete que si sólo le damos nuestro corazón y encomendamos, vamos a vivir no sólo en su corazón, sino que también nos dará el suyo. Les recuerdo que su corazón es el corazón más puro, sin pecado y inmaculado!

Es nuestra madre

“María es nuestra madre espiritual que nos ayuda desde el cielo con sus oraciones y cuidado maternal para ayudar a llevarnos a Dios” (Gaitley de 2011, p.90).

María hace tanto por nosotros, tal como lo hace una madre. Ella está constantemente orando por nosotros y nos conduce a Cristo. Ella está profundamente preocupado por nosotros. Ella se preocupa por nosotros, tal como lo haría una madre! Ella tiene una relación personal con todos y cada uno de nosotros, y ella quiere que hablemos con ella. Al igual que cuando mi madre llama a cada fin de semana!

Dios se le encomendó a sí mismo

“… Antes de cualquier otra persona estaba Dios mismo, el Padre Eterno, que se encomendó a la Virgen de Nazaret, dándole a su propio Hijo en el misterio de la Encarnación” (Gaitley de 2011, p. 93).

Guau, es una locura pensar en eso. Dios mismo SE ENCOMENDÓ a María. Eso es bastantito importante.

María tiene una gran responsabilidad. Ella era la Madre de Dios, y también es la Madre de todos nosotros. Cuando Jesús le dice a su madre que su discípulo es ahora su hijo en Juan 19:26, Jesús encomienda a toda la humanidad al cuidado de María. De esta manera, Jesús nos acerca más a Él mismo a través de su Madre Santísima.

Intercede por nosotros

“María se pone entre su Hijo y los hombres en la realidad de sus deseos, necesidades y sufrimientos” (Gaitley, 2011, p. 96).

Al rezarle a María, nos ponemos a un paso más cerca de su Hijo. María ofrece las oraciones que tenemos elevadas hacia su Hijo. Sabemos que podemos confiar en ella porque estamos poniendo nuestras oraciones en las manos de la mujer más santa. Estamos colocando nuestras oraciones en su Inmaculado Corazón. María le señala a Cristo las necesidades de la humanidad, o sea las necesidades muy personales de nosotros mismos.

Podemos consagrarnos a ella

¿Así que quieres saber cómo iniciar una relación cercana con esta impresionante mujer? ¡Puedes consagrarte a ella! ¿Qué significa eso? Básicamente, le das a María todo lo que eres. ¿Te da un poco de miedo? Te entiendo. Yo estaba justo en tu lugar hace un par de meses. No sabía lo que estaba haciendo o incluso qué esperar. Pero déjame decirte que ha sido una de las mejores decisiones de mi vida espiritual. Entrar en una relación con María significa entrar en una relación más cercana con Jesús mismo. María te colma con gracia, te da su Inmaculado Corazón y te entregas a la mujer más bella, santa y sorprendente.

¡¿Quieres hacerlo?! Aquí está el libro que usé (y de donde también saqué todas mis citas). ¡Espero que lo intentes!

Shining Amidst Darkness: Glorifying God in a World Filled with Bad News

By Maleny Quiroz

There has been recently a lot of buzz surrounding horrific events that go beyond violating religious liberty, the massacre of religious sisters in Yemen, the crucifying of Christians in the Middle East, and to not go as far, the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor here in the U.S. While many of those events, among other terrorist attacks such as the one in Brussels, might sound like things that only happen in far-away countries, they’re still attacks that affect the body of Christ that we are all a part of. Being so far away we might be left thinking “What can we do?” Here’s a reflection on how I’ve used my weirdness to glorify God in a world filled with bad news.

I’ve always felt like a weirdo. My family always pointed it out by saying “¡Ay Bibi! ¿Por qué no eres una niña normal?”  (“Ugh Bibi! Why aren’t you a normal girl?” typical line from La Familia P. Luche, a popular Mexican comedy. Coincidentally, she almost always wears purple like me too.) Fast forward to Saturday when I had a Christian Life Community meeting where we talked about how being aware of the similarities and differences in our personalities could make us better leaders, with me being even more of a weirdo now than when I was a little girl for being a practicing Catholic and a vegan. Turns out, one of the reasons for always feeling like the strange one is because I have an INFJ personality, the rarest personality type that makes up less than 1% of the human population. So what is an awkward potato like me supposed to do? First I had to recognize that this rarity of mine could be used as a blessing, as an important piece that completes the body of Christ, or as Henri Nouwen puts it:

Community is like a large mosaic. Each little piece seems so insignificant. One piece is bright red, another cold blue or dull green, another warm purple, another sharp yellow, another shining gold. Some look precious, others ordinary. Some look valuable, others worthless. Some look gaudy, others delicate. As individual stones, we can do little with them except compare them and judge their beauty and value. When, however, all these little stones are brought together in one big mosaic portraying the face of Christ, who would ever question the importance of any one of them? If one of them, even the least spectacular one, is missing, the face is incomplete. Together in the one mosaic, each little stone is indispensable and makes a unique contribution to the glory of God. That’s community, a fellowship of little people who together make God visible in the world.

Though most of the time, I imagine a stained-glass window instead of a mosaic. A little more than a year ago, I went to a beautiful Italian-American church called Holy Cross to hear Mass in Italian for the first time. All throughout Mass, I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful ray of light that came from the heart of Jesus in a stained glass window. Somehow, the sun lined up exactly so that it would pour its light and warmth exactly where the heart of Jesus was placed. This left me mesmerized. After Mass I tried to take a picture of the stained-glass, only to find that every time the window was the only thing that could be seen, the rest of the background was black even though it could be very well seen with the human eye.


A week later, I tried convincing my mom to go with me to Mass there again, but she suggested we went elsewhere. I found out later that day that around the time the Mass that we would have gone to had ended, the Church burnt down. When I first found out I was really afflicted; not only had the beauty of the church been destroyed, but also the worshipping place of many families that had found a home there. And amidst the soot and the ashes, the wooden crucifix that could have easily been devoured by the flames miraculously survived.


Jesus remains with us even specially in times surrounded by darkness. Looking back, the picture I took seems like a foreshadowing of the event, demonstrating how bright the heart of Jesus can shine amidst what we may perceive as negative, and how His love can surpass and survive anything and everything.

So what must we do?

  1. Understand that each of us has an important role in forming the face of Christ, no matter how weird or insignificant we may think we are.
  2. Use the gifts that God has given us in order to let His love shine through us unto the rest of His creation.
  3. Take full advantage of the fact that (most of us) live in a place where we don’t have to fear for our lives for worshipping God through His son Jesus, since there are many people that don’t have this privilege.
  4. Pray for those that live in fear for their lives for being Christians, and for their attackers, that their hearts may be turned towards Jesus.
  5. Cling to God’s merciful love and trust that He is always with us.

Brillar en medio de la oscuridad: Glorificar a Dios en un mundo lleno de malas noticias

Por Maleny Quiroz

Últimamente se ha escuchado mucho hablar de varios acontecimientos horribles que van más allá de violar la libertad de religión, la matanza de religiosas en Yemen, la crucifixión de los cristianos en el Medio Oriente, y para no ir tan lejos, el caso de las  hermanas religiosas Little Sisters of the Poor aquí en los EE.UU. Si bien muchos de esos eventos, entre otros ataques terroristas como el de Bruselas, pueden parecer cosas que sólo suceden en países lejanos, siguen siendo ataques que afectan al cuerpo de Cristo del que todos formamos parte. Al estar tan lejos puede que eso nos deje pensando “¿Qué podemos hacer?” He aquí una reflexión sobre la forma en la que he usado mi rareza para glorificar a Dios en un mundo lleno de malas noticias.

Siempre me he sentido como una rara. Mi familia siempre lo señalaba diciendo “¡Ay Bibi! ¿Por qué no eres una niña normal?” Brinquemonos hasta el sábado pasado, cuando tuve una reunión del grupo de “Comunidad de vida cristiana” donde hablamos acerca de cómo estar conscientes de las similitudes y diferencias en nuestras personalidades nos puede hacer mejores líderes, conmigo siendo aun más rara ahora que cuando estaba chicha por ser católica practicante y vegana. Resulta que una de las razones por la cual siempre me siento como la extraña es porque tengo una personalidad INFJ, el tipo de personalidad más raro que representa menos del 1% de la población humana. Entonces, ¿qué se supone que haga una papa mensa como yo? Primero tuve que reconocer que esta rareza mía podría ser utilizada como una bendición, como una pieza importante que completa el cuerpo de Cristo, o como Henri Nouwen lo expresa así:

La comunidad es como un gran mosaico. Cada pequeña pieza parece tan insignificante. Una pieza es de color rojo brillante, otra azul frío o verde opaco, otra morado cálido, otra fuerte amarillo, otra oro brillante. Algunas parecen preciosas, otras ordinarias. Algunas parecen valiosas, otras sin valor. Unas se ven llamativas, otras delicadas. Como piedras individuales, poco podemos hacer con ellas excepto comparar y juzgar su belleza y valor. Cuando, sin embargo, todas estas pequeñas piedras se juntan en un gran mosaico que muestran el rostro de Cristo, ¿quién cuestionaría la importancia de cualquiera de ellas? Si una de ellas, incluso la menos espectacular, no estuviera, la cara estaría incompleta. Juntas en un mosaico, cada piedra es indispensable y hace una contribución única a la gloria de Dios. Eso es la comunidad, una hermandad de gente pequeña que juntos hacen a Dios visible en el mundo.

Aunque, la mayoría de las veces, me imagino un vitral en vez de un mosaico. Hace poco más de un año, fui a una iglesia italoamericana llamada Holy Cross (Santa Cruz en español) para escuchar misa en italiano por primera vez. A lo largo de la misa, no pude dejar de notar el hermoso rayo de luz que venía del corazón de Jesús por un vitral. De alguna manera, el sol se alineó con tal exactitud para derramar su luz y calor exactamente donde estaba colocado el corazón de Jesús. Esto me dejó fascinada. Después de misa traté de tomar una foto del vitral, sólo para encontrar que en cada foto la ventana era la única cosa que se podía ver, el resto del fondo salía negro a pesar de que podría ser muy bien visto por el ojo humano.


Una semana más tarde, intenté convencer a mi mamá que fuera a misa conmigo allí de nuevo, pero ella sugirió que nos fuéramos a otro lado. Más tarde ese día descubrí que a la hora en la que se acabó la misa a la que hubiéramos ido, la Iglesia se incendió. Al principio cuando me di cuenta me afligí mucho; no sólo había sido destruida la belleza de la iglesia, sino que también el lugar veneración de muchas familias que habían encontrado un hogar ahí. Y en medio del hollín y las cenizas, el crucifijo de madera que fácilmente podría haber sido devorado por las llamas sobrevivió milagrosamente.


Jesús permanece con nosotros, incluso especialmente en tiempos rodeados de oscuridad. Viendo hacia atrás, la imagen que tomé parece como un presagio del evento, lo que demuestra lo resplandeciente que el corazón de Jesús puede brillar en medio de lo que podemos percibir como negativo, y cómo su amor puede superar y sobrevivir a cualquier cosa y a todo.

Entonces, ¿qué deberíamos de hacer?

  1. Entender que cada uno de nosotros tiene un papel importante en la formación del rostro de Cristo, no importa cuán extraño o insignificante pensemos que somos.
  2. Usar los dones que Dios nos ha dado con el fin de dejar que su amor brille a través de nosotros hacia el resto de su creación.
  3. Aprovechar al máximo el hecho de que (la mayoría de nosotros) vivimos en un lugar donde no tenemos que temer por nuestras vidas para adorar a Dios a través de su hijo Jesús, ya que hay muchas personas que no tienen este privilegio.
  4. Rezar por aquellos que viven en temor por sus vidas por ser cristianos, y por sus agresores, que sus corazones se tornen hacia Jesús.
  5. Apegarnos al amor misericordioso de Dios y confiar en que Él está siempre con nosotros.