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Austin, United States

I have spent most of my career as a French professor and a research librarian, and have been reinventing myself as a writer. I’m...

About Brazil and WYD

Gee, I wish I were in Rio right now (even though I’m no youth!)! This is World Youth Day 2013, and it is taking place in Rio de Janeiro this week. While we are having high summer temperatures, Rio seems to be having cool weather (temperatures in the 60’s) and a nice wind off the ocean! WOW! I wish I were there. The Pope is there. One million people attended his welcoming Mass. They estimate there will be 3 million people there before it’s over.

The Pope visited a “favela” today, one of the poor slums of Rio. You can follow the activities and commentaries on EWTN360, and you can literally enter the scene, watching activities around you. Go to ewtn.com and click on the page showing Rio360. It will take you to their page. There are videos, music clips, commentary, photos. Great way to follow along. Also if you go to EWTN.com, you can follow a few hours of WYD live every day with commentators telling you what’s going on. I just heard Pope Francis speak to the youth from a beautiful stage by the beach. I sure wish I were there. You know what’s so cool? This slum he visited, I think it’s the Varginha or something like that, didn’t have any sanitation or electricity. But when they knew the Pope was going to visit, they picked up all the trash and installed electricity. WOW! Just that one visit did so much good for those very poor people. They live in shanties made of refuse and gangs rule the whole favela. There are gang wars and people getting killed. It’s awful.

I also wanted to pass along something I saw on “The World Over” news show. There will be a film shown at WYD on Our Lady fo Guadalupe. It’s called “The Blood and the Rose”. All the reviews of this film are excellent, and hinted at bits of new information from science. I read that the film is very moving. One of the facts Raymond gave up on his show is that Juan Diego’s Indian name actually means “Messenger Eagle”. They said that Juan was BORN to deliver Our Lady’s message! Awesome, isn’t it? I SO want to see this film after seeing the trailer. The acting looks great! You can order a copy of the film at the following link:
http://thebloodandtherose.com/ This week they are giving a 20% discount on the film.

The Pope spoke about the peace, joy, and strength we receive from the Lord. It was a beautiful speech. I could relate to it from this past week. After some of the recent local events, I felt drained and kind of sad, and needed to reconnect to the source of life, i.e., head for the Blessed Sacrament Chapel…several days in a row. The moment we step into the chapel, we can just about feel the presence of the Lord. If we spend time there in prayer and meditation, keeping the Lord company, we find our hearts and souls transformed. The Lord helps us. I always leave the chapel recharged, my joy restored, my strength restored.

One little joy of this past week is particularly poignant for me. After all my efforts to add information to the legislative abortion debates through my journal, and the retaliation that resulted from the OTHER side, I had two remarkable experiences. Yesterday, a very bright little toddler on the bus was immediately enchanted with my mini spiral notebook and ink pen. So I let her “write” in it. She blew my mind when she used all her concentration to try to write small little scribbles, as she had seen me writing little Chinese characters. I have to say, I was so impressed and moved by this child, I almost cried. Ok, call me a wuss. She was an impressive little child with a very bright mind. She was very young, and frustrated that she could not form the characters like mine, she made wide marks across the page. This showed me a mind working far beyond the child’s physical ability. Smart kid. Then, getting close to home, I had to take the pen and notebook away. At first she was very upset, but then I explained to her that I had to leave, but that I appreciated her writing in my book. That calmed her down right away, bless her little heart! Like a little angel, she turned and snuggled against my shoulder. AWWWW! It was nap time and she was tired….

Then today, I was at church in prayer when a lady came up and asked me if I’d hold her adorable little baby for a few minutes while she lit a candle and said a few prayers! WOW! A sweet surprise. It just seemed like the babies (from heaven) were thanking me! HAHA! I LOVED IT! Call it coinky-dink, but this NEVER happens to me! Perhaps they were also saying something else to me, about lives saved. I get a little emotional about that. Well, sweethearts, I got the message. Thank you very much! God love you!

So I’ll say it again. If you have had bad news, if you are in a bad situation, if you are sad, if you are despondant, if you are worried or afraid, if you feel there is no hope, whatever you may be feeling at the moment – if you are addicted to a narcotic substance and don’t know how to get off of it, or WHATEVER your experience (and I’m taking some examples from the Holy Father’s talk), GO to the BLESSED SACRAMENT CHAPEL! You will find IMMEDIATE help from the Lord. I truly believe this. For me, it’s as though rays of love stream forth from the consecrated Host, enveloping and renewing us. And if you go every day, you can hold on until God shows you the way. We like to spend an hour there with the Lord, in remembrance of his remarks to his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Could you not stay awake with me one hour?” And again, “Watch and pray.” It’s the REAL “hour of power”. I find that spiritual hour far more powerful than anything else. I hope it helps someone out there.

God bless!

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