Growing a Real Relationship with God!

Honoring the important role God plays in your life.


The Year of Grace

My brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, over the last several years of Covid and seeing the impacts on my students and community I wanted to give back with something of real substance. So, listen carefully – whenever I am faced with adversity I call upon God to give me the strength to carry on. Whenever I find times have grown so bleak I can’t hardly stand it I call on God to hold my hand and rejuvenate my heart. So, this Sunday I chose to write a guide for all of you that I hope will, if put into practice, rejuvenate your hearts and rekindle the fire for God in your life.

When You Wake in the Morning

When the alarm goes off… roll over onto your back, open your eyes look at the ceiling and begin your day with a meditation. Each day for four weeks meditates on the scripture for that day as follows:

Take 5 minutes a day with God in meditation.

Scriptural Justification for Meditating:

“5 I am the vine, you are the branches; whoever abides in Me and I in them, bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, they are thrown away as a branch and dries up; and then they are gathered and cast into the fire where they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” - John 15:5-7 

In the Morning or Evening – but meditate daily!

Instructions for the Meditation: Open your bible and clear your mind, and bring your heart into the presence of the Lord. Remember the important role God plays in your life. Then center your body, heart, mind, and soul on the Lord. Again, start with the first Psalm and silently read it, and ask God to speak to your heart. 

Meditation – Week 1:

‘No Christian has ever been called to walk alone.’ 

READ: James 4:7 Reflect upon this passage daily. In the evening write down your new insights each day. Find the connections between the reading and the daily Psalms.

Recite / Meditate / Ask God for His Guidance

Meditation – Week 2:

‘Obtaining peace with God is obtaining oneness with God.’

READ: James 3:18 Reflect upon this passage daily. In the evening write down your new insights each day. Find the connections between the reading and the daily Psalms.

Recite / Meditate / Ask God for His Guidance

Meditation – Week 3:

‘Listening Faithfully to God is essential to walking with God.’

READ: James 1:22 Reflect upon this passage daily. In the evening write down your new insights each day. Find the connections between the reading and the daily Psalms.

Recite / Meditate / Ask God for His Guidance

Meditation – Week 4:

‘Intimacy with God, which is His highest desire for us, holds the greatest impact on our lives.’

READ: James 4:8-10 Reflect upon this passage daily. In the evening write down your new insights each day. Find the connections between the reading and the daily Psalms.

Recite / Meditate / Ask God for His Guidance

Prayer is how we stay connected to God.

Scriptural Justification for Prayer:

8My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. 9As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. John 15:8-11

Take 20 minutes a day with God in prayer.

Instructions for Prayer: Next, you will set up in bed or kneel on a pillow. Then open your Christian Prayer: The Liturgy of the Hours and turn to the page as designated in the Saint Joseph Guide. Begin your prayer with the following:

Whisper: ‘O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.’ –  Psalm 51:15 (NRSVACE)

Recite: ‘Glory to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.’ – (Minor Doxology)

Inventory Psalm 95 found on pg. 688 inserting every two verses the Antiphon from the Four-Week Psalter.

Example: We are currently on Week 1 of the 4-week Psalter so turn to page 706 and the first unnumbered Ant.

Ant. ‘Come, let us sing to the Lord, and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us.’ (This is said before starting Psalm 95)

Recite the following as found in ‘The Liturgy of the Hours’:

Morning Prayer

Ant. 1 is said before Psalm 63:2-9 and in all spaces between the paragraphs of the scripture. 


Ant. 2 Is said before the Cantile and in all spaces between the paragraphs of the scripture.

Ant. 3 Is said before Psalm 149 and in all spaces between the paragraphs of the scripture.




Canticle of Zachariah as in the Proper of Seasons pg. 249


Recite the Our Father…

Prayer in the Proper of Seasons pg 249

Conclusion: ‘May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.’ – pg. 698

Mark pgs. 712-713 for the Evening Prayer II… Sunday Evening Prayer.

Learn to be grateful even during a time of pain or illness.

Scriptural justification for maintaining a thankful spirit.

‘18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.’ - 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Take 10 minutes a day with God asking him to teach you how to be grateful in all situations.

Instructions for Constantly Being Thankful: In your heart of hearts you make the daily promise to do your best to be thankful for everything given to you by God. Recite the awesome things God has done for you remembering to never be boastful about them in public and always give glory to God. Engage God in a private one-on-one conversation throughout the day – especially when you are alone ask God to cleanse your heart from all thoughts of complaining and ask Him to help you rekindle within your heart His neverending joy. Below are a few scriptures to help guide you:

Be like Paul, learning how to be grateful:

15‘And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.’- Colossians 3:15
18‘give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.- 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Get rid of the drama in your life:

6‘Better is a handful with quiet than two handfuls with toil, and chasing after the wind.’ - Ecclesiastes 4:6

Find the daily miracles in your life:

8‘As for me, I would seek God, and to God, I would commit my cause. 9He does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without numbers. 10He gives rain on the earth and sends waters on the fields; 11he sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. 12He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success. 13He takes the wise in their own craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end. 14They meet with darkness in the daytime and grope at noonday as in the night. 15But he saves the needy from the sword of their mouth, from the hand of the mighty. 16So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth.’ - Job 5:8-16

Stop Comparing what others have versus what you were given by God:

12 ‘We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they do not show good sense. 13We, however, will not boast beyond limits but will keep within the field that God has assigned to us, to reach out even as far as you.’ - 2 Corinthians 10:12-13

Now its your turn… find scripture that speaks to your needs!

Don’t forget to give from your heart to others!

Scriptural justification for giving to others.

6‘The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.’ - 2 Corinthians 9-6:8

Take 10 minutes a day with God asking Him how He would have you give to others.

Instructions for Godly Giving: Remember giving to others does not always involve giving money or time. Rather it also includes random acts of kindness, be it through your loving words of encouragement, helping someone with a project, calling a relative who you haven’t seen or spoken to in years, and/or spending time to develop a real relationship that will last the ages with those around you. What you do speaks louder than words in most instances and has a lasting impact.

38 ‘give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.’ - Luke 6:38

40 minutes a Day – throughout the day – will bring true joy into your life. Brothers and sisters remember that happiness comes from external sources and joy comes from God and therefore an internal experience that fills up your immortal soul.


Lord God,

Give to your people the joy which only comes from you! Teach us how to purge our hearts from lusting after others’ possessions and from being jealous of what others have that we do not. Lord, vanquish from our minds the complaining heart and instead renew our souls with the spirit of thanksgiving. Teach us your love, patience, kindness, and generosity, and allow the holy spirit to fill us with the want to always give to others especially the needy. Lord, wipe away our sins and fill us with your light.

“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread. 12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’ - Matthew 6:9-13 New American Standard Bible 1995

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. – Amen

Saint Joseph Pray for us.

Sancte Ioseph, Ora pro nobis

Cultural Foods of Thanksgiving 2015


Special Spanish Treat

18 “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” ~ The Puritan’s Mind

From the start Thanksgiving has deeply rooted the American Christian Tradition and the need to bring the family together. This was especially true when the Native American Indians and the First Settlers came together to celebrate their joint efforts in a successful harvest way back on June 20, 1676. Yet, it never occurred to me when I was growing up that there was different ways of celebrating Thanksgiving, let alone different foods people ate in different places around America.  But this was brought to my attention when I first came here to California back in July 1991 where I was to met people from different places especially from the Hispanic Culture. Though the American born Hispanics largely celebrate Thanksgiving as the rest of Americans those who come from Mexico celebrate in giving thanks for a completely different reason that is largely related to many of the same reasons as that of the first Americans; that being to bring the family together and to create community; though it is called Thanksgiving an American Holiday mainly for the kids. So like every feast of celebration the Hispanic Community eat foods on Thanksgiving like – Tamales, Pozole which is like a Stew, a fruit salad with Beetroot juice soaked with Apples, Beetroot, Jicama, Orange slices and whatever other fruit you want to add in. Pollo enchilado, carne asada, menudo and is another Mexican Dish that Hispanic people would want to eat for Thanksgiving among many more. It doesn’t have to be these specific types of dishes, it could be other dishes too like tacos, Mole de Olla, or Mole. Other side dishes like dessert would include Flan, yogurt, and fruit salad or like any other dinner it could include other American desserts like pie, corn or Jello. Normally, the drinks would be wine, soda, juice, champurrado, ponche, tequila, and beer.




Church on Thanksgiving 

8 “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.” ~ 1 Chronicles 16:8

The Hispanic culture at large is very devoted to their faith and can been seen going to Church on Thanksgiving Day. It their Mexican American children who are largely absent if given a choice. There are many families who have developed a Thanksgiving – Church Going tradition and to those families the Mexican Americans generally attend church in a variety of special hours, starting at 7:00am – 9:00am – 12:00 noon – 5:00pm – 10:00pm and then some have 11:00 – 12:00 midnight. These masses are setup to create the feeling of community and to give thanks, to have that togetherness within both the biological family as well as in the extended families. The idea is to give thanks for everything for what they have and do not yet have. In fact in the earliest mass church goers within some of the churches in the inner city of Los Angeles especially in the lower economic areas actually set up a feast for the entire community; all are welcome, from any denomination. However, I have to say that food is very important to the Hispanic culture so much so it is used to create the “Spirit of Thanksgiving” not just on Thanksgiving but in all celebrations they hold dear year round! As a teacher running the Summer Technology Team the last day is set aside to celebrate the students accomplishments and the parents would bring food of every kind quit literally it was a feast every year! I can not say this about other cultures of America, and I often reflect on this with a smile because wasn’t the Pilgrims and Native Americans who are accredited with the having the first Thanksgiving for many of the same reasons the Hispanic community celebrates it? The giving of thanks for a successful harvest, the giving of love within a community setting, to bring two cultures together that worked together to survive, the giving of thanks for things they did not yet have and of all the wonderful things they were given from above. In reality food is the constant that binds us together and it is this commonality that is truly being celebrated.
















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 Special Note


As we head towards the season of Thanksgiving it is important to take note of all that we have to be thankful for. Like the disciples who learned all things are possible through the love and compassion of God so to can we the many sons and daughters of Christ make miracles happen for those who are in need and thus in our own way feed the multitude. I urge you to support inner city children through the gift of education by clicking the following link.

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