The Dolors of Mary give me such food for pondering. She, like the most significant visionaries of our time, St Bernadette, St thX55QSM1ZJacinta, St Lucia, St Francisco, St Imelda , ( ok, she’s not so well known but ought to be….) were little kids, LITTLE!!! St Bernadette was the oldest at 14! St Jacinta the youngest at 6. They too, bore unimaginable weight of heinous attacks,  th737M1CIVpressure that I don’t know I would have stood up to. Then again, God did not use me between 6 and 14 to communicate to the world messages either.

But think of it…… 29% of the highlights of painful events that Mary suffered, that we know of, she suffered when she was not yet 15. Those decisions shaped the salvation plan of God. That’s impressive. 50% of Her decisions dealt with parenting, decisions that were to lay the tracks for humanity to ride the train to heaven, (should they choose to).

In Her dialogue with St Gabriel, we hear her rock bottom understanding of what is being asked of her, she questioned how could that happened since she knew she, though married, had not “known” St Joseph and, with no intension to, it was made clear she was with baby already. The Holy Spirit did it. She heard it, she accepted it, she blessed it, she agreed. She made a decision based on rational riding on faith, belief, assured that Yahweh knew better and He had said so. Amazing! She was the-annunciationajust a young girl. More amazing yet is the fact that, like St Jacinta, St Bernadette and the rest, accepted it as ordinary.

Were that have been me, what would I have done? React like I won de lottery? I got the keys to the car… so what if I can’t drive…. Would I have said: “Be it done to me according to Thy Word”…..

But now I’m seasoned in my faith. Aside from leaping from startle, I think, at my age I would say similarly: “…uh…. Well…. If God thinks that’s the best for me….. ok….. I’ll do it…..” I would say it…. proud of my gray hairs that had prepared me with such docility….. proud of my willingness and showing how humble I am by expressing to the angel that …..” I give all the glory to God….. Who knows best….”


I have spent some serious amount to time thinking about her flight into Egypt.  Being a woman, I don’t know a single woman who would not ponder about that very moment….” Mary…. Get up…. We must leave now!!!, get up” I already started the donkey….. grab the baby, we need to get going….” thE7IKIUUL

Did she stop and rub her eyes ….? Yawned…..? Squinting… which did she look for, her shoes or her slippers? Did she stay there sitting for a few minutes… trying to wake up and make sense of what St Joseph had said. (Well, keep in mind that he was the only sinful human in that family…)

Did she get up and walk toward the door, turning right back to grab the baby? See? This meditation is very subjective. That is what suddenly made me wonder if my perception of what She did is was is ordinary for me, a mere human, dragging myself up at the urgent command of my husband. Would I actually get up?? Or would I roll over thinking,” All this peculiar living finally got to his head…..” That is what I would think, had I been the one to have to wake up in the middle of the night, tired from caring for a newborn, barely getting any sleep from feeding him, feeding St Joseph, feeding me, tiding up the house, feeding the baby again, dozing off to sleep while feeding Him, waking up t feed St Joseph and me….. I would, perhaps get up or perhaps say to myself I would deal with whatever in the morning…

Thinking in my humility, my piety, my intense quest to be holy, would I believe my husband if he came in the middle of the night to wake me up and tell me, softly: “Yo… wake up, take the baby…. We have to go, now!!!!

Is that the time to think… WWJD?


What DID Mary do? Would I do the same?

 I was shocked to realize how un-humble, un-pious, un-open I really am. I asked several friends and all said about the same thing in more or less vulgar terms… but they also seriously would question their husbands’ sanity.  Not one said… “I would! I would get up and …. Go… given he had the donkey already running and all…..” All my friends are pious woman of grace!! All Catholic prayerful women!! But not one would get up and go.

So I wonder, what we, Catholic prayerful women who seriously question the unusual in our husbands, how pious and prayerful are we? Given that we are not open to God speaking to our husbands…. To lead our family to safety, to another state…. Country or even town…. Even out of the house…..

Would God see us as ordinary? Are WE, the ordinary of God’s creation or is His ordinary the expectation for us women, of prayerful, pious,  of Catholic formation to snap to it and be running out the door with our husbands, with no shoes. Just our children,  for no other reason that our husbands said so. No other reason… is that what is ordinary for God?



Today I had a most wonderful time meeting a long time friend priest, brilliant and witty like he alone can be. In the conversation he said the most interesting comment: “….they have abandoned the theology of the wall”.

Wild, what a term!!!! He was speaking about the new churches, the barns, the gyms, the storage places, gathering spaces, lots of things but NOT CHURCHES any more.

He’s right, my parish is a “gym” so I have not gone there in years. I go to a church where I know I have been to heaven, heaven has come down and I saw it all happen. “Theology has become the field of egocentrism,” he said.. The Church of God, Our Creator, is a simple Church; it is not complicated. It is deep, without a bottom deep. But in its simplicity and logic, there is no room for making a mark trending into egocentrism to be distinguished and admired for new discoveries.

But all it is, it’s the flowering of egocentrism on the fields of error.

There is a simple truth of what the Church is, and how it is represented. Since the 4th Century the pattern has been set, and though there are no 2 churches the same, the same pattern is used.
Make no mistake. The beauty is not coloring outside the box in this field. The beauty is exulting veneration and worship within the patterns set for our Church by our Church. He, as he customarily does, on the back of any paper, scratches a few lines with tremendous meaning. He explained how the building ought to be…..

Here is the pattern, remember it as you enter the countless facsimiles of churches this Sunday and you are no longer exposed to the traditional theology of the wall. 16 centuries of wall theology that has taught millions of illiterate and literates. The traditional stories expressed in exquisite stain glass windows that entertain as we hear the Word.

Map of Church Building

Map of Church Building

And pray for those who authorized the betrayal of tradition and theology for the sake of someone who wants to be memorialized. But the forever remembrance will be of an ego, that in wanting to make his own mark in history, showed his ignorance of theology, tradition and obedience.
Pray for those poor souls.


St_-Mary-of-the-Angels, Chicago. Ill

among the most beautiful churches in the world



How beautiful you are, my darling,

How beautiful you are!

Your eyes are like doves behind your veil;

                                             Songs 4:1


What a captivating statement. “Your eyes are like doves….” Those are the Words of God to His lover.

That is how God thinks of His beloved. With eyes like doves.

That is so romantic, it sounds like dreaming floating slow-mo white doves a top church steeples. Bells ringing beautiful melodies that raise the hair on end at the overwhelming sounds that awaken the spirit.


But … eyes like a dove’s….. hmmm, think about it.


Somehow, getting into the details has killed the glamour and romance for me. Has it for you?


But, imagine what it means. It’s flabbergasting to grasp God’s meaning of what it means to say that my lover has eyes of a dove, or eyes like doves.


The thing is that doves have laser like vision. No, not like laser surgery for vision correction. When the dove wants to see a little grain of rice, the dove looks at the grain of rice and see nothing else, but that grain of rice, no area around, no enemies above, only the focus of it’s attention. When the dove wants to see you, the dove sees nothing but you, no surroundings, not your chest, not your shoulders, but your eyes, you alone.

So when God sees me, He sees only me, and there is nothing else in His mind but me.

How more in love can God be with me? How many other ways can He show me how He loves me?

My lover’s eyes are like dove’s. And He sees only  me.

How mesmerizing, how distracting, how lovely.

In the morning He sees me. And only me.

What a way to start my day.

To see my lover’s dove eyes.








I heard it said that Jesus tabernacles in us.

St Faustina asked Jesus to remain with her until the next communion, and He did!! He remained with her until her next communion. But I don’t think He tabernacled in her. I can’t imagine Jesus sitting quietly in a tabernacle. I can’t imagine Jesus sitting quietly at all!! He is shown like that, sitting still on His throne, His Divine Hand in fixed blessing.


Image taken from Direction for Our Time

I know that it is said that Jesus waits for us in the tabernacle, silent, alone. St Faustina said that He was trapped there, held by His own Love.

His Love, His Infinite Love. I just can’t imagine His Infinite Love just quietly, silently trapped there by His own Infinite Love.

I think when He comes to us in Holy Communion, He does not enter to tabernacle in us, but to momentarily remain in our hearts and we become ciborium.

And that ciborium that we become is a precious vessel, made of gold, of great value because we hold the One of priceless value. He chooses to enter us and I don’t think He sits, He remains, I think, eagerly, embarking with us in search of to whom He will enter in Holy ImageCommunion.

We, as ciborium, carry Him out to give Him in Holy Communion to all we meet, we must, that is what a ciborium is for. To take Jesus to give Him away to all we meet.

We are ciborium. Image

Blessed be Jesus in us, as ciborium to bring to all we meet.



by Yolanda Bello

Today my Marylou Died

We met 2 yrs ago, when I went to her house as an interpreter for the visiting nurses. She sat at the head of her dining table where she sat always when we came. She was surely striking, her hair cut like the Indians in the deep forests of Brazil, a little bowl cut to the middle of her ears.  Her very dark skin, reminded me of my own grandfather, far more red than brown. And then, her most striking green eyes put her in a level of a National Geographic cover. She was 65 then, 4 yrs older than me, but she looked 25 yrs older than me. Perhaps it was the 6 am trip 3 times per week to dialysis for her diabetes.

I was there 3 times per week with 2 therapists, the nurse and the social worker. She was chipper, aware, and when she spoke, she was particularly loud, from what I would come to know as the hole in her ear, and the pending operation to repair it.  I took about a year for her to come to call me “Yola”, a common nickname among the Spanish for Yolanda. One day she asked me for a favor, she was visibly uncomfortable about it. She needed to go pay for a bill and she had not transportation. So after the nurses left, we left too.

That became a frequent outing for us. After about 3 times she asked to take me to lunch. Of course I said yes, even though I really felt far more uncomfortable than her now. She really wanted to go to a Chinese buffet, about the worst thing for her. She would sit eating quietly, no conversation at all, she would just get up and het her next plate, all carbs and sweets……

One day she actually said something, she said that she had never asked anyone to lunch, she did not like eating with anyone. She did not know why she liked me and trusted me enough to ask out to eat. I felt so honored yet clueless why she would feel that way about me, but I loved the complement. Two more times later, she said her name was Mari Lou. Not Maria as she appeared on the paper work. I think we were officially friends.

I’ll miss you Mari Lou,

The visits with the nurses were lively as they would ask her questions about her faithfulness to the diet she was given and she said always YESS YESS!!, to which I would interpret : “She says yesss, but I believe the answer to be bogus” I don’t know if she understood me, but I think we all were on the same page about her self-discipline.

One day, the nurse said to her to explain the fall she had and she had called her doctor about it. The first time she fell she was coming back from dialysis and she described her fall as though she was running forward. I think she saw the floor coming up to her face.  Then it was every couple of weeks that she would fall, some she could explain, some she just said she got dizzy.

Last summer, September, her social worker stressed more than ever that she needed to consider assistant living.  She really, really did not want it. I persuaded her to just go visit, I would take her to some places and she would see how it worked.

That would never come to be. She was hospitalized for the next 3 months. But I did not know for weeks where she was. When I finally got to go see her, I found her tied to her bed. Her eyes in desperation fixed on me,….”Yola!! ayudame!! Help me, what am I doing here? I did not do anything wrong!!!! Why am I in jail?

I was speechless. I looked at some staff doing I don’t know what about the room.  I asked why was she tied? They ever so casually said: “She became combative”

I didn’t know if to go untie her, to demand of the staff to do so, or to attend to Marylou’s questions….

I swallowed my tears hard, and knelt next to her as asked her how she was, what happened?.

She truly did not know. I turned to the nurses and asked to untie her, she is not combative, and she would not be combative. They murmured something about the doctor, so I stood up and with a very angry quiet look I demanded that doctor come immediately and explain this.

In no time at all, 8 doctors came into the room. Deep, far in the back of my mind I was surprised that they came. Who am I after all?

So I took a very aggressive manner of explaining her questioning of thinking she was in jail, that she was considered to be combative, and then I asked why was she tied to her bed,

Her doctor calmly said again she was combative.

I asked why,

he said she seem confused and she would not comply with the directions given.

I asked about interpreting,

He pointed to a “blue phone” used for that purpose,

I asked if she understood

They were surprised at my question,

“We imagined she did, it was told to her….”

I asked him if he understood her…..

He said, almost cynically, no..


By then I was shaking….angry

And it was pointless.

So she was moved to another place and they chained her, and another had cords so when the patient got out of bed the patient would be stopped by the cord. My Maria, on the way to the bathroom tripped on the cord, so they tied her to the bed.

She never went back home.

Last Friday, when I got there she told me  she was ready for the cemetery.

I knew exactly why.

She was always alone with a one Spanish channel TV as the only conversation in the last 7 months. Not a single staff member in any place was bilingual; they would call me to tell her to comply about something. They said she was not complying about going to therapy.

So I asked them if she could go out on Sunday. They were ambivalent, they did not trust her to not fall, so I said to my Mari Lou to prove to them that she was strong, that she would not fall, that she needs to comply, that she needs to eat. For the next 3 days she did just that in the hope to be able to go out with Rafael, her loving significant other.

She did it all just fine, until the black social worker came in. All came tumbling down in her world so fast, so hard, so sad. She did not survive that harsh talking to.

My Mari Luo died the next Tuesday at 11:30 am.

I was on my way to noon Mass at that moment, mentally preparing, knowing I had an appointment with her and her  lawyer at 1 pm. The little holy card of Our Lady od Guadalupe that had been for 3 yrs pinned to my overhead light fell. Most surprised I picked it up and put it back behind the plastic wondering how it could have fallen out….. and it fell again!!.

After Mass I was hurrying to her nursing home when the lawyer told me. Mari Lou died that morning. Our meeting is off.

I went to the hospital where she had died and they let me go to the room where she was. They had put a polka dot orange and yellow blanket over her and a rose at the door…….. while she laid there with the tube sticking out of her gaping open mouth from trying to resuscitate her, most undignified, but with the stupid orange and yellow polka dot blanket they put on all the deceased people. The female chaplain told me the put those on the deceased, to bring a touch of happy and light because of the sad circumstance.

I starred at her with great pity, but I understood her.

I drove away with my head swimming with images of all  her dreadful suffering now ended. I called my husband to pray the Pieta prayers for the dead, and I wondered just how many poor un-understood people are tied to their beds and no one knows how confused they are.


I’ll miss you my Mari Lou, my friend.

Yolanda Bello



Reina means Queen                                                                         Image

                             I don´t think she stands 4 ft tall. She wears several sweaters, all of different colors. Any one of them could match with the turban she wears; sometimes she wears a crocheted orange hat, sometimes yellow..

                             I first met her last Sept, she was a new client of the nurses I work for and I came to interpret for her. She was in bed; the only light was a 40 light bulb which made it difficult for the nurse to read her equipment, like the thermometer or blood pressure gage.

                             I introduced myself without seeing her face, just so she would know I was also in the room with her nurse. She needed some intimate caring for so I stood behind the furniture by the door, so she would know she had privacy. The sound of her voice was tense, she was in such pain but even then, her voice sounded like little fairy dust falling on water. Light.  Buoyant.  Were I to close my eyes, her voice sounded like a glittery ball that bounces over the words so lightly. It was girlish, though she is in her 50s.

                             She had a tube protruding thru her ribs to drain her lungs. It had to be changed each visit and she dreaded it. If her lung had to be drained she panicked. It was not only painful but disconcerting to feel her lung being sucked out her side. She suffered so. I did not see her face the first time, nor did she really pay attention to me. In all that demanded her attention, my voice was the only one she understood yet it was the nurse who she saw and dealt with.

                             The second visit was not much better but at the end she was able to sit on the bed. All 4 ft of her. She hardly noticed me though all communication was thru me. She focused on the nurse and her eyes danced as she was drinking all she was seeing.

                              There is no other way to explain it; her eyes were widely taking in the nurse before her. ImageShe was smiling but the smile was like her eyes, widely taking it all in.  Like a like girl that sees a carrousel for the first time, the eyes just not big enough to see all of it. But this was no carousel; it was a nurse who spoke gently, pausingly, calmly, sitting unhurriedly on the chair provided her,  still with her rubber gloves on, on occasion moving her hair off her face.              

                              Reyna just loved to see that nurse, she exclaimed excitedly that she was awful young to be such a good nurse, the nurse replied slowly that she was in her late 40s, not such young chick any more. Reyna just could not believe it; she just looked and Imagelooked, her eyes dancing excitedly trying to get the whole image in. She loved that nurse.

                              We met twice per week for several months, her delight in her nurse never waned.  After the chemo for the multiple brain tumors ended, her ravished little body was found to have cancer in several organs. Right away a round of chemo began for her body, I did not see how she could possibly live thru it, she was so incredibly frail.

                             Well, she didn’t.

                            To the end, her bright eyes danced like an exited little girl, she loved her nurse so much, always raving about how young she looked. Still it was my voice that carried her twinkling statements to accompany her delight. All made sense to look at her, in yellow turbans, several layers of sweaters of all different colors, over the “Finding Nemo” pajama pants; I’m sure about the few things to find in her size. The clothing was bigger than her own body mass. It was an effort now to inhale, but amazingly, her eyes danced like sparking fairy dust still.

                            ImageThere was nothing, absolutely nothing alluding the existence of Jesus there except the crucifix pinned over my heart I always wear, unequivocally Catholic, with several medals attached as well. I had to say it, totally out of turn, it would be more than what she was accustomed to hear, the medical jargon from the nurse….. I needed to say it out loud, so at the end, as we were leaving,  I turned back and said it……” May God bless you”…..

                                               She turned to me as like for the first time, and she smiled widely and held her skeletal little girl size hands out to me, and thanked Image

me profusely; she said:Image “ they don’t believe here, but I do!!!”

I said to her that I would pray for her knowing darn well that if anyone knew I did that, I’d be fired on the spot, but I had to say it.

Once outside, the nurse was waiting for me, and told me that Reina would not last much more and no one had the courage to tell her, which was making her very angry. She thought she deserved to know that she was dying.

I did not see her again. She died very shortly after.

But the nurse called me after her death and told me that at the hospital, Reina said she wanted to join my religion.

Oh God!!!                            Image

Oh God!!!  ………….  oh…. God!






May Reina rest in peace, in the peace of Jesus’ arms.






For Lent I gave up computer games.

…..BOY!!! Was it hard!!

It became obvious that games had become a knee jerk reaction to any lull in time, any ambivalent time, any lazy time. Actually … any time time.

It gave me tremendous pause to see how ingrained under my skin games had become, first while I eat, then after I eat; well, dinner is cooking….  I’m thinking of dinner….

Without the games I faced my lull, my ambivalence, my laziness, my wasted time, what discovery!!! Such discovery showed me just how much time was lost, unused, squandered…. Yep, squandered…. It brought a mild cold sweat about me, I realized that time is among the greatest gifts from God we have. Time to conquer our iniquities and I just dwelled in mine. Oh boy!!

Years ago I learned a profound (and forgotten) lesson from the Missionaries of Charity. When Jesus says He is always with us, we have a tendency to make Him twiddle His Divine Thumbs. His Divine Lips are moving and we, oblivious, engage in whatever but His Words directed to us EACH AND EVERY MOMENT OF OUR LIVES are carried off by the spiritual winds!!! Each and every moment….. Which means each moment put together with another moment make up time. How many moments have I wasted in self, instead of Him Who not only dwells in me but accompanies me to prevent that worst should happen to me EACH AND EVERY MOMENT!!!

How I neglect Him, how much time have I lost.

So I’ve decided to live the very moment to moment He spends with me, with Him.

Guess what…….

It’s incredibly difficult….to live….

…because it brings me instantly to what His Will for me is….. and it is most usually totally against my comfort zone. I instantly am aware of what it is I am supposed to be doing, instant call to duty, responsibility, obedience, all that I had rejoiced in totally abandoning for the challenge of beating my last score….. oh yeah….. big time trouble.

Funny thing, when I chose to live the Sacredness of the Present Moment, I never was met by an impatient, frowning Jesus, NEVER! Only the action that would make me holy and responsible, my own contribution to my own growth; never an expression of disapproval that would make me contort compromise or condescend to coax a smile.

Strait shoot. Do what’s right. That’s that.

Is there anyone who does not want to be holy? To be righteous before God? To praise Him and glorify Him all the time with our lives? We Catholics sort’a want that, no?

Well, great news for those who decide for the Sacrament of the Moment, God said darn clearly what He wants best in Psalm 149:1, “…Praise the LORD. Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of his faithful people”.

Look what St Augustine said about that verse….. it surely made it clear to me….

“Now it is your unquestioned desire to sing of him whom you love, but you ask me how to sing his praises. You have heard the words: Sing to the Lord a new song, and you wish to know what praises to sing. The answer is: His praise is in the assembly of the saints; it is in the singers themselves. If you desire to praise him, then live what you express. Live good lives and you yourselves will be his praise.

And there He is always calling to the Sacrament of the Moment, that we may BE His praise…..

Blessed be God Almighty In His creation, His very GOOD creation, His Praise…. Us.

In His Thirst, Yolanda Bello