Embracing Our Thorns
Ash Wednesday Prayer Service of Repentance at the City Hall
“Therefore to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9
This Lent we would do well to remember that grace alone is the source of human freedom in every way true sense of the word.
This passage hit home to me in the last year when I was given the diagnosis for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Because it is a “thorn”. There are nights I wake after dreaming of my own experience of violence and, the violence I have seen and see each day and I sweat, I shake. I have days I get through moment by moment. Therapy helps, but one must simply persevere. For me it has become the cross I bear, one I did not choose, and in bearing that cross I find the Christ ever near, and ministry ever so blessed. For through this thorn I have been able to truly see grace as the source of freedom. What am I learning from this “thorn”?
1. Listen, listen without judgment, and to listen without putting my own expectations on others.
2. To see the foolishness in wanting material items. All is flesh, all will be gone. All we have is Christ and being Christ to others. To see the insanity of people sleeping in the park, without health care, without warmth, without a bath room. All material possessions should be shared so that all might have their portion.
3. To enter into compassion. I recently took an on line course on “how to be compassionate,” frankly it was comedy hour. Compassion cannot be taught. Compassion is something you enter into, experience, and embrace.
Finally I am learning to embrace the grace of God, for God’s grace ultimately is our only source of human freedom—it frees us to love, to love in fullness.
This Lent embrace the cross given to you, and find in it the source of grace and the true fountain of freedom.
Come join us for our
Ash Wednesday Prayer Service of Repentance at the City Hall—and for your Lenten fast spend time each day with a homeless person, a mentally ill person, someone with far less than you. Listen, simply listen.
Go without food for a day, and stand outside your favorite restaurant, smell the smells, feel your belly groan and meditate on how this is a daily experience for millions in the world and on the our streets.
When: Ash Wednesday, February 10, 2016 from 11:00 A.M.-12 NOON
“The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Mk.1:15)
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. Lent is a time for personal
and societal repentance, a time for radical conversion, renewal and
transformation. Living under the brutal occupation of the Roman
empire, Jesus declared: “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and
believe in the Gospel.” (Mk.1:15)
On Ash Wednesday we will hold a prayer service in front of the
San Francisco City Hall to call for repentance and conversion of ourselves, our
society and our churches to the Gospel way of justice, nonviolence and
a reverence for all life and creation.
Seeking to eradicate what
Martin Luther King, Jr. called the triple evils of poverty, racism and
militarism, we commit ourselves to ending all forms of racial hatred and
profiling, and homelessness and demand accountability for those responsible for acts of
violence, especially with respect to the killing of so many blacks by
Ashes will be imputed on our foreheads with the to reminder “Repent and Believe the Gospel.”
Temenos Catholic Worker
Fr. C. River Damien Sims
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164