Peniel August

July 30, 2018

Peniel

August, 2018

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

Journal of An Alien Street Priest:

Growing up in the South, the dog days of August were very real. The weather was hot, humid, we stayed around the house most of the day until the sun set. We drank a lot of ice tea, ate a lot of watermelon, and barbecued. They were days of reflection, and of looking ahead to the coming year.

In reflecting this year during this time I think of our countries psyche  and  my own life.  For me I have discovered within my life, and with  what is  happening  in the greater world similarities.

 I have discovered that my own desire to connect can sometimes become an inordinate attachment to receiving praise, love, and acceptance from others. I often struggle with sacrificing integrity and authenticity to orchestrate attachment to others. There is a phrase from the Henry Rollins album, “weight”, which says: “Loneliness will make you throw your sins away.”

Loneliness eats at our very souls, and I have found I will throw away everything to have a friend, and always it is in vain. The same in our country, we are so afraid we are going to lose the  freedoms and rights we have gained, that we “throw our sins away,” losing our sense of respect for the dialogue of other people who differ from us.

Doing these dog days of August I am listening to the Spirit, and am being reminded  not to fear, to respond in truth and love and to trust. And that is my prayer for others—do not fear, respond in truth and love, and trust each other. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Weekly Meals:

It has become apparent that personally I will not be able to prepare weekly meals alone.  We are asking for volunteers who will put in 4-5  hours a week to package and help serve the meals on the street. Thank you.

We now have two new interns, they are Cale King and Aaron Olaya, Juniors in High School from San Rafael, CA. Both are passionate and caring about people, and find working with us rewarding.

​                                                                                       Aaron                                                                       Cale

 Aaron and Cale.png

Death Penalty Protest:

September 5, Noon-1:00 p.m. we will begin our weekly Death Penalty Protest.  The Death Penalty is in humane, and makes of all of us murderers. Come join us!

We Are Beggars!

Our finances are very low. We are in need of socks, we are in need of money for food, and so we beg, for your support. We continue to minister to 500 plus young people a month through our pastoral care, socks, food, and needle exchange. And so as you reflect during these dog days we pray you will remember us. Please give:

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

Or

Pay Pal at www.temenos.org

Our web site has been changed to a new server it is much easier to go directly to Pay Pal and give directly through your Pay Pal account

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Spying In our Restrooms for Securities Sake

November 16, 2019

Spying In Our Restrooms–For Securities Sake!

I Maccabees 2:1-28. Matthew 16:21-28

    A friend, who is in his thirties, and I were talking about Halloween in Sebastopal, when he was thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen, and how we would go and toilet paper trees, and get chased by whomever. I told him those days were over, because every house had security cameras,  and he replied, “River we can wear masks, and it will be a hell of a lot more fun.” LoL! Of course I was simply his chaperone offering prayers along the way!

    Two days go I went to the rest room in a cafe in the Haight,and when washing my hands I looked up and saw a camera over the door. I thought, “What the f. .. .k?” and asked at the counter, and was told, and I can almost quote: “We are afraid of the homeless, and possible people with weapons, but please know the camera does not look into the stalls or the urinals.” At least not yet!

    Our fears have compelled us to place cameras in Golden Gate Park, around our churches, our streets, and our homes. Orwell’s “1984” is a reality.

    Someone hacked my computer, and took one my photos, and added some compromising ones, that are not mind, and called and said if I gave them a thousand dollars they would not publish them–I said, “Go straight to h. .” And I have been in a deep depression ever  since, feeling afraid, threatened, and unsafe. I called my attorney and no response, I called friends, no response. I felt so alone.

    We live in a time when we truly have no support emotionally, spiritually, or physically. In our cyber world we are losing our humanness. We let our governments impose fear of the other on us.

    Through all of this  the words of Jesus, “Love your neighbor” as yourself become more real. One can see his face as he looks upon us, and loves us as we place nails in his hands, and calls us to “Love our neighbor as ourselves.”

    I have seen the non-violent approach of love change lives throughout my ministry. The man who murdered my son’s  changed, and changed life  as I held his hands, gave him the Sacrament of Reconciliation  as  he was dying; people who have railed against me as I stand in silent protest against the death penalty have come back to talk, and in our differences, become friends.

    People rail against the Church, against Christianity, and we look at the differences in those who practice the Christian faith,  care for the homeless, the aged, the broken–places like The Gubbio Project, in San Francisco are examples of the Church treating people as individuals created with the image of God within them, while our government agencies seek to get them out of sight.The Church at its best, Christians at their best humanize people recognizing we all have the image of God within us. That all of us carry goodness. That we should walk with people, for the day will come when we too will need to be walked with.

    So for me and my house, we will continue to hang with those that are “the undesirables”, the thieves, the murderers, and will continue to stand in non-violent protest against injustice.

Fr. Henri Nouwen says it best:

“God’s question is: “Are you reading the signs of your time as signs asking you to repent and be converted?” What really counts is our willingness to let the immense sufferings of our brothers and sisters free us from all arrogance and from all judgments and condemnations and give us a heart as gentle and humble as the heart of Jesus.”

And if we ever toilet paper trees again we will wear masks–it will be more fun, and we will not darken the door  any place that has cameras in their restrooms, I am even leery about darkening church doors with the same–god that is dehumanizing. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

The Cost of Looking Back

November 15, 2019

The Cost of Looking Back

Luke 17:26-37 English Standard Version (ESV)

2Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, 29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— 30 so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. 35 There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.”[a] 37 And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse[b] is, there the vultures[c] will gather.”

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    Jesus tells his followers not to look back. But he does not take his own advice, does he? Jesus was liberated from the chains of this world, free to resume his heavenly reign. But even as he resolutely journeyed toward Jerusalem and the cross, Jesus looked back, refusing to leave us behind. Jesus longs to be with one with us, no matter the cost. He calls us to do the same–to look back, never to give up on one another, regardless of  the cost.

    Our photo today is my 25th Anniversary Bible,signed by my friends through the years. There are the wealthiest, the poorest, the most rejected–two–one on death row, and another  serving a life sentence, Republicans, Democrats, believers, atheist’s, and of different colors, a rainbow of friends and colleagues. 

    One signature is the mother of a young man, murdered. We met as I stood outside of the Federal Building silently protesting the death penalty. She has cussed me, screamed at me, and now we are friends–mutually disagreeing .

    When people tell me that I pay to high of a cost for my work–I look at this Bible, and know what it means when I reword the saying of St. Francis, “Preach the Gospel as little as possible, but always care, without judgment and  regardless of the cost.” It has all been well worth it.

    In her book Elderhood, Dr. Louise Aronson, describes Old Age, as a time of embracing the gift of life, the third stage of life, and of seeing it as a time of simply evolving in our caring for others. Her approach contradicts the saying “Old age “Aint t for Sissies”, as to be dreaded, but to be embraced as our  final gift. That is the goal I am struggling with, and I look to many who have signed my Bible, to lead me into that gift.

    For when we never give up on one another, we have a community of all ages and are never alone. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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Fr. River Damien Sims,sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

 

New Life

November 14, 2019

 

NEW LIFE

NEW LIFE

Psalm 23

Sergel Nikolaevich Bulgakove writes: “The Church of Christ is not an institution, it is a new life with Christ and in Christ guided by the Holy Spirit.”

In my anniversary Bible I have a hundred or so signatures of those who are “Church” , and only around ten or so belong to the institutional church. In fact  a number of people who attended my anniversary event had not darkened door of the institutional church in years, and they avoid those  doors as if they were rattle snakes. One said to me as she was leaving, “Only out of my deep respect for you did I come tonight.”

The institutional church kicked me out when I simply questioned  my sexuality, some hundred of my so called clergy friends literally turned their backs on me,  and I came back kicking and screaming because God made sure to continually remind me that my call to ministry was in my mom’s womb, not dictated by an institution. 

I became a whore in rebellion, I did things I would never have thought I would do,  and yet, God pushed me back. I love the Church with all of my heart, and I hear the words of Dorothy Day: “The Church is both our mother and  a whore.” I have had only three clergy friends in all of these years, because I scare others. And it is not their fault totally, I speak my peace, I look weird, and I hang out with a group of kids that no none wants around.

When I was sick last year one clergy, who did not know me, but who  by assumption , kept me at a distance from the church I associate with, and several of its members assisted me “undercover”,  helping me, and the successor has done everything in her power to make me comfortable again, but the pain from that time lingers, I am always on edge, so trust the institution–I do not,  the body of Christ are  those who feed the hungry, take care of the sick and afflicted etc, that is the Church.

I baptized and  confirmed five young men and women two weeks ago in Golden Gate Park. Not one of them feel welcome in the institutional church, but  wanted baptism and confirmation. They are a part of the younger group who see being the church out side of the institution.

I am reading a book entitled Elderhood by Dr. Louise Aronson, in which she describes the discrimination against people as they age, and the elderly. Her thesis is that artificial boundaries are placed on aging, and as a result people are pushed aside, and seen as not useful, and medical treatment discriminates.

The former Mayor of Chicago wrote a thesis which in which he  suggests  that medical treatment for people over 70 should be simply to keep them comfortable, since we have to many elderly people. My question to him is: “When you get 70, what will you say then?’ My hunch is the age will be moved up until at least 80, and if he is successful in reaching 80–to one hundred. As for me I am planning to live until I am a thousand, and not have a gray hair on my head.

We label people because of our fears, and not understanding them. People are always surprised when they hear me preach, or see the liturgies I use–I am very orthodox, in fact evangelical, but judge me by my appearance,  and in so doing we limit ourselves, and close the doors to real caring and understanding.

A few days after my surgery I had a donor say to me: “Why do you have seventeen and eighteen year olds caring for you?” and I replied dead pan to her email with the words, “Well you want to come in an help me in a more mature way?” I did not hear from this person again until I was well. It was my seventeen and eighteen year old friends who frankly saved me. Maturity? Maturity is in how we care for another. Those guys cared for me from the bottom of their heart, without being asked–that is real maturity.

I  never tell  my age because people  make judgments, in court, to newspapers, I always age myself by 20-30  years, and enjoy the humor,  and when I am carried into St. Luke’s, and placed into my burial spot the only labels  I want on my  plaque are  “A priest in the Order of Melchizedek”, and the date of my death. Two labels–Christian and priest, are the two by which I name myself. All else do not matter.  Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“In the Gospels, Jesus speaks poignantly about our welcoming the stranger. Jesus’ generous welcome to everyone is remembered in the Greek as philonexia, which is “the love of strangers.” Philonexia becomes the New Testament norm for hospitality. We must welcome the stranger so that the stranger is no longer strange to us.”

-Br. Curtis Almquist

Father River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

The Drums Are Beating!

November 13, 2019

The Drums Are Beating Around Us!

“Then a mighty angel took a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying,  ‘So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence and will be no more and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players, and trumpeters, will be heard in you no more, and a craftsman of any craft will be found in you no more,  and the sound of the mill will be heard in  you no more, and the light of a lamp will shine in you no more, for your merchants were the great ones of the earth, and all nations were deceived by your sorcery. And in her was found the blood of the prophets and the saints, and of all who have been slain on earth.” Revelation 18:21-24

The drums are beating around us, if we only but listen. If we turn our ears away from our fears, our judgments, we can hear the drums.  The drums of warning, and the drums of hope in the resurrection.

The past few weeks I wake up in the middle of the night and can not sleep.  I hear the drums of those I saw suffering at the Santa Rosa Shelter during the fire, I hear the drums of “Martha” in her sleeping bed in pain from cancer on the corner of the street, I hear the pain of the thousands I have loved  through the years. I hear the pain of those who transfer their anger on me for representing the homeless, and young men facing trial for  murder. There us is so much pain, so much hurt.

Last night eating in an excellent Thai Restaurant, I thought back through the years and asked the question: “Why am I not on the streets in a tent, using drugs to just get through the night?” I should be there, and yet I am eating a meal in a nice restaurant, have food to eat, food and socks and time to give to Martha, and I ask myself the question, “Why are there thousands like her on the streets of San Francisco, and the world, who sleep outside and go hungry and than those like me eating fine food? Is it  my white skin,  and my privilege of having a good  family and education, or is it just luck? The question haunts me, and hangs in the air.

There is no answer, accept I hear the drums beating that call us to action, to walk out on our streets, to walk in the disasters of life, to feed, to care for people, as if we are caring for ourselves. Jesus saw himself in each one of us, and he loved us until death.

The drums are beating reminding each one of us our time is short, and we should stop being afraid and open our hearts, our pocket books, and give our time, money, and all of our energy to the poorest of the poor without judgment.  We are all dying–let us die in the victory of serving others.

I talk to people whom I characterize as having the “Wealthy Angst,” they have everything, materially, but their lives are not fulfilled, and they wait in fear of losing their wealth, and ultimately death. The coming Advent Season and Christmas Day reminds us of the birth of a baby, who brings us hope in this life, and the next. There is nothing to fear.

My time on earth is nearing its end, and joining those in the Great Cloud of Witnesses I will shout and scream and push others on to be love in action, which is truly a harsh and dreadful thing, but brings so much joy. We close with a prayer from todays Vigil’s in Benedictine Daily Prayer:

“Lord Jesus, it was at night that you taught Nicodemus the mystery of our rebirth  in water and the Spirit. As we keep vigil this night to hear your Word, bring to birth in us the new self which is your own creation, and we will come to the light and live by the truth, today and forever.” Amen.

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Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

 

Walking on the Same Level

November 11, 2019

Walking on the Same Level

Matthew 15:1-20

.. . You cancel God’s command by your rules. . .It’s from the heart that we vomit up evil arguments, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, lies and cussing. That’s what pollutes. Eating or not eating certain foods, washing or not washing your hands–that’s neither here nor there.” The Messenger Ecumenical/Catholic Edition

Late last night I administered Narc an to a gentleman over 70. His eyes bulged, his tongue joked him, and as he eased back into life, the spark in his eyes reminded me this was Jesus. A younger, well dressed gentleman on the side walk taunted me, saying, “Let the f. .ker die, he is useless. The words of Brother Keith Nelson came to mind:

“It is very easy to give from on top of a white horse. It is more uncomfortable to dismount, to stand in the mud at eye level with need, with hunger, with flagrant inequality, and let it pierce our hearts in a humble conversation between two children of God: without agenda, without presupposition that we know that the person before us really needs, but with an open heart and a listening ear.” Brother Keith Nelson.

Like the Pharisees in the Gospel we can quibble over the fine points of the law, and lose sight of its purpose to bring us into loving our neighbor.

Socrates said: “Beware of the barrenness of a busy life.” Barrenness takes many shapes–judging people by age, race, religion, sexual orientation; using names like putting down people with descriptions of a person with “the orange turf”, “she is mentally ill,” and so on.

Rather than busy our lives with our biases, judgments, and accusations, why not “open our hearts with an open mind and a listening ear.” There is a group in Bolivia or another South American country who have “silent protests”, they do not rave and rant, but stand and listen; when we have our “protest” against the death penalty in front of the Federal Building, we too, stand and listen, and in so doing we hear the pain, the hurt, and find ourselves loving our neighbor. And let us always pray: “Lord we know you are coming through the line of people in our lives today, so let us treat them well.” Amen.  Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

 

Death or Life!

November 10, 2019

Death Or Life?

Acts 24:20-21

    Paul has been arrested, brought to Felix for trial, based upon the trumped up charges of whether or not there will be resurrection after death:

“So ask others what crime they’ve caught me in. Don’t let them hide behind this smooth-talking Tertulus. The only thing they have on me is that one sentence I shouted out in the council: ‘It’s because I believe in the resurrection that I’ve been hauled into this court.’ Does this sound to you like grounds for a criminal case.”

Death is the sum of all of our fears—physical death, death of our housing from  eviction, death of fear that undocumented immigrants will bring disease and financial ruin, death of Muslims, death of losing our reputation.  The fear of death is used by people in power to control and to use us.

    At the heart of the Gospel death does not have the last word–but God, the giver of life–and  calls us to defy death giving forces on earth, with the hope of the resurrection to come.

    We will die, but let us live fully into that death, with hope in the resurrection bringing life to the immigrant, the poor, the afflicted, the homeless, the religious and racially disenfranchised.  And in living fully into our deaths we live fully into the resurrection! Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

“Lord we know you are coming through the line of people in our lives today so let us treat them well.”

“I pledge to protect and defend vulnerable people in the name of Jesus.”

The Team

November 9, 2019

THE TEAM

“You are the righteous God of Israel. We are, right now, a small band of escapees.  . Ezra 9:15 (The Message)

    In our scripture Ezra says to God that the Israelite’s are a “small band of escapees”.  In our world today we who follow Jesus, and any other of God’s Reflections are  “escapees”, and  called to be a  team.

Our teams begin in small groups, and expands.  In our cover photo are five guys who have named us as a part of their  “Team” for several years now, being their in the good times and the tough times;  We address and write notes in some 900 plus Christmas cards today and tomorrow, remembering  each member of our  larger Team, the Team who supports us  and  provides the money and the emotional support for our ministry in San Francisco; followed by the Team of those characters who  inspire and support us from the Great Cloud of Witnesses, three are tattooed on our  arm: Dorothy Day, Francis of Assisi, and Damien of Molokai; and the day will come when we will all be together in that Great Communion of Witnesses, laughing over our squabbles, and petty arguments, and remembering our love for each other.

    Fr. Henri Nouwen describes our passages through life as a Team:

  “One of the most radical demands for you and me is the discovery of our lives as a series of movements or passages. When we are born, we leave our mothers’ womb for the larger, brighter world of the family. It changes everything, and there is no going back. When we go to school, we leave our homes and families and move to a larger community of people where our lives are forever larger and more expansive. Later when our children are grown and they ask us for more space and freedom than we can offer, our lives may seem less meaningful. It all keeps changing. When we grow older, we retire or lose our jobs, and everything shifts again. It seems as though we are always passing from one phase to the next, gaining and losing someone, some place, something.

You live all these passages in an environment where you are constantly tempted to be destroyed by resentment, by anger, and by a feeling of being put down. The losses remind you constantly that all isn’t perfect and it doesn’t always happen for you the way you expected; that perhaps you had hoped events would not have been so painful, but they were; or that you expected something from certain relationships that never materialized. You find yourself disillusioned with the irrevocable personal losses: your health, your lover, your job, your hope, your dream. Your whole life is filled with losses, endless losses. And every time there are losses there are choices to be made. You choose to live your losses as passages to anger, blame, hatred, depression, and resentment, or you choose to let these losses be passages to something new, something wider, and deeper. The question is not how to avoid loss and make it not happen, but how to choose it as a passage, as an exodus to greater life and freedom.” Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

Heavenly Yield

November 8, 2019

HEAVENLY YIELD

One Twenty Second Birthday of Dorothy Day

The Parable of the Shrewd Manager: Luke 16:1-9

16 He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures[a] of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures[b] of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world[c] are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth,[d] so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings

      Biblical scholar Raymond Brown sums ups the parable message with striking bluntness “abundant money corrupts. .the right way to use it is to give it away to the poor and thus makes friends who when they go to heaven  can help.”  

    And on this one hundredth twenty second birthday of Dorothy Day we hear her words ring down through the years: “Whatever I had read as a child about the saints had thrilled me. I could see the nobility of giving one’s life for the sick, the maimed, the leper. But there was another question in my mind. Why was so much done in remedying the evil instead of avoiding it in the first place? Where were the saints to try to change the social order, not just to minister to the slaves, but to do away with slavery?”

    Dorothy saved my life when I was a whore on the streets of L.A., for her life showed me the gift of redemption, of grace, and that in that grace I could move out into ministry. Dorothy demonstrated what the Church never sowed me–redemption. She demonstrated that in valor there is no compromise.

    The poster above, found on the corner of Sutter and Polk, in an area soon to be gentrified, moving even further out the poorest of the poor tells us: “The Political Class of San Francisco is using Homeless Services to Launder Money, that is why it never gets better, the money never reaches the street.”

There is some truth in the poster, money always corrupts, and there is corruption, for the poor are often left out of the equation, but the Biblical truth it points out, and the truth that Dorothy raises the question about is that we are all called to “change the social order,” to feed and house the homeless, whom we step over each day, to transform our environment where all can have health insurance, and have food. We live in the richest area of the country and ten percent of our population is hungry. For when we seek to change the “social order’ in little ways, our political system will change. Is it easy? Father Henri Nouwen describes the answer to that question:

“Love among people is not first of all a feeling or an emotion or a sentiment but a decision of the will to be faithful to each other. .There are really no people whom we can love with unlimited feelings of love. We are all imperfect, broken, sinful people, but we are able to love one another because we are able to will to be faithful and constantly forgive each other’s unfaithfulness.”

And  in so doing we will be lead into heaven.  Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Father River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

Irrevocable

November 7, 2019

Irrevocable

Luke 14:25-35; Luke 15:1-10

It is 4 a.m., yesterday 3 a.m., I wake up in a cold sweat, soaked, from the night mares, and lately from the pain in my shoulder, a knife wound, and being hurt physically a number of times.  Saturday night a friend’s mom made a bed for me, and I lied to her about why I did not stay, it is the night mares.  The mental health field calls it “PTSS”, for me it is the Angel of Death circling, reminding me life is short and get my but out there and do the work. The call is irrevocable!

Having lunch with a priest friend yesterday she asked me “How much longer are you going to to this work?”  And I think of a quote by Ralissa Maritain,

“I have the feeling that what is asked of us is to live in the whirlwind. .to pray incessantly… in fact to let ourselves pitch and toss in the waves of the divine will till the day when it will say, “That’s enough.”

I will do the work until the Divine says, “That’s enough,” and it is easy for those of us of privilege to turn our eyes away from the needs of others and to not do the work.

Jesus is blunt in his words in the Gospel of Luke, “If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and sisters, yes, even his own life, he can not be my disciple. .So therefore any one of you who does not renounce all that he has can not be my disciple…….”What man of you having a hundred sheep,  if he had lost one of them does not leave the ninety and nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost until he finds it.”

Those are blunt words, harsh words, and what I believe he is trying to do is to knock  some sense into our heads, and remind us we are all brothers and sisters and we have responsibility to one another. We are to share of what we have, and by sharing–our finances, and our lives–getting our hands dirty. Looking people in the face, and walking with them on the same level. Painful, sometimes dangerous, but we are all called in some way to do this, but the call is irrevocable.

Little Sister Magdeleine towards the end of her life commented,

“To be a contemplative will mean simply that you try to turn to Jesus within you and enter into conversation with Him, as with the one you love the most in the world.”

In so doing we realize that we are all brothers and sisters, and we are called to love one another until “divine will . .will say, “That’s enough.” For our call is Irrevocable! Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

415-305-2124

http://www.temenos.org

A Love Stronger Than Death

November 5, 2019

A Love Stronger Than Death

Luke 14:15-25

“When one of those who reclined at table with heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the Kingdom of God.”

Fr. Bernard Lichtenberg was a priest who stood up against the Nazi persecution of Jews, and he was sent to the Dachau, the death camp as a result of his stand during the Second World War. His dying words were: “Outside, the Temple is burning, and this too is a house of God. . .The Jews are my brothers and sisters, also created with an immortal soul by God.”

One night many years ago, an 18 year old said to me: “You must have done something really  awful to work with us.” I laughed, but it was true, I felt like I was a horrible person–my years as a prostitute, being cast out of an institution I loved as a result of my questioning of sexuality, and the things I did on the street to survive. Redemption I sought, and I was already redeemed

But through these years of living and working on the streets, of being “outside the gate” my experience of God has lead to experience the words of the Desert father Anthony of Egypt: “I no longer fear God, but I love him.” In that love comes love for everyone and to see everyone simply as broken children of God. God loves us, loves us so much, in the midst of sorrow, loss, rejection, and pain, God loves us, brings us to her bosom.

To eat dinner in God’s Kingdom is easy–we feed the hungry, house the homeless, love our neighbors for all are our brothers and sisters. We simply have to take our bow and shoot our arrow at the target, and try, we all fail, I miss the target daily, but simply try, and in so doing people will be loved, and cared for.

Terry Tempest tells us: “What if survival of the fittest is the survival of compassion?” To survive, to grow, to live fully, we who are the fittest must show compassion, in order that those we love, will be cared for, nurtured, and grow, and also show their love as well. Now:

“May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ go with you: wherever he may send you; may he guide ;you through the wilderness: protect you through the storms; may be bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you; may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors. Amen”

Fr. River Damien Sims,sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124