“Keeping Your Eye on the Prize”

February 27, 2015

February 27 “Keeping Your Eyes on the Prize Matt. 5:20-26

SECOND WEEK IN LENT–JESUS INVITES US TO TAKE UP THE CROSS-Lenten Prayers for Hungry People-March 1-7

Genesis 17:1-7; 15-16

Psa.m 22:23-51

Romans 4:13-25

Mark 8:31-38 or Mark 9:2-9

ACTION:

1. Do not throw away food.–Feed a hungry person–friend or homeless; Save it for Later.

2. “Fast from Indifference”–Pope Francis

3. When Driving Drive with the Other Person’s Welfare on Your mind–Do Not Participate in “Road Rage Mentality”

4. Do Not Participate in “Facebook Rage Mentality”.

5. Fast from “Facebook”.

“O God, you desire that all people should eat and be satisfied. As we follow Jesus and are transformed by his death and resurrection, may we spend our lives so that we may share in your bounty.

Our Scripture calls us not to judge, and yet around us all we read and see is judging. For example I know many Muslims–and all I have experienced from each person through the years is love, respect, and finding commonality. People who say things against me, who have tried to hurt me physically, always seem to carry the title “Christian,” and yet my Muslim friends are terrified in the City of St. Francis. It is always the few that hurt any group.

Secondly I have decided to “fast” from Face book during Lent. I will place my blogs on Face book when I write, but other than that I am staying off. The past few days I have found myself getting depressed, and angry at some of the replies to postings. I post various things simply to make people aware–to provide some form of thinking on the other side of issues, but some of the responses have frankly been hateful and angry, and it is depressing. Along with that is people expressing their fears about housing in San Francisco, and homelessness. I live on the edge, I work with homeless people, I get my hands dirty and bloody some times, and it is not about discussion or thoughts, it is about real life and it is painful when people say hurtful things or analyze without any first hand knowledge. . And so I am going to be about my business of working and serving, and let the rest go. Finally Face book takes me away from one on one contact, and that is the most important thing in the world. So if people want to respond they can call or email.

In conclusion and in summary I add two quotes which summarize this for me:

One of the ancient words in the monastic vocabulary is contentment, which is incredibly counter-cultural. Contentment: from the Latin contentus, which means enough, it means sufficient. It’s the opposite of a kind of appetite of acquisition. But it’s rather saying: now is what is most important, not what is new but what is now. One of the downsides of this capacity we have to be virtually present all over the globe is distraction actually pulling us away from where we really are now. But the Psalm says, “Be still and know that I am God.” And the Psalm says, “My boundaries enclose a pleasant land.” Contentment is about staying where you are, looking at it more deeply and realizing with deep gratitude that this is enough, and for this I am thankful.

-Br. Curtis Almquist

VegInspiration There is no greater act of love and freedom than to question the core of violence and disconnectedness churning unrecognized in the belly of our culture, and to switch to a plant-based diet because of compassion for the countless animals, humans, and future generations to whom we are related. All life is interconnected, and as we bless others, we are blessed. As we allow others to be free and healthy, we become free and healthy. Dr. Will Tuttle

I am going to focus on “keeping my eyes on the Prize, the Author and Finisher of our Faith.” Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Lent I

February 23, 2015

Lenten Prayers for Hungry People and A Call to Non-Violence

Lent: Week I: February 22-28: “Jesus Is Baptized And Blessed by the Spirit”

“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming out of the water, he saw the heavens torn a part and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.” Mk. 1:9-10

Further Scripture Readings: Genesis 9:8-17, I Peter 3:18-22, Psalm 25:1-10; Mark 1:9-15

During this week I invite you to identify one concrete way to show your love for God as the fruit of reconciliation with God. Do one generous act for someone else outside of your social realm. Going to the post office this morning I stopped and talked to an Iraq Veteran who is homeless, we talked about his aches and pains and about the difficulty he is having getting support as a Veteran. All we did is talk, and that is all we need to do is give someone simply our time, our care for a few moments. This week rather than “pontificate” on Face book–Look someone in the eye and give them a time of grace.

Our day of fasting for Climate Change is March 16, but I urge each of us to fast in some way each day–one meal, do without dessert or meat or something you love in food–for climate change, for non-violence, for the hungry, and for our own selves that our hearts may be opened to others around us.

Global Catholic Climate Movement Calls for a Fast
“Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be “protectors” of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.” – Pope Francis

In these remarks from his inaugural mass, Pope Francis made it clear from the start that all men and women of goodwill have a responsibility to one another as “protectors of creation.” Therefore, with one mind the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) is organizing a Lenten hunger fast as a response to our present climate crisis.

Beginning Lent (February 18 – April 2) 2015, GCCM will organize a global fast for climate justice, joining the year-long #FastForTheClimate interfaith effort. In each of the 40 days, a different country will have Catholics and other Christians fasting.

The United States has signed up to fast on March 16th and FAN encourages its members to join us as we pray and fast in solidarity with those who are most affected by the changing global climate.

NON-VIOLENCE

Each Friday during Lent fast from violence in some form. Some Examples are:

1. Not Watching Any Violent T.V. Shows or Movies.

2. Be Aware of Your Actions while Driving–Watch your anger at other drivers.

3. Watch the Words You Use Against your loved Ones.

4. Write A Letter to Our One of Our Leaders Protesting the War and other Acts of Violence Done In Our Name.

5. Refrain from eating Meat/Fish to show Respect to Other Sentient Beings.

These are just a few ways we can fast from violence, think of other ways, post them on Face Book, You Tube, Twitter, Tumbler.

Each Week We Will be Sending Out Lent Prayers for Hungry People and for each of us to live in a Non-Violent way.

“O Christ, we give thanks that during this season of Lent you come into our lives with God’s salvation. Renew our faith in this good news so that we who are baptized in your Spirit may raise our voices on behalf of those who hunger in our world.” Amen.

Peniel–March 2015

February 21, 2015

Inline image 1

PENIEL

“Where Jacob Wrestled with God and Survived”

Temenos Catholic Worker Newsletter

March, 2015

Fr. River Sims
Temenos Catholic Worker
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, California 94164-2656
415-305-2124

http://www.temenos.org

temenos@gmail.com

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Journal of An Alien Street Priest

I recently watched the movie, McFarland. It is a “success” story of a coach who brought track to a small California town of migrants and gave their children hope of changing their lives. And the six young men in story changed their lives, and went on to college.

In watching the movie what came to my mind was how we view “success”. I am always asked about my “success stories”, which means people getting off the streets, getting decent jobs, and living the “American Dream.” Lent centers on a different kind of :”success”–one of complete failure in the eyes of the world–the ministry of Jesus ending up on a cross. And from that experience came the greatest success story of all. A story that holds up the hope of life in all aspects of life.

Last night as I was coming home from the movie several young men passed and greeted me with the “street/youth handshake”, one called simply to chat, another asked for some food. And as I talked to them I thought they were the greatest “success” stories in the world. Not as the world sees it, but success in survival, and success in their dignity and relationships.

The reality is that for the majority of the individuals that I walk with every day is that they will never be a “success” in the eyes of the world. They will for the most part live on the streets, the SRO’s, participate in the “street economy”, use drugs. Their “success” lies in surviving the day to day struggles of finding food, a place to sleep, to take a bath, to even go to the bath room. And in the midst of this struggle they remain the most fully human people I know. Some of the most spiritual people I know are on the streets, they live in the hope of God, however they understand God, they treat people with love and respect..

Ash Wednesday, as my friend Mary and I walked the streets, and than myself later alone, person after person wanted to be blessed with the Ashes–living in the doorways, the streets, the SRO’s. Each one received them with such graciousness and understanding. They truly understand the meaning of being “poor”, “alone”, and “discriminated” against.

This Lent I encourage all of us in the words of Pope Francis, “to fast from our indifference to others,”–to walk with our eyes open– rather than judging and turning our eyes away, to look people square in the face and to talk to them, to love them, and accept them for who they are, and to lend a hand where you can.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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OUR ACTIVITIES FOR LENT/HOLY WEEK/EASTER

Holy Thursday, April 2

4 p.m-6 p.m.: We will celebrate the Eucharist in the Haight.

7 p.m.: Foot Washing/Eucharist in Hemlock Alley

Good Friday, April 3

12 Noon-2: p.m. Tenderloin Stations of the Cross, “A Place of Grace”: We will proceed dong the stations with a contemporary liturgy through the Tenderloin.

Easter Sunday, April 4

3:00 p.m. We will serve and Easter meal in the Haight followed by Polk Street.

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WE ARE BEGGARS:

Through the past twenty plus years we have not done intensive fund raising because of our belief that we are called to beg for what we need, which means we do the work and we will be provided for. We live simply, and only approximately 3 per cent of the funds goes to administrative costs, so we make the most out of each buck. We believe trusting in God to provide through those who like to walk with us on the streets.

Today I remember one who gave out of the goodness of her heart and walked nightly on the streets, and in the Great Cloud of Witnesses continues to walk with me on the streets:

Jean Isabel O’Keefe

1919-2015

Jean came into our life six years ago as she read one of our newsletters someone had given her on the island of Molokai, Hawaii. She began giving us money out of her small check each month and we began corresponding. She invited me out to visit her and to visit where Damien of Molokai lived and worked. And we spent two weeks with Grandma Jean. We visited the site of Damien’s ministry for a retreat. What I remember most about my time with Grandma Jean was her radiant faith and trust in God, as she entered her 93rd year. And in that trust she completed the race in faith on January 12. She often joked with me she could only give a “mite”, and I told her that “mite” was a transforming act of God in my own life and in the lives of those we walk with.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“A Longing of the Heart”

February 20, 2015

February 20 “A longing of the Heart” Dorothy Gauchat Isa. 58:1-9; Matt, 9:14-15

“As A deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul long s for you O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?” Psalm 42:1-2

In talking to people, sharing the work, I am always asked, “Why do you do this?” And the reason is simply “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you O God.” Fulfillment in my life for me comes in opening my heart and life to people, to walking as a friend, a pastor, a arm to cry on. There are so many moments of grace in my life–In each person I give food to, spend time with talking, taking to the hospital, and burying. Yesterday morning I received a phone call from a young man in Southern California, I did not remember him, he was in a church youth group that came up here several years ago. He was coming out as a gay male and he was having trouble with his friends, family and church. He was suffering and was thinking of suicide. We talked for an hour, and I gave him a referral of a pastor friend, who called me later to tell me they were in contact. Those are the events in life that bring fulfillment, complete and total fulfillment for they bring me into the presence of God.

“Love animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled. Do not trouble their joy, don’t harass them, don’t deprive them of their happiness, don’t work against God’s intent.”
~ Fyodor Dostoevsky

Dosteovsky suffered much in his life and his suffering he came to love all creatures, and that has been my experience, to see God in all things, and the older I get not to use people and any creatures for my own self need.

Today we remember the people on death row, and our prayer is that their humanity be seen as well, their brokenness. We remember those in war zones–both in our country and in other countries and we pray that people look at treating others with non-violence. We are seeing more and more incidents of “road rage” and my act today is to not act out in words of anger, but to look within myself and see what is making me angry and talking to Christ about it. And to pray for my fellow driver. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“You Are Dust And To Dust You Shall Return!”

February 18, 2015

February 18 “You Are Dust And To Dust You Shall Return!” Ash Wednesday Matt. 6: 6-18

Today is Ash Wednesday and the ashes we place and have placed on our foreheads with the words “You are dust, and to dust you shall return”, remind us of our mortality. Today I will walk on Polk and the Tenderloin and tomorrow in the Haight offering ashes. And in each person, young, middle age, and not so young the ashes remind them of their humanity, and that because of that humanity they are called to love their brother and their sister.

Last night I spent time with a young man on the corner of Haight and Clay whose mom had just died. He could not go home, and as he cried and talked I thought of our mortality and ultimately this is where it is for all of us, in the moment, holding the hand, caring.

Today I invite you to remember those on death row, to fast a meal, and remember those who are hungry, to go out and take someone’s hand and take them buy them that meal that you are giving up. So many walk the street who are hungry. I gave food to ten as I walked a block to St. Luke’s this morning. Let the ashes call us to look at our fellow humans without discrimination–feed someone today. Feed someone today who has little food. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

VegInspiration
With awareness, our behavior naturally changes, and individual changes in behavior, rippling through the web of relationships, can lead to social transformation and bring new dimensions of freedom, joy, and creativity to everyone. It all begins with our most intimate and far-reaching connection with the natural order, our most primary spiritual symbol, and our most fundamental social ritual: eating. Dr. Will Tuttle

Following Christ

February 17, 2015

LENTEN PRAYERS FOR HUNGRY PEOLPLE

FIRST WEEK IN LENT–FEBRUARY 22-28

Jesus Is Baptized and Blessed by the Spirit

Genesis 9:8-17 I Peter 3:18-22

Psalm 25:1-10 Mark 1:9-15

“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.” Mark 1:9-10

“Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation.” Psalm 25:4-5

PRAYER:

O Christ, we give thanks that during this season of Lent you come into our lives with God’s salvation. Renew our faith in this good news so that we who are baptized in your Spirit may raise our voices on behalf of those who hunger in our world. Amen.

REFLECTION:

From the earliest days of the church and often today, Lent is a time of preparation for those who will be baptized into the Christian community at Easter. For all of us this is a season in which our faith in God’s steadfast love is renewed so that we might serve God and our neighbor.

ACTION

One in four people go to bed hungry in San Francisco, and my guess it is that or more everywhere across our country. I carry food with me every where I go each day, for I am always giving some one something to eat. I feed young people, middle age, older people who have not had one meal all day. I very seldom walk out my door or up the street and have someone wanting food. This in one of the wealthier parts of San Francisco.

I invite you to take the blinders off your eyes as you walk around the City, and the cities in which you live, and see people who are hungry, and take one of them each day and buy them something to eat. Does not have to be much–a candy bar, a bag of chips, a veggie burger, a veggie dog–but look around you and see the need and seek to meet the need of one person. If each person in our City and your city did that no one would be hungry.

LENTEN FAST: GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND NON-VIOLENCE

We begin Lent this Wednesday, February 17–and We Invite You to Join Us in A Combined Fast–Global Climate Change and Non-Violence: Below is a description of the combined Fast and Suggestions:

Global Catholic Climate Movement Calls for a Fast
“Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be “protectors” of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.” – Pope Francis

In these remarks from his inaugural mass, Pope Francis made it clear from the start that all men and women of goodwill have a responsibility to one another as “protectors of creation.” Therefore, with one mind the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) is organizing a Lenten hunger fast as a response to our present climate crisis.

Beginning Lent (February 18 – April 2) 2015, GCCM will organize a global fast for climate justice, joining the year-long #FastForTheClimate interfaith effort. In each of the 40 days, a different country will have Catholics and other Christians fasting.

The United States has signed up to fast on March 16th and FAN encourages its members to join us as we pray and fast in solidarity with those who are most affected by the changing global climate.

NON-VIOLENCE

Each Friday during Lent fast from violence in some form. Some Examples are:

1. Not Watching Any Violent T.V. Shows or Movies.

2. Be Aware of Your Actions while Driving–Watch your anger at other drivers.

3. Watch the Words You Use Against your loved Ones.

4. Write A Letter to Our One of Our Leaders Protesting the War and other Acts of Violence Done In Our Name.

5. Refrain from eating Meat/Fish to show Respect to Other Sentient Beings.

These are just a few ways we can fast from violence, think of other ways, post them on Face Book, You Tube, Twitter, Tumbler.

Each Week We Will be Sending Out Lent Prayers for Hungry People.

Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw

Lenten Fast: Global Climate Exchange and Non-Violence

February 17, 2015

LENTEN FAST: GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND NON-VIOLENCE

We begin Lent this Wednesday, February 17–and We Invite You to Join Us in A Combined Fast–Global Climate Change and Non-Violence: Below is a description of the combined Fast and Suggestions:

Global Catholic Climate Movement Calls for a Fast
“Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be “protectors” of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.” – Pope Francis

In these remarks from his inaugural mass, Pope Francis made it clear from the start that all men and women of goodwill have a responsibility to one another as “protectors of creation.” Therefore, with one mind the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) is organizing a Lenten hunger fast as a response to our present climate crisis.

Beginning Lent (February 18 – April 2) 2015, GCCM will organize a global fast for climate justice, joining the year-long #FastForTheClimate interfaith effort. In each of the 40 days, a different country will have Catholics and other Christians fasting.

The United States has signed up to fast on March 16th and FAN encourages its members to join us as we pray and fast in solidarity with those who are most affected by the changing global climate.

NON-VIOLENCE

Each Friday during Lent fast from violence in some form. Some Examples are:

1. Not Watching Any Violent T.V. Shows or Movies.

2. Be Aware of Your Actions while Driving–Watch your anger at other drivers.

3. Watch the Words You Use Against your loved Ones.

4. Write A Letter to Our One of Our Leaders Protesting the War and other Acts of Violence Done In Our Name.

5. Refrain from eating Meat/Fish to show Respect to Other Sentient Beings.

These are just a few ways we can fast from violence, think of other ways, post them on Face Book, You Tube, Twitter, Tumbler.

Each Week We Will be Sending Out Lent Prayers for Hungry People.

Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw

Changing Lives On Demand

February 17, 2015

February 16, 2014 Changing Lives on Demand Mk. 8:11-13

People always asked me about my “successes” and frankly it becomes tiresome, because like Jesus I can not change lives on demand–all I am is simply a pastor, who walks with people in the moment, doing what I can, but simply walking with them. Yesterday G, who is 28 came by needing food and socks, and I have known him for 12 years, he was high, and he now has three kids, and yet he is still on the street, doing what he is doing; M, 28, came by, dirty, high as a guy, beaten up by a john, and in talking as I cleaned his wounds he remarked he has known me for 11 years. I look for the working of God in my life and that working is in being present, showing love without judgment, giving a person a hand when they asked–changing lives that is up to God and them.

The following from the Franciscan Network spells it out for in my search for happiness if I cling to transforming lives, rather than be a pastor I would burn out and not find the joy I find in working with these guys, real joy to walk with them.

Freedom

Jesus comes as One who can set us free from those things to which we desperately cling in our search for happiness. “Is not life more than these?” he asks, as he gently and lovingly touches the very places in our lives where we are most bound. “You lack this one thing. Let it go. Come and follow me.”

-Br. David Vryhof

VegInspiration
Looking deeply, we see that the perpetrators are themselves victims of violence—that’s why they’ve become perpetrators—and their violence hurts not only the animals but themselves and the bystanders as well. All three are locked in a painful embrace, and it is the bystanders who have the real power. They can either turn and look away, thus giving their tacit approval, or they can witness and bring a third dimension of consciousness and awareness to the cycle of violence that has the victims and perpetrators hopelessly enmeshed. Dr.Will Tuttle

“Hope In Poverty”

February 14, 2015

February 14, Saints Cyril and Methodius “Hope In Our Poverty” Gen. 3:9-24; Mk. 8:1-10

I am always asked: “What made you come to do this work?” The reality is I was forced into poverty-economically, socially–I became a leper to those for whom I had once been accepted and loved. I was told the other night how people can not figure me out, how the “right” people are nervous around me. And so I still live in poverty–economically voluntarily and I live “outside the gates” by choice. For it is living in such a manner that I stay in touch with the reality of life. For on this Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras weekend our readings reflect on poverty and abundance. They reflect on sin and redemption or the immense potential hidden within impossible circumstances. That is the way I have found my life, and continue to find my life.

Terry Tempest Williams writes: “The eye of the cormorant is emerald. The eye of the eagle is amber. The eye of the grebe is ruby. The eye of the ibis is sapphire. Four gemstones mirror the minds of the birds, birds who meditate between heaven and earth. We miss the eyes of the birds, focusing only on the feathers.” And if we are not careful we do focus on the feathers for that is so much easier.

You walk down Polk Street and through the Tenderloin and you see gentrification–high rent apartments, nice restaurants, and upper middle class people chatting, but when you look on the streets, the alleys, you see homeless people, families living in the corners. People pushed out of their apartments. People who have every right to live in the same City as the others. Extreme poverty in the midst of extreme wealth, and we close our eyes to the suffering. The government at its best only reaches a small minority, we close our eyes and go to the gym and eat at our nice restaurants. “We focus on the feathers.”

We turn our eyes away from child trafficking in our midst, and we turn our eyes away from the suffering of sex workers. There are plenty of male sex workers, but again we shut our eyes, and we see only those we can “get off the street.” Success for us becomes getting people in housing, and a better life, rather than looking to those who will probably never be able to do either. We categorize our lives using our own measurements. “We focus on the feathers.”

Jesus met the needs at hand, without expecting results, and that is ultimately where abundance comes–to walk with people, to work with them as equal partners, not expecting results, but letting them find their own results. For what I have learned by being on the streets–and to tell you the plain truth it was a time of physical and sexual abuse, of struggling simply to survive each day, of being shunned, hated, set aside–but from that Christ brought resurrection and from that I learned we simply journey with people letting them find their way and when asked providing support. And that has been the greatest gift I have received, a gift that has brought much joy in my life for I try now to look in “the eyes of the bird.” That is our call to “look into the eyes of the bird.” Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

VegInspiration
Our bodies reflect our consciousness, which yearns to unfold higher dimensions of creativity, compassion, joy, and awareness, and longs to serve the larger wholes—our culture, our earth, and the benevolent source of all life—by blessing and helping others and by sharing, caring, and celebrating. We have, appropriately, a physiology of peace. Dr. Will Tuttle

Incompleteness

February 13, 2015

February 13, “Embracing Our Incompleteness”

We want completeness, we want everything to have its place because then we know we are ok, safe. We make judgments on the color of people’s skin, the way they dress, act because we fear difference. But suppose we simply accept our anxiety of incompleteness:

Yesterday I heard a criticism of the kids in the Haight–of how they treat their animals-they should not have animals because they can not give them a home. And the kids in the Haight treat their animals,, better than most people, they love companionship; I was told that people have a hard time with me because I dress differently, am blunt and to the point, and stand with street people without question, and in complete defense of them. Again if we accept the anxiety of our incompleteness–we can move into a world of beauty, of love, of non-violence, of acceptance of people and all living beings.

Acceptance

It’s natural to have some anxiety about our own brokenness, our sense of incompleteness, our wanting to be other than what we are already. And it’s natural to be vexed over the perceived brokenness and incompleteness of others. But, as Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin says, accept the anxiety of incompleteness.

-Br. Mark Brown

VegInspiration
Veganism is still exceedingly rare even among people who consider themselves spiritual aspirants because the forces of early social conditioning are so difficult to transform. We are called to this, nevertheless; otherwise our culture will accomplish nothing but further devastation and eventual suicide.Dr. Will Tuttle


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