Archive for June, 2009

“Living the Sacred Heart”

June 20, 2009

Hos. 11:1, 3-4, 8-9; Eph. 3:8-12, 14-19; Jn. 19:31-37

Today is the tSacred Heart of Jesus. It is a devotion to his Sacred Heart which is a devotion to his love.  The love of Jesus, his heart embraces us all, he lives in us–but his heart extends through us to the service of others.  I spent today in the Haight.  Hanging out with thirty or so kids.  My heart reached out for them. I gave one socks, and it was his first clean pair in a week, and i wanted to cry.  I listened to one who talked of being kicked out of her home, and story after story I heard the pain.  To me these were not just dirty street kids, rejects or losers, but simply kids on their journeys, in their struggles. One talked of me not being a “machine”. He said seventy per cent of the population was machines–just giving some food, but no time, just treating people like they were a situation to be dealth with, but not as unique human beings. This for me is what the Feast of the Sacred Heart means–Jesus through us reaching out to people.

Had lunch with Vicki, outreach, bed early at 12:30. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“The Intimate Moment”

June 19, 2009

2 Cor. 11:1-11; Mt. 6:7-15–June 18

Prayer is the most intimate of times. In the Lord’s Prayer we come to God as our loving parent, our Father/ our Mother.  When we pray this prayer the spirit of Jesus becomes our own.  Every word has a lesson in it. By calling God our Father, our “daddy” we are describing ourselves and our relationship with God. Jesus teaches that we live in relationship-as a parent, and a son or daughter. And we can approach God in the familiar, confident way a child approaches a loving parent.  We not only asked God for forgiveness, but we forgive others, for only in letting go of our resentments can we truly have a whole life and truly love God. Life is a daily battle, a daily struggle.  Difficulties like sickness and failure can crust our spirit. False values and easy promises can entice us and destroy our very being. And so we ask God to keep us from failing when we are tested, to help us to the know the right thing to do, and to deliver us from evil. God is a personal, loving being, whose children we are.

Spent day cooking, served meal.Exhausted last night, went to bed at midnight.  There are times I wonder why I keep this up. People can be so mean, and difficult, but the realty is their lives are mean and difficult and sometimes I am just an outlet. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“Honored, Insulted–Yet We Possess Everything”

June 16, 2009

June 15 2 Cor. 6:1-10: “Sometimes we are honored, at other times insulted, receive criticism as well as praise. We are regarded as liars, although we speak the truth; as unknown though we are known. .we have nothing, but we possess everything.”

This describes my life–honored, dishonored, called a pervert, condemned, and praised. And yet I do possess everything.  Each day I go out there are those who say things to me that I would not repeat, their anger, their hate, their fears, they take out on me. There are people who are the ones who are ministers and politicians who do the same with me.  I am not welcome in some churches, and the Mayor want even speak to me, but I do possess everything. I am content, I am satisfied in what I do and who I am. What more can a person ask for. Tomorrow night I will serve a meal and some will be hateful towards me because it is not “a decent meal”  and yet I will feel good within myself, because I have prepared hot food, and it is there, and I have done my job.  I know that when my life is done, I can know that I have been a faithful servant, that for me is all tha tmatters.

Went to Los Altos to pick up some donations. Visited Alice in nursing home; dinner with cousin, and outreach, Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God”

“The Body and Blood of Christ”

June 15, 2009

June 14Ex. 24:3-8; Heb. 9: 11-15, mk. 14:12-16, 22-26 “And he said, Take and eat this is my body, and. .”this is my blood”.

Today we remember the Eucharist, and Christ’s presence with us in the bread and the wine. The Eucharist has been a dividing tool in the midst of the Church, when for me it is the most unifying act of the faith. In the bread and wine, Christ becomes present, and gives himself to all.  It is in this very act of giving that he becomes the Son of God, that be becomes Bread for the world. It is the Eucharist which sustains me daily, and each moment.  It is the Eucharist which I see sustain others. When I am criticize for not turning any one away I look a them and wonder what pain that person must have in his or her life to want to refuse the body and blood of Christ to anyone.  What pain to lead to such division. For the Body and Blood of Christ is Christ with us.  I stayed in all day, rested, slept, watched TV. simply exhausted. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“Ambassador for Christ”

June 14, 2009

June 13

2 Cor. 5:14-21: “So we present ourselves as ambassadors in the name of Christ. . .

Mt. 5:33-37

We represent Christ. We are his ambassadors.  Whether we mention his name or not–al we do should be to represent him. St. Frances once said: “”Preach the Gospel–using as fewer words as possible.”  And that is what I try to do–preach the Gospel–sometimes without words–but by my acts.  Each candy bar I give out, each word I have with someone I am representing Christ. Today I had lunch with seventy seven year old Mary Lou, took her to get cat food, I preached the Gospel. I spent three hours in the Haight, giving out food, never mentioning the name of Jesus, but I preached the Gospel. I had dinner with Hal, whose partner of 48 years had just died, never mentioned Christ by name, yet my actions preached the Gospel. I spent four hours on the streets, talking to about forty or so people,  giving out food, points etc, withount mentioning Jesus by name, yet everything I did was in his name, I preached the Gospel.  Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“We Are Left Without Answer”

June 13, 2009

June 12

2 Cor. 4:7-15  “However we carry this treasure in our vessels of clay, so that this all surpassing power may not be seen as ours but as God’s.  Trials of every sort come to us, but we are not discouraged. WE ARE LEFT WITHOUT ANSWER, but do not despair.

I spent the day with a man visiting, thinking about starting a Catholic Worker. He repeatedly asked me how he could help. We were in the Haight and on Polk constantly interacting with people–but he wanted to “help.”  He wanted something more tangilble then simply being with someone. For himself he needed a concrete answer.  Most of my life has been left “without answer”,  there are no set roads, no set plans, life is life, and I have found that living in the minute for me is the best and to be grateful for each minute, no matter the pain, the disappointment, the sorrow. The following psalm speaks to that:

Psalm of God’s Good Time

Divine Friend, I feel sorry
for those whose clocks
have faces that are circled
with terrible things
rather than twelve numbers.

I pray for those who
measure time by misfortunes,
their miseries the minutes
ticked off with groans
that life is so painful.

In their hourglass of life
each grain of sand is a sorrow,
trickling trials piling up,
making mountains of miseries
from molehills of sad sand.

May I keep your good time, O God:
all my clocks measuring life
only by counting your rich blessings,
hour by hour, your gifts galore,
making twice as long
a lifetime ticking with thanksgiving.

Saint Paul proclaimed the need to give thanks always and for everything. Regardless of the symbols or numbers printed on the face of your wristwatch or clock, to keep time according to God’s good time is to know what time it is: It is time to give thanks.

B.C., Before Clocks, was a time kept by sun and stars. Our age is surrounded by clocks who are slave drivers; their hands whip us to keep us running in a hurry. To some degree, we are victims of time’s destiny and our individual circumstances, our conflicts and problems that measure out our existence. Yet to some degree, our slavery to the clock is self-imposed. Wanting to control our lives and our destinies, we crowd our schedules. When we can’t make things work, the clock squeezes us mercilessly, and we define life in terms of delays, interruptions and problems.

Fortunate are those who have emigrated to the Promised Land of Gratitude, for they have crossed the border into the paradise of zero gravity. While to others they may seem not to have gone anywhere–living in the same house and working at the same job–they live in a different time zone. They are freed of grave attitudes, for they have placed their lives in God’s hands, not in the tyrant-clock’s hands. They measure life and time by being grateful, regardless of whether the situation is pleasant or unpleasant, problem-free or problem-filled. Such grateful living makes us gravity-free, buoyed only by God’s blessings and love.

“Watch carefully how you live, and don’t be foolish,” the writer of Ephesians says, “giving thanks always and for everything” (Ephesians 5:15-20). Watching your watch carefully–marking time with gratitude–is the key to not living foolishly. May your watch be an instrument for counting your blessings.

From Psalms for Zero Gravity by Ed Hays

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strong>Psalm of a Beggar at God’s Door

Hear me, O God, I stand at your door.
(knock, knock, knock)

A beggar, friend and lover stands
waiting at your door.
I come to you with my list of needs,
doing as I was told.
Hear the knocking of your beloved
begging at your door.
(knock, knock, knock)

I confess that it is not you, my God,
who closes shut your door.
Forgive my rudeness, Divine Beloved,
for often slamming it in in your face.
Now, with a prayerful closed fist
I strike my breast, my heart.
I’m sorry that I often come not to make love
but only when I’m in some special need.
(knock, knock, knock)

Hear me as I now knock at your door;
open wide to me your heart,
for now, as a beggar at your door,
I plead for my needs: (list your petitions).
(knock, knock, knock)

With confidence I knock in prayer,
for it was your son Jesus
who taught me this trick of tapping
and promised you would always open
to answer those at your door.

Holy (knock), Holy (knock), Holy (knock).

Reflection: Jesus promised his disciples that if they knock, God will open the door with gifts for the asking. Naturally, God is eager to have an ever opened door, wanting to anticipate our every need. For God is like a lover who never needs to be asked what gift the beloved desires.

Although God doesn’t need to be asked, our knocking in prayer reminds us of our relationship with God; it strengthens the bonds of love, as we take neither our needs nor God for granted. Knocking in prayer also reminds us that it is we who so often close the door to God. We shut the door by being too busy opening the doors to success. We block the door by being too well fed and too well dressed.

Finally, knocking is a good musical accompaniment to prayer, It helps tune our ears, and if our ears are attuned we can hear God’s response to our knocking: “Come in, my beloved, it isn’t locked.”

From Psalms for Zero Gravity by Ed Hays

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Prayer action suggestion:
Go a day without wearing your watch. When you turn to look at the time, see
your empty wrist and be thankful for this moment.

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“A Simple Ministry of Presence”

June 12, 2009

June 11 Acts. 11:21-26; 13:1-3; Mt. 10:7-13

“More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them.”  – Henri Nouwen

Reading Nouen is supportive, because what he is talking about is primary what I do. I wonder sometimes the worth in anything I do. Today my 80 year old neighbor died, and it is depressing, even though he was old and frail. I find myself thinking of getting old and dying as well.  And for me following the message of Jesus is clear=time is short–I will continue to proclaim the Gospel through Word and Sacrament and mostly in the way Nouen talks about–just walking with people, giving them something to eat, knowing their name, just hanging.  Ultimately walking with people in their daily lives, is the meaningful way of living. And so I may remain close to being broke, I may seem to not being doing much to people, but I am doing what I am called to do–to walk with people, in the moment. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“The Beatitudes” (cont.)

June 11, 2009

June 10

2 Cor. 3:4-11; Mt. 5:17-19

The final four Beatitudes:

5.  The Merciful:  We are called to bear our afflictions and to help others who are in misery.  We must move beyond our own pain and help others carry their pain.

5. The pure in heart are blessed:  They shall see God. We must keep focused on God and in so doing we will see her.  Our heart is purified by remaining centered.

6.  The peace makers are blessed.  They love and delight in peace. They keep the peace, they work to recover the peace.

7.  Those who are persecuted for the cause of justice are happy.  I have found through the years that I am often judged harshly, and yet I am happy because I know what I do is right. I walk the walk and there will be perscution.  I have learned to welcome the painful circumstances.

Today has been along day. Visited Alice early this morning, she was having a lumptomy, and I wanted to anoint her and spend time with her. Had a Tenderloin Street Fair Committee this after noon. Spent seven hours getting newsletter addressed and out. Have been out on the streets twice. Very slow tonight. I am tired. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“The Beatitudes”

June 10, 2009

June 9,  Mt. 5:13-16

The Gospel for today is the first four beatitudes. It has only been the last few years that they have made any sense to me whatsover. They were beautiful, but made no sense, but this ministry has brought me into living them and understanding them more, a little at least.

1. Blessed are the poor in Spirit: there is nothing in this life that means any thing accept God.  My life is nothing but bones and flesh, and all I have is hope in God.  Nothing makes any sense accept God, and in my life.

2.  Blessed are those that mourn. I mourn for my wrongs all the time. I encounter broken people, I am neglectful, not thoughtful, and I see my own faults, my own sins, and I grieve for them deeply.

3.  Blessed are the meek: For me the meek are those who submit to God; who bear insult, who keep possession of their own souls, when they can scarcely possess anything else.  The meek are content with what they have.  I try with all my heart to submit to God, and when I am insulted, and I am–by all kinds of people,  I bear it, and I try to keep possession of my own soul–to maintain my trust in God, and singlemindedness in who I am and my call.  And I rejoice in what I have–no matter how little I rejoice and enjoy what I have.

4.  Those who hunger and thirst after justice, are blessed. Justice is the bedrock of all spiritual blessings.  Justice for all is my quest, not just for me.

I cooked meal and served it. Ben and Debbie helped. Ben is so lost. His dad wants him to be something he does not want to be; he experiments with drugs; and he is simply lost.  I feel for him.  He has no sense of belonging or being loved for himself.  He is anti-spirituality. People laugh at me, make fun of me because of my faith, but my faith sustains me in the rough times, it is my bedrock.  And so I walk with the Ben’s of the world keeping the faith for them, and loving them inspite to themselves. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“Outside the Box”

June 9, 2009

June 8

2 Cor. 1:1-7; Mt. 5:1-12

The Beatitudes are often seen as impractical or outside the box, but they were directed a the disciples who no longer had a place to lay their head, no prestige, no job; they were opposed to religious and civil leaders, yet they were blessed, because they were the disciples of Jesus. They were outside the box. Today I had a visit from two leaders of an organization that brings kids to different places during the summer. They were looking at workng with me, but it was obvious that they were nervous. Repeatedly they talked of what I do as being “outside the box”.  “Outside the box” meaning not in a building, not a structured environment with no definite goals–accept being a presence.  For me it seems easy, it seems “normal”.  For me it seems the place to be. One of the reasons there are so many problems on the streets is that people are afraid to work outside the box, to go outside the box, to walk with them. Had lunch with Alice today for her birthday; outreach; got meal ready. deo gratis! thanks be to God!