Archive for January, 2014

January 31, 2014

January 31,  Mk. 4:26-34

 

“As we all know in our bones, there is a predatory quality to our economic system, and competition underlies all our institutions. We prey upon each other.It may not be obvious from within our planet’s dominant society, but our culture and our corporations and other institutions act in ways that can only be described as predatory vis-à-vis those who are less industrialized, less wealthy, and less able to protect themselves”. Dr. Will Tuttle

“Today, more than ever, we need to recognize that the gift of solitude is not ordered to the acquisition of strange contemplative powers, but, fist of all, to the recovery of one’s deep self, and to the renewal of an authenticity which is presently twisted out of shape by the pretentious routines of a disordered togetherness.”
– Thomas Merton, “Contemplation in a World of Action” –

I was talking last night to a volunteer, at the meal, with one person after another receiving food, cold, hungry, without  many clothes, about the predatory, money hungry economy that surrounds us. Our job market is becoming more tailored to the white collar, technologically trained, blue collar jobs are dwindling, and the care for the poorest of the poor is slipping away. Dr. Tuttle hits it on the head with his quote, and for me I find in solitude that which shapes me and it orders my life. I see people so frazzled and they tell me they do not have time for “those things,” and their lives are a mess, and that messiness leads to greediness and to simply having no meaning or purpose in life.   We maybe getting socks from a group because it is easier for them to give the goods then to find the time to work directly.

Finally people think that I am generous, and that is far from the reality, but for me to be “happy”—oh I hate the word in the modern context—I have to be try, and I mean try to live St. Marcella:

“I prefer to store my money in the stomachs of the needy rather then to store it in a purse. ………..now I shall go in want of daily bread, but I shall not feel hunger since I am full of Christ.” St. Marcella

 

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January 30, 2014

January 30, Sirach 4:1-6 “Don’t deprive a poor person’s life, and don’t avoid looking them in the needy in the eyes.  Don ‘t grieve a hungry person. .don’t turn your face away from the poor.”

One in six people live below the poverty line in the United States, one in six go hungry each day in San Francisco, the need for food grows daily in the Bay Area.. Our leaders completely ignore the needs of a vast majority of the people–not once was the word poor used in the State of Union; food stamps have been cut.  Dorthy Day refused to vote for a “dirty rotten system.”  Each of us are called to look each other in the eye–to to provide for each other’s needs. Those of us who have resources are called to share those resources, we are called to challenge our leaders on their words and move beyond ourselves, and our way of living until all of us live equally.  Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

VegInspiration
Eating animal foods is an indefensible holdover from another era beyond which we must evolve, and with the ever-increasing profusion of vegan and vegetarian cookbooks and vegan foods like soy milk, soy ice cream, rice syrup, tofu, veggie burgers, and so forth, as well as fresh organically grown vegetables, legumes, fruits, grains, nuts, pastas, and cereals, we see alternatives proliferating.

Books, videos, websites, vegetarian/vegan restaurants and menu options, animal rights groups, and vegan organizations are also multiplying as we respond to the vegan imperative.  Dr. Will Tuttle

January 29, 2014

January 29 St, Andrew Bublev, Psalm 27, Mark 4:1-20

On my wall wall is an icon of Holy Communion and the Streets–an icon of a gang member, and of of Christ’s presence in the midst of  death, a modern icon, similar to the ones St. Andrew painted. As I meditate on it each day I see Christ in the midst of all that is around me–and I have hope, for where Jesus is there is hope. Each night as I hang out with my kids–I hold on to the hope, and am reminded that “This day we are in Paradise,”–for in that moment Jesus is present.

We need to move from focusing on ourselves, to others–all created beings–in that is our hope for when we do that we each take part in feeding people, preserving the enviornement and protecting all of our sentitent beings:

As long as we remain imprisoned in the maze of self-oriented thinking, we can easily justify our cruelty to others, excuse our hard eyes and supremacist position, discount the suffering we impose on others, and continue on, rationalizing our actions and blocking awareness of the reality of our feelings and of our fundamental oneness with other beings. Dr. Will Tuttle

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

January 28, 2014

January 28, St. Thomas Aquinas, “Being Yourself” Mk, 3:22-30

St. Thomas was ridiculed as stupid as a young man–became one of the greatest theologicans of the Church;  Jesus was criticzied and basically called crazy because he inclued all people in the reign of God.  And it is still the same with Jesus–when you include all in his reign it raises fears.  I have been told I walk a dangerous walk outside the bounds of the norm–and what is the norm–saying within your class, race, gender or is the norm what Jesus calls us to embracing everyone as our brother and sister, loving them, sharing with them, and caring for them.  If we are truly ourselves–we break down those false  boundaries. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

VegInspiration
We may discover that we can “think” with our hearts, without words, and we may learn to appreciate the consciousness of animals and begin to humbly explore their mysteries.

There is perhaps much we can learn from animals. Not only do they have many powers completely unexplainable by contemporary science, but they are fellow pilgrims with us on this earth who contribute their presence to our lives and enrich our living world in countless essential ways.

In fact, without the humble earthworms, bees, and ants whom we relentlessly kill and dominate, the living ecosystems of our earth would break down and collapse—something we certainly cannot say about ourselves!

Dr. Will Tuttle

January 27, 2014

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January 27,  St. Angela Merici  Mark 3:22-40Lk. 10:38-42

 

The one friendship that has sustained me through the years is that of Jesus. Clearly, and without a doubt I would be either dead or crazy by now, but Jesus has walked with me, loved me, and cared for me.  We seem to be living in a society where people are always in a hurry or they want to “fix” the problem, but I believe that we need to take time give our personal attention to other people. A new 19 year old stopped me and we talked for an hour, he had been in a group home, and was living with an aunt, and his guardedness went down and he was just a normal 19 year old; I am always talking to people on the street–I simply listen–and it is in the listening that people can find comfort and sometimes figure out things.

 And we need to become friends with nature- there was an article that climate change is really going to effect the far east, and it is effecting everyone, and yet we ignore it–only when we befriend nature rather then conquer can any hope be found for the future. Living for the future is a waste of time.  St. Angela Merici said:  “Do now what  you wish you had done when your moment comes to die.”  When I am talking to people I think the words of the words of Jesus on the cross, “This day you will be with me in Paradise,” for Paradise is now, in the moment, in the present. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

The Wedding Feast

January 26, 2014
John 2:1-11, The Wedding at Cana  Isa. 8:23-9:8 January 26
 
In meditating on this story, with the painting of Holy Communion and the Streets–a picture of a gang member, representing Christ, I cry, because Jesus wants all of life to be a wedding feast. In the paper on Saturday morning there was an article about a 72 year old woman and her disabled son coming here from Sacramento trying to get housing and how hard it is. Jesus calls us to make a wedding feast for everyone, he calls us to share of our belongings, he calls us to work with people so that we all might share in the wedding feast.
 
Dr. Will Tuttle hits it on the head when he says: “Our minds and consciousness are almost completely unexplored territory because we have been raised in a hearding culture that is fundamentally uncomfortable with introspection.. . .Our religions discourage meditation and reduce prayer to a dualistic carcature of asking and beseeching an ourside, enigmatic, and projected male entity.”
 

We can share in the wedding feast when we move to a nuturing and caring nature, and share with all of our brothers and sisters. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!”

January 25, 2014

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January 25, Feast of St. Paul Acts 9:1-22; Mk. 16:15-18

 

Last night I reflected on the past 19 years as I came home from the Haight, totally exhausted.  I had spent five hours centering on people–one young guy turns 19 tomorrow and I bought him dinner and he cried about being alone and I said I would take him to a movie and he brightened; another found out he has HIV and he is terrified; and so my afternoon went.

 

 I have been told through the years that I am difficult to work with–and I am–to work with me means you center with your total being on another person for the time you are with that person, putting your own issues behind you.  The reality is I have never found my life difficult or lonely, painful yes, very painful, but that is the cross–for like St. Paul this is my calling, not my work, but my calling–and so whatever comes with it makes life worth living. I was once told that there was “a mystery about you–your focus, and it scares people,” and I know what that is–I am focused on my calling–and everything else comes second.  And as I look back–=I have only one regret–I can not live the years over.

One thing that was interesting , John, the 19 year old commented he was hired to work on a chicken factory and he could not kill a chicken because they were so  “inhumane”, and I thought to myself how we desensitize ourselves against war, against killing animals by hiding in our little worlds and through packaging and  media—it is said how we hide from the reality of life, as Dr. Will Tuttle puts it:

“Disconnecting and desensitizing in comfort is not the same as inner peace, which is the fruit of awareness and of living in alignment with the understanding that comes from this awareness.” Dr. Will Tuttle

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

January 24, 2014

January 24, I Sam. 24:3-21; Mk. 3:13-19 “Ten Thousand Faces”

My volunteers come and go; some tell me “this is boring,” because I spend a lot of time simply listening; And it is in the listening that the magic occurs, the magic of people being touched, feeling loved–Mike was so lonely last night, listening to him for 20 minutes he was a changed human being.  Gerald Hopkins wrote: “Christ–for Christ plays in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs and lovely in eyes not his To the Father through the feature’s of humanity’s faces.” In each person there is the Christ, the divine.

I am often asked if I am “happy”, and I usually give a smart ass remark, because happiness in our society means being up all the time. The truth of the matter is I am content, very content, comfortable in my own skin, with who I am and what I do. To me contentment, and comfortability is what brings true and lasting happyness.  Deo Gratias! Thankis be to God!

VegInspiration
Spiritual teachings of our interconnectedness and the vegan ethic of universal compassion, besides being vital and transformative, are in profound alignment with the core instruction of the world’s religions, which is to love others. Dr. Will Tuttle

January 23, 2014

January 23, Sr. Marianne Cope I Sam 18:6-9; 19:1-7; Mk. 3:7-12

 

Jonothan protected David, he never learned to look the other way.  Saul cared for only one thing–himself, his power. During the past 19 and a half years I have watched people look the other way when it comes to people who are homeless, mentally ill, in pain. And what I have observed this brings is best described by Will Tuttle:

“Learning to look the other way brings spiritual death in everyone who practices it. In encouraging it, religious institutions show how far they have strayed from the passionate mercy and all-seeing kindness taught and lived by those whose spiritual evolution and illumination inspired the institutions themselves.”

Yesterday I spent with defense attorney workig on a murder case and as I looked back through the years I saw the inhumanity people do to one another.  It was a painful day and then I attended a meeting with the Sheriff on the country jail and saw churches and people who have worked in them for years–not rich people, but simply middle income people, and heard the expressions of fear and concern with rising costs in the City for those in jail. These were a mixture of faiths and I heard Sr. Marianne Cope’s words: “The charity of the good knows no creed and is confined to no place.” 

This morning I stand with Will Tuttle and Sr. Marianne–knowing not what today or tomorrow will bring but trusting in Jesus. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

 

January 22, 2014

January 22; Mk. 3:1-6 “Closed Mind”

One of the greatest tragedies that can happen to us is to develope a closed mind.  In the paper there are renewed efforts by our Mayor to deal with the homeless-and I can remember 20 years ago–they are basically the same–it is about having them out of sight, out of mind. The reality it is difficult for anyone who is on the streets because of the economic ceiling of the City, and because of their low self esteem–they have been treated as nothing, less then nothing, and we expect them to “help themselves.” To close our minds to the pain, the humanity of people is inhumanity at its worst.

One of my guys last night was upset because I always serve vegan food,  saying I was treating people as “cheap”–and it hit me that meat is identified with those who have money, and I simply shared with him my own conviction about the health benefits, and about the sanctity of life–this is not about “class”, it is about a seamless thread of life. Dr. Will Tuttle gives a good summary:

VegInspiration
Judging by the generally small numbers who have actually gone vegan in our culture, it appears that this commitment requires a certain breakthrough that has been generally elusive because of the mentality of domination and exclusion we’ve all been steeped in since birth. There is something about veganism that is not easy, but the difficulty is not inherent in veganism, but in our culture.