Archive for December, 2014

New Beginnings

December 31, 2014

December 31, “New Beginnings–Each and Every Day” St. Melania the Younger John 1:1-18

Everyone is amped up for a “new year” with all of its possibilities. For me each day is a new day, a new year–with all of its possibilities. Each day brings moments of resurrection. Last night sitting here reading and working on a newsletter I received a phone call from a young guy named Scott. He was in town visiting from Ohio and he thought of me. Scott said five years ago after the death of his mom he was walking down Polk, depressed, thinking of using drugs, giving up on everything, and this “strange guy” offered to buy him a meal. He said that in those two hours that we were together his faith was renewed, and those moments gave him hope in the days to follow. His story gave me hope for the New Year.

And so as we begin the New Year this “strange guy” will continue to do as he has done for over twenty years simply hang out, feed people, listen, celebrate the Sacraments, and be content to live the words of Paul:

“As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

VegInspiration
Everyone on earth could be fed easily because we currently grow more than enough grain to feed ten billion people; our current practice of feeding this grain to untold billions of animals and eating them forces over a billion of us to endure chronic malnutrition and starvation while another billion suffer from the obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer linked with eating diets high in animal foods.Dr. Will Tuttle

Prayer Circle for Today

Peniel, January 2015

December 30, 2014

JOURNAL OF AN ALIEN STREET PRIEST

As we enter the New Year around us are the voices of war, poverty, racial strife, division in all areas of life. Sometimes it is overwhelming to pick up the newspaper, to look at Facebook, to look at the news on T.V., and even to talk to our friends. People are hurting and they are afraid is the essence of what we hear.

As the years recede I have found that the words of Avery Dulles, SJ speak to my heart:

“As the past recedes into obscurity, I watch it disappear without nostalgia. I recall it with difficulty and without delight. The person who looks toward Christ looks always forward, striving constantly to become more worthy of his divine Lover, hoping to draw a little closer to Him in this world and, after a little while, to be united with Him in everlastingness.”

For me each day is simply living in the moment, doing what I can, and going to bed committing all to the hands of God. We all fail, we all win, but in our own little way we give praise to God.

Each year on New Year’s Eve I read 2 Timothy 4:6-7 as a reminder of the past year, and looking ahead to the next:

“As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”

I wish you a great New Year and “May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord make her face to shine upon you and gracious to you. May the Lord lift his countenance upon you and give you peace.”

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

January is a time of rest and reflection after Advent, a time to prepare for Lent and the activities of Spring. The needs of people continue. During December we gave out five thousand pairs of socks, food to 2000 plus, spent time counseling 250 plus– the needs in crease. In each person we have seen the face of Christ and so we invite you to join us through your giving. As we walk the streets I think of each one of you for you walk with me as does all the saints who have gone before us. So please feel free to give as your heart leads you through:

Pay Pal: on our website at http://www.temenos.org
Mailing Your Donation to:
Temenos Catholic Worker
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164
If you need a tax statement for 2014 please email, call or write. You will receive it by February 1.

Revealing the Light Through Love

December 29, 2014

December 29, “Revealing the Light Through Love” I John 2:3-11; Luke 2:22-35 Thomas Becket

Yesterday I ran into a 25 year old who was hungry. He came to the streets when three years a go his wife and child were killed in a car accident, and he turned to drugs, and he had no family or support; a 50 year old gentleman comes to me for food, he is in an SRO after being on the streets for the same problem. We walk a thin line–if we have plenty of support we can get through our difficulties easier, if we do not we wind up in drastic situations like the street, which becomes nearly impossible to claw out of.

I walk the same thin line, I have walked it for 25 years, I have been lucky–I do not use drugs, I have good health insurance, and I have had good friends who have walked with me. I have seen the light of Jesus in their eyes.

The light of Jesus is revealed through love. If each of us would be aware of the people around us and really reach out in love, so many would not fall through the cracks. There will always be those who will because they make their choices, but many with a little support can make it. You see the light of Christ is not in some distant future–but now–in each of us. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

VegInspiration
The metaphor of eating is central to spiritual communion with the divine presence. It is universally recognized that eating food is both a literally and symbolically sacred action: it is directly partaking of the infinite order that transcends our finite lives.Dr. Will Tuttle

Feast Of the Holy Innocents

December 28, 2014

December 28 Feast of Holy Innocents Matt. 2:13-23

“The mystery of the innocents is that they are the victims. They serve as a kind of guard of honor to the divine Child–and the militant dialogue between God and anti-god in which they are caught up earns them heaven. Alfred Delp

A friend of mine asked me yesterday when I stopped fearing the pain and darkness., That has been and is an on going process. It began when I was removed from my church for being gay, from the security of income, housing, and friends, with out resources. By being thrown into sex work to support myself I grappled with that fear daily, and I gained confidence that I could make it, and continued to move forward.

Fear came in those first years in San Francisco as I faced rejection and judgment by agencies and by those I sought out to work with. I am different in my approach, and in the way I work, and I make no bones about it. I was fearful in the face of threats, and attempts on my life; and than getting malaria and the treatment that continues has brought much fear. In a book I have read about Joseph Smith he has the Angel of Death fluttering around him and his life. He is fearful, afraid, but he maintains his faith in God. And so for me the “Angel of Death” hovers over me at times, and I feel the coldness and the fear that comes with that hovering. . Ultimately I simply became tired, plain tired of being afraid and doubting God and threw myself completely into his arms, and said “Fuck you” to that “Angel of Death”, and to those fears. I have moved out to live my life in the resurrection. Sam Purtaro says, that for us “to enter Advent we have to leave fear behind.”

For me that is the secret of living a whole and fulfilling life–not money, friends, a nice place to live, security and prestige–but to “leave fear behind” and walk with God. It is an ongoing battle, but oh how sweet the victories. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Holy Innocents

December 27, 2014

December 28 “Holy Innocents” Matt. 2:13-23 St.John

Technically Sunday is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, but my mind has been pulled into thinking about it all day. I received a phone call from the aunt of a young man who disappeared three years ago. He was 16 and left the hotel and went to the Haight–and vanished; another called, whose son was 18, and it happened basically in the same way. Every year they call me the day after Christmas to see if I have seen their boys. And I think back through the years to all those I have known who have disappeared in the same way. I think of Matt, who would be around 34 now, ran away from home and was coming to see me–he never made it, and his parents received post cards from Thailand and Hong Kong, and then nothing.–in the years following it tore his family a part, the parents divorced, one other sibling committed suicide, another is struggles with depression, and the mother does the same.

The list goes on and on, and tonight I can not sleep, my heart is simply torn to pieces hearing the pain, and the anguish. I see their faces, I hear their pain, and they are simply a few among the millions through out the world.

Parents want the police to do more–but their are so many missing, and who run a way there is not enough man power, that is the reality. People ignore the possibility of sex trafficking–but I have looked it in the face for so long that for me it is a reality, but most people turn their heads away. All I can do is simply hold up the hope found in the Risen Christ. That is all that holds me together.

We enter into the darkness, live in the night–and in so doing we can not be afraid, but trust in Christ, that is all I know to do. All my education of coping, and boundaries around co-dependence went out the door along time ago, for the artificial walls we put around ourselves to close off the pain ultimately destroys us, for I have found that in sharing that pain, feeling that pain I am more alive, closer to Jesus than I when t I put the gates around it. For in feeling that pain, walking in the night–you come to learn from the heart that Christ lives and their is resurrection.

These are just thoughts on my own pain, my own journey. And tonight I feel the pain, I am really ragged around the edges, and in not sleeping I will pray for Alex, and Matt, and Sean, and all the others known and unknown. I will cry for them, I will cry for their parents, and I will give thanks to Christ for being present. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“This is dreadful! Not only the suffering and death of the animals, but that man suppresses in himself, unnecessarily, the highest spiritual capacity—that of sympathy and pity towards living creatures like himself—and by violating his own feelings becomes cruel.”
~ Leo Tolstoy

Truth

December 26, 2014

December 26 “Truth” Feast of St. Stephen Acts 6:8-10, 7:54-59, Matt. 10:17-22

Dr. Will Tuttle writes: “Rising above anger and despair while still keeping our hearts open to the ocean of cruelty, indifference, and suffering on this earth is not easy. It requires cultivating wisdom and compassion—both the inner silent receptivity that links us to the eternal truth of our being and the outer actions of serving and helping others that give meaning to our life.”

Last night around 1:00 a.m. I sat with a woman sleeping outside the church for 5 hours, as she cried, and was in fear. She has severe mental illness, will not move from where she is sleeping, and the problems is the garbage cans are sitting in front of her to be emptied this morning and to her they come alive and threaten to kill her. She had pushed them over, and I was angry as I cleaned them up and than it hit me, she could not help it. So I sat with her and listened, and since she would not move and I could not move the garbage cans I sat there. In the midst of all of this she shared of her abusive husband, and I pieced together her life, She is broken, actually needs to be in a managed care facility that we do not have in California, and so for me the truth hurt, hurt deeply, and all I could do was hold her hand and sit. I just came in because it was getting light and she could sleep. A friend commented you are going to tear yourself to pieces if you continue to do this–and my answer remains as it has for years–That is where I find meaning–like the Velveteen Rabbit I find meaning in giving myself way, that is for me the call of the Gospel. And that should be the call of the Gospel for all Christians to give ourselves away until we are all ragged in the end. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Christ is Born–Homelessness Lives

December 25, 2014

December 25, “Christ is Born–Homelessness Lives” Luke 2:15-20

I have for ornaments on my tree pictures of various street kids that I know, This morning I walked across the street to the church to turn on crockpots, and there is a homeless lady in the doorway, without a blanket, and I come home and there is a homeless man in my doorway. I spent hours in the Haight and on Polk last night handing out gifts and feeding people. Christmas for me is always met with a deep sadness for the suffering that I see and experience. I come home to my nice warm place, and I leave the lady a blanket–how Christian of me. Tomorrow the Chronicle will be full of stories of homeless people being fed and provided for–how Christian of us.

In all of this I see the face of Christ, the very broken face of Christ, and it is in the incarnation that God entered into this existence calling us to follow him. To follow him in the small ways, but to follow him in serving the needs of our brothers and sisters. So let us make today and every day Christmas–let each of us reach out to one person we meet who is homeless or in need and touch their lives through feeding them, providing them resources, for with Christmas comes the journey and the cross, let us embrace the journey of Christ. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“Every Nook and Cranny”

December 24, 2014

December 24, “Every Nook and Cranny” Luke 1:67-69

This time of year Facebook comes a live with people tearing the myths of the Christmas stories a part–for example reminding us that there are numerous stories of the birth of a divine one of a virgin. In Biblical times myth was used to tell a truth, and personally I do not believe the Christmas stories happened literally, but they point to the truth that One was born who transformed the world with the way he lived his life. Through out history we have people saying historical events have not happened–for example the holocaust, the destroying of six million Jewish lives–but they did. For me it is not about the historical fact of the birth narratives but about the truth it tell us of One who comes to the poor, the deprived.

When I was 12 years old I felt my heart strangely warmed at church camp, and from that moment I followed Jesus, I followed him into ministry—a ministry of much pain, and yet much joy, much difficulty and yet much ease, a ministry of rejection and a ministry of acceptance, a ministry of being persecuted, and a ministry of being praised. I have almost lost my life in ministry, and now as I age and get closer to Galilee in following Jesus I have much hope and joy. Jesus is present and alive, and it is that presence that allows me to give my life freely to people, and know that in death their is life.

I encourage you this Christmas to join me in ceding the entire control of our lives to God and let us welcome Jesus into every nook and cranny, and if we do that I can promise you our lives will touch others in a way where there will be no more hunger, no more housing shortage, no lack of health care, for we will become Jesus to all we come into contact with. And to say I am idealistic and naïve–Idealistic—I say “Hell yea”, Naïve eve–I say “Hell No”–I am a realist!

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

We are all presented with the same evidence and hear the same call for mercy and justice. Dr. Will Tuttle

A Song of Hope

December 23, 2014

Luke 1:46-55; Chiico Mendes “A Song of Hope”

Guiseppe Mazzinio said: “We should first of all, understand that we are all children of the same Father, and we should fulfill the same general law: live not for ourselves, but to help others be happy.”

That is the promise of the Magnificat, that the Church has failed for the most part to live out. The Magnificat calls for “distributive justice,” an equal sharing of the goods with every human being–in other words every one would have food, housing, health care, and enough to live. on.

The reason that I, and all Catholic Workers and so many others live simply is so that we might share equally with our fellow humans. We walk by people on the streets, and turn our eyes away, we harden our hearts–when we have enough to share, to give, each of us can share, and if all of us share there will be enough.

Last week when I wrote about the recent protest and talked about the inequality of our black population several people wrote to remind me of other minorities–but the reality is that minorities of color have the most inequalities in our society. The reality is they are the most abused and oppressed of any groups. There are few days I am on the street I do not hear and see people of color oppressed. As a gay man I have suffered oppression–because I choose to be out, the people of color have no choice–they can not hide their color, We need to wake up the that, and to all inequality.

The Magnificat is a cry for social justice, a cry gone long unheeded, this Christmas let us awake. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!”

VegInspiration
As we research, discuss, and deepen our understanding of the mind-body connection, of the human-animal connection, and of our connection with all the larger wholes in which we are embedded, our spiritual purpose will become manifest. Dr. Will Tuttle

Advent IV and Christmas

December 20, 2014

ADVENT 4 AND CHRISTMAS
Advent is a time in which we are growing to reconnect to the light of God within us. We look for answers outside of ourselves. We use labels to keep our distance from others. Mark Twain once wrote:” No man has a wholly undiseased mind; in one way or another all men are mad.” None of us are whole, none of us are truly healthy. We find that wholeness and health in Christ and Christ is within each of us.
J. Philip Newell writes: “Redemption is the journey of being reconnected to the light of God within. It is a journey home that takes us through what seems unknown land. .Redemption is not the bringing of light to creation that is essentially dark, but rather the liberating of light from the heart of life.”
As we enter this final week of Advent allow the Christ child to walk with you to connect to the light of God within you so that you can show that light to others.
During Christmas Week and New Year’s I encourage you to use the Examen below as you follow the path of redemption within you. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!
LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT WREATH—WEEK IV
Our first Advent candle honors flame.
Our second Advent candles honors water.
Our third Advent candle honors earth.
Our fourth Advent candle honors air.
The infant Jesus first cry will come
from a scoop of breath into his lungs.
Breath of life, Breath of Being,
may we in hale you deeply and,
like Jesus, cry out
your song of love,
your song of joy,
your song of justice.
We light this candle to represent your incarnation
through the element of air.
Prayer of Dedication
Animating one, who pours your Spirit into each life,
may the gifts we offer in our gratitude
inspire hope where there is despair
and righteousness where there is injustice.
Send your winds of creativity to disturb
any stagnation of our talent and treasure
so they may become new expressions of your
presence blowing among us. Amen.
Christmas Eve
With creation, we’ve waited.
With creation, we’ve wondered
Where you are sparking new life into creation.
(Light Advent Candle of Fire)
We’ve wondered how your current of
persistent love is shaping our souls,
(Light Advent candle of water).
We’ve wondered where in creation and
from what body your body will emerge.
(Light Advent candle of earth)
And we’ve wondered how your breath will inspire.
(Light Advent Candle of air)
We’ve wondered, all the while held in hope.
Now our hopes are fulfilled.
Our light has come!
(Light Christmas Candle)
Sonja Ingebritsen
The Examen-“Rearview Mirror Meditation”
Set aside a half hour or more, have paper and pen, or writing device nearby.
Breathe deeply for five or more minutes. Feel into your physical self. In your body, where are you tense? Spacious? Flexible? Are there spots of bliss or resistance? Simply notice any sensations without judgment or analysis.
SHIFT
Allow your attention to travel your life timeline. Recall age five, or the youngest age you remember. What energies, sensations, or memories surface? For what are you thankful, grateful, and least grateful? Acknowledge without judgment, and move on.
Cruise
Recall age 10. ..
Recall age fifteen. . .
Recall age twenty. . .
Pause for a minute, and fast track into present time, on this present date. Acknowledge the road you’ve traveled, together with any consistencies and incongruities.
Now recall age twenty five. . .
Recall age thirty. . .
Recall age forty. . .
Continue to your present age—or stop at your present age.
Tune Into Your Birthday Age, This Year
Pause to idle in the present time: what reveals itself to you about here and now, the life you live, the silence you do-or don’t—cultivate, the kindness you embrace and share, and life blessings for which you give thanks?
Reflect on the Year Ahead
Choose one aspect of your life to tend with care and compassion. Be willing to give permission to fine tune the necessary actions and changes to involve all the best parts of yourself to engage and shift into gear. Who and which activities fuel your creativity, compassion, kindness? Can you create a roadmap?
Stop
In your own words, on paper or in silence of your mind and heart, give thanks for life in all of its beauty, complexity, and simplicity. Then, park all your thoughts, and simply attend to the present moment.
KEY
The next time you meet with your spiritual guide or companion, give permission for this reflection to become part of your exploration and inquiry together.

Mary at Her Annunciation as a Model for Growing in the Virtue of Faith By Gerald M. Fagin, SJ
From Putting on the Heart of Christ: How the Spiritual Exercises Invite Us to a Virtuous Life Mary at her Annunciation models faith for us. She shows us that faith is more than assent, but is also trust, commitment, obedience, and submission. Mary trusted in God’s promises, was obedient to God’s word of invitation in her life, surrendered to the mystery before her, and committed herself to be part of God’s plan of salvation in Jesus. At the same time, we can easily romanticize the Gospel scene—Mary is at prayer, an angel appears, and she says a faith-filled yes. The Scripture also tells us that she was deeply troubled and wondered what the angel’s greeting meant. Certainly the angel’s explanation only left her with more questions and concerns. She did not say yes because she fully understood or had all her questions answered. She said yes in faith and trust. We do Mary a disservice to think she had some infused knowledge that dispelled all her doubts. She was a young woman of extraordinary faith. The “yes” at the Annunciation was not the first “yes” in her life nor would it be the last. The really significant yeses in our lives also demand a great deal of trust and openness. We cannot know all the implications of them. We respond to the gift of God’s call in our lives. We say yes in hope and trust. Like Mary, we say “yes” to something being born in us that must grow and mature and take a shape we cannot predict. We are called to that depth of faith as we contemplate the story of the Annunciation and all the stories of the life of Jesus in the rest of the [Spiritual] Exercises. We are called to trust, obedience, surrender, and commitment in our own lives. We will hear an invitation to share in the work of Jesus and respond and live in faith. Living in faith demands surrender to the stories of God and Jesus recorded in the Scriptures. Christian faith especially demands that we let the stories of Jesus shape our minds and hearts. Paul Wadell says that to live in faith means that we “appropriate these stories, striving to embody their viewpoints, values, and vision as our own. To assent to the truths of faith portrayed in the Scripture is to allow them to become the interpretative framework for our world.” Wadell feels we need these narratives “to mold and shape us, especially in the attitudes and virtues of Jesus.” Ignatian imaginative prayer on the Gospel stories is a powerful way to grow in faith by putting on the heart of Christ. As Jesus trusted, obeyed, surrendered, and committed his life to the Father, we are to respond in the same way. All the contemplations on the Gospels throughout the Exercises foster growth in the virtue of faith that empowers us to trust God and commit ourselves to service. Excerpt from Putting on the Heart of Christ: How the Spiritual Exercises Invite Us to a Virtuous Life by Gerald M. Fagin, SJ. – See more at: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-voices/21st-century-ignatian-voices/mary-at-her-annunciation-as-a-model-for-growing-in-the-virtue-of-faith/#sthash.EDXFwTza.dpuf