Living For Today!

Living in Silence”

The writer to the Hebrews in verse 13 of chapter 3 writes: “Instead, encourage each other every day, as long as it’s called today. So that none of you become insensitive to God because of sin’s deception; we are partners with Christ, but only if we hold on to the confidence we had in the beginning until the end.”

Sin is “missing the mark,” in failing to show love to our brothers and sisters. We sin when we fail to put our focus on our neighbors through our love of God. We fail when we do not in act in love to our neighbor.

I get into trouble because I desire to please people, to be liked, some would call that “low self-esteem. I let my ego get in the way.  I have spent my life trying to be right in the eyes others–five  college degrees, a ministry that is life fulfilling, and enough titles to choke on. In the past year I am letting go of giving a damn about what people think, and simply enjoy living  each day.  I see the results of violence, homelessness, hunger, mental illness, domestic abuse. and child trafficking, and  have come to understand the implications of the scripture–today is all we have, simply today. I can die of a heart attack, get cancer, meet my end by violence, so enjoy today, for it is all we have.

I am going to strive, and I mean strive to practice silence, for silence is a quality of the heart of the gospel that leads to ever growing charity. Once a hungry visitor came to see a hermit, and said, “Sorry for making you break your rule.” The hermit replied, “My rule is to practice the virtue of hospitality towards those who come to see me and send them home at peace.” My silence will be from being defensive of criticism, of entering into a defense of what I do, why I do it, and simply be more present to people. Ministry is not about “saving people” it is about walking with people where they are. God comes to us in so many ways, and we answer in our own way and our own time. Recently a conservative friend asked me, “How many people have you saved all these years?” I looked around and replied: “Come to think of it, none–I have not seen anyone floating into heaven.” Our salvation comes in giving our lives away in meeting the needs of our brothers and sisters and in showing love lives are changed.

I was sitting last night on the balcony of  Club Trinidad  in Palm Springs, watching the busyness of the street, enjoying the hot weather. There was a knock at the door and  the manager introduced me to a twenty one year old blonde young man, and in his eyes I could see much pain. We fixed dinner and he painfully told me his story. “Jamie” was doing his two year stint as a missionary for his church, and he was caught kissing another young guy. He was sent home, put in gay reparative therapy, where he was subjected to cold baths, having his limbs connected to electrical spokes, as he was shown gay porno, and when he got hard– shocked, and iced; he was subjected to be pounded over his head with the Bible and the verses telling him he was going to hell, and than defrocked from the  priesthood in his church. Jamie ran away, and now is working in a restaurant,  and has a lover. I listened to his anger, his hatred of the church, and his parents.Psychologically he is bruised, and alone. I shared my story, my journey. I set him up with a therapist I know that  I will pay for at a reduced rate, but all I could do was simply be there, show him love, acceptance, and give him my card that he can call twenty four hours a day. In the moment of “today” I talked to him.

Henri Nouwen once said: “The basic Christian idea is that we are created to create, and to realize our deepest human potentialities in the service of our fellow human beings, in the love of whom we discover the Spirit of God.”

It is looking into the eyes of the “Jamie’s” of this world that I have been saved, for in them I  meet the broken body of  Christ. Through facing the pain in each person I encounter the Spirit of Christ.  I am working out my salvation from day to day, as we all are. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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+Fr. C. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

Temenos Catholic Worker

Society of Franciscan Workers

Franciscans Against the Death Penalty

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