How Can We be Great

How Can We Be Great?

Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Blessed Frederic Ozanam

Acts 14:11:

When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come to us in human form.”

    Today are the feasts of two great people: the birth of Mary and Frederick Ozanam. When we talk about them we treat them as “gods” because of all the good they have done. In doing so we lose sight of the reality they were human beings who simply served the poorest of the poor, one step at a time.

    By putting Edison’s face on the light bulb, we erase the inventors who had early, non-commercially successful prototypes, and the tireless assistants who worked under Edison.

    I wonder what else we miss when we look for greatness in the person rather than seek to understand the work that makes them and their achievements possible. The question is are we looking for I AM OR  Apollos?

    I can think of two great people just off my head. My friend David after every meal when we eat out buys a double portion of food, in order to give to a homeless person, as we walk down the street.

    Mary called mother by the homeless, picks up second-day pastries, and hands out to the homeless on Polk.

    This is the greatness, they share, they care and love. Greatness comes in loving our neighbor with out judgment.

    Twenty-six years ago when I arrived my plans were to build a great agency, where I would be remembered by a sign on the wall, or have a building or street named at me.

    I was an egotistical fool! Sean, a homeless young man, once said to me: “You must be trying to work off your sins dealing with us.” I was looking for “cheap grace”, instead of moving into the arms of the loving God who embraces all of us.

    He was right, I try to work out my sins of the past, but as the years have passed I simply want to serve, to love, and to live simply.

    Robert Karris recently wrote that Jesus calls us to a “love ethic”, radical compassion caring for each other, providing for everyone.

    I believe every last person on my email list is a great person because of all the good you do. You are great!

    In living out the “love ethic” we can enter death as the final gift of life.


Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min.,D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

415-305-2124 or 415-622-8012

pay pal is on the website

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