Archive for January, 2021

Taste Each Moment to It’s Fullest

January 31, 2021


Deuteronomy 18: 15-20; Psalm 111; I Corinthians 8:1-13; Mark 1:21-28

    Jesus sets people free. That is who Jesus is, God’s liberation in the flesh. In Mark Jesus liberates a person from demons, from a power that imprisons him, an unclean spirit that defiles him.

    Demons are the emissions of the dominion of darkness. Be it in overpowering violence, or the violence of mental illness. The demon is an emission of our fears and doubts.

    Last night a gentleman was naked, jabbering words, running up and down the street; a young man dies his eyes staring blank with mucus all over his face, from a drug overdose; a young lady dies hooked to machines from the coronavirus. Demons are ever-present.

    There is a poem: “Dying Speech of An Old Philosopher,” which speaks to my heart:

I strove with none,

for none was worth my strife.

Nature I loved and next to Nature, Art:

I warmed both hands before

the fire of life;

It sinks and I am ready to depart.”

    Death is coming to all of us, we neither know the day nor time, all we have is the present moment. So taste the moment to its fullest. God always reveals himself/herself when we are most present.

    In our prayers be present to the demons, in and within–our fears, worries, and struggles and in listening let go, making God our center, and “warm both hands before the fire of life,” and when it is time to depart, we will be ready! Taste the Moment to It’s Fullest! Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


Fr.RiverDamien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

We are the naked ones

clothed in Your mercy.

More safe are we

with Your smile upon us

than carrying much armour.

You are our best protection

against wild words that beguile.

You are our food, sweet to taste

and sustaining.

You are our guide

at all times.

The knee that is stiff, O Healer, make pliant.

The heart that is hard, make warm

beneath Your wing.

The soul that is drifting far into danger,

if You grasp the helm shall not die.

Oh, do not delay in washing clean

every abrasion from all infection!

Whatever is hard, soften gently with your grace.

Each wound that is working us pain,

Best of healers, make whole again.

Help us to put our trust in You


We are the naked ones clothed in mercy.

(Andy Raine)

God Multiplies

January 29, 2021

Ken Innes: 1951-2020

God Multiplies!

Jesus said to the crowds:

“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;

it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land

and would sleep and rise night and day

and the seed would sprout and grow,

he knows not how.

Of its own accord the land yields fruit,

first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.

And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,

for the harvest has come.”

He said,

“To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God,

or what parable can we use for it?

It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,

is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.

But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants

and puts forth large branches,

so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”

With many such parables

he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.

Without parables, he did not speak to them,

but to his own disciples, he explained everything in private.

Gospel Mk 4:26-34


    We learned of the death of Ken Innes yesterday, December 18, 2020, after a long battle (beginning 2016) with cancer. Ken was a long time friend, and volunteer. We know that he is now in the Great Cloud of Witnesses that surround us.

    Many years ago, standing on the stairs at the back of his house, viewing the  young willow trees he had just planted, Ken commented: “In all likelihood when they are grown I will be gone and forgotten.”

    Jesus tells us of the mustard seed, the smallest of seeds, and how it slowly grows to fruition. Throughout Ken’s life he planted “mustard seed”:

1. In his two children: Clare and Peter, two fine young adults;

2.  His work with Temenos: coming to serve food on nights he was exhausted; filling in when I was ill; providing comfort and support to individuals who partake of our meals;

3. Working in his churches, and organizations connected to those churches;

4. In the people he served in his giving of his money, and time through other organization;

5. And most important of all his example of love, compassion, and forgiveness to all he came in contact with.

Ken’s memory lives!

    Like his willow trees, Ken will continue through the mustard seed he planted. And he summons us to be like the mustard seed, growing slowly, and faithfully, leaving a legacy that will last through eternity.

    This is God’s work of which we are given a brief time to plant. Whatever we do in God’s name, God multiplies. We too often focus on what we can do, rather than stop to regard God’s work–there is nothing to do but to wonder and thank him, realizing how little we planned, how little we achieved, and yet how much has been done. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


    Virtual Memorial Service, February 6, 2:30 p.m., to sign up:

Shift Your Point of Gravity

January 28, 2021

Shift Your Point of Gravity!

Gospel Mk 4:21-25

Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket
or under a bed,
and not to be placed on a lampstand?
For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; 
nothing is secret except to come to light.
Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.”
He also told them, “Take care what you hear.
The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, 
and still, more will be given to you.
To the one who has, more will be given; 
from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”


    A person was talking about a conflict she was having with her parents. The parents are Trump supporters, and she is a Biden supporter, and all three are in therapy trying to resolve their issues. Otherwise, they have no longer speak.

    A devout Christian woman asked: “I assume you are a “liberal”, how do you work with these Trumpers?

    The answer: “Suppose you would shift your point of gravity, and place at the center Jesus, whose focus is on loving our neighbor. And in loving our neighbor what they believe politically, the color of their skin, does not matter. What matters is each person is simply a broken human being, a child of God who is loved by God. Long after whatever political persuasion is gone, love remains, only love.”

    Jesus tells us: “. .seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow for the morrow shall take care of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

    Looking at the mountains one thinks of a poem by Joel McKerrow:

As the tamed horse still hears the call of her wild brothers and as the farmed goose flaps hopeful wings as his sisters fly overhead, so too, perhaps the wild one’s among us are our only hope in calling us back to our true nature.

Wild ones who have not been turned to stone by the far-reaching grasp of empire and its programme of consumer sedation, the killing of imagination.

Where, my friends have the wild one’s gone?

    My friends, how do we measure our lives? I strive every day to be one of the wild ones. like Jesus who loves each person. Love ultimately matters. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God?


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

Continuing in the Strggle

January 27, 2021

Continuing in the Struggle!

Gospel Mk 4:1-20

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him 
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables, 
and in the course of his instruction he said to them, 
“Hear this!  A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, 
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.  
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it 
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

And when he was alone, 
those present along with the Twelve 
questioned him about the parables.
He answered them, 
“The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you.
But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that

    they may look and see but not perceive,
        and hear and listen but not understand,
    in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.”

Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable?
Then how will you understand any of the parables?
The sower sows the word.
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown.
As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once 
and takes away the word sown in them.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who, 
when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no roots; they last only for a time.
Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, 
they quickly fall away.
Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word, 
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, 
and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, 
and it bears no fruit.
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”


    Last night moving in the wind and rain, with socks, shirts, and candy, people were trying to get out of the gusts, and the rain. Seeing their struggle put everything in perspective.

    Worrying is a preoccupation with many things, which leads to boredom, resentfulness, depression, and loneliness.  It fragments our lives. It is like having an address, where you can not be found. Worrying places us in the thistles, the thorns, and little is done.

    There is a story of two monks:

Abba Poemen said of Abba John the Dwarf that he had prayed God to take his passions away from him so that he might become free from care. He went and told an old man this; ‘I find myself in peace, without an enemy,’ he said. The old man said to him, ‘Go, beseech God to stir up warfare so that you may regain the affliction and humility that you used to have, for it is by warfare that the soul makes progress.” So he besought God and when warfare came, he no longer prayed that it might be taken away, but said, ‘Lord, give me strength for the fight.” (Benedicta Ward)

    Worrying ceases when we enter the fight.    We see Jesus in the streets, in people seeking cover from the rain, hungry, and alone. We feed, talk, and listen, give each a smile at that moment and pray, “Lord, give me strength for the fight.,” and hear the words of Jesus: But those sown(seed) on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold, and we see the seed (the Word) bear fruit in the comfort, and care of those we are caring for at the moment. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

snapchat: riodamien 2


Peniel, February 2021 Newsletter of Temenos Catholic Worker

January 26, 2021


“Where Jacob Wrestled With God

Newsletter of Temenos Catholic Worker

February 2021–Lent Begins


Journal of an Alien Street Priest:

Grace Leads Us Home!

    Lent is a season that reminds us of our humanity, and of our need for the grace of Christ. Grace is the freeing force that frees us to love, to care, and to accept ourselves and others for in brokenness, finding healing and wholeness.

    Grace is not being the one who puts a nail in another for their wrongs but says: “You are my brother, my sister, and I love you, thus enabling them to see each as being love and accepted.

    “Being in the world without being of the world”. These words summarize the way Jesus speaks of the spiritual life. It is a life in which we are totally transformed by the Spirit of Love.

    The truth is God is a Lover, one who listens, and is listening to us, simply loving us, and from there, we move out in love and learning to listen with others, we free ourselves from judging, and resentment.

    Listening allows us to join with another, becoming one at that moment, and our lives are transformed.

    Eugene Rogers tells us that Prayer is a transformation”,  for in prayer we listen, and hear God speaking in the stillness, words of grace.

    In the same way, our stillness in listening is prayer, and in that prayer, we hear the pain of the one to whom we are listening, we become one in their pain, we walk in their shoes. and we see that we are simply human beings, desiring love, and acceptance.

    Jesus tells us in Mark 4:24: “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given–and you will receive even more.”

    Father Henri Nouwen offers a picture of what our lives are when we guided by God, a life in the words of John Wesely of “sanctifying grace,” “moving towards perfection.” Our lives lived in prayer leads us:

“To walk in the presence of the Lord means to move forward in life in such a way that all our desires, thoughts, and actions are constantly guided by him. When we walk in the Lord’s presence, everything we see, hear, touch, or taste reminds us of him.
This is what is meant by a prayerful life. It is not a life in which we say many prayers, but a life in which nothing, absolutely nothing, is done, said or understood independently of him who is the origin and purpose of our existence. This is powerfully expressed by the nineteenth-century Russian Orthodox starets of Theopphan the Recluse:

“Into every duty, a God-fearing heart must be put, a heart constantly permeated by the thought of God, and this will be the door through which the soul will enter into active life. .The essence is to be established in remembrance of God, and to walk in his presence.”

Grace Leads Us Home!

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


Temenos Bandanettas/Masks



Lenten Study

The Stations of the Cross: In Atonement for the Neglect of the Homeless, and the Poor, and for the Healing of All With the Poems of Mary Oliver

This year beginning Ash Wednesday, February 17 we will publish each week our Lenten Study,

The Stations of the Cross: In Atonement for the Neglect of the Homeless, and the Poor, and for the Healing of All With the Poems of Mary Oliver

 There will be prayer suggestions and questions for meditation, culminating in our Twentieth Annual Stations of the Cross through the Tenderloin, on April 2, 20-21.

    This year we will move from Station to Station in the Tenderloin in the back of a pickup truck and use a microphone for anyone who follows in a car.


   Ash Wednesday, February 17:  Beginning at 3:00 p.m.we will impose ashes on Polk and Haight, using safety precautions.


We Are Beggars!

We are always in need of money: socks, food, and other supplies. Thanks to Larry Purcell of Redwood City Catholic Worker, we have been blessed with a bountiful supply of socks. We have given out in the past month 120 bags of food to families in need of food. We are begging for your help:

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

Paypal: found on the website.

Thank you!


Journey Towards Holiness

January 25, 2021

Striving Towards Holiness

Conversion of St. Paul

Acts 9:1-22

“Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his  journey, as he was nearing Damascus,
a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
He said, “Who are you, sir?”
The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” 
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;
so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, Ananias.”
He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”
The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul. 
He is there praying,
and in a vision, he has seen a man named Ananias
come in and lay his hands on him,
that he may regain his sight.”
But Ananias replied,
“Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,
what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests
to imprison all who call upon your name.”
But the Lord said to him,
“Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine
to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,
and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.”
So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
“Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.
All who heard him were astounded and said, 
“Is not this the man who in Jerusalem
ravaged those who call upon this name,
and came here expressly to take them back in chains
to the chief priests?”
But Saul grew all the stronger
and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus,
proving that this is the Ch


    William Stringfellow wrote: Holiness is not an attainment, in any sense of the term, but is a gift of the Word of God. Holiness is not a badge of achievement for a saint but is wrought in the life, in the very being, of an ordinary person by the will of the Word of God. Holiness. .is the restoration of integrity and wholeness to a person.”

    Stringfellow’s words are simply a restatement of what Paul said two centuries ago: “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12.

    Paul’s journey began as Saul, a Jewish scholar, who was a fundamentalist, he had his mindset on the new faith of Jesus as being heretic. He condoned the murder of Stephen in his self-righteousness.

    In his conversion, he began his journey of “working out his salvation,” and evolving into a man who could write the love poem of I Corinthians 13:1: ““Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal . . .”

    Paul, a man of his time, moved through the years, always aiming for perfection, always missing the mark,  in the journey towards restoration of his wholeness as a person with integrity.

    Each of us is “working out our salvation,” we will always aim for the target, and always miss, until the day we come into the Kingdom of God, and Jesus works with us in bringing our salvation to fulfillment in loving one another. And as we “work out our salvation,” let us greet one another with love, caring, and non-judgment.

    Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

Finding Kindness Through Suffering

January 22, 2021

Finding Kindness in Suffering

    Standing on the corner of Haight and Asbury, in the chill of the late afternoon at dusk, people are all around. Youth playing guitars, panhandling, others selling drugs, and some just sitting and talking. 

    There is arguing, fighting,  anger, and but through it all, as one simply centers in at the moment, being silent, listening there is kindness. And kindness is not a given trait, but one tempered through experience, and in that temperance we are grateful:


Before you know what kindness really is

you must lose things,

feel the future dissolve in a moment

like salt in a weakened broth.

What you held in your hand,

what you counted and carefully saved,

all this must go so you know

how desolate the landscape can be

between the regions of kindness.

How you ride and ride

thinking the bus will never stop,

the passengers eating maize and chicken

will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,

you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho 

lies dead by the side of the road.

You must see how this could be you,

how he too was someone

who journeyed through the night with plans 

and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, 

you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.  

You must wake up with sorrow.

You must speak to it till your voice

catches the thread of all sorrows

and you see the size of the cloth. 

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,

only kindness that ties your shoes

and sends you out into the day to mail letters and 

purchase bread,

only kindness that raises its head

from the crowd of the world to say

it is I you have been looking for,

and then goes with you everywhere

like a shadow or a friend.                       

Naomi Shihab Nye


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

A Priest Forever!

January 19, 2021

January 19, 2021–January 20 lectionary reading

A Priest Forever!

“And it is far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another a priest, who is made not after the law of carnal commandment, but after the power of endless life. For he testifieth, Thou are a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.” Hebrews 7:14-17

   Today as I walked to the post office there were people passing who kept their eyes straight ahead, never noticing people around them. And a young boy with a backpack skates by and smiles with serenity. No words are needed, only the smile.

     In human communication, the words carry significantly less power than the silence between. There have been nights sitting on my friend Matt’s floor, watching him play games, and not a word passes between us, but in giving attention to the silence, a world of deeply beautiful and yet simple things emerge.  And when we move, the inner silence remains in our body. The silence formed an unbreakable relationship between us.   

    In the silence of the now, I remember Melchisedec and my call to ministry, calling me to a ministry of listening, being silent as others speak:

“Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and to him, Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first by translation of his name, king of righteousness, then he is also King of Salem, that is the king of peace. He is without father or mother or geology, having neither the beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.” Hebrews 7:1-3.

    These words were repeated at my ordination so many years ago, and they made a mark that I can never remove, reminding me that despite my screw-ups, I am still “a priest forever.”

    I have come to understand that through the years we all are “priests forever,” and our ministries are the way we live our lives in loving our neighbor.

    We have walked in the footsteps of Damien of Molokai, St. Francis, and Dorothy Day, and  we have  become simply a piece of sand, seeping into the sea, sand that is rough, scared, and yet loved, we see the faces of the thousands whose lives that have been touched, and remember the words of the poem:

“The Starfish Story:

by Philip J. Kocisko

One day an old man was walking down the beach just before dawn. In the distance, he saw a young man picking up stranded starfish and throwing them back into the sea. As the old man approached the young man, he asked, “Why do you spend so much energy doing what seems to be a waste of time?” The young man explained that the stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun. The old man exclaimed, “But there must be thousands of starfish. How can your efforts make any difference?” The young man looked down at the starfish in his hand and as he threw it to safety in the sea, he said, “It makes a difference to this one!”

At times in our lives, we are all the old man, the young man, or the starfish. Sometimes, as the old man, we don’t see the purpose to actions. Sometimes, as a young man, we persevere and make a difference. And sometimes, we are the starfish who just need a little help.

    These words sum up my life and will be repeated hopefully at my memorial service.

    Sitting, in the silence, the question arises am I happy? Happiness is a word all of us look at differently. A psychologist once said to me in talking about some of my experiences, “You will not be happy in the way other people are, but you will be in your own way very happy.”

      I am happy first of all because I do not work, my mother once said, “Find the job you love, and you never work,” that is why retirement is not in my vocabulary, I love what I do; secondly,  I have people in my life I enjoy, when I talk of being alone there is loneliness, great loneliness,  in the secrets we hold for others, in the pain shared, in the struggles with people on the street, last night I sat with a forty-year-old sleeping in a doorway suffering from heart failure, there is so much feeling alone with someone in their pain,  and thirdly I keep moving forward, I live in the present and never look back.

    We need to reflect on our lives every day, and what will be said when they end, and for me nothing matters except casting one starfish at a time back into the sea. Nothing else. What matters for you? That is the question we all have to answer on our own.  My fervent prayer is what matters for all of us is to “cast one starfish at a time into the sea” to care for one person at a time. That is much joy! Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164



January 17, 2021

Silent Mysteries: The Truth About Me!

I Samueal 3:1: “The Lord was rare in the those days.”

Sunday, January 17, 2021

    For a generation, the people only knew the silence of God–until the night when the voice startled Samuel. He thought Eli was calling, an elder in need of assistance. Eli wondered if this might be the night when God returned with a word of guidance. “If he calls you again,” Eli told Samual, “you shall say, ‘Speak Lord, for your servant is listening. (verse 9).

    Many hear God, but the majority of us only hear silence. As have others who have gone before us.

    Dan Rather once asked Mother Teresa of Calcutta about her devotional life. “What is it that you say to God when you pray?” She replied, “God does not say anything he just listens.” She and God listening to the silence.

    Later in a letter to her spiritual director, she confessed her doubts about God’s presence. “In my soul, I feel just that terrible pain of loss, she wrote, “of God not being God.”

    But for a few of us, this is the way we feel, “a terrible pain of loss,” and we feel terror in the darkness of the night and the light of our days.

    I feel like this most of the time. Always putting on a show telling others when asked,  “everything being “fine,”–fu..cked up, insecure, neurotic and emotional, when in truth my insides are in pain from fear, loneliness, and feeling very insecure.  I see the darkness of death coming towards me in many forms, failure, uselessness, irrelevance, aging,  and physical death.

    One of the reasons I listen, simply listen to others is to allow them to share their pain, and in doing so mine becomes much lighter as well.

    We live in a world of “global distress,” if it “bleeds it leads”, overcome by the negative news around us which stirs our fears, keeps us separate. We have all the social networks, and yet we are so far apart. Facebook uses the term “friends” to make money, and we buy into their concept. The term “friends” is a shallow word.

    When I use the word “friend” it means I am willing to suffer, and even die for a person. People are rebuffed and hurt on Facebook simply because the word “friend” has been sold out by a tech company, and our superficial society.

    Fr. Henri Nouwen experienced this darkness all of his life in his struggles with his depression and sexual orientation. Questions were raised about making Mother Teresa a saint over her expression of deep darkness because she did not “know God,” and in that silence and doubt, they are our greatest teachers. Listen to the words of Henri:

“You have to keep unmasking the world about you for what it is: manipulative, controlling, power-hungry, and in the long run destructive. The world tells you many lies about who you are, and you simply have to be realistic enough to remind yourself of this. Every time you feel hurt, offended, or rejected, you have to dare to say to yourself: “These feelings, strong as they may be, are not telling me the truth about myself. The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God’s eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity, and held safe in an everlasting embrace.”

Prayer is patience in the darkness of night, listening for a voice. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164



“Jesus didn’t die to save us from suffering–he died to teach us how to suffer. Sometimes I actually mean it. I’d rather die young, having lived a life crammed with meaning, than die old, even in security but without meaning.” Mev Puleo

Embracing One’s True Self

January 16, 2021

Embracing One’s True self!

“And he went forth again by the seaside; and all the multitude resorted unto him and he taught them.” Mark 2:13 (13-22

Normally, the young wait for the future to come, and the old one’s look back to the past. Somewhere in the middle of all the expecting and recalling dwells the most essential part of it all. It is found in every single word of the book of life. If any word gets bypassed while reading, something essential is missed.

    Henri Nouwen talks of how our secular and false self is the self that is fabricated, as Thomas Merton says, by social compulsions. “Compulsion” according to Nouwen is “indeed the adjective for the false self, it points to a need for ongoing and increasing affirmation.

    Quoting Nouwen” These very compulsions are at the basis of the two main enemies of the spiritual life: anger and greed. They are the inner side of the secular life, the sour fruits of our worldly dependence.”

    I know they are enemies in the spiritual life, getting bogged down in pleasing people, and accomplishing goals to wave in front of others. Trying to please and be accepted.

    Then as I walk down the street, and see an orange aired young man playing his guitar, an older woman trying to move in her wheelchair up the street, and middle-aged men walk by with their masks simply not noticing anyone that the words of Thomas Merton hit home, and keeps me grounded in the present:

“I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people,they they were mine, and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like walking from a dream of separateness.”

    In the present moments, whether liked or disliked, not given a damn about, lied to, threatened, ridiculed, despise–we are all one, and the call is to love each other–no matter the pain, but to love, and care. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164