Archive for April, 2022

We All Have Something To Give!

April 30, 2022

We All Have Something to Give!

St. Catherine of Siena

Doctor of the Church

“Preach the Truth as if you had a million voices. It is silence that kills the world.”

Gospel Jn 6:1-15

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee.
A large crowd followed him,
because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.
Jesus went up on the mountain,
and there he sat down with his disciples.
The Jewish feast of Passover was near.
When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”
He said this to test him,
because he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him,
“Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little.”
One of his disciples,
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;
but what good are these for so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.”
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place.
So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed them to those who were reclining,
and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
“Gather the fragments left over,
so that nothing will be wasted.”
So they collected them,
and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments
from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said,
“This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.”
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off
to make him king,
he withdrew again to the mountain alone.

– – –

Create Space in Your Innermost Self
Today I imagined my inner self as a place crowded with pins and needles. How could I receive anyone in my prayer when there is no place for them to be free and relaxed? When I am still so full of preoccupations, jealousies, angry feelings, anyone who enters will get hurt. I had a very vivid realization that I must create some free space in my innermost self so that I may indeed invite others to enter and be healed. To pray for others means to offer others a hospitable place where I can really listen to their needs and pains. Compassion, therefore, calls for a self-scrutiny that can lead to inner gentleness. Fr. Henri Nouwen ————————– It was evening, and everyone was hungry, and Jesus had compassion for them. He called his disciples and told them to take what they could find, and all were fed. This was no magic trick by Jesus, but he’s asking his disciples to share what they have, and others joined in, and all were fed. Susan (in the photo struggles with mental illness), and there are days she can not find food to eat; the many laying on our sidewalks get little food. Yesterday on Haight we fed forty-five young men and women, many had had little all day. Take a few seconds, close your eyes, see Jesus standing on the street, and hear him tell each of us as we came out of a restaurant to feed one person with our leftovers. Look around and no one would be hungry! Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God! ———————— Fr. River Damien Sims,sfw, D.Min., D.S.T. P.O. Box 642656 San Francisco, CA 94164 http://www.temenos.org 415-305-2124    

Generous and Joyful!

April 26, 2022

Generous and Joyful!

Reading I Acts 4:32-37

The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common.
With great power the Apostles bore witness
to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
and great favor was accorded them all.
There was no needy person among them,
for those who owned property or houses would sell them,
bring the proceeds of the sale,
and put them at the feet of the Apostles,
and they were distributed to each according to need.

Thus Joseph, also named by the Apostles Barnabas
(which is translated Ason of encouragement”),
a Levite, a Cypriot by birth,
sold a piece of property that he owned,
then brought the money and put it at the feet of the Apostles.

The Spirit of God is soft and gentle like a small voice or a light breeze. It is the Spirit of Love.

Henri Nouwen

————————————–

    My friend, Brendon Quinn, died in his sleep this week. He was 39, in the photo above he is 16, ( in the red cap). Brendon was a well-known windsurfer, and his publicity title was “windsurfing gypsy”– he owned nor rented a place to live.

    We met through friends in Portland. Brendan once told me that the one lesson he learned from me was that a follower of Jesus was someone who loved others “a hundred percent, without judging.”   He lived his life in the same way. Brendon’s life was lived in the words of Fr. Henri Nouwen as one with whom:

The Spirit of God is soft and gentle like a small voice or a light breeze. It is the Spirit of Love.    

    Dallas Williams comments: “The Gospel is less about getting into heaven after you die, and more about how to live in the Kingdom of Heaven before you die.”

    Jesus preached in his inaugural sermon, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” telling us that the Kingdom was here and now. Luke tells us in the Book of Acts:

The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own.”

    Early on this action of love moved on in other ways, and developed into various ways of faith. Ideally, if we practiced this action we would not have homelessness or lack of health care, but oh well!

    But what I do know is that these early Christian communities call us to attention whenever our hands convulsively grip a resource that seems in short supply, time for example, rather than sharing it otherwise.

    In the next weeks to come, consider giving from a non-monetary resource you feel is already limited in your life. Maybe that‘s time; Maybe it is emotional energy. Can you offer relief breaks to a caregiver for a spouse who has cancer? My friend Pam is doing just that this week. Can you take the time to help others with tax preparation? My friend Bill took the time to prepare my taxes several weeks ago.

    Selfless sharing can not only help others, but help us in our own lack of fellowship with others, and lift our own loneliness.

    My friend Brendon, even though we saw each other infrequently,  called and chatted, and in the last year with my injuries has called more frequently.

    So rest in peace my friend, for I can see you now in the  Great Cloud of Witnesses as the “gypsy windsurfer”  giving your love and support. Brendon was one who gave what he had, his time to others. Deo Gratias! Thanks to God!

—————–

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

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This cross is a lovely piece of jewelry that is a symbol of the three Abrahamic faces of God: Judaism, Muslimism, and Christianity. If you would like to have one please let me know. They are $100.00.

Divine Mercy!

April 24, 2022

Divine Mercy!

Gospel Jn 20:19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

———————————-

On the Second Sunday of Easter in 2000, on the canonization of Sr. Faustina Kowalska, Pope John Paul II declared this Sunday to be Divine Mercy Sunday.

Sr. Faustina centered her ministry on the words: “Humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy. . . .I feel tremendous pain when I see the sufferings of my neighbors. All my neighbor’s sufferings reverberate in my own heart; I carry their anguish in my heart in such a way that it even physically destroys me. I would like all their sorrows to fall upon me, in order to relieve my neighbor.”

Good Friday as our Stations of the Cross round the bend on United Nations Plaza, we beheld hundreds of homeless, mostly men, lined up in the sun; Outside my door this morning there were five homeless sleeping; our streets are full of people without housing; this afternoon I will visit with youth in the Haight, who struggle for shelter and food daily.

The love of Jesus, shown in Sr. Faustina, must inspire us today, to face the crisis of the meaning of life, the challenges of increasing wealth, leaving the poorest behind in the dust, climate change, and the dignity to respect the human person.

Chief Joseph reminds us “The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it.”

Today fixing our gaze upon the face of the risen Christ, let us make our own prayer of trusting, believing with our own hearts,  the words of Thomas, “My Lord and my God!”,  going  forth to feed the hungry, and providing  for the needs of all, remembering we all have equal rights!”

=========================

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenoss.org

415-305-2124

Dust In the Blood

April 24, 2022

Dust in the Blood!

Recently sitting with a young man who had been confronted by a lady seeking to convert him, in order for him to go to heaven. She used language like “being saved” and “going to hell” unless one became a Christian. This young man a Buddhist, crying asked me: “Am I really going to hell because I do not believe in Jesus?” The question took me back to my journey, my pilgrimage.

I was raised in an area where we were taught that Jesus shed his blood for our salvation, but through the years of my journey, I have learned that Jesus shed his blood calling us to join him on his journey of discipleship. of love. 

This pilgrimage lead me through seminary into the pastorate where I followed the teachings of the Church, where I preached Jesus was the Only Way, and homosexuality was a sin, hiding my own sexuality.

One day a young man came to my office, in tears. He asked me if homosexuality was a sin, and my reply was that of the Church, homosexuality was a sin. The young man left and two days later committed suicide.

I was simply desolate, blaming myself, and from that moment forward  I sought counseling for my guilt and my own questioning of my own sexuality.

Within three weeks I was out of a job, alone, shunned by my friends–because I was seen as a HOMOSEXUAL. I was simply questioning.

Through the years shunned by the church, being a prostitute, and finally seeing my way through to

my present life of being a priest, I began to see God in all religious practices that taught love. Christ is simply one expression, one face of God, and he is present in and calls us to total love of others.

Hilary of Tours teaches “Compulsion is ‘a blasphemous anxiety to do God’s work.” When we believe we have all the anxieties in our desire to help people or convert, we find ourselves hurting others.

Discipleship is a way of life in imitation of God–where the Cosmic Christ is present in unconditional listening and understanding.

We are called to walk with others in the “Reign of God” in the present, loving them with all our hearts until the Kingdom of God is present in all places.

When we practice the way of non-judgmental love, we begin removing the “Dust from the Blood.” Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

—————-

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www. temenos.org

415-305-2124

Questions! Questions! Questions!

April 16, 2022

Luke 24:1-12
At daybreak on the first day of the week the women who
had come from Galilee with Jesus took the spices they
had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone
rolled away from the tomb; but when they entered, they
did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were
puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling
garments appeared to them. They were terrified and
bowed their faces to the ground. They said to them,
“Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is
not here, but he has been raised. Remember what he said
to you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man
must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise
on the third day.” And they remembered his words. Then
they returned from the tomb and announced all these
things to the eleven and to all the others. The women
were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of
James; the others who accompanied them also told this
to the apostles, but their story seemed like nonsense and
they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to
the tomb, bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone;
then he went home amazed at what had happened.

—————————————————

I received an email from a friend describing her confusion about Easter and in a few words: “Easter” was originally designated the Jewish Passover, but as the early Christians tend to do they adopted festivals to shape it in their own belief system. It has to do with the moon cycles as well; The Bible says three days for the resurrection–and technically it is three: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday;  The Lord’s Supper and the washing of feet: The Gospels were written by four different writers. Each with his own interpretation of the story–the washing of feet symbolizes our service to others and is attached to the Lord’s Supper stories. So the early Christians placed these two stories together in order to remind us of sacrifice and service. Four different people, four different views of the events.

    One must take the reading of Scripture through a mythological approach–a story told to provide a universal understanding of the truth.

———————

“He died for our sins.” Sin is wrong.  I spent my adolescence praying every night to be forgiven of “masturbation,”  when in reality that phrase means the wrongs we do in loving our neighbor;  “he died for our sins” means the universal of sins of war fair, destruction our climate, and natural resources; and of not loving our neighbor–how we treat others.

The reality of some of these passages has been interpreted through time in ways detrimental to human beings.

As Donn Hall points out the Easter story’s interpretation by the Church, has driven him away from Christianity through her condemnation of homosexuality:

As a former Christian Minister, I face Easter with a bit of trepidation, mixed with emotions and discomfort. Not because I feel “convicted” by the Christian Easter story, but rather pain because the religion of my youth was a source of brutality and rejection of the LGBTQ+  community. To me, the Christian imagery of the cross represents not “salvation” (as if I needed it), but rather a symbol of the violence of prejudice against the LGBT+ community and all others throughout history that didn’t fit into religious/socially imported “norms”. So during this Easter season, I choose to remember the victims of religion and of societally imposed “norms” and not the traditional Easter Story.”

This same interpretation of the Christian story drove the young man who painted the photo above to suicide, and so many others before him and after him.

The Easter narrative is a story of Jesus being led to death resulting from his offending the ruling powers by preaching a new way of life–the Kingdom of God. Many who are believers in other traditions have met the same fate.

The resurrections are symbolic of God saying a big “Yes” to the reign of God here and now and Jesus leads us forward to fight for that reign–a Kingdom on earth in which all are fed, loved, cared for, a Kingdom of peace, where all is well.

The Easter story is not about the discrimination of anyone for their beliefs, sexuality, or being of a different race/societal background.

In fact, Jesus never formed a religion. Jesus gave one commandment: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you; ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they soul, mind and strength, and thy neighbor as thyself,”  and summed up in  Matthew 25:31-43–

The Final Judgment

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’

Recently I was asked: “How can you wear a cross, a habit, and/or clerical collar and not symbolize the superiority of Christianity?”

As one walks around San Francisco, we see the rainbow of colors of various spiritual paths–in their dress; when one has a haircut in various shops of Asian proprietors we see a statue of Buddha on the floor with candles and food.

We have these symbols on or around, ourselves, expressing our faith in the form of the God who supports and sustains us.

St. Leo once said: There are many streams, flowing into one River: and from the book of Ecclesiastes: All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, is empty.

We all are flowing into the same River, let us respect each individual’s stream. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

————

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

Mending Into A Beautiful Broken Pot!

April 11, 2022

Mending Into A Beautiful Broken Pot

Luke 14:22-15:23

Several years ago I participated in an anti-racism workshop in which the curriculum was for youth. One lesson explored the art of different cultures. I was intrigued by Kintsugi, a type of art that originated in Japan. Practitioners take broken pottery and put the pieces back together, using lacquer dusted or mixed with gold, silver, or platinum. The parts are whole again. And even you can still see the broken pieces. every piece that I have seen mended in this way is beautiful, a broken pot made more beautiful by its brokenness.

On Palm Sunday we know that brokenness is to come. Jesus will be broken on the cross, buried, and finally rise again; the disciples will be broken by grief that they see as broken beyond repair.

I have been broken in the last year, by an assault and, an accident resulting in a broken body, and the coronavirus has left effects of having trouble and remembering tiredness.

I have seen death after death and gave the Sacrament of Reconciliation to a young man night before last. On the street, we give food to people of all ages who have no housing, are mentally ill, and are without family.

But mending is to come. In the long ago, and over and over again in our lives there is always breaking, mending, and ultimately the promise of resurrection that transforms that brokenness into beauty. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

———————

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.com

415-305-2124

—————————

Salvation

By what are you saved? And how?
Saved like a bit of string,
tucked away in a drawer?
Saved like a child rushed from
a burning building, already
singed and coughing smoke?
Or are you salvaged
like a car part — the one good door
when the rest is wrecked?

Do you believe me when I say 
you are neither salvaged nor saved,
but salved, anointed by gentle hands
where you are most tender?
Haven’t you seen
the way snow curls down
like a fresh sheet, how it
covers everything,
makes everything
beautiful, without exception?

~ Lynn Ungar ~

(Blessing the Bread)

———————————

—————-

TENDERLOIN STATIONS OF THE CR0SS

Good Friday/April 15, 2022

Noon-2:00 p.m.

A Walk of Reflection on Bearing the Cross of Thorns-Our Haunting of Our Treatment of Native Americans

We Begin in front of City Hall-Polk Side

Will Pray and Feed Anyone Who is Hungry

Sponsored by Temenos Catholic Worker

For More Info: Fr. River Sims, D.Min., D.S.T. 415-305-2124, Temenos@gmail.com

(We need seven more volunteers to read parts, please contact Fr. River if interested.)

=========================

Tis the Gift to Be Simple

April 8, 2022

“Tis the Gift To Be Simple”

“Then Jesus called the children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”

“Tis the gift to be simple,” is a summary of one of the main requirements  “to receive the Kingdom of God like a child.”

St. Francis lived his life as a child, simple in all things, caring for people, loving nature, and most importantly giving his total trust to Jesus.

Through the years one can either become hardened as we experience tragedy, and the living reality of life, or approach life as a child with wonderment, flexibility, creativity, forgiveness, holding no resentments and trusting in God.

I have a friend who when angry will say to me, “You are just a child.” Personally, it is the highest compliment I have ever been given.

A psychologist friend told me at the beginning of this ministry my life would be like standing on a railroad track with twenty-four trains racing toward me at one time.  And it has: slander, threats, being beaten up, attempts on my life, and personally the worst is becoming hardened against people. Each day I try to become more childlike.

Harry, I now invite you to become more simple, more of a child by:

1. Approaching life with wonder. Look at nature and humanity with a sense of wonder, seeing the goodness of all, and the glory of God in all. Have a wonder of people in which their faults fall away and love them, see their beauty.

2. Secondly, being flexible. Children are never set in their ways, as people, and situations change, they change, always open to new ideas. Become a chameleon, be flexible.

3.  Forgive: Children are simple, when harmed they forgive, do not hold grudges. Forgiveness is the key to living a full life and becoming like a child. Forgiveness brings us richness and joy in life.

4. Be simple like a child and do not seek and use power. A young man said recently to me, “You are not like other people who come out here to help or save us, pushy, and thinking they know everything.” You are our friend, and walk with us, you are one of us.

That was the highest compliment I have received in a long time, and the message is to be simple, live like a child, do not use your power. Walk with people as equals.

Finally, I leave you with these words as you walk as a child, words by Don  Miguel Ruiz:

—————————-

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.com

415-305-2124

—————————

Salvation

By what are you saved? And how?
Saved like a bit of string,
tucked away in a drawer?
Saved like a child rushed from
a burning building, already
singed and coughing smoke?
Or are you salvaged
like a car part — the one good door
when the rest is wrecked?

Do you believe me when I say 
you are neither salvaged nor saved,
but salved, anointed by gentle hands
where you are most tender?
Haven’t you seen
the way snow curls down
like a fresh sheet, how it
covers everything,
makes everything
beautiful, without exception?

~ Lynn Ungar ~

(Blessing the Bread)

———————————

—————-

TENDERLOIN STATIONS OF THE CR0SS

Good Friday/April 15, 2022

Noon-2:00 p.m.

A Walk of Reflection on Bearing the Cross of Thorns-Our Haunting of Our Treatment of Native Americans

We Begin in front of City Hall-Polk Side

Will Pray and Feed Anyone Who is Hungry

Sponsored by Temenos Catholic Worker

For More Info: Fr. River Sims, D.Min., D.S.T. 415-305-2124, Temenos@gmail.com

(We need seven more volunteers to read parts, please contact Fr. River if interested.)

=========================

Living A Life Of Paradox!

April 6, 2022

(This pendant symbolizes the One God in three religious expressions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.)

Living A Life of Paradox!

“Religion is at its best when it makes us ask hard questions. It is at its worst when it deludes us into thinking we have all the answers for everything else.”


Archibald Mellish

——————————

    I often jokingly remark, “I do not have any Christian friends,” and my meaning is my friends are not people who: “delude us into thinking we have all the answers for everything else.” We live in a paradox. 

    People who are so sure that Christianity or any other spirituality or philosophy is the only way to God and meaning and judges others by that criteria, I do not trust. To tell someone they have a choice of going to heaven or to hell when they are living in the hell of abuse, homelessness, or any other form of suffering is abusive.

    A seminary professor once described the last judgment as a great therapeutic session, where we are all brought together, and work out our differences. Our God is a God of love.

        In the book “Mercy, Mercy,” (Jennifer Haight), talking  about  the life of working in abortion clinics, writes: “People are all a paradox.”

    What is the meaning of paradox: “Statements that despite apparently valid reasoning from true premises, leads to a self-contradictory conclusion that is also true;” .(Webster).

    Jesus lives and teaches by paradoxes–he is basically crucified resulting from the fear of the leaders of his time feeling he is establishing a new religion, they taught one of law, Jesus of Spirit; his crucifixion was a paradox: punishment for the worst of criminals, Jesus innocent.

    My life is a paradox: I minister to murderers/and to the families of their victims;  I hang with homeless people/ and also the wealthy; I minister to girls having abortions, and I give food to the protestors, and I am a confessing Christian and teach and believe that all religions stem from the same God.

    St. Leo, once commented: There are many streams, but one River.” God has come to people in various ways, speaking through the kaleidoscope of people on earth.  Our holy books have been written from the perspective of the stream from which they developed, but are from the same God.

    St. Francis of Assisi gives a good summary:

“What is it that stands higher than words? Action. What is it that stands higher than action? Silence?”

  “Saint Francis learned from Our Lord Jesus himself that ‘happiness comes from service.’ It is through service to others, that we overcome ourselves and learn how to reach out to our brothers and sisters and thereby making our vision of the “Reign of God authentic.”

    Our work is to listen, to let each person find themselves in their own way, to simply love, and not get in the way of God. Deo Gratias! Thanks Be To God!

——————————-

Salvation

By what are you saved? And how?
Saved like a bit of string,
tucked away in a drawer?
Saved like a child rushed from
a burning building, already
singed and coughing smoke?
Or are you salvaged
like a car part — the one good door
when the rest is wrecked?

Do you believe me when I say 
you are neither salvaged nor saved,
but salved, anointed by gentle hands
where you are most tender?
Haven’t you seen
the way snow curls down
like a fresh sheet, how it
covers everything,
makes everything
beautiful, without exception?

~ Lynn Ungar ~

(Blessing the Bread)

———————————

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

—————-

TENDERLOIN STATIONS OF THE CR0SS

Good Friday/April 15, 2022

Noon-2:00 p.m.

A Walk of Reflection on Bearing the Cross of Thorns-Our Haunting of Our Treatment of Native Americans

We Begin in front of City Hall-Polk Side

Will Pray and Feed Anyone Who is Hungry

Sponsored by Temenos Catholic Worker

For More Info: Fr. River Sims, D.Min., D.S.T. 415-305-2124, Temenos@gmail.com

(We need seven more volunteers to read parts, please contact Fr. River if interested.)

=========================

Ramadan Begins On April 2, 2022, and ends on May 1, 2022–An Explanation:

Why are more than a billion people around the world abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking, and sex from dawn to sunset this month? They are Muslims who are fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of the religion of Islam and one of the highest forms of Islamic worship. Abstinence from earthly pleasures and curbing evil intentions and desires is regarded as an act of obedience and submission to God (Allah is the Arabic word referring to “the one God”) as well as an atonement for sins, errors, and mistakes.

Called Ramadan (or Ramazan), Muslims fast during this month from the moment when it first starts to get light until sunset. They fast as an act of faith and worship towards God, seeking to suppress their desires and increase their spiritual piety. Fasting together as a worldwide community (Ummah) affirms the brotherhood and equality of man before God.

When Is Ramadan?

Muslims follow a lunar calendar which is approximately 10 or 11 days shorter each year. The month of Ramadan is the ninth month and officially begins with a combination of the sighting of the new moon and astronomical calculations. Some Muslim authorities rely more heavily on the physical sighting of the new moon than on scientific calculations. An Imam (Muslim holy man) will declare the exact time of Ramadan just prior to its commencement. The fasting period ends upon the sighting of the next new moon, which occurs after 29 or 30 days.

In 2022, Ramadan begins in the entire U.S. on April 2 and concludes on May 1. In some other parts of the world, it begins on slightly different dates. The exact date is not the same in all parts of the world because the actual time when the “new moon” begins varies around the world.

What’s Ramadan All About?

The name Ramadan is derived from the Arabic word ramida or ar-ramad, denoting intense scorching heat and dryness, especially the ground. From the same word there is ramdaa, meaning “sunbaked sand” and the famous proverb kal mustajeer minar ramadaa binnar — to jump out of the frying pan into the fire. Some say it is so called because Ramadan scorches out the sins with good deeds, as the sun burns the ground.

Ramadan brings out a special feeling of emotional excitement and religious zeal among Muslims of all ages. Though fasting is mandatory only for adults, children as young as eight willingly observe fasting with their elders. Children look forward to the excitement of sighting the moon and eating special meals with their families. Adults appreciate the opportunity to double their rewards from God and seek forgiveness for past sins. As Ramadan emphasizes Muslim brotherhood and community, all feel a particular closeness towards their Creator and amongst their family and friends.

Muslims must adapt themselves both physically and emotionally during these 30 long days of fasting. A typical day of fasting begins with getting up early, around 4:30 a.m. and sharing a meal called sahur together before the fast begins at dawn, about 5:10 a.m. As dawn breaks, Fajr, the first of five daily prayers is offered.

As the day proceeds, fasting Muslims are constantly bombarded with messages from their stomachs that it is time for breakfast, snack, lunch, and so on. And each time, Muslims remind themselves that they are fasting for the sole purpose of pleasing God and seeking his mercy. They offer the second and third prayers during early and late afternoon, respectively. Fasting helps one to experience how a hungry person feels and what it is like to have an empty stomach. It teaches one to share the sufferings of the less fortunate. Muslims believe that fasting leads one to appreciate the bounties of God, which are usually taken for granted – until they are missed!

Throughout the day Muslims are encouraged to go out of their way to help the needy, both financially and emotionally. Some believe that a reward earned during this month is multiplied 70 times and more. For this reason, Ramadan is also known as the month of charity and generosity.

Ramadan Is More Than Just Fasting

To a Muslim, fasting not only means abstaining from food, but also refraining from all vice and evils committed consciously or unconsciously. It is believed that if one voluntarily refrains from lawful foods and sex during Ramadan, he will develop self-restraint and be more able to avoid unlawful things and acts the rest of the year.

The fast is broken at sunset. The Prophet Muhammed recommended breaking the fast with a meal of dates. Muslims are urged to invite others to break the fast with them. These gatherings are called iftar parties.

Just after breaking the fast but before dinner, Muslims offer the fourth of the five daily prayers, which is called the Maghrib prayer. After dinner, Muslims go to their houses of worship, called mosques, to offer the Isha prayer, which is the last of the five daily prayers. The day ends with a special voluntary prayer, the Taraweeh, offered by the congregation reciting the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam.

Closing the Month Off

The last ten days of Ramadan are considered highly blessed, especially the 27th night which is called laylat al-qadr – the “Night of Power,” or the “Night of Destiny.” It is believed that on this night the prophet Muhammed received the first revelation of the Qur’an. For many Muslims, this 10-day period is marked by a heightened spiritual intensity, and they may spend these nights praying and reciting the Qur’an.

After 30 days of fasting, the end of the month of Ramadan is observed with a day of celebration called Eid-ul-Fitr. On this day, Muslims gather in one place to offer a prayer of thanks. It is traditional to wear new clothes, visit friends and relatives, exchange gifts, eat delicious dishes prepared for this occasion, and wait patiently for the next year.

Christians and Fasting

In the Bible, we do not findanyone method of fasting required of us, but the Lord Jesus did say, however, “when you fast…” (Matthew 6:16), seeming to assume that His followers would imitate His own example. We fast as an outward symbol of our devotion to God, being willing to deny ourselves food for His sake. Fasting adds intensity to our prayer and often leads to breakthroughs. We do not fast to convince or persuade God, but rather to identify with His broken heart and with His desire for all mankind to know Him.

“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to lose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out?” (Isaiah 58:6-7)

The name Ramadan is derived from the Arabic word ramida or ar-ramad, denoting intense scorching heat and dryness, especially the ground. From the same word there is ramdaa, meaning “sunbaked sand” and the famous proverb kal mustajeer minar ramadaa binnar — to jump out of the frying pan into the fire. Some say it is so called because Ramadan scorches out the sins with good deeds, as the sun burns the ground.

Ramadan brings out a special feeling of emotional excitement and religious zeal among Muslims of all ages. Though fasting is mandatory only for adults, children as young as eight willingly observe fasting with their elders. Children look forward to the excitement of sighting the moon and eating special meals with their families. Adults appreciate the opportunity to double their rewards from God and seek forgiveness for past sins. As Ramadan emphasizes Muslim brotherhood and community, all feel a particular closeness towards their Creator and amongst their family and friends.

Christians and Fasting

In the Bible, we do not find anyone method of fasting required of us, but the Lord Jesus did say, however, “when you fast…” (Matthew 6:16), seeming to assume that His followers would imitate His own example. We fast as an outward symbol of our devotion to God, being willing to deny ourselves food for His sake. Fasting adds intensity to our prayer, and often leads to breakthroughs. We do not fast to convince or persuade God, but rather to identify with His broken heart and with His desire for all mankind to know Him.

“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out?” (Isaiah 58:6-7)

——————-

Whether you are able to physically fast during Lent and to follow through during the season of Ramadam does not matter. Due health reasons I can no longer go without eating a little something every three or four hours, but there are more important ways of fasting:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/1silo.penzu.com/photos/9650552/big/Pope_Francis_Fasting.jpg?1645584436

The Road Not Taken–Redirecting the Questions

April 3, 2022

The Road Not Taken–Redirecting the Questions!

The Road Not Taken

By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

John 7:1–2, 10, 25-30

New Living Translation

After this Jesus traveled around Galilee. 2 He wanted to stay out of Judea, where the Jewish leaders were planning his death.

10 But after his brothers left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, staying out of public view.

Is Jesus the Messiah?

25 Some of the people who lived in Jerusalem started to ask each other, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? 26 But here he is, speaking in public, and they say nothing to him. Could our leaders possibly believe that he is the Messiah? 27 But how could he be? For we know where this man comes from. When the Messiah comes, he will simply appear; no one will know where he comes from.”

28 While Jesus was teaching in the Temple, he called out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I come from. But I’m not here on my own. The one who sent me is true, and you don’t know him. 29 But I know him because I come from him, and he sent me to you.” 30 Then the leaders tried to arrest him; but no one laid a hand on him, because his time[c] had not yet come.

———————————-

        Sometimes the question determines the answer. In John 7 Jesus preaches in Jerusalem on the Feast of Tabernacles, the question from his hearers is not, “Is this true?” Instead, they are asking questions to show their knowledge of who the Messiah is, and question the invalidity of Jesus since he is from Galilee.

    Rather than listen we doubt, we question, and place our own values on others. They do not see the purpose of Jesus, stemming from his relationship with God.

    Often it is suggested I move to another town, and cook again large meals. When that happens I know I am not being listened to. First of all, many years ago I took a vow of “stability”, where I would stay in San Francisco, and serve, and secondly, I have cooked large meals, and have been led to move in other directions. People place their wishes on my shoulders. We need to listen, not advise or judge. Bell Hooks tells us: The choice to love is the choice to connect–to find ourselves in the other.” We have to enter into and let others enter into our lives to truly connect, true love is not telling others how to live their lives, but listening and allowing them to find their own way.

    Only in listening can others become themselves, and find the answer to their questions.

    Our purpose from the beginning is to be in a relationship with God, to be God’s child. The Westminister Confession declares our purpose: “Glorify God, and worship him forever.” What we do at work, be it washing dishes to being President of the United States, is sacred following that purpose. Each of us is precious in God’s eyes, our purpose is simply to love Him/Her. Our purpose is simply to let God love us.

    I became aware of my purpose at nine years old, as my parents shared of loving God, seeing God in all things, and at twelve, when the presence of God was felt in my heart, calling me to ministry, it was solidified even more so, when I became  “a priest forever in the Order of Mechsidek.”

    The stole and Bible above are symbols of the journey of walking the road less traveled. The stole was given to me on my ordination to the priesthood, with the words: “This stole has been made from blankets of men who have died of AIDS, and in this ordination, you have chosen a road few walk, of ministry with street youth, in particular queer youth.”

    One, sunny warm day walking down Polk Street, a young, homeless boy of fifteen, in the summer of 1998 yelled my name and handed me this “Bible, with the Book of Common Prayer”, saying, “I have learned from you that it is ok to be gay, and this Bible is my gift.” He had stolen the Bible, which I treasure to this day.

    Both symbolize personally  “salvation” comes not through beating the Bible on a person’s head, but truly listening and seeing salvation in all spiritual expressions, and within.

    My friend Cindi Vian summarizes salvation in this poem she gave to us:

Salvation

By what are you saved? And how?
Saved like a bit of string,
tucked away in a drawer?
Saved like a child rushed from
a burning building, already
singed and coughing smoke?
Or are you salvaged
like a car part — the one good door
when the rest is wrecked?

Do you believe me when I say 
you are neither salvaged nor saved,
but salved, anointed by gentle hands
where you are most tender?
Haven’t you seen
the way snow curls down
like a fresh sheet, how it
covers everything,
makes everything
beautiful, without exception?

~ Lynn Ungar ~

(Blessing the Bread)

———————————

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

—————-

TENDERLOIN STATIONS OF THE CR0SS

Good Friday/April 15, 2022

Noon-2:00 p.m.

A Walk of Reflection on Bearing the Cross of Thorns-Our Haunting of Our Treatment of Native Americans

We Begin in front of City Hall-Polk Side

Will Pray and Feed Anyone Who is Hungry

Sponsored by Temenos Catholic Worker

For More Info: Fr. River Sims, D.Min., D.S.T. 415-305-2124, Temenos@gmail.com

(We need seven more volunteers to read parts, please contact Fr. River if interested.)

=========================

Ramadan Begins On April 2, 2022, and ends on May 1, 2022–An Explanation:

Why are more than a billion people around the world abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking, and sex from dawn to sunset this month? They are Muslims who are fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of the religion of Islam and one of the highest forms of Islamic worship. Abstinence from earthly pleasures and curbing evil intentions and desires is regarded as an act of obedience and submission to God (Allah is the Arabic word referring to “the one God”) as well as an atonement for sins, errors, and mistakes.

Called Ramadan (or Ramazan), Muslims fast during this month from the moment when it first starts to get light until sunset. They fast as an act of faith and worship towards God, seeking to suppress their desires and increase their spiritual piety. Fasting together as a worldwide community (Ummah) affirms the brotherhood and equality of man before God.

When Is Ramadan?

Muslims follow a lunar calendar which is approximately 10 or 11 days shorter each year. The month of Ramadan is the ninth month and officially begins with a combination of the sighting of the new moon and astronomical calculations. Some Muslim authorities rely more heavily on the physical sighting of the new moon than on scientific calculations. An Imam (Muslim holy man) will declare the exact time of Ramadan just prior to its commencement. The fasting period ends upon the sighting of the next new moon, which occurs after 29 or 30 days.

In 2022, Ramadan begins in the entire U.S. on April 2 and concludes on May 1. In some other parts of the world, it begins on slightly different dates. The exact date is not the same in all parts of the world because the actual time when the “new moon” begins varies around the world.

What’s Ramadan All About?

The name Ramadan is derived from the Arabic word ramida or ar-ramad, denoting intense scorching heat and dryness, especially the ground. From the same word there is ramdaa, meaning “sunbaked sand” and the famous proverb kal mustajeer minar ramadaa binnar — to jump out of the frying pan into the fire. Some say it is so called because Ramadan scorches out the sins with good deeds, as the sun burns the ground.

Ramadan brings out a special feeling of emotional excitement and religious zeal among Muslims of all ages. Though fasting is mandatory only for adults, children as young as eight willingly observe fasting with their elders. Children look forward to the excitement of sighting the moon and eating special meals with their families. Adults appreciate the opportunity to double their rewards from God and seek forgiveness for past sins. As Ramadan emphasizes Muslim brotherhood and community, all feel a particular closeness towards their Creator and amongst their family and friends.

Muslims must adapt themselves both physically and emotionally during these 30 long days of fasting. A typical day of fasting begins with getting up early, around 4:30 a.m. and sharing a meal called sahur together before the fast begins at dawn, about 5:10 a.m. As dawn breaks, Fajr, the first of five daily prayers is offered.

As the day proceeds, fasting Muslims are constantly bombarded with messages from their stomachs that it is time for breakfast, snack, lunch, and so on. And each time, Muslims remind themselves that they are fasting for the sole purpose of pleasing God and seeking his mercy. They offer the second and third prayers during early and late afternoon, respectively. Fasting helps one to experience how a hungry person feels and what it is like to have an empty stomach. It teaches one to share the sufferings of the less fortunate. Muslims believe that fasting leads one to appreciate the bounties of God, which are usually taken for granted – until they are missed!

Throughout the day Muslims are encouraged to go out of their way to help the needy, both financially and emotionally. Some believe that a reward earned during this month is multiplied 70 times and more. For this reason, Ramadan is also known as the month of charity and generosity.

Ramadan Is More Than Just Fasting

To a Muslim, fasting not only means abstaining from food, but also refraining from all vice and evils committed consciously or unconsciously. It is believed that if one voluntarily refrains from lawful foods and sex during Ramadan, he will develop self-restraint and be more able to avoid unlawful things and acts the rest of the year.

The fast is broken at sunset. The Prophet Muhammed recommended breaking the fast with a meal of dates. Muslims are urged to invite others to break the fast with them. These gatherings are called iftar parties.

Just after breaking the fast but before dinner, Muslims offer the fourth of the five daily prayers, which is called the Maghrib prayer. After dinner, Muslims go to their houses of worship, called mosques, to offer the Isha prayer, which is the last of the five daily prayers. The day ends with a special voluntary prayer, the Taraweeh, offered by the congregation reciting the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam.

Closing the Month Off

The last ten days of Ramadan are considered highly blessed, especially the 27th night which is called laylat al-qadr – the “Night of Power,” or the “Night of Destiny.” It is believed that on this night the prophet Muhammed received the first revelation of the Qur’an. For many Muslims, this 10-day period is marked by a heightened spiritual intensity, and they may spend these nights praying and reciting the Qur’an.

After 30 days of fasting, the end of the month of Ramadan is observed with a day of celebration called Eid-ul-Fitr. On this day, Muslims gather in one place to offer a prayer of thanks. It is traditional to wear new clothes, visit friends and relatives, exchange gifts, eat delicious dishes prepared for this occasion, and wait patiently for the next year.

Christians and Fasting

In the Bible, we do not findanyone method of fasting required of us, but the Lord Jesus did say, however, “when you fast…” (Matthew 6:16), seeming to assume that His followers would imitate His own example. We fast as an outward symbol of our devotion to God, being willing to deny ourselves food for His sake. Fasting adds intensity to our prayer and often leads to breakthroughs. We do not fast to convince or persuade God, but rather to identify with His broken heart and with His desire for all mankind to know Him.

“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to lose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out?” (Isaiah 58:6-7)

The name Ramadan is derived from the Arabic word ramida or ar-ramad, denoting intense scorching heat and dryness, especially the ground. From the same word there is ramdaa, meaning “sunbaked sand” and the famous proverb kal mustajeer minar ramadaa binnar — to jump out of the frying pan into the fire. Some say it is so called because Ramadan scorches out the sins with good deeds, as the sun burns the ground.

Ramadan brings out a special feeling of emotional excitement and religious zeal among Muslims of all ages. Though fasting is mandatory only for adults, children as young as eight willingly observe fasting with their elders. Children look forward to the excitement of sighting the moon and eating special meals with their families. Adults appreciate the opportunity to double their rewards from God and seek forgiveness for past sins. As Ramadan emphasizes Muslim brotherhood and community, all feel a particular closeness towards their Creator and amongst their family and friends.

Christians and Fasting

In the Bible, we do not find anyone method of fasting required of us, but the Lord Jesus did say, however, “when you fast…” (Matthew 6:16), seeming to assume that His followers would imitate His own example. We fast as an outward symbol of our devotion to God, being willing to deny ourselves food for His sake. Fasting adds intensity to our prayer, and often leads to breakthroughs. We do not fast to convince or persuade God, but rather to identify with His broken heart and with His desire for all mankind to know Him.

“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out?” (Isaiah 58:6-7)

——————-

Whether you are able to physically fast during Lent and to follow through during the season of Ramadam does not matter. Due health reasons I can no longer go without eating a little something every three or four hours, but there are more important ways of fasting:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/1silo.penzu.com/photos/9650552/big/Pope_Francis_Fasting.jpg?1645584436