Peniel, Newsletter of Temenos Catholic Worker, August 2022


“Where Jacob Wrestles With God”

Newsletter of Temenos Catholic Workier

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, Director


When We Have Nothing to Lose
“When we feel lonely we have such a need to be liked and loved that we are hypersensitive to the many signals in our environment and easily become hostile toward anyone whom we perceive as rejecting us. But once we have found the center of our life in our own heart and have accepted our aloneness not as a fate but as a vocation, we are able to offer freedom to others. Once we have given up our desire to be fully fulfilled, we can offer emptiness to others. Once we have become poor, we can be a good host. It is indeed the paradox of hospitality that poverty makes a good host. Poverty is the inner disposition that allows us to take away our defenses and convert our enemies into friends. We can only perceive the stranger as an enemy as long as we have something to defend. But when we say, “Please enter—my house is your house, my joy is your joy, my sadness is your sadness, and my life is your life,” we have nothing to defend, since we have nothing to lose but all to give.”  Fr. Henri Nouen

Journal of An Alien Street Priest:

From the southern culture of my childhood we referred to the “dog days” of August. The weather is so hot, the dogs sleep in the shade during the day.  Other than in the “summer winter” of San Francisco, the temperature in August is sizzling. I will go the LA or Sacramento for three or four days in order to enjoy simply sitting in the heat during the day reading, napping, and when the sun sets go out on the town in the coolness of the night. Fun days!

These are also days of reflection, waiting for the coolness to come. This year in the midst of all of the shootings, and divisions across our country, the phrase of my childhood, used often by Senator Edward Kennedy that of doing all things for the sake of “the common good.”

The “common good” is echoed in the words of Jesus, from the book of John: “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” He had said previously: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your mind, soul and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.”

We are called to be interdependent on one another, not divisive. And so in our work through Temenos we seek that interdependence. Personally, I seek to meet people in the middle without judgment. When we do that, we can find common ground. None of us can have our way. Personally, I can care less about political beliefs, whether you are vaccinated or not, your color, religious persuasion, etc. What I care about is our common humanity.

We welcome the “Stranger”! “Makayla” is a lady who suffers

from mental illness and has been on the streets for years. She has two dogs that are always with her. To most people she is just the “crazy woman,” she is a stranger; to us our friend. I have received birthday and Christmas gift from her for over twenty years. “Makayla” is really a wonderful lady. To see that we must enter into her world. We must see the “common good” and offer hospitality.

The early Christians believed that the second coming of Christ was imminent: that any moment Christ could and would manifest himself in the guise of the stranger. Christians always set a room aside for the stranger, a person in need of shelter.

From these early Christians, the practice of hospitality developed, where one sees Christ in all, and walks with them, providing for their needs.

  • Through our ministry, we practice hospitality. From “Jim” sleeping in the bus stop across the street on Polk to “Makayla” in the Haight, we give the hospitality of our time, a listening ear, clean socks, food, and harm reduction.

Our mission is simply to practice the “common good” of all. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Book Study: You Are Loved! By Fr. Henri Nouwen

Join us in studying Henri’s book beginning August 1!

We will do a review of each chapter online and on Facebook

and throughout the week write about the theme, inviting others

to join in the discussion; If anyone would like we can have

a zoom discussion once a week as well, contact Fr. River.

Please feel free to call if you need a listening ear! 24/7!

We are beggars!

Checks: Please make payable to Temenos Catholic Worker


Pay Pal and you may give on

. . .


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