Archive for November, 2022

Repent–The Reign of God Is At Hand!

November 30, 2022

Repent! The Reign of God Is Near!

“John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. .”Repent of your sins, and turn to God, for the Reign of God is at hand. Matthew 3:1-2.”

Last night I sat with a seventeen-year-old transgender man as he died from an overdose of fentanyl; on November 20 we had the Club Q massacre in Colorado Springs, LGTBQ Club, and two were transgender.

I thought of my own complicity in the discrimination of being an ordained priest; of my own pain caused by the Church. I thought of the pain the Church had inflicted on me as well!

Dr. Megan Rhor writes: “Churches always want to welcome queer people but do it quietly to avoid the bullets, bullies and rage and all who blame queer people .for every problem in society.”

I have no adult friends who are active in local churches with whom I can comfortably about talk queer youth or even adults. Churches are always silent when it comes to LGTBQ issues, especially youth!

When denominations open to LGBTQ they push everything behind the door and move on without being inclusive of education and talking about feelings and pain resulting from past discrimination. All is well as the sins of the past continue to corrode and destroy.

Drug use is growing among youth. A recent study tells us that over half of California youth over 12 drink alcohol, and twenty-percent smoke marijuana. Personally, I only know six who are straight-edge and who are homeless or housed and I know hundreds.

Our woundedness can only be healed as we grieve, and then put our lives back together. In doing so we can become wounded healers. For wounded healers embrace and move through their pain.

Jesus accepts all of us equally, he loves each one of us equally and cares for us as his brothers and sisters without judgment.

Join me in the Trevor Project, focused on suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ youth. Their stated goals are to provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for people under twenty-five. The heaviest rates of suicide are among LGTBQ youth, forty percent of the total number.

During December the Trevor Project is sponsoring a “Forty Mile Challenged Walk“, walking forty miles during the month with individuals donating for each mile. Each mile is walked in support of LGBTQ youth.. You may donate to me on Facebook or send a donation on their website: http://www.trevorproject.org.

Join in making the “Reign of God come near!

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

Advent Study

Advent in Narnia

Reflections for the Season

by Heidi Haverkame

Get a copy of the book and follow our reflections during the week.

We are studying The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

Read Week One.

Fr. River Sims

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www. temenos.org

415-305-2124

Birthing the Holy

November 28, 2022

A Book Review and Reflection onBirthing the HolyChristine Valters Paintner

Paintner presents an introduction to Mary as one who gives birth to the Holy in the early part of the Gospels and at the end surrenders herself to something she never ever could have imagined, to be the human Mother of the Messiah, of God.In Birthing the Holy, Paintner presents the manifestation of a prism of Mary which continues to reflect the many forms of the love of Jesus.Cynthia Bourgeault writes that mystical hope “has something to do with presence–not a future good outcome, but the immediate experience of being met in communion, held in communion,by  something immediately at hand.”It was Mary, in the manifestations of “Our Lady of Guadalupe” and “Mary the Untier of Knots” through whom Christ kept me close to him when I wanted to run away. Those manifestations remind me of the words Dorothy Day about the  Church: “She is  both a whore and our Mother,” Mary is why I am still a priest.Thirty-four years ago I left another state for Los Angles, broken, defeated, and hating the Church and Christ. My sexuality had turned the treasures of my life against me. I was removed from the ministry and marked with a scarlet letter.  I vowed, I swore I would never go back. To make a living, and frankly, giving the Church and God a finger I became a sex worker.But God was not through with me, for through my Hispanic sex worker friends I was introduced to “Our Lady of Guadalupe”, the racially mixed Mother of God, who lead her people into struggling against injustice. She transcended all boundaries. As I experienced the presence of the archetypical Rose, I found Jesus again, the Jesus who accepts all. And in the early morning light before her statue, my heart felt that strange warmness, that once called me to ministry, and I left sex work and began my move once again to ministry.Secondly, “Mary, Untier of the Knots” through the years has been very meaningful. The knots are those things within our lives that keep us tied up.The heart of healing work is the transformation of our wounds and self-imposed limitations of grief and loss that enslave us. The Wounded Healer, as so beautifully expressed by writer Fr. Henri Nouwen, points to the way that our own healing is broken open through our woundedness and allows us to become healers.Mary pointed me back to Jesus, my Hope and Redeemer. Jesus who is not judgmental accepts all of my spots and transforms them into tools of love.This Advent I encourage all of us to read Birthing the Holy and allow these manifestations of Mary to embrace each of us, allowing us to see Jesus, as our Healer, Redeemer, and the One who loves us with all of his heart. Julian of Norwich sums it all up in her poem:

“God chose to be our mother in all thingsand so made the foundation of his work,most humbly and most pure, in the Virgin’s womb.God, the perfect wisdom of allarrayed himself in this humble place. Christ came in our poor fleshto share a mother’s care.Our mothers bear us for pain and for death;our true mother, Jesus, bears us for joy                and endless life.Christ carried us within him in love and travail,                until the fulltime of his passion.And when all was complete and he had carried us                so for joy,                still all this would not satisfy the power                of his wonderful love.All that we owe is redeemed in truly loving God,                for the love of Christ works in us;                Christ is the one whom we love.”Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!====================Join the Giving Tuesday movement and reimagine a world built upon shared humanity and radical generosity. November 29, 2022!

Temenos Catholic Worker Gives Out 20,000 Pairs of Socks A Year! We Provide Pastoral Care to Countless Individuals!  We Meet People Where They Are!Give through  Paypal! Our website: www.temenos.org!And through the mail: P.O. Box 642656 San Francisco, CA 94164==============================Advent StudyAdvent in NarniaReflections for the Seasonby Heidi HaverkameGet a copy of the book and follow our reflections during the week. We are studying The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.Read Week One.

Fr. River SimsP.O. Box 642656San Francisco, CA 94164www. temenos.org415-305-2124

Bathing the Holy

November 28, 2022

A Book Review and Reflection onBirthing the HolyChristine Valters Paintner

Paintner presents an introduction to Mary as one who gives birth to the Holy in the early part of the Gospels and at the end surrenders herself to something she never ever could have imagined, to be the human Mother of the Messiah, of God.In Birthing the Holy, Paintner presents the manifestation of a prism of Mary which continues to reflect the many forms of the love of Jesus.Cynthia Bourgeault writes that mystical hope “has something to do with presence–not a future good outcome, but the immediate experience of being met in communion, held in communion,by  something immediately at hand.”It was Mary, in the manifestations of “Our Lady of Guadalupe” and “Mary the Untier of Knots” through whom Christ kept me close to him when I wanted to run away. Those manifestations remind me of the words Dorothy Day about the  Church: “She is  both a whore and our Mother,” Mary is why I am still a priest.Thirty-four years ago I left another state for Los Angles, broken, defeated, and hating the Church and Christ. My sexuality had turned the treasures of my life against me. I was removed from the ministry and marked with a scarlet letter.  I vowed, I swore I would never go back. To make a living, and frankly, giving the Church and God a finger I became a sex worker.But God was not through with me, for through my Hispanic sex worker friends I was introduced to “Our Lady of Guadalupe”, the racially mixed Mother of God, who lead her people into struggling against injustice. She transcended all boundaries. As I experienced the presence of the archetypical Rose, I found Jesus again, the Jesus who accepts all. And in the early morning light before her statue, my heart felt that strange warmness, that once called me to ministry, and I left sex work and began my move once again to ministry.Secondly, “Mary, Untier of the Knots” through the years has been very meaningful. The knots are those things within our lives that keep us tied up.The heart of healing work is the transformation of our wounds and self-imposed limitations of grief and loss that enslave us. The Wounded Healer, as so beautifully expressed by writer Fr. Henri Nouwen, points to the way that our own healing is broken open through our woundedness and allows us to become healers.Mary pointed me back to Jesus, my Hope and Redeemer. Jesus who is not judgmental accepts all of my spots and transforms them into tools of love.This Advent I encourage all of us to read Birthing the Holy and allow these manifestations of Mary to embrace each of us, allowing us to see Jesus, as our Healer, Redeemer, and the One who loves us with all of his heart. Julian of Norwich sums it all up in her poem:

“God chose to be our mother in all thingsand so made the foundation of his work,most humbly and most pure, in the Virgin’s womb.God, the perfect wisdom of allarrayed himself in this humble place. Christ came in our poor fleshto share a mother’s care.Our mothers bear us for pain and for death;our true mother, Jesus, bears us for joy                and endless life.Christ carried us within him in love and travail,                until the fulltime of his passion.And when all was complete and he had carried us                so for joy,                still all this would not satisfy the power                of his wonderful love.All that we owe is redeemed in truly loving God,                for the love of Christ works in us;                Christ is the one whom we love.”Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!====================Join the Giving Tuesday movement and reimagine a world built upon shared humanity and radical generosity. November 29, 2022!

Temenos Catholic Worker Gives Out 20,000 Pairs of Socks A Year! We Provide Pastoral Care to Countless Individuals!  We Meet People Where They Are!Give through  Paypal! Our website: www.temenos.org!And through the mail: P.O. Box 642656 San Francisco, CA 94164==============================Advent StudyAdvent in NarniaReflections for the Seasonby Heidi HaverkameGet a copy of the book and follow our reflections during the week. We are studying The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.Read Week One.

Fr. River SimsP.O. Box 642656San Francisco, CA 94164www. temenos.org415-305-2124

Review of Bathing the Holy

November 28, 2022

A Book Review and Reflection on

Birthing the Holy

Christine Valters Paintner

Paintner presents an introduction to Mary as one who gives birth to the Holy in the early part of the Gospels and at the end surrenders herself to something she never ever could have imagined, to be the human Mother of the Messiah, of God.

In Birthing the Holy, Paintner presents the manifestation of a prism of Mary which continues to reflect the many forms of the love of Jesus.

Cynthia Bourgeault writes that mystical hope “has something to do with presence–not a future good outcome, but the immediate experience of being met in communion, held in communion,by  something immediately at hand.”

It was Mary, in the manifestations of “Our Lady of Guadalupe” and “Mary the Untier of Knots” through whom Christ kept me close to him when I wanted to run away. Those manifestations remind me of the words Dorothy Day about the  Church: “She is  both a whore and our Mother,”

Mary is why I am still a priest.

Thirty-four years ago I left another state for Los Angles, broken, defeated, and hating the Church and Christ. My sexuality had turned the treasures of my life against me. I was removed from the ministry and marked with a scarlet letter.  I vowed, I swore I would never go back. To make a living, and frankly, giving the Church and God a finger I became a sex worker.

But God was not through with me, for through my Hispanic sex worker friends I was introduced to “Our Lady of Guadalupe”, the racially mixed Mother of God, who lead her people into struggling against injustice. She transcended all boundaries. As I experienced the presence of the archetypical Rose, I found Jesus again, the Jesus who accepts all. And in the early morning light before her statue, my heart felt that strange warmness, that once called me to ministry, and I left sex work and began my move once again to ministry.

Secondly, “Mary, Untier of the Knots” through the years has been very meaningful. The knots are those things within our lives that keep us tied up.

The heart of healing work is the transformation of our wounds and self-imposed limitations of grief and loss that enslave us. The Wounded Healer, as so beautifully expressed by writer Fr. Henri Nouwen, points to the way that our own healing is broken open through our woundedness and allows us to become healers.

Mary pointed me back to Jesus, my Hope and Redeemer. Jesus who is not judgmental accepts all of my spots and transforms them into tools of love.

This Advent I encourage all of us to read Birthing the Holy and allow these manifestations of Mary to embrace each of us, allowing us to see Jesus, as our Healer, Redeemer, and the One who loves us with all of his heart. Julian of Norwich sums it all up in her poem:

“God chose to be our mother in all things

and so made the foundation of his work,

most humbly and most pure, in the

Virgin’s womb.

God, the perfect wisdom of all

arrayed himself in this humble place.

Christ came in our poor flesh

to share a mother’s care.

Our mothers bear us for pain and for death;

our true mother, Jesus, bears us for joy

                and endless life.

Christ carried us within him in love and travail,

                until the fulltime of his passion.

And when all was complete and he had carried us

                so for joy,

                still all this would not satisfy the power

                of his wonderful love.

All that we owe is redeemed in truly loving God,

                for the love of Christ works in us;

                Christ is the one whom we love.”

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

Join the Giving Tuesday movement and reimagine a world built upon shared humanity and radical generosity. November 29, 2022!

Temenos Catholic Worker Gives Out 20,000 Pairs of Socks A Year! We Provide Pastoral Care to Countless Individuals!  We Meet People Where They Are!

Give through  Paypal! Our website: www.temenos.org!

And through the mail: P.O. Box 642656 San Francisco, CA 94164

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

Advent Study

Advent in Narnia

Reflections for the Season

by Heidi Haverkame

Get a copy of the book and follow our reflections during the week.

We are studying The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

Read Week One.

Fr. River Sims

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www. temenos.org

415-305-2124

The Holy Thief!

November 26, 2022

The Holy Thief!

Isa. 2:15

Matthew 24:37-44

“Work hard to enter the narrow door in God’s Kingdom for many will try to but will fail.,. Luke 13:24.

In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis writes of four children who have been sent from their home in London to the countryside to escape the Blitz during World War II. They are in a new place living apart from their parents with two adult caretakers who are mostly absent.

One rainy day Lucy finds a wardrobe all by itself in an empty room full of coats and as she enters she finds herself in the middle of a snowy forest.

Lucy was the “Holy Thief” walking into Advent, similar to walking into the wardrobe. Lucy did not belong in the wardrobe, nor in the forest, she was not invited, just walked in. This was Narnia.

In San Francisco, we often forget what cold and snow feel like. Advent in Narnia is being set apart from ordinary time, with a glimpse of a more kind and caring world. the “Holy Thief” sneaks into our lives quietly, bringing us a glimpse of Narnia.

And in that glimpse, we see with our hearts homelessness, hunger, destruction of our environment, and global catastrophe. And move forward being a vision of transformation into Narnia.

.Each day as I walk into Golden Gate Park, hang on the Haight, and walk through the darkness of the Tenderloin I always return more hopeful, for there I meet brothers and sisters who look death in the face and yet remain hopeful and joyful. God stealing in! Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

Join the Giving Tuesday movement and reimagine a world built upon shared humanity and radical generosity. November 29, 2022!

Temenos Catholic Worker Gives Out 20,000 Pairs of Socks A Year! We Provide Pastoral Care to Countless Individuals!  We Meet People Where They Are!

Give through  Paypal! Our website: www.temenos.org!

And through the mail: P.O. Box 642656 San Francisco, CA 94164

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

Advent Study

Advent in Narnia

Reflections for the Season

by Heidi Haverkame

Get a copy of the book and follow our reflections during the week.

We are studying The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

Read Week One.

Fr. River Sims

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www. temenos.org

415-305-2124

All of Us Are Family!

November 23, 2022

All of Us Are Family!

A Thanksgiving of Joy!

Meister Eckhart, famously wrote, If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘thank you,’ it will be enough.” Tomorrow is when we come together with family and friends to say thank you in the grandest of fashions. Tomorrow is a time to look beyond just one day to see if we truly give thanks for the other 364 days.

Tomorrow brings back many memories each year. The first set of memories trace back to the first sixteen years of my life when I celebrated Thanksgiving Day with my biological family, each one a grand feast; the second phase of Thanksgiving Days came from the period  I was appointed to my first parish. Each Thanksgiving thereafter was a celebration with my parish family, with large dinners around our fellowship hall; the third phase was on the streets of Hollywood when my sex worker friends and I would gather at a local restaurant, for we were not welcome in churches or soup kitchens–we were “whores”, and from that experience, I learned truly what family is– all, regardless of race, creed, whatever wrong we commit, etc are all welcome; and finally we come to the final revelation on the streets of San Francisco when 29 yeara ago I gathered with my sex worker friends and homeless youth on Polk Street, serving them pizza. From that time forward there has never been any loneliness at Thanksgiving for I celebrate with the great family of God, each one a brother and sister. And when we come together in gratitude for life, Thanksgiving is 365 days a year.

Gratitude is a transformational practice. Put into daily rotation in our spiritual lives, it can remake us in all the best ways.

When we are grateful for all that we have, be it little or much, in pain or out of pain, in good times or bad times, we begin to see blessings where we had not seen them before; we begin to live life from a place of abundance rather than a place of lack.

Suddenly a walk down the street, seeing homeless individuals sleeping in the doorways; or in Golden Gate Park holding the hand of one who has been stabbed; becomes an opportunity for grace, gratitude, and the awareness of God’s undeniable presence in the middle of our great messy lives. Look around, we are all family! Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

——————–

Join the Giving Tuesday movement and reimagine a world built upon shared humanity and radical generosity. November 29, 2022!

Temenos Catholic Worker Gives Out 20,000 Pairs of Socks A Year! We Provide Pastoral Care to Countless Individuals!  We Meet People Where They Are!

Give through  Paypal! Our website: www.temenos.org!

And through the mail: P.O. Box 642656 San Francisco, CA 94164

Fr. River Sims

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www. temenos.org

415-305-2124

The Marginal King!

November 21, 2022

Christ the King

The Marginal King

Luke 23:35-43

Jesus might have been a more palatable earthly king if he bothered to act like a King. In the same way, I might be a more acceptable priest if I acted like a priest.

In the past two weeks, I have been very ill, with one of “three new viruses” now going around, my doctor says: “Nothing I can do, simply wait and rest it will move out!,” really very comforting and hopeful.

Several street kids from the Haight have brought me food twice a week, soups, etc. One had called to ask for some socks and I told him I was ill, and suddenly they appeared on my doorstep with food.

During the same period, a “friend” of mine, an analyst appeared at my doorway simply wanting to ask me to sign a petition for the Senatorial primary in Georgia. I declined, and all I remember is being told I needed to express my political opinions, so in pointing to the white/pink colored rose on my desk I smarted off: “I vote the color of that rose, as it symbolizes the blood of Christ flowing out to feed, and house the homeless, etc. She arose, and said: “If you do not vote blue I am no longer your friend!” She is one of many who have walked away through the years because I choose the marginal way. And more interesting she never even seem to notice how sick I was.

Last night watching the cars drive by on Polk in the dark of night the thought traversed through my mind of how in the darkness we all are the same. We have fun the same way, we hurt, we suffer, and we die. In the end, we are the same.

Rather than judge others for the color of their skin, what they wear, where they live, and how they dress, we should see each person simply as we are, a created child of God.

When that happens the differences disappear, the person living in the tent disappears, and instead, we find ourselves joining arms with one another in bringing healing, and provision to all. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

Join the Giving Tuesday movement and reimagine a world built upon shared humanity and radical generosity. November 29, 2022!

Temenos Catholic Worker Gives Out 20,000 Pairs of Socks A Year! We Provide Pastoral Care to Countless Individuals!  We Meet People Where They Are!

Give through  Paypal! Our website: www.temenos.org!

And through the mail: P.O. Box 642656 San Francisco, CA 94164

Fr. River Sims

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www. temenos.org

415-305-2124

Sparks Through Stubble!

November 2, 2022

Day of the Dead-November 2, 2022

Sparks Through Stubble!

Wisdom 3:1, 7

“The Souls of the righteous are in the hands of
God and no torment shall touch them.

In the time of their judgment, they shall shine and dart about as sparks through the stubble.

We think of them today: Grandparents. Parents. Siblings. and Spouses. Children. Heroes. Teachers. Friends. We hold those who have gone before us into the dark valley. Some losses scar us more than others and simultaneously bring the hope of resurrection.

Early this morning I awoke suddenly from a dream, I was being held by a hand, and it let me go! The dream took me back some twenty years now, to a time of being let go from judging others.

On a dark, rainy night, I was called to San Francisco General Hospital to give the Sacrament of Reconciliation to a man who was dying. Walking into his room, I was startled, it was “Holywood Dave”, the man who had stabbed and injected blood and given me malaria, but even more heinous murdering my son.

For two years since my kid’s death, I had been in the throes of deep depression, sometimes simply just getting through the day, dwelling on ways to commit suicide. I hated this man, and wanted to turn and walk out, yet, the priest within turned me towards his bed.

Looking into his face, I viewed a man shrunken into skin and bones from AIDS. Dave had requested me, and as I looked into his eyes he said, “Fr. River please, please forgive me!”

And as I pronounced the words of absolution, the words of Jesus came to mind, “You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free!” For in those moments, my hate, anger, and desire for vengeance melted, and I knew Hollywood Dave was my brother, and it was no longer my place to judge him or anyone else. It was God’s place to make judgments, our’s is simply to be a conduit of His grace.

Holding Dave’s hand until his death, and walking home in the rain from the hospital  I was thunderstruck by how the communion of saints includes all who have walked among us, done us harm, and have been transformed through the grace of God.

This thought comforts me. I sense the spirits of all the departed ones as they “dart about as sparks through stubble”, not gone, but present, transformed, reimagined in God’s love. God gave them to us. With grace, we give them back. With mercy, we’ll rise together on the last day. Deo Gratias! Thanks, Be To God!

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

November Is National Gratitude Month!

2015  was the first year this November was designated as “National Gratitude Month”, at the request of Stacy Grewal, author, and spiritual coach, carrying through on the theme of “Gratitude Day” on November 24.

Some suggested ways to celebrate are:

1. Keep a gratitude journal, writing down each night five items you are thankful for at the end of the day! Turn your hearts to be thankful for all of life!

2. Give someone a thank-you gift!

3. Write, or better yet contact someone for whom you are thankful and with whom you have not been in contact for a long time!

4. Make a donation to an organization. Temenos Catholic Worker is one suggestion!

————————-

My friend,
Terry McGaffracy, a long-time advocate in the fight against the death penalty, an old friend and supporter of Temenos Catholic Worker,  recently lost his wife whose name we raise today in remembrance:

Mercades, June 20, 2022

May she rest in the arms of God!

—————————————————

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 941654

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

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