Sparks Through Stubble!

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



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: