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Posts tagged ‘tijuana’

What Meaning in Lola’s Face?

¿Qué es el sentimiento mystico en la cara de Lola?

                                                                               ¿Qué es el sentimiento mystico en la cara de Lola?

The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely. Hence, there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face.” 

– Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ 233

Are We Ready? It’s Almost Here!

Experience Christmas Joy with the spirit of a child

Experience Christmas Joy with the spirit of a child

Birthing
By Mark Unbehagen
How does one birth peace. . .
in a world that seems to prefer the profits of war?
How can one birth hope. . .
in a time when devastation is born of poverty and pandemic?
How does one birth love. . .
in a world whose heart is captive to fear?
How can one birth joy. . .
How can one birth joy?
The plastic manger scene on the front lawn
just doesn’t do it!
Birthing is so much more!
It is, and requires. . .
radical intimacy,
prolonged patience,
the coming together of pain and ecstasy,
the joining of our deepest hopes and fears.
Face it,
birthing is a messy business.
And yet this process occurs every moment of our lives:
as our bodies birth cell upon cell,
as our minds birth ideas and dreams into the world,
as our spirits birth. . .
in the midst of labor and pain. . .

as our spirits birth.. JOY

From the Education for Justice website.

Just Smile!

lola_19

I will never understand all the good that a simple smile can accomplish.

– Mother Teresa

Joy and Pain

Don’t be concerned about being disloyal to your pain by being joyous.

– Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, Alchemical Wisdom

la_bamba_2012_pat_247

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime (iPhoneography)

This last week Sister Carla and I accompanied students from Dominican University on a service trip to Tijuana. We stayed at Casa de los Pobres, served the poor there, painted a house, held a carnival for the children in another colonia, and had moving conversations with people who provide healthcare, social service, as well as with those who are served there, including a Central American couple who now live in never-never land, having been deported from the U.S. to Mexico. It was a profound experience, and we are sure it is a life-changing one for the young adults on the trip.

The picture below, taken with my iPhone, shows some of the homeless that come everyday for breakfast. The Casa used to serve lunch, but donations have dropped off in recent years. At least the 1,200 children, women, and men who come each day receive a breakfast of rice (sometimes with a little chicken – whatever is available), tortillas (sometimes bread), beans, and milky oatmeal. But most days there’s no lunch. On the lucky days, bean burritos are given out in the afternoon. The day of this picture was a lucky one, even though there was no lunch, for everyone received an apple. Fruit doesn’t arrive very often.

So as the Weekly Photo Challenge celebrates Lunchtime, let us remember all those who don’t enjoy lunch everyday. In fact, let us remember those who are so poor and far away from support systems that they are not even able to find breakfast.

Who can you remember today? And how can you help?

There won't be a lunchtime today . . . but at least a good breakfast.

There won’t be a lunchtime today . . . but at least a good breakfast.

The Grateful Person

The grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience.

And that is what makes all the difference.

– Thomas Merton

Lupita

In 2008, Sister Carla, Father Bob, and I went with a group of Dominican University students on a service trip to Tijuana. We painted Lupita’s house. In the way of possessions, she is poor – in generosity of heart and trust in God, she is rich. Lupita is one who knows God’s goodness by experience, and knowing her and her family has enriched my experience of trusting our Loving God.

Loving Our Neighbor . . . the Immigrant

Friday’s Gospel reading is from Matthew 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding,
with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him,
“You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

I wonder how well we demonstrate our love for God by our love for our neighbor . . .

  • After visiting with some of the people of Tijuana, and witnessing their poverty. . .
  • After conversations with people who had grown up in the U.S., only to be deported as an adult, even though they knew no one in Mexico . . .
  • After remembering the words of Exodus 22:21 . . .

You must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.

God bless the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Peace, and all those who support them, in caring for their neighbors and our neighbors. May we learn to be truly neighbor through our trade and immigration policies, and may we learn compassion and not react to the “stranger” in a mean-spirited manner because of our fear and lack of understanding. May the Spirit help us to “enlarge the place of our tent” (Isaiah 54:2) and make room in our hearts and our lives for others who are different from us. Could this be a way for us to be transformed this Lent?

The people at Casa de los Pobres, Tijuana, gather to pray the Stations of the Cross during Lent. The students of Dominican University joined them.