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Memories and Introspection

February 22, 2020

Today was another wonderful day in San Francisco. There is so much history here. There is also so much family history for me. My Dad was born in San Francisco on August 30, 1929. He grew up here and came back after I was born to earn his Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree from the Jesuit University of San Francisco when I was a very young child. I guess the Jesuits and St Ignatius were a part of my spiritual DNA before I knew it! My Dad’s oldest brother Dick (a WW2 US Army Air Forces Technical Sergeant) is also buried at the Presidio National Cemetery in San Francisco. I guess there is a whole lot of family spiritual history here as well.

We have had such a wonderful time visiting with a dear friend and seeing the sights.

We also had a stark reminder that while tourists can wander around, some of our dear sisters and brothers don’t have it as well. The number of homeless wandering the streets and sleeping wherever they can is overwhelming. At one point, we were walking on the sidewalk and passed a shopping cart, a tarp, and a fellow who was waking up. I felt as though we had walked through his living quarters and a huge part of me wanted to apologize for invading his space. Later on, we passed a tent which was pitched on the sidewalk next to two churches and across the street from a synagogue.

Who is my brother? Who is my sister? Every one created in the image of God by God is a member of my family. This took me back to Las Vegas when I was stationed there from 1998-2002. When the Olympics came to Salt Lake City, they removed the homeless population from the city and shipped them down to Las Vegas! It was both heartbreaking and appalling to me.

While Jesus said we will always have the poor with us, he didn’t tell us to ignore them. He didn’t tell us to make them less than human. Just as Saint Francis kissed the leper, we are called to especially embrace those who make us “feel” uncomfortable!

Thomas Merton wrote about the beginning of love and I believe that this is incredibly important to our embracing of all God’s children, especially those who make us uncomfortable and those we want to ignore.

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them. (No Man is an Island)

He also said the following in his book, Thoughts in Solitude: There is no greater disaster in the spiritual life than to be immersed in unreality, for life is maintained and nourished by our vital relation with realities outside and above us.

There is so much to consider, ponder, and adjust within our very core.

While this has been a wonderful few days for us. It has also been an incredibly challenging time for us. Denise and I have both thought of our friends who are homeless and who we know by name and by relationship.

Lord, help us to be instruments of your peace… your love… your sacred embrace…

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