Posts Tagged ‘Reflection’

We are all wounded healers 

June 30, 2017

The main question is not, ‘How can we hide our wounds?’ so we don’t have to be embarrased, but ‘How can we hide our wounds?’

Hace 10 años Se Organizo La Primera Vigilia En Chile Para Los Que Fallecieron En La Calle

April 20, 2014

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Hace 10 años que estuve en Arica, Chile y me inspire a organizar una vigilia para todos los Ariqueños que habian fallecido en las calles de esa gran ciudad. Era un Martes, 20 de Abril, en las gradas de la Catedral San Marcos donde nos reunimos para recordar a todas esas personas que fallecieron en el olvido.

Fue una tarea que duro un poco mas de un mes para organizar. Me acuerdo que tuve que ser entrevistas de radio, escribir articulos en la revista de la Diocesis de Arica, organizar los permisos para la vigilia que se iba a ser en silencio y tambien escribir una carta para conseguir la madera.
Fue un momento muy especial para mi y al equipo de Mujeres que nos reuniamos todos los Martes en el parque para alimentar a las personas de la calle. Cuando tuve la idea de organizar la vigilia pense que ya se habia hecho en Chile y para confirmar, le envie un email a Benito Baranda F., Director Social Nacional del Hogar de Cristo informandole si se habia hecho una vigilia para los que habian fallecido en la calle. Y si se habia hecho, queria saber que hicieron para tener unas ideas para lo que queriamos hacer en Arica. Cuando Benito me envio un email y me dijo que no se habia hecho uno en Chile y que el de nosotros seria el primero a nivel nacional me puse muy contento. Pense que bonito que la cuidad de Arica pueda sembrar una semilla de consciencia y esperar que de luz a toda la nacion.

Para comenzar la vigilia pense que seria un acto muy espiritual si lo haciamos en silencio ya que queria recordar a todos los que fallecieron en el olvido. En el silencio encontramos los alimentos para enriquecer nuestra espiritualidad. Este acto y evento para mi era una manera para despedir a nuestros hermanos e hermanas con dignidad y para que el espiritu de cada uno de ellos/ellas estuviera presente en nuestra caminata. Para ponernos en un momento de reflexion escuchamos esta gran cancion:

 

Al llegar al parque donde alimentamos a las personas de la calle y despues de que los compañeros de los que habian fallecido compartieron historias de sus amigos, comparti un poema. Escribi este poema pensando en todos los indigentes que fallecieron en la calle y en todos aquellos que cada dia mueren de soledad.

MORIR DE SOLEDAD

Lo mas terrible
que un ser humano
puede experimentar
es
morir de soledad.
Saber que no es
querido ni valorado
es algo a lo que los
desamparados
desgraciadamente
se han acostumbrado.

 

A ser aislados
por nuestra sociedad
porque
su
presencia,
estilo de vida,
enfermedad,
es un cargo para la cuidad
ellos solamente han querido
vivir su vida en la tranquilidad
con personas que les entreguen
su amistad
y les den
la oportunidad
de salir de esta oscuridad
y encontrar la felicidad.

 

A nuestros hermanos y hermanas
abandonados por la sociedad,
les han robado
el derecho
de vivir
con dignidad
ya que nuestra sociedad
parece que no
se preocupa
de entregar
amor a la humanidad
y siento que les gusta
ver a los mas pobres
vivir en la oscuridad
porque si hubiera
justicia y solidaridad
muchos no estarian
viviendo en las calles
de esta ciudad,
pero de a poquito
ellos se van
moriendo de soledad.

 

Esta es la situacion
que vive un indigente
en el presente
y le da tristeza
ver a su propia gente
que la sociedad
les haiga
contaminado
su mente.

 

Nuestra sociedad
ha ignorado
la filosofia
de ver
a Cristo disfrazado
en los mas necesitados
y uno no puede
tenerle fe a
San Alberto Hurtado
si no se preocupa
de ayudar
a los mas desamparados
ya que el dedico su vida
ayudando a los
mas marginados.

 

Nuestro labor
es no dejarlos que tengan
mucho dolor
si no que sepan
que hay gente
que les entrega
amor
y asi podran vivir
su vida rodeados de felicidad
porque cuando ellos mueran
podran morir
en la tranquilidad.

 

La proxima vez
que te encuentres
con un indigente
trata de llegar
a los mas profundo
de su corazon
y encontraras
a una persona
que te cambiara
tu modo de pensar
y no lo podras explicar
porque cada uno
lo tiene que experimentar.

 

Para los que quieran leer el articulo que salio en diario local el proximo dia. Aqui les va:

http://www.estrellaarica.cl/site/edic/20040421055335/pags/20040421062505.html

 

 

The Melodians–Rivers of Babylon

March 18, 2014

Listen to this song with your eyes close and let the lyrics reach to the depths of your inner being.

My Reflection on 12 years as a Slave

February 26, 2014

I went to see the film, 12 years as a Slave, couple weeks ago with a group of friends and like everyone in the theater I had a difficult time seeing the film without being emotionally shaken. I shed a few tears even though most of my tears filled my heart with a tremendous pain.

As I watched the film I started thinking about the ways this country has not change since the days of Slavery. We may not call it slavery but we continue to live in an Institutional Slavery society where one can argue that our current economic “free market” model is an example where America has not change its evil ways. Our current capitalist model allows certain people to become “masters” over others. Corporations are the new Masters. The 1% are the new Masters. The 99% are the new slaves.

Just like the Masters cling to their religion to dehumanize the slaves, the new Masters are the Religious Right who hold on to conservative views to portray themselves as good Christians or Catholics, while ignoring the social teachings of Jesus who stress compassion for all and recognizing the humanity and dignity of every human being.

There is an African proverb that says: Poverty is Slavery. Given this proverb, our society has treated the poorest of the poor and the working class as the 21st century slaves. In America, both Democrats and Republicans have not done enough to help the poorest of the poor and the working class. It is a moral tragedy that the richest country in the world has millions of people living in poverty and on the streets. Politicians who cater to the corporations and the 1% and don’t pass laws that assist the poorest of the poor to get out of poverty is like the slave master who didn’t want slaves to be educated. Republicans in the eyes of many Americans are clearly seen as today’s slave masters. Not only are the majority of Republicans White but those Republicans who come from the South may easily have relatives who were slave owners.

Another clear example of modern day slavery is America’s Prison Industrial Complex which has many similarities between inmates and slaves. Not only are the majority of people incarcerated people of color but the presence of minorities in overcrowded prisons for nonviolent crimes allows businesses to use inmates and exploit them for free labor. These inmates have to work on slave like conditions. I could go into further detail to showcase the similarities between prisoners and slaves but after watching the movie it will be too painful.

America has to come to grasp with its past by addressing the social issues that are present today. Ignoring today’s social issues only validates yesterday’s cruel behavior.

Timmy Thomas-“Why Can’t We Live Together?”

October 25, 2013

Pictures of Thich Nhat Hanh

October 21, 2013

Here are some pictures I took of Thich Nhat Hanh aka Thay during his talk this past Saturday at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium and the Day of Mindfulness at Deer Park Monastery in Escondido yesterday.

I took some notes of his talk and will add them later in this post but for now wanted to include that I was struck when he stated that suffering and happiness are intertwined with one another. For the longest, I have always felt that way. These are my thoughts in Spanish which I will later try my best to translate.
Si no has sufrido, no has vivido. Para vivir tienes que sufrir porque en el sufrimiento encuentras las semillas que te forman y te hacen ver el mundo con los ojos de la humanidad.
I have felt that in order to live, one has to suffer. If one has not suffered in this world then one is not living. I feel it is in our suffering that we find the seeds that forms us and makes us see the world with a clear vision for the greater good of humanity.

Mahatma Gandhi aka Bapu…PRESENTE!!

January 31, 2012
Today I reflect on the life of Mahatma Gandhi as the world remembers this amazing soul on his 64th death anniversary. In an ideal world, January 30, 2012 would have been a global day of non violent demonstrations against U.S. Corporations and Financial Institutions who have benefited from our current recession. People would have been on the streets spreading Gandhi’s message of non-violence and non-cooperation. People would have shut down banks and corporations, and engage in dialogues via popular assemblies, neighborhood gatherings or townhall meetings. The people would have been sending one clear message to the world: 2012: A People’s Revolution. It is a message that our generation has an obligation to fulfill. If last year was an awakening then this year must be a call to action. May we be inspired by Gandhi’s political tactics of non-violence and non-cooperation to raise the conscious of the masses. It is only by a mass social justice movement that the people will rise to bring about the change that we so desperately need in our world.

I can’t think of a better way to honor Gandhi than to continue dedicating myself to the non violent struggle for a better world.
Here are some of my favorite quotes by Gandhi taken from the book, Quotes of Gandhi, compile by Shalu Bhalla.
1. My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God. Non-violence is the means of realising Him.
2. Democracy must in essence, therefore, mean the art and science of mobilising the entire physical, economic and spiritual resources of all the various sections of the people in the service of the common good of all.
3. A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
4. Ill-digested principles are, if anything, worse than ill-digested food, for the latter harms the body and there is cure for it, whereas the former ruins the soul and there is no cure for it.
5. To deprive a man of his natural liberty and to deny to him the ordinary amenities of life is worse than starving the body, it is starvation of the soul the dweller in the body.
6. The greater the institution, the greater the chances of abuse. Democracy is a great institution and therefore is is liable to be greatly abused. The remedy therefore is not avoidance of democracy but reduction of the possibility of abuse to a minimum.
7. Manliness consists not in bluff, bravado or lordliness. It consists in daring to do the right and facing consequences whether it is in matters social, political or other. It consists in deeds, not in words.
8. Non-violence and cowardice are contradictory terms. Non-violence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. Non-violence springs from love, cowardice from hate. Non-violence always suffers, cowardice would always inflict suffering. Perfect non-violence is the highest bravery. Non-violent conduct is never demoralising, cowardice always is.
9. Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.
10. Non-cooperation is directed not against men but against measures. It is not directed against the Governors, but against the system they administer. The roots of non-cooperation lie not in hatred but in justice, if not in love.
Mahatma Gandhi…PRESENTE!!
AHORA…Y…SIEMPRE!!!
I took these pictures when I visited New Delhi, India.
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How can you worship a homeless man on Sunday and ignore one on Monday?

November 11, 2011

I am fortunate to have a copy of this hard to find poster. During my Senior year at Saint Mary’s, I got in touch with folks from the Coalition for the Homeless in New York. I had them mailed me 3 posters. I gave one poster to CILSA (Catholic Institute for Lasallian Social Action) and one to Saint Mary’s Campus Ministry. I felt it was very important that a poster of this magnitude be on the walls of our Campus Ministry and CILSA to remind us about the connection between Spirituality and Social Justice.

As I reflect on this poster, I am reminded about my interactions with homeless people and the countless times they have shared their faith in God to me. I remember one conversation that I had with a homeless man in Cape Town, South Africa. Sometimes in the evening I would make some Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches and take with me a half gallon of milk and walk around our neighborhood to feed the homeless. I remembered one evening when I approach a man and I offered him Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches. “Thank you, God Bless!,” he said with a smile on his face. I replied, “You’re welcome. What’s your name?” “Michael.” “Nice to meet you, Michael. I brought milk so you can enjoy your sandwich.” “Thank you. God Bless You.” I started talking to Michael as he was eating his sandwich. Michael then said to me, “you know why I’m homeless? Because Jesus was homeless…I don’t have to go to church; you become the church to me G…Do you know where Jesus is?” Without thinking about it, I pointed to the sky (looking back, I’m embarrassed to say that was my response :). Michael looked at me and said, “NO! Jesus is right there (and pointed to my heart)!” I was left speechless. 

My conversation with Michael was a blessing that I will always treasure. It only reaffirmed that my vocation to work with the homeless was not only a desire to help my brothers and sisters on the margins of society but a journey where it will provide me with the opportunity to continue building the “Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven.” I have seen Jesus in disguise in the most marginalize. In fact, that is exactly where He wants us to find Him. The message is written in the Gospels but has to be carried in our hearts. May we continue worshiping a Homeless Man on Sunday but start embracing one on Monday.

Prayer by Carlos Mugica…”I dream of dying for them; help me to live for them.”

October 7, 2011
Lord, forgive me for getting used to seeing children
who seem to be eight years old
and are really thirteen.
Lord, forgive me for getting used to sloshing
around in the mud.
I can leave, they can’t.
Lord, forgive me for learning
to put up with contaminated water.
I can get away from it, they can’t.
Lord, forgive me whenever I switch on the light
and forget that they can’t.
Lord, I can go on a hunger strike but not they;
how can the hungry go on a hunger strike?
Lord, forgive me for telling them
that ‘not by bread alone does man live’
and not fighting all out for their bread.
Lord, I want to love them for them,
and not for me. 
Help me.
Lord, I dream of dying for them;
help me to live for them.
Lord, I want to be with them when the light comes.
Help me.

Carlos Mugica (10/7/30-5/11/74), member of the Movement of Priests for the Third World
in Argentina, liberation martyr, incorruptible prophet of the dispossessed, murdered by those
who fear to face a people free from oppression.
-found in Ethics and Theology of Liberation by Enrique Dussel 

Remembering Me on Thanksgiving and Christmas

November 23, 2010

Here is a poem I wrote more than 10 years ago. It was inspired from my conversations with my homeless friends.

REMEMBERING ME ON THANKSGIVING AND CHRISTMAS


You see me sleeping on the streets.
You give me money instead of something to eat.
I ask myself if you gave me the money to help me
or because it makes you feel good.
Whatever your intention was, I don’t know.

You see sometimes I don’t need money.
I just want someone to talk to me.
But I know it’s easy for you to give me money
than to shake my hand.

I also know that you only feed me on two occasions:
Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Why can’t you feed me on any other day?
I am hungry everyday just like you
unlike you most of these days I don’t eat.

I will admit that my best meal
comes when you feed me on these two occasions.
I wish it could happen more often,
but I know that you only remember me on these two days.

Now that I have shared with you what’s on my mind
I hope you will look at me in a different way.
Maybe now you won’t be scared to talk to me
Maybe you will be kind enough to feed me on a day
that is not Thanksgiving or Christmas.