Posts Tagged ‘Spirituality’

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?’

Dr. D., A Story of An Amazing College Professor

February 9, 2016

Greetings Readers,

Today is the 8th year anniversary of the death of my beloved college professor, Dr. John A. Dennis, affectionately known to his students as Dr. D.

Dr. D. to many was more than a college professor. He was not your average professor either. This man taught at Saint Mary’s College of CA, City College of San Francisco, and at the Edward Sands School in East Oakland. And on the weekends taught Prison Ministry. As you can see, Dr. D. was no ordinary man. He was an amazing human being with an extraordinary gift of educating countless beautiful souls.

I can go on and on but words won’t do Justice to what Dr. D. meant to me or to those who were fortunate to know him.  Dr. D, created a beautiful garden of LOVE. In his garden, he cultivated seeds in the hearts and minds of all his students. He planted sees of understanding, respect, compassion, laughter, friendship, spirituality, and knowledge. Each one of his students is a seed in Dr. D’s garden of LOVE. I think every one of his students carry seeds that have been cultivated in us and continue planting seeds of compassion, respect and dignity to the people that we come across whether it be a homeless person, youth, our elders or fellow peers. In doing so, we resurrect the spirit of Dr. D. but at the same time we give those who were not fortunate to meet him a glimpse of what a special person Dr. D was.

Now that one has an idea of who this amazing person was, it is my honor to inform you all that my dear friend and former student of Dr.D., will be doing a film about his life. I am attaching the link below for those who want to get further information and want to support this project. One huge favor I ask is to please spread the word. I think it is very important that this story get told and what better way than one of his former students.

Here is the link. Please check it out. There is also a video where you can see for yourself, “Dr. D. in action.” Please help my friend make Dr. D.’s Film a reality.  Thank you all in advance.

Remembering Amazing Women on International Women’s Day

March 8, 2015

victorjara42's Blog

For international women’s day, I want to remember 15 women who have inspired me one way or another through their activism, music, poetry, painting or spirituality. All of these women and countless more give me the source of inspiration and desire to continue planting seeds of hope and compassion in this chaotic world of ours.
In no particular order, here they are:

Comandanta Ramona

Suheir Hammad

Violeta Parra

Miriam Makeba

Mercedes Sosa

Wangari Maathai

Mother Teresa

Dorothy Day

Frida Kahlo

Anita Tijoux

Joan Baez

Las Jilguerillas

Julieta Venegas

Tracy Chapman

Sweet Honey in the Rock
(Song in honor of Ella Baker)

Aqui les dejo esta cancion de Dos Vientos De Voz Y Fuego que se llama Porque Esto Ya Comenzo. Esta cancion esta en el CD, EZLN: El Fuego y la Palabra en el disco de la Dignidad. Disfruten de esta rola.

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Remembering Amazing Women on International Women’s Day

March 8, 2014

For international women’s day, I want to remember 15 women who have inspired me one way or another through their activism, music, poetry, painting or spirituality. All of these women and countless more give me the source of inspiration and desire to continue planting seeds of hope and compassion in this chaotic world of ours.
In no particular order, here they are:

Comandanta Ramona

Suheir Hammad

Violeta Parra

Miriam Makeba

Mercedes Sosa

Wangari Maathai

Mother Teresa

Dorothy Day

Frida Kahlo

Anita Tijoux

Joan Baez

Las Jilguerillas

Julieta Venegas

Tracy Chapman

Sweet Honey in the Rock
(Song in honor of Ella Baker)

Aqui les dejo esta cancion de Dos Vientos De Voz Y Fuego que se llama Porque Esto Ya Comenzo. Esta cancion esta en el CD, EZLN: El Fuego y la Palabra en el disco de la Dignidad. Disfruten de esta rola.

“If you see good in me, you are seeing God in me.”

October 12, 2013

Couple days ago, I was in my house and I was a little hungry. It was past 10pm and I wasn’t going to get something to eat but I decided to go to a nearby Taco truck because I wanted to drive and be alone with my thoughts. I order my food and as I was walking to the table where I was going to sit, I see a homeless man cleaning the table, “do you want something to eat?,” I asked. “Oh yeah!,” said the man. “Go ahead and order your meal. That way you can take a break. Make sure you get a good meal.” The man seem gracious about my offer. When he was ordering his food, I said to him, “when you are done ordering your food, come and join me.”

The man got his food, sat next to me and prayed before he began eating his food. I introduce myself to him. His name is Clarence, a man who appeared to me to be in his early 50s. We started talking and he told me that he is always around the area, cleaning people’s car windows when they are pumping gas and cleaning the tables of the Taco truck. Clarence went on to tell me that he ended in the streets when he lost his job and he didn’t have enough money to pay the rent and bills. 

As we were eating, Clarence started sharing his spirituality with me. He  talked about his faith in God and how when strangers go up to him after he has cleaning the windshields of their car, they always tell him that he is different than other people. Clarence then told me, “I always tell them if you see good in me, you are seeing God in me.” That phrase caught my attention. He went on, “I feel God wants me to tell others about Him through me. I feel He is using me so that people can see Him through me.” I told him that I see God in him and that I have always felt that Jesus disguises himself in the most marginalized so that we as a society can go beyond the outer appearance and pay attention to the inner gifts that we each possess. Clarence agreed with me and said, “I feel the same way too. I feel there is a reason why we are having this conversation. To be honest, when you asked me if I was hungry, I really was. I felt that God used you to reach out to me. Thank you. I can see God in you.” I quickly replied, “I see God in you.”

Clarence was telling me why he likes to wash the windshields of people’s car, “I like cleaning windows. I feel a good driver has to have his windshields clean.” When I was listening to him talk, a thought came to my mind and I shared with Clarence, “you know what they say about the eyes are the windows to the soul. Well, by you cleaning windows, you are ‘cleaning’ people’s eyes so that their sight is clean and will be able to see the God that is in you. By you cleaning windows, you are allowing people to see with fresh eyes the beauty that is in their surrounding.” Clarence paused. “Wow, you just made me realized why I like cleaning windows. Thank you G. That was deep. I never thought about it in that way.”

We ended having almost an hour conversation about life and spirituality. I then shared with Clarence my thoughts on the Gospels. “Clarence, this is what I tell people. Everyone knows about the 4 Gospels but the Gospel that people don’t know is the Gospel according to Clarence. That is the Gospel that you have to tell people about. St. Francis of Assissi once said, ‘Preach the Gospel, use words if necessary.’ The missing Gospels in the Bible are living Gospels.” Clarence was taken back by what I had just shared with him, “are you a preacher?” “No, I am not. I just feel that everyone of us has been given gifts to make this world a better place and there is no greater joy than sharing your gifts for the greater good of humanity. In order for us to share our gifts, we have to preach our Gospel and we do that through our actions.”

When it was time to leave we thank God for bringing us together and allowing us to have an amazing conversation. He told me that I can always find him around the area and hopefully we will see each other soon. We shook hands and gave each other a hug.

Cesar Chavez…PRESENTE!!!

March 31, 2011
Alan Greth/Zuma Press (Cesar Chavez)

Today we honor the life and legacy of Cesar E. Chavez. I am inspired by how humble he lived his life. The passion that he demonstrated in the UFW Movement is a struggle that farm workers to this day are waging. Cesar Chavez work had its root in his spiritual formation. He understood the connection between spirituality and activism. It is important to understand that one should not isolate their spiritual teachings with their activism work. Our activism should have some type of spiritual foundation. When working for humanity, it automatically should be a spiritual journey. Many people when engaging in their activism fail to connect spirituality to the work they are doing. They feel that they are including religion. What people fail to understand is that spirituality is separate from religion. In fact, I often tell people that spirituality is as simple as anything that enhances ones’ spirit. I have found that spirituality is always present when trying to make this world a better place. I can’t work for the common good and not recognized the spiritual connections to the work I am doing. Spirituality and Activism are inter-connected. As a former Jesuit Volunteer, I found that this notion of spirituality and activism was best described by St. Ignatius of Loyola as being Contemplative in Action. We are all called to be Contemplatives in Action and Cesar Chavez did a great job at demonstrating that.

There is a Jesuit saying that says: ETAS or in other words, En Todo Amar y Servir (in all, Love and Serve). Cesar Chavez life was guided by ETAS. Below is Cesar Chavez famous prayer. There was a time where I used to read Cesar Chavez prayer on a daily basis before I started my day. May this prayer inspired us and continue to guide us in our quest to making this world a better place for the future generations. 

Prayer of the Farm Workers’ Struggle

Show me the suffering of the most miserable;
So I will know my people’s plight.

Free me to pray for others;
For you are present in every person.

Help me to take responsibility for my own life;
So that I can be free at last.  

Grant me courage to serve others;
For in service there is true life.

Give me honesty and patience;
So that I can work with other workers.

Bring forth song and celebration;
So that the spirit will be alive among us.

Let the spirit flourish and grow;
So we will never tire of the struggle.

Let us remember those who have died for justice;
For they have given us life.

Help us love even those who hate us;
So we can change the world.

Written by Cesar E. Chavez, UFW Founder (1927-1993)   

 Oracion del Campesino en la Lucha

Ensename el sufrimiento de los mas desafortunados;

Asi conocere el dolor de mi pueblo.

Librame a orar por los demas;
Porque estas presente en cada persona.

Ayudame a tomar responsabilidad de mi propia vida;
Solo asi sere libre al fin.

Concedeme valentia para servir al projimo;
Porque en la entrega hay vida verdadera.

Concedeme honoradez y paciencia;
Para que yo pueda trabajar junto con otros trabajadores.

Alumbranos con el canto y la celebracion;
Para que levanten el Espiritu entre nosotros.

Que el Espiritu florezca y crezca;
Para que no nos cansemos entre la lucha.

Nos acordamos de los que han caido por la justicia;
Porque a nosotros han entregado la vida.

Ayudanos a amar aun a los que nos odian;


Asi podremos cambiar el mundo.

Escrito por Cesar E. Chavez, Fundador de la UFW (1927-1993)

Here are some videos on Cesar E. Chavez. Enjoy.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Cesar E. Chavez: 

“Our struggle is not easy. Those who oppose our cause are rich and powerful and they have many allies in high places. We are poor… but we have something the rich do not own. We have our bodies and spirits and the justice of our cause as our weapons.”

“Because we have suffered, and we are not afraid to suffer in order to survive, we are ready to give up everything – even our lives – in our struggle for justice.” 

“People who have lost their hunger for justice are not ultimately powerful….The love for justice that is in us is not only the best part of our being but it is also the most true to our nature.”


“Is it so much to ask that the poorest people of the land have a measure of justice?”

“We are confident. We have ourselves. We know how to sacrifice. We know how to work. We know how to combat the forces that oppose us. But even more than that, we are true believers in the whole idea of justice. Justice is so much on our side, that that is going to see us through.”

“We shall strike. We shall organize boycotts. We shall demonstrate and have political campaigns. We shall pursue the revolution we have proposed. We are sons and daughters of the farm workers’ revolution, a revolution of the poor seeking bread and justice.” 

“Non-violence, which is the quality of the heart, cannot come by an appeal to the brain.”

 “The first principle of non-violent action is that of non-cooperation with everything humiliating.” 

 “…people think non-violence is really weak and non-militant. These are misconceptions that people have because they don’t understand what non-violence means. Non-violence takes more guts, if I can put it bluntly, than violence. Most violent acts are accomplished by getting the opponent off guard, and it doesn’t take that much character, I think, if one wants to do it.”

 “Imagine the National Guard being called against a group of peaceful people. How far can we get; how disgraceful can it become? It’s the most disgraceful, the most wicked thing I’ve seen in all my years of organizing farm labor.”

 “Non violence means people in action. People have to understand that with non-violence goes a hell of a lot of organization.”

 “Non-violence exacts a very high price from one who practices it. But once you are able to meet that demand then you can do most things.” 

“Non-violence is a very powerful weapon. Most people don’t understand the power of non-violence and tend to be amazed by the whole idea. Those who have been involved in bringing about change and see the difference between violence and non-violence are firmly committed to a lifetime of non-violence, not because it is easy or because it is cowardly, but because it is an effective and very powerful way.”

“Violence just hurts those who are already hurt…Instead of exposing the brutality of the oppressor, it justifies it.”

“We are convinced that non-violence is more powerful than violence. We are convinced that non-violence supports you if you have a just and moral cause…If you use violence, you have to sell part of yourself for that violence. Then you are no longer a master of your own struggle.” 

“When workers fall back on violence, they are lost. Oh, they might win some of their demands and might end a strike a little earlier, but they give up their imagination, their creativity, their will to work hard and to suffer for what they believe is right.” 


Happy Birthday, Leonardo Boff

December 15, 2010
Happy Birthday Leonardo!!!

Leonardo Boff is one of the famous liberation theologians of our time. Leonardo Boff was born on December 14, 1938 in the state of Santa Catarina in Brazil. In 1959, he entered the Franciscan Order and five years after was ordained a priest. One can say that Leonardo Boff and Gustavo Gutierrez put liberation theology on the map. They were one of the first priests who not only talked about liberation theology but have continue to demonstrate the power and beauty of liberation theology through their actions.

Leonardo has always been a man of faith and one who speaks his mind even if it means criticizing his own church. He is not one to shy away from his beliefs. I admire Leonardo Boff for the role that he has played at taking shots at the Catholic Church hiearchy. Before the Pope took over the Catholic Church, he was Cardinal Ratzinger, and here is what Leonardo had to say about him, “A cardinal like Ratzinger who publishes an official paper stating that the only true Church is the Catholic Church, and the others aren’t even churches, that the only legitimate religion is Catholicism and the others don’t even possess a faith, being just beliefs, perpetrates religious terrorism, besides being a grave theological error.” This is the same man who is leading the Catholic Church. As much as I am proud of being a Catholic, I am one of a different sort. 
In the spirit of liberation theology, I am the type of Catholic who is not afraid to criticize my church. I’m the type of Catholic that let’s it be known that the Catholic Church is one of the organizations who preaches human rights but yet it is willing to continue oppressing women. I long for the day when women will be “Cardinal’s,” when a women will no longer just do the administrative part or janitorial part of the church, but can one day stand in front of the church on a sunday afternoon and give Mass and provide us with a beautiful homily. I long for the day when my generation will stand tall and witness the celebration of the first women becoming the MOM (I couldn’t come up with a better translation for Pope) of the Catholic Church. Most importantly, I am the type of Catholic who continues to be inspire by the Gospel of Love, Understanding, Kinship, Compassion, Justice and Liberation. A church that does not stand on the side of the poor and most marginalized is a church that does not represent my vision of the “Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

Leonardo has been a very vocal critic of the U.S. foreign policy. In an interview regarding his thoughts on the September 11 attacks, he said, “”For me, the terrorist attack of September 11 represents the shift towards a new humanitarian and world model. The targeted buildings sent a message: a new world civilization cannot be built with the kind of dominating economy (symbolized by the World Trade Center), with the kind of death machine set up (the Pentagon) and with the kind of arrogant politics and producer of many exclusions (…) For me the system and culture of capital began to collapse. They are too destructive.” In that same interview he went on to say that “one of the worst fundamentalisms is that of neoliberalism.”

Leonardo continues to stay true to his liberation theology roots but now doing its a lay person.

For those who want to know more about who this amazing man is, I have included couple of his interviews to give you and idea who this great human being is.

Here is a Spanish interview where Leonardo talks about liberation theology.

Here is Boff explaining his 4 ecologies

Leonardo Boff was the recipient of the 2001 Right Livelihood Award aka the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize. Below is his amazing speech.

Acceptance Speech by
Leonardo Boff
December 7th, 2001


Madam Speaker,
Your Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,
and Friends.

More than just a person, the Right Livelihood Award awards a cause. What is the cause that moves a whole generation of Christians in the Third World, in which I find myself as a Brazilian theologian, on the periphery of the big metropolitan centers of reflection, for more than 30 years? It is the cause of the condemned of the Earth, who account for most of mankind.

At the end of the sixties, an entire generation of Christians and theologians wondered and still wonder: how can we announce the love and mercy of God to millions who starve and are condemned to be non-humans? Only announcing a vivid and liberating God, allied with the poor and the excluded, can we, without cynicism and in truth, say: He is effectively a good and merciful God. The words of the Exodus were updated for our generation: “I have heard the oppression of my people, I have heard their screams of affliction, I have known their suffering. I have come down to free them…Now go, for I send you to free my people” (Ex 3, 7-10). Those words were addressed to each one of us, to each church, to each conscience which is minimally ethical and humanitarian.

In the seventies, the oppressed were the economic poor, and, for the minimum conditions of life and work, a process of social and political liberation, in the light of faith, was engendered.

In the eighties, the blacks and Indians emerged as the historical oppressed of our peoples, and were encouraged to be subjects of their own liberation.

In the nineties, the emphasis was on the singularity of the oppression of women, who have been subjugated for millennia to the patriarchal system and made invisible in the society. They try to be subjects of history in the same position as men, different and complementary.

All those people scream for life and freedom. Important sections of the historical churches have organized to respond to the scream of the oppressed. And they have done so by the liberating praxis of the grassroots church communities (only in my country there are more than one thousand of them), of the countless centers for defense of the human rights, of the social pastorates for land, housing, health, education and security, through the liberating reading of the Bible done by the poor themselves.

The reflection which has come out of this praxis is called liberation theology. It is the theology of all churches that took the problem of the poor and the excluded seriously. And because of that, it is present not only in Latin America, but also in Africa, in Asia and in the groups committed to the feminist cause and the ecology in the central countries.

The theology of liberation successfully tried to show that the Jewish Christian faith can be an element of social mobilization in function of deep changes in society which can bring more justice, more participation and more dignity to the unjustly humiliated. A Christian, because he or she is a Christian, can be a real libertarian. We are heirs of someone who, because of his announcement and praxis of liberation was persecuted, jailed, tortured and crucified. His resurrection means an insurrection against this world order which legitimatize prejudices, sacralizes privileges and makes the common living based on justice, caring and compassion impossible.

Not only do the poor scream, but also the water, the animals, the forests, the soils, that is, the Earth as a living super organism, called Gaia. They scream because they are continuously attacked. They scream because their autonomy and intrinsic value are not recognized. They scream because they are threatened with extinction. Every day around 10 species of living beings disappear as a result of man’s increasing aggressiveness in the contemporary industrial process.

The same logic explores the classes and subjugates nations, preys upon ecosystems and enfeebles the planet Earth. The Earth, with its impoverished sons and daughters, needs liberation. We all live oppressed under a paradigm of civilization that has exiled us from the community of life, which is related to violence against Nature and which makes us lose the reverence for the sacredness and majesty of the Universe. We have forgotten that we are only a link in the immense current of life and that we are co-responsible for the common destiny of mankind and Earth. 

An ecological theology was born out of these perceptions. According to this theology, social injustice becomes ecological injustice because it affects the human beings and the society which are part and parcel of Nature. An environmental theology which cares only for the environment is not enough. We need a social ecology that can re-educate the human being to live and connect cooperatively and fraternally with Nature.

We have made too many interventions in and against Nature. We have modified the physical and chemical basis of Earth. What we urgently need is to modify our mind-set. If we want to save the biosphere and guarantee a prosperous future for all, we need a mental and spiritual ecology. We have too much arrogance in our minds, too much desire for power as domination and tendencies to prejudice, subjugate and destroy others. The project of the technological science that has brought so many benefits to human life has also allowed the birth of the principle of self-destruction. The already-built death machine can devastate all biosphere and make the planetary human project impossible. We need to create, for our turn, the principle of mutual responsibility and caring for all that is and all that lives.

This time we have no Noah’s Ark to save some and let the others perish. We want to save ourselves together.

We need to disembowel tendencies that are also present in our minds: solidarity, compassion, caring, communion and loving. Such values and inner powers can lay the foundation of a new paradigm of civilization, the civilization of the humanity reunited in the Common House, on the Planet Earth.

To live such dimensions means to live the true human spirituality. And this spirituality is not monopoly of religions or churches, but the deepest dimensions of the human being. By means of it, we can perceive that all things in the Universe are not just juxtaposed, but inter and retro- connected . One link connects and re-connects everything, consisting of the sacred unity of the Universe. This secret link is the primitive source of all being. It is what all religions call God.

My effort in the last 30 years, as an integral theologian of liberation was to think and re-think, life and pass on this message: Earth and mankind constitute of just one reality. In fact, we human beings are the Earth itself that feels, thinks, loves and venerates. We have the same origin and the same destiny. We are summoned to be not Earth’s Satan, but its good Angel. We have reached the crossroads in which we should decide on the future we want. Our mission is to celebrate the greatness of Creation and connect it again to the Core where it came from and to where it will go, with care, lightness, joy, reverence and love.

I thank you the Right Livelihood Award which has consecrated this perspective, because it was seen as beneficent to the future of the poor, of humanity and the system Earth.

Thank you very much.