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Category: Hearts of Inspiration

Si, Se Puede!

Si, Se Puede!

Above Photo taken from KPCC

Today we celebrate Cesar Chavez and we are grateful to his leadership as a role model for social justice and nonviolence. What many do not know is that Cesar Chavez, is that he joined the Filipino worker strikes as well.

Here’s an excerpt from the United Farm Workers website on the strike:

The 1965-1970 Delano Grape Strike and Boycott

On September 8, 1965, Filipino American grape workers, members of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, walked out on strike against Delano-area table and wine grape growers protesting years of poor pay and conditions. The Filipinos asked Cesar Chavez, who led a mostly Latino farm workers union, the National Farm Workers Association, to join their strike.

Cesar and the leaders of the NFWA believed it would be years before their fledgling union was ready for a strike. But he also knew how growers historically pitted one race against another to break field walkouts. Cesar’s union voted to join the Filipino workers’ walkouts on Mexican Independence Day, September 16, 1965. From the beginning this would be a different kind of strike.

–Cesar insisted the Latino and Filipino strikers work together, sharing the same picketlines, strike kitchens and union hall.

–He asked strikers take a solemn vow to remain nonviolent.

–The strike drew unprecedented support from outside the Central Valley, from other unions, church activists, students, Latinos and other minorities, and civil rights groups.

–Cesar led a 300-mile march, or perigrinacion, from Delano to Sacramento. It placed the farm workers’ plight squarely before the conscience of the American people.

–The strikers turned to boycotts, including table grapes, which eventually spread across North America.

But Cesar knew the strikers’ greatest weapon was simply their decision not to quit, to persevere no matter what the odds or how long it would take. The strikers had to be prepared to risk everything—beginning with their financial security.

Here’s another article on the strike.

Today, we pray that we may have the same boldness and confidence in social justice that Cesar Chavez modeled for us through his commitment to working on behalf of human rights and human dignity.

Here is another one of my favorite quotes from him:

“Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.”

 

Let It Be Done Unto Me…

Let It Be Done Unto Me…

Above: One of my favorite pictures of the Annunciation entitled: The Annunciation, (1898), Henry Ossawa Tanner. (Courtesy the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Purchased with the W. P. Wilstach Fund, 1899)

On this Feast of the Annunciation, here is a beautiful reflection on our “YES!” and the struggle that comes with it too.

Here is a song by Danielle Rose, Let It Be Done Unto Me, that always comes to mind on this special feast day:

The Lord sent me to Mary
As she was praying in the sun.
I said, “Hail Mary, favored one,
The Lord is with you. Mary it is true.”
She did not understand.
She said, “Shall I touch the sky
With these small hands?”
A peasant girl from Galilee
Destined to become the Queen of Peace.

[Pre-chorus]
And all the heavens and the earth
Stand still in silence,
Waiting for her soul to reply.
She is free to choose:
God will never abuse
The sacred Yes she cannot be denied.

[Chorus]
“Let it be done unto me!
With one small yes the world will be redeemed.
What was impossible is now a possibility.
Let it be done unto me!”

“Mary, do not be afraid.
Behold, you will conceive a son
Through whom the world is saved.
Humility will be your throne,
And in your womb our God,
Our God will find a home.”
“O Lord, how can this be?
I have not given any man my body’s purity!”
“The Spirit will come down,
Like once-barren Elizabeth
Can now with child be found!”

[Pre-chorus]
And all the heavens and the earth
Stand still in silence,
Waiting for her soul to reply.
She is free to choose:
God will never abuse
The sacred Yes she cannot be denied.

[Chorus]
“Let it be done unto me!
With one small yes the world will be redeemed.
What was impossible is now a possibility.
Let it be done unto me!”

She said Yes to the Father,
Yes to the unknown,
Yes with all her strength,
Yes to God alone.
The first Holy Communion
Took place that blessed day.
Christ came into her body
When Mary chose to say
When Mary chose to say…

[Chorus (x2)]
“Let it be done unto me!
With one small yes the world will be redeemed.
What was impossible is now a possibility.
Let it be done unto me!”

Let it be done unto me [x3]

What to Do…What to Let Go of…

What to Do…What to Let Go of…

Henri Nouwen writes in The Inner Voice of Love (1996):

“Your unique presence in your community is the way God wants you to be present to others. Different people have different ways of being present. You have to know and claim your way. That is why discernment is so important. Once you have an inner knowledge of your true vocation, you have a point of orientation. That will help you decide what to do and what to let go of, what to say and what to remain silent about, when to go out and when to stay home, who to be with and who to avoid.

When you get exhausted, frustrated, overwhelmed, or run down, your body is saying that you are doing things that are none of your business.  God does not require of you what is beyond your ability, what leads you away from God, or what makes you depressed or sad.  God wants you to live for others and to live that presence well.  Doing so might include suffering, fatigue, and even moments of great physical or emotional pain, but none of this must ever pull you away from your deepest self and God.” (p.67)

 

Who Will Tell Your Story?

Who Will Tell Your Story?

This evening, I had the great opportunity to watch Hamilton at the Orpheum Theater in San Francisco. I have seen many musicals in my time, and Hamilton was simply AMAZING! I was blown away by the musical – choreography, lyrics, music, ENERGY…it was so powerful and intense! I loved each of the musical numbers, but three lines notably stuck out to me from the song, “Who Lives, Who Does, Who Tells Your Story.”

And when my time is up
Have I done enough?
Will they tell my story?

I often reflect on the life I lead, and seek to make sense of the things I did well, and the things I did not handle so well. Perhaps that’s why I am grateful for the Examen. This provides me with a daily exercise that I can use either at the end of the day, or even throughout the day. The relationships I hold in my life can hopefully point towards what the story of my life is, and I seek my best to maintain those relationships the best I can. I often get caught in busy-ness, however, I believe many of those busy times are spent with people I care about – through work, ministry, and personal life. I think that’s a good thing!

I do hope though, that my story contains the words: she did the best she could with the gifts she had.

Encounters with Christ

Encounters with Christ

I saw Jesus today as I drove to the local Catholic Worker and passed through many streets where people were living. I saw Jesus today on the stoop, bent over, tired, battling and enduring, and suffering. I saw Jesus today in my schedule where I had a couple of much-needed free hours to spend with a good friend.

When we have spiritual reading at meals, when we have the rosary at night, when we have study groups, forums, when we go out to distribute literature at meetings, or sell it on the street corners, Christ is there with us. – Dorothy Day

Whenever I have the chance to meet up with my friend, Lisa, I find myself filled with joy and gratitude. Yes, our friendship is that good. Catch up is always fun, and real conversation and authenticity in that, is hard to find nowadays. Not in a creepy way – definitely not! But absolutely in a God’s grace kinda way, that Lisa and I were able to meet and since then, share a friendship where we can process different things with one another, share stories, and ponderings with one another. About things that matter! And are relevant! 🙂

I very much have been drawn to the Catholic Worker movement since I was in junior high school and I was first introduced to the Catholic Worker in Santa Ana. I remember making brownies and bringing them to the Catholic Worker over Thanksgiving, and over various holidays with my youth group. After discovering the Catholic Worker, I remember bringing my mom over with me, and we would volunteer whenever we could. I remember being a high school student surrounded by people experiencing homelessness. It was one of my first experiences catching only a glimpse of what that life could look like and be like. I don’t think I ever had a chance to process those experiences, but the people I met, the experiences I had in that backyard in the Catholic Worker Santa Ana, also known as Isaiah House, has never left me.

Love and ever more love is the only solution to every problem that comes up. If we love each other enough, we will bear with each other’s faults and burdens. If we love enough, we are going to light that fire in the hearts of others. And it is love that will burn out the sins and hatreds that sadden us. It is love that will make us want to do great things for each other. No sacrifice and no suffering will then seem too much. Yes, I see only too clearly how bad people are. I wish I did not see it so. It is my own sins that give me such clarity. – Dorothy Day

Fast forward to today, and I am still an advocate for the Catholic Workers and the Catholic Worker movement. I am grateful to have a Catholic Worker closeby, and have the opportunity to ring the doorbell and be warmly greeted by friends at the door.

When I reflect on people who talk the talk, and walk the walk, the Catholic Workers are some of the first people that come to mind. There is so much richness and authenticity there. While living in community is challenging, I suppose when a one is moved by the spirit of charity, justice, faith, and love, I am confident that anything is possible.

Today, I saw Jesus in my friend Lisa. What a wonderful friend to have in my life!