The Missions: San Francisco and San José

Unless the mission is oriented by charity, that is, unless it springs from a profound act of divine love, it risks being reduced to mere philanthropic and social activity...Consequently, being missionaries means loving God with all one's heart, even to the point, if necessary, of dying for him. - Pope Benedict XVI

last week i anointed this fine old 90 year old woman and yesterday morning she died. so i was called upon to celebrate a funeral Mass for her today. because of the complete lack of enbalming in this part of the world, these things take place quickly. so at 2:00 pm, when the outside temperature was 93 degrees, i entered the chapel in sabana cruz. it must have been 110 easily - the church was packed, the sun was beating down on the tin roof, and the breeze was non-existent. as i walked up to the front of the chapel to inspect the altar and get the books ready, i passed by the small wooden casket and was slammed with a palpable odor. it smashed me right in the face and just about knocked me out. my natural gag reflex took over and it's only the grace of God that saved the day. i sprinted out the side door and began to dry-heave while leaning on the side of the chapel. luckily i held it together. so, sweating from both the heat and the nerves of almost vomiting on the side of the chapel, i vested and marched down the main aisle, this time prepared for the "wall". God, in His goodness, preserved me from all other effects and Mass went smoothly....


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