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

the other day a couple of young ladies showed up looking for a place to stay - americans both. i asked them who they were and one said, "i'm a ph.d candidate studying the rose of san francisco for my dissertation at yale." (for those who haven't heard, the mount of san francisco, which houses the cave of san francisco, also happens to be the only spot on the planet where this particular species of flowering cactus exists).

so, we gladly granted them a place to stay up in the center so they could study the local celebrity plant. after 5 days of dawn to dusk observation, she was a little miffed at this plant's unwillingness to open its stomata. as she vented her frustration (albeit only slightly. i must say that they were two of the most pleasant people i have ever met) i turned to her and said, "want me to say a prayer to st francis so it'll open?" "sure," she responded.

the next day i visited them, and, of course, the stomata had opened all day long...i asked her to add a footnote in her paper, for rarely, if ever, does a case of effective intercessory prayer make it into a biology dissertation...


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