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

today i left for pomito, a good 45 minute ride followed by a one hour uphill hike. we had three mules ready for the trip, as the doctors were going to attend, but they decided to stay back in the campo where we drop off the vehicles. so, i hopped on a mule and rode off. well, about 10 minutes into the trip the beast decided it wasn't going any further. i pleaded, cajouled, and whacked it with a stick, all to to avail. so, i dismounted and grabbed the reigns to lead it for a while, thinking that it would get used to the idea. (the problem with our mules is that they rarely get ridden, thus becoming more obstinate every day). as i was pulling on the leads, a rope snapped, and i almost went for a tumble down the hill. as soon as she realized that she was free, she turned around and bolted for home like secretariat in the preakness. the saddle bags and blanket both fell off, which i was obliged to pick up and carry, along with my back pack, to the nearest house.

i became the mule.

i trudged up the mountain as fast as i could, finally made it, said Mass, and then descended to find the mule eating grass near the chapel where the doctors were...


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