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

Let it be known that the “we” in the previous blog had nothing to do with me. I’m just thankful that good ole USA style litigation hasn’t caught on here. The mission continues to hold a few surprises. I had a major startle this weekend as I was tending to the good folks of Rincon (2 ½ hour drive from here). I hadn’t yet walked into the chapel when a man accosted me. I had to ask him to repeat what he said, not because the Spanish was indiscernible, but because it was unbelievable. He asked me if I was going to hear confessions. He then, proceeded to lecture the tiny congregation of the need to confess before the beginning of the new year. I heard 5 confessions which is more than half of what I heard in town during Advent. The other startle in my trip to the Loma was to awake in a chapel to find a tarantula not more than 5 feet from my head. Interestingly, it was a greater shock for me that when during the same trip I tossed an unwrapped Power Bar in the path of a scavenging pig and she turned her nose up to it. Speaking of turning one’s nose up, there is a gourd down here called auyama. This vegetable has been called (by Fr. Gee) a fruit of Original Sin. Imagine an acorn squash, yet larger, with little flavor and extremely dry (at least, as customarily prepared). And as Murphy’s Law would have it, it would have to be one of the more popular dishes in the Loma. One the greatest signs yet of my progress in getting acclimated, was that last Saturday it was all I was offered for lunch and I ate it with only slight feelings of gagging. The gourd has potential, but is unanswerably missing something very important.


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