Sunday, November 08, 2009

So many witnesses

I have this attraction to saints and holy people. Some would call it devotion, but it’s more than that. I have even put together a calendar of saints and witnesses with quotes from many of them.

November is a month particularly full of saints and witnesses. Today is the birthday of Dorothy Day (1897-1980) as well as the feast of Blessed John Duns Scotus, the medieval Franciscan theologian and philosopher from whose name we get the word “dunce” who died on November 8, 1308.

Dorothy Day’s witness of simple care for the poor and advocacy for justice has been an inspiration for many years. I was in her presence a few times. Once in the early 1970s, it was after a Friday night "Clarification of Thought" at the New York City Catholic Worker. I don’t remember much except that she came across as a simple caring grandmother.

Maybe that is the secret of her appeal. As she once wrote:
People say, "What good can one person do? What is the sense of our small effort?" They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. We can be responsible only for the one action of the present moment. But we can beg for an increase of love in our hearts that will vitalize and transform all our individual actions, and know that God will take them and multiply them, as Jesus multiplied the loaves and the fishes.
This morning I read a little on John Duns Scotus in Daniel Ellsberg’s Todos Santos that also spoke of love - in a slightly different way. One quote struck me (translated by me into English): “I am of the opinion that God wished to redeem us in this way, above all by attracting us [enticing us] to his love.”

Maybe this is why I love to go out to the countryside.

Yesterday I went out to Dulce Nombre. I attended part of a meeting of pastoral workers from one of the zones, but I also spent a fair amount of time with about eleven young people who are helping the parish prepare part of the parish grounds as a soccer field. The associate at Dulce Nombre, Padre Julio César Galdámez, has been working with the youth and was there with them – raking the land and spreading earth. But it was amazing to see these young people, mostly guys from the town of Dolores, working hard and then, after lunch, playing hard.

It’s a blessing to be able to be with them.

1 comment:

Brad said...

Thanks for the GREAT Dorothy Day quote and for expanding the horizons of my faith.