Friday, May 15, 2015

Saint isidore and Honduran farmers

San Isidro Labrador, 
ponga la lluvia 
y quite el sol. 

Saint Isidore the Laborer,
bring on the rains
and turn off the heat. 
a very free translation 

 Today is the feast of Saint Isidore the Farm Laborer and is celebrated, especially in rural areas, throughout the world – especially in Latin America and in the US. Here people pray for rain and for an end of the dry season.

Today I went to the village of San Isidro La Cueva for their celebration. I’d been there two years ago and wanted to be with them again.

They started with a long procession – with an image of San Isidro, singing and saying the rosary. Their intentions reflected the needs of poor rural communities.

Seeds to be blessed - in the shape of a heart
At Mass, seeds were blessed for the harvest. Padre German helped the people think of the seeds as the seeds to promote life in the community. They are not merely seeds to harvest more corn or beans. They are meant to give life to the community.

I spent lots of time talking with folks and playing with babies. No, I am not running for public office. The kids were very outgoing and one little girl hugged Padre German during Mass.

It was good to be there.

This time of the year can be quite beautiful, despite the lack of rain.

The dry season usually ends here in western Honduras in May.

But as May comes along, many bushes flower.

The acacia trees – also called fire trees – comes out in their glorious red splendor. I have seen a few absolutely gorgeous trees but didn’t have a chance to take a photo since I was driving.

The coffee bushes are also in bloom. The coffee flower has an incredible smell that reminds me of the honeysuckle that my neighbor had when I was growing up.

But it is also a time of ugliness.

In the last few weeks I have seen land devastated by fires that people are setting to clear the land. I have also seen a lot of cutting of trees. What a waste – and for what?

I do not know who is doing this slash and burn – but a few years ago when I spoke about this some people claimed that much of the devastation is wrought by large land owners – to plant more coffee or to expand land for grazing cattle. I do not know if that is the true situation but I believe there is at lest a grain of truth in it. I do know that some of the poor do burn the land to clear the weeds and the underbrush but I do think the burning of vast tracks of land may be the work of the large land-owners.

What a disaster this might be for the people here – in terms of drought, higher temperatures, and danger of landslides.

So today I invoke the intercession of St. Isidore to not only bring on the rains but to turn around these practices that so devastate the earth and turn the hearts of people from the avarice that takes over more and more land, that devastates the land for the sake of gain, and that does not care how Mother Earth is treated.

San Isidro Labrador,
da a todos un amor
por la tierra, y el valor
de luchar contra el destruidor .

St. Isidore the Farm Laborer.
give everyone a love
of the earth and the courage
to struggle against those who destroy.

Image of St. Isidore from Yaramanguila, Intibucá, Honduras

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