Sunday, February 25, 2007


The storm has left its legacy - the white and black beauty of snow, the cracking of fallen limbs, the broken telephone and electric lines, the streets blocked by fallen trees or limbs nearly touching the ground. Beauty and danger.

It has been raining or snowing since late Friday. The trees were covered with ice and then snow and so many tree limbs have broken. My telephone line is broken due to fallen limbs and the electric line is on the ground under the limbs. I pray the electricity doesn't go off.

Two of the large bushes on the west of the house are leaning over - pressed almost to the ground - under the weight of the ice and snow. They provided some shade in the summer; I wonder if they will recover.

I have gone out twice and shoveled the sidewalk and part of my driveway but I expect to do that at least once more.

About eight to twelve inches of snow have already fallen. It is beautiful - but also a bit dangerous. Falling limbs and downed power lines are just indications of the difficulties that many may be experiencing - without lights or heat.

This is probably my last experience of a major winter storm for a while. But the people of Honduras experience drought and hurricanes and other natural disasters as well as the human disasters of hunger and injustice.

Today is a reminder of the precariousness of our existence. We are not in control. We need God's help and the solidarity of other human beings.

So today as I thank God for the beauty of creation, I also pray for those who suffer. And I recommit myself to the service of the poor.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


In 1943 on this day, Hans and Sophie Scholl were beheaded in Munich by the Nazis. These two siblings were members of the White Rose, an underground group - mostly Christians, mostly young people - who wrote and clandestinely distributed leaflets against the Nazi regime. At the end of one of them they wrote:

We will not be silent. We are your bad conscience. The White Rose will not leave you in peace!

In that same leaflet they wrote:
Man is free, to be sure, but without the true God he is defenseless against the principle of evil. he is like a rudderless ship, at the mercy of the storm, an infant without his mother, a cloud dissolving into thin air.
Their courage has inspired me since I first heard of their witness, until death. Last year I saw the recently released film Sophie Scholl: The Final Days, a story not only of their courage but also of the power of conscience in the face of evil.

As I think on them I have to recall the young people I have met who have been great sources of inspiration to me as they have given years of their lives to the service of the poor and to the promotion of justice. May their numbers increase.

Two books about the White Rose are:
Hermann Vinke, The Short Life of Sophie Scholl. New York: Harper & Row, 1984.
Inge Scholl, The White Rose:Munich 1942-1943. Wesleyan University Press, 1983.

A website on the White Rose is at

Monday, February 19, 2007

LOVE YOUR ENEMIES - nonviolent revolution

Yesterday's Gospel from Luke 6: 27-38 calls us to love our enemies. What a challenge for us in the US. Fr. Ev in his homily yesterday raised serious questions about the current war in Iraq. It was very satisfying to hear such a word of challenge in church in Ames.

Later yesterday I came across Pope Benedict XVI's Angelus message on the Gospel. It brought a real message of hope. In part it read:

This page of the Gospel is rightly considered the "magna carta" of Christian nonviolence; it does not consist in surrendering to evil -- as claims a false interpretation of "turn the other cheek" (Luke 6:29) -- but in responding to evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21), and thus breaking the chain of injustice. It is thus understood that nonviolence, for Christians, is not mere tactical behavior but a person's way of being, the attitude of one who is convinced of God's love and power, who is not afraid to confront evil with the weapons of love and truth alone. Loving the enemy is the nucleus of the "Christian revolution," a revolution not based on strategies of economic, political or media power. The revolution of love, a love that does not base itself definitively in human resources, but in the gift of God, that is obtained only and unreservedly in his merciful goodness. Herein lies the novelty of the Gospel, which changes the world without making noise. Herein lies the heroism of the "little ones," who believe in the love of God and spread it even at the cost of life.

What a sign that God is alive, somehow working through structures of the Church to remind us of the Gospel of peace, of the nonviolent love of Christ Jesus.

What a gift for Lent!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

On to Honduras

Though I am still in Ames, Honduras seems more and more present.

The Parish Council and Finance and Administration Commission of St. Thomas Aquinas have given permission for me to start fund-raising. The Parish Council has put aside several thousand dollars to help with the Honduras Ministry. I feel so blessed.

There are a few major details - selling my house, disposing of possessions, storing a few boxes of materials, making the arrangements for transfer of funds, etc. But I pray that these will fall into place soon.

A few weeks ago I had dinner at the house of some friends and the father of the wife asked me, in Spanish, "Como va el despojo?" How is the detaching going?

It is actually going fairly well. The more I give away, the easier it seems. I expect there will come a time when I will have to make hard decisions, but I pray that I will be ready to make those decisions with a spirit of detachment.

This past week I did a lot of cleaning up in the attic. I went through several large boxes of notes and files and threw out many pounds of paper - some from the sixties. Thank God that Ames burns trash for fuel; I don't feel so bad about throwing out all that paper.

It is a blessing to go through all the old files. I have found any number of letters or messages that give me a sense that God has been working in me for quite some time. The temptation I often have is to think less of my capabilities than God has given me.

And so Honduras nears. I expect to be there at the beginning of June - a little more than 100 days from now. In fact, Ash Wednesday is exactly 100 days before my birthday, June 1.

And so this is a time to prepare - and to keep open to all God's calls and blessings.