Villa la Paz Newsletter June 2010

Sacrament: Christianity; any of certain rites instituted by Jesus and believed to be a means of grace; something regarded as having a sacred character or mysterious meaning.
Sacramental: relating to a sacrament, being or resembling a sacrament

Webster’s New World Dictionary Third College Edition

When God took on flesh in Jesus Christ, the uncreated and the created, the eternal and the temporal, the divine and the human became united. This unity means that all that is mortal now points to the immortal, all that is finite points to the infinite. In and through Jesus all creation has become like a splendid veil, through which the face of God is revealed to us. This is called the sacramental quality of the created order. All that is is sacred because all that is speaks of God’s redeeming love. Seas and winds, mountains and trees, sun, moon, and stars and all the animals and people have become sacred windows offering us glimpses of God.

Divine Meditation
Henri Nouwen Society
Daily meditation for September 22, 2009

The whole world, including every aspect of humanity, is sacred and a gateway to God.

Gerard Thomas Straub
Posted in reflections

The created order as sacrament; the face of God revealed in a cloud, a butterfly, a breeze, the eyes of a child. Incalculable gifts that we seldom realize or appreciate. Or perhaps we do not wish to realize the sacramental nature of the created order. It is pleasant and inspiring to witness a magnificent sunset, to look out over the vast ocean, to appreciate a beautiful flower and acknowledge the Artist who created them, to see them as a glimpse of the Divine. However, it takes a leap of faith to see the face of God in a person who is suffering, in the homeless who asks for a handout, in the irascrible, in the addicted. These are situations which we find disagreeable and unpleasant. We wish to avoid them if at all possible and to realize them as pathways to God obligates us to attend to them, to see past their outward circumstances and accept them as glimpses of heaven. It is a seeming paradox and difficult to understand and accept. Nonetheless it is quite clear from Scripture that the poor, the marginalized, the suffering are the preferred of God and as such lead us to God and give us glimpses of His preferential love and mercy. His identification with them enjoins us to look beyond their unpleasant aspect and see them as tabernacles in which the Triune God dwells. Indeed we are all tabernacles of the indwelling Divinity and each of us is a gateway to heaven for those with whom we come into contact with. The gospels reiterate time and again that the kingdom of heaven is among us if only we love one another and are willing to serve one another. Poverty, war, hatred, racism and all the other destructive forces that exist in our world would cease to exist if the gospel message “Love one another as I have loved you,” were heeded. A simple message but one so hard to put into practice. However, seeing one another as sacraments enables us to enter into direct communion with God and should make God’s message of love an intrinsic part of our innermost being, as natural to us as breathing.

The children on these pages, and indeed children everywhere, are sacraments through which the Divine is mirrored. Like their Creator they manifest an unconditional love and speak of God’s hope for the world. We must treasure our children, nurture them and embrace them as God’s manifestation among us.

We learn to see the face of Christ – the face of Christ that is also the face of a suffering human being, the face of the crucified, the face of the poor, the face of the saint, and the face of every person – and we love each other with the criteria with which we will be judged: I was hungry and you gave me to eat.

Oscar Romero
Martyred Archbishop of El Salvador

Jesus embraced, touched and loved the poor, the outcasts, the rejected. He called them “blessed.” For Jesus the poor and lowly are sacraments because they offer a direct way to encounter God.

Gerard Thomas Straub
When Did I See You Hungry, page 155
[St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2002]

Thank you for your love and support of our children. We love you and wish you God’s peace.

Segundo – Malformation of the Left Leg

Segundo
Malformation of the Left Leg

Sebastian – Cleft Lip and Palate

Sebastian
Cleft Lip and Palate

Ronaldo – Cerebral Palsy Severe Malnutrition

Ronaldo
Cerebral Palsy Severe Malnutrition

Luis – Facial and Body Burns

Luis
Facial and Body Burns

Juan De Dios – Cleft Lip and Palate

Juan De Dios
Cleft Lip and Palate

John – Burns of the Back

John
Burns of the Back

Franco – Burns of the Back

Franco
Burns of the Back

Dennis – Malformation of Both Hands

Dennis
Malformation of Both Hands

Copyright © Villa La Paz Foundation 2009 - 2014 All Rights Reserved.