Villa La Paz Newsletter March 2017

Community: the condition of living with others; friendly association; fellowship
Webster’s New World Dictionary
Third College Edition

The word community has many connotations, some positive, some negative. Community can make us think of a safe togetherness, shared meals, common goals and joyful celebrations. It also can call forth images of sectarian exclusivity, in-group language, self-satisfied isolation, and romantic naiveté. However, community is first of all a quality of the heart. It grows from the spiritual knowledge that we are alive not for ourselves but for one another. Community is the fruit of our capacity to make the interests of others more important than our own (see Philippians 2:4). The question, therefore, is not “How can we make community?” but “How can we develop and nurture giving hearts?”
When we give up our desires to be outstanding or different, when we let go of our need to have our own special niches in life, when our main concern is to be the same and to live out this sameness in solidarity, we are then able to see each other’s unique gifts. Gathered together in common vulnerability, we discover how much we have to give each other.
Henri J.M. Nouwen

The concept of community is the bedrock of all civilizations. Without community we are islands drifting on a sea of individualism. Without community we isolate ourselves, depend on our own resources and not the gifts and talents of others and withhold our own gifts and talents from the commonweal. In such a situation compassion cannot exist since compassion (com-, together + pati, to suffer) recognizes the interrelatedness of one another. If we are interrelated we “suffer with” another during times of his/her adversity and “celebrate with” him/her during times of joy. A world without community and the compassion and love it generates is what we are experiencing now. Ethnic strife, closing our borders to persons fleeing persecution and genocide, indifference to the suffering of the poor all derive from a loss of the communal life, a life in which we live for others, care for the needs of others, and reject our false selves and enter into the Inner Source of our true selves.

The prime example of community is God Who is a community of 3 persons, who interpenetrate one another, freely giving of themselves to one another in a dance of divine love, a dance of infinite outpouring and infinite receiving. Only when we follow the Trinitarian paradigm and embrace the communal life and enter into community with one another will this world at last know peace. Only when we freely embrace compassion and love for one another will we experience the joys of heaven on earth since Our Lord has said several times in His discourses, “The kingdom of God is among you.”

I thank God for the communal spirit of our home for children. As any of our volunteers can tell you there is a mutual compassion, a mutual desire to help among the children. Despite their disabilities and pain, they are attentive to the needs of others. All is not roses, of course, as there are arguments and tension at times but by and large these give way to apologies and forgiveness and within a short time the two would-be adversaries are relating to one another. The world would do well to learn from children who mirror the unconditional love and compassion of our God.

Little children follow and obey their father. They love their mother. They know nothing of covetousness, ill will, bad temper, arrogance, and lying. This state of mind opens the road to heaven. To imitate our Lord’s own humility we must return to the simplicity of God’s little ones.
St. Hilary of Poitiers

The great man is he who has not lost the heart of a child.
Mencius
Philosopher
(371-298 B.C.)

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

Villa La Paz Newsletter December 2016

Incarnation: Christian Theol. Effectuation of the hypostatic union through the conception of the Second Person of the Trinity in the womb of the Virgin Mary
Hypostasis: Christian Theol. The union of the wholly divine nature and of a wholly human nature in the one person of Jesus Christ
Kenosis: Christian Theol. The voluntary abasement of the Second person of the Trinity in becoming man

Webster’s New World Dictionary
New College Edition

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God.
3 All things came to be through Him and without him nothing came to be. What came to be
4 through Him was life, and this life was the light of the human race,
5 the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory of the Father’s only son full of grace and truth.

John 1:1-5, 14

God is love and all His operations proceed from love. Once He wills to manifest that goodness by sharing His love outside Himself then the Incarnation becomes the supreme manifestation of His goodness and love and glory…. Moreover this would have been the case even if Adam had not sinned.
St. Lawrence of Brindisi

All of us have a natural inborn desire to see God. But God is infinite and incomprehensible. No one can see God without being of the same infinite nature as God. We are finite and so we cannot see God. But God is love. He is also the source of our craving to know and love Him. Out of this love God took a form that is comprehensible to us mortal beings. Through this act of love we can now share in the joy of the angels by seeing and knowing God directly. This is why Jesus said: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” God became man and dwelt among us so that we might not fear Him as something terrible and foreign, but instead see that God is love.
Sadhu Sundar Singh

In Jesus, God was given a face and a heart. God became someone we could love. While God can be described as a moral force, as consciousness, and as high vibrational energy, the truth is, we don’t (or can’t) fall in love with abstractions. So God became a person “that we could hear, see with our eyes, look at, and touch with our hands” (1 John 1:1).
Father Richard Rohr, OFM

Every year we are confronted and challenged with the fact of the Incarnation, the enfleshing of our God Who in complete self-emptying love took on our fragile human nature and was like us in everything except sin. We have a tendency to emphasize His divine nature and tend to forget that He was fully human and suffered our debilities – hunger, pain, fatigue, discouragement, sadness, and perhaps even depression. We tend to focus on His miracles and not on the everyday problems He faced: the opprobrium of the scribes and Pharisees, the disbelief of His disciples, the opposition to His teachings.

Why is the Incarnation challenging? If we truly ponder it, how does is affect our journey to our true home, our participation in the life of the Trinity? We see in the Incarnation a complete subjection of Jesus to the will of the Father. We see in Jesus a person who credited all His ideas and teachings to the Father, never assuming credit for His actions. In Jesus we see a person Who was compassionate, Who forgives, Who lived every minute of His life for others. Can we say the same about ourselves? Are we willing to subject ourselves completely to the will of the Father? Do we take credit for the gifts that God has given us instead of deflecting the credit to Him, since everything we have, looks, intelligence, talents, are gifts. We did not obtain them. They were given to us freely to be used in stewardship for our good and for the good of others. The only things that are truly ours are our vices and sins. Are we compassionate and use our gifts to help the oppressed and suffering? Do we forgive and pray for those who offend us as He enjoined us to? Do we live for others or only ourselves? Yes, the Incarnation is challenging and we tend to gloss it over with parties, gifts, decorations and the like, forgetting its true implications and the example it sets for us. Our children and the children of the world are paradigms of the Incarnation. They love unconditionally, are compassionate, bear pain with equanimity, and show us the face of God. They come into the world with clean slates and their development into loving, compassionate persons depends on what we write on their slates. We must protect, foster and nurture our children to ensure a better, more humane and compassionate world.

I want to end this letter with two prayers and a reflection which mirror our hope for this Holy Season.

Lord Jesus, Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas. We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day. We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us. We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom. We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence. We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light. To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!”
Henri J.M. Nouwen

It is time, awaken Lord Jesus, come! O thou who has taken a heart like our hearts, to share our pain and pity, send us a world of light and peace.
Raissa Maritain

As we prepare for our traditional celebrations, let us remember those who will not be looking forward to this festival. Let us remember too how Jesus identified with the oppressed and the homeless. Let the joy of the festival touch more of the people of our world this year than ever before. May God be glorified and may people of good will once again experience His peace.
Denzil John

As always we appreciate your support of our children. May God’s blessings and peace fill you and yours during this most holy of seasons.

Villa La Paz Newsletter September 2016

Theodicy: defense of God’s goodness and omnipotence in view of the existence of evil.
Miriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary
Tenth Edition

The existence of evil and suffering in the world is a proof, not that God is either good but powerless, or all powerful but not good. On the contrary, it is a proof that God is both loving and omnipotent. Only absolute love could grant unhindered freedom, and only omnipotence can endure the operation of that freedom.
D.R. Davies

If I did not believe, if I did not make what is called an act of faith (and each act of faith increases our faith, and our capacity for faith), if I did not have faith that the works of mercy do lighten the sum total of suffering in the world, so that those who are suffering…somehow mysteriously find their pain lifted and some balm of consolation poured on their wounds, if I did not believe these things the problem of evil would indeed be overwhelming.
Dorothy Day

And I saw the river over which every soul must pass to reach the kingdom of heaven and the name of the river was suffering and I saw a boat which carries souls across the river and the name of the boat was love.
St. John of the Cross

In the final analysis, the question of why bad things happen to good people transmutes itself into some very different questions, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it happened.
Pierre Teilhard De Chardin, S.J.

Every day each one of us struggles with the seeming paradox of a loving, infinite Father and the existence of evil and suffering. Every day our faith is tested in the crucible of a crushed and bleeding world. The ever present question “why” keeps surfacing in our minds, trying to reconcile our belief in a benevolent Father Who gazes upon a world torn by war, poverty, brutality, hatred.

I think there are two aspects that do not completely explain the problem of evil, since it can never by fully explained, but at least give us an insight into why it is permitted. One is that we have been gifted with free will. Our infinite and humble God wants us to love Him of our own volition. He does not force our love but waits for it and indeed entreats it. Some have chosen to reject His love and in so doing perpetrate evil and suffering. He will not detain them because of His gift of free will but always brings good out of the evil perpetrated and this good consists in our response to evil and suffering. Through compassion we respond to those injured in wars, to those who suffer unjust poverty and oppression by succoring them. In our compassion for them we forget ourselves, our own needs and give to another and in so doing save ourselves, abandoning our false selves, the ego and its perceptions, and entering into our true selves where the Spirit of God dwells. We respond equally when confronted with persons suffering physical or mental illnesses and victims of natural disasters. Out of these evils God generates our good.

A second aspect is that in our own suffering and distress we lift our hearts to God. Suffering and pain humble us, they show us that we are not in control of our existence, that Another defines and directs our lives. In appealing to Him we acknowledge our dependence on Him and the fact that our needs require His providence. Suffering and pain, then, can be salvific since we approach God, our Father, as His children and reestablish a relationship that was probably lost in times of prosperity and good health. We do not feel the need for God when there is light and times are good and as a result we distance ourselves from Him. We do feel His need when there is darkness and times are bad.

The children on these pages suffer from unjust poverty and a variety of illnesses but they have changed many lives. We receive volunteers from many parts of the world, young and old and even entire families and all say that the home and the children are life-changing experiences. God is acting through the children, their illnesses and afflictions, to change the hearts of others, for despite their physical limitations the children are happy and giving. They are beacons of God’s love.

The question, “Why do children suffer?” has no answer unless it is simply, “To break our hearts.” Once our hearts get broken, they never fully heal. They always ache. But perhaps a broken heart is a more loving instrument. Perhaps only after our hearts have cracked wide open, have finally and totally unclenched, can we truly know love without boundaries.
Fred Epstein

Thank you for supporting our children. Please pray for us. We love you and wish you God’s peace.

Villa la Paz Newsletter June 2016

Peace: a state of tranquillity or quiet; harmony in personal relations; a state of security or order within a community provided by law or custom; a state or period of mutual concord between governments

Keep your eyes on the prince of peace, the one Who doesn’t cling to His divine power; the one Who refuses to turn stones into bread, jump from great heights and rule with great power; the one Who says, “Blessed are the poor, the gentle, those who mourn, and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; blessed are the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers and those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness; the one Who touched the lame, the crippled and the blind; the one Who speaks words of forgiveness and encouragement; the one Who dies alone, rejected and despised. Keep your eyes on Him Who becomes poor with the poor, weak with the weak, and Who is rejected with the rejected. He is the source of all peace.
Henri J.M. Nouwen

Ultimately we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves…..and to reflect it towards others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will be in our troubled world.
Etty Hillesum
Jewish Holocaust victim who died at Auschwitz, 1943

We are each an ember in the mind of God and we are each sent to illumine the other through the dark passages of life to sanctuaries of truth and peace.
Joan Chittister, OSB

Peace. It seems so far off, so impossible to attain. We hear of wars, destruction, death in the far corners of the world and shootings, murder, robberies in our cities and, perhaps, in our own neighbourhoods. What is the source of this “unpeace”, this violence? Its source is our inability to truly understand our relationship to one another. At its root it is not due to ethnic differences, religious differences or cultural differences. If we each harboured in our hearts that no matter what our superficial differences are we are all children of one Father peace would reign. It should not matter that we speak different languages, worship in different religions, do not share the same cultural values. We are all children of the same Father Who loves each one of us equally. If that fact is not grasped or understood there will never be peace on earth. Language, culture, religion, national origins will continue to divide us and provoke the violence that has been so prevalent in our world. To sow peace we must realize that we are all equal in the eyes of God. Education, wealth, talent, social status do not confer superiority of one person over another. The homeless panhandler, the president of a university and the CEO of a large organization have the same dignity as children of God and should treat each other so. This is where peace begins, where individuals see in each other their God-given dignity and equality, reclaim the peace that has been lost through the stratification of society and radiate that peace to others. Our home for children is a microcosm of ethnic, language and religious differences. Some of our children enter the home unable to speak Spanish and speak Quechua, the Inca language that is so prevalent in the rural areas. Some are Catholic and others belong to different Protestant sects. They come from different regions of the country with different cultural values, customs and dialects. And yet, I have never witnessed discrimination or conflict because of these differences. We enter the world with a clean slate as peaceful beings free of bigotry and it is only through our exposure to the world with its artificial divisions do we lose that innate peace. We must keep our children’s slate clean and their God-given gift of peace intact.

I want to end this message with a prayer of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a Catholic nun who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize of l979 for her promotion of world peace through her care for the poor. I urge you to listen to her Nobel Prize acceptance speech which can be found in You Tube or Google.

Make us worthy, Lord, to serve our fellow man throughout the world who live and die in poverty and hunger. Give them through our hands their daily bread and by our understanding love give peace and joy.

We thank you for your support of our children and for fostering peace among them and their families. We love you and wish you God’s peace.

Villa la Paz Newsletter March 2016

Numinous 1: supernatural, mysterious 2: filled with a sense of the presence of divinity, holy 3: spiritual
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary Tenth Edition

In the turmoil of life without, and black despair within, it is always possible to turn aside and wait for God. Just as at the center of a hurricane there is stillness and above the clouds a clear sky, so it is possible to make a little clearing in the jungle of our human will for a rendezvous with God. He will always turn up, though in what guise and what circumstances cannot be foreseen – perhaps trailing clouds of glory, perhaps as a beggar, in the purity of the desert or in the squalor of London’s Soho or New York’s Times Square.
Malcolm Muggeridge Confessions of a Twentieth Century Pilgrim

It is no use saying that we were born two thousand years too late to give room to Christ. Nor will those who live at the end of the world have been born too late. Christ is always with us, always asking for room in our hearts. But now it is with the voice of our contemporaries that He speaks; with the eyes of store clerks, factory workers, and children that He gazes; with the hands of office workers, slum dwellers, and suburban housewives that He gives. It is with the feet of soldiers and tramps that He walks, and with the heart of anyone in need that He longs for shelter. And giving shelter and food to anyone who asks for it, or needs it, is giving it to Christ.
Dorothy Day

Watch for the Light When all recognize that our suffering neighbor is God Himself, and when you draw the consequences from that fact, on that day there will be no more poverty.
If everyone could see the image of God in his neighbor, do you think we should still need tanks and generals?
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

The numinous mystery of God in His creation cannot be adequately grasped by the human mind. That God again becomes incarnate by indwelling in us is beyond our comprehension. We hear it stated but cannot grasp its full meaning. Every time a child is conceived the Incarnation is repeated as that child becomes a temple of the Triune God. Time and again in His words God identifies Himself with His children and preferentially with His children who are marginalized and suffer poverty. Poverty can take many forms. It may be due to lack of material necessities, lack of physical or mental health, addictions, lack of love and loneliness and God enjoins us to identify with those who suffer poverty in its various forms and alleviate their afflictions. To see the face of God in others is liberating. It liberates us from individualism, selfishness, the pursuit of power and recognition, the need to stand out in society, to be noticed, all of which are toxic and undermine and destroy one’s humanity and humaneness and sense of compassion for the other. And yet, when confronted with the poor, the homeless, the mentally disturbed, we avoid eye contact, and like the priest and the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan, cross to the other side of the street. St. Francis of Assisi, who lived in the 12th and 13th centuries, had a horror of lepers, could not bear the sight of them, and cut a wide berth to avoid them whenever he saw one. However, one day, seeing a leper approaching, he continued on his way, dismounted from his horse, and kissed the leper’s putrid face. He describes the event as giving him great joy and from that moment on he was changed and joyfully served the lepers and other marginalized persons in his society. Do we have the courage to approach our lepers, be they the homeless, the mentally disturbed, the addicted, the sick and lonely and find joy in embracing them and serving them? As it was for St. Francis it can be a life-changing experience.

Our faith in Jesus is not our belief that Jesus, the Son of God, lived long ago, performed great miracles, presented wise teachings, died for us on the cross, and rose from the grave. It first of all means that we fully accept the truth that Jesus lives within us and fulfills His divine ministry in and through us.
Henri J.M. Nouwen Bread for the Journey

Lord, I have often prayed to be able to see You, hear You, touch You where You really are, yet when I do see You in a lowly, dirty, perhaps crazy person living on the street, I don’t know how to respond. Teach me, I beg You, what to do. Knowing You are in the poor is one thing; knowing how to embrace You in the poor is a much more difficult matter. Open my heart to know how to respond the next time I see You defecating or urinating on the street. Help me share the wonders of Your love in the squalor of life.
Gerard Thomas Straub Posted in Reflections

As I write this I can hear our children playing in the patio. Some bear severe scars from burns, some are crippled from birth defects or cerebral palsy and one was born without an esophagus. And yet, I hear only laughter and shrieks of joy. They have accepted their disabilities and have learned to live with them. They are an inspiration. We see in them the face of God and we are liberated.

Thank you for supporting our children. We love you and wish you God’s peace.

Villa la Paz Newsletter December 2015

Incarnation: Christian Theol. Effectuation of the hypostatic union through the conception of the Second Person of the Trinity in the womb of the Virgin Mary
Hypostasis: Christian Theol. The union of the wholly divine nature and of a wholly human nature in the one person of Jesus Christ
Kenosis: Christian Theol. The voluntary abasement of the Second person of the Trinity in becoming man
Webster’s New World Dictionary New College Edition

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came to be through Him and without him nothing came to be. What came to be 4 through Him was life, and this life was the light of the human race, 5 the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory of the Father’s only son full of grace and truth.
John 1:1-5, 14

No room! The Creator of the universe finds no room in His creation! The God of all creation is refused a welcome by those from Whom they received life! Almighty God is born in a hovel for animals, Whose throne is a manger, and Whose adoring court are a humble couple and poor shepherds from the hillside who were tending sheep! What mystery of love! Here is a total emptying! How can we question that God understands our human condition?
Fr. Francis A. Sariego, O.F.M Cap.

Christ was born not because there was joy in the world, but because there was suffering in it. He was born not to riches, but to poverty; not to satiety, but to hunger and thirst; not to security, but to danger, homelessness, destitution, and crucifixion.
His Incarnation now, in us, is in the suffering world as it is. It is not reserved for a utopia that will never be; it does not differ from His first coming in Bethlehem, His birth in squalor, in dire poverty, in a strange city. It is the same birth here and now. There is Incarnation always, everywhere.
Caryll Houselander

The Incarnation was not a single event that occurred once, never to be repeated again. The Incarnation continues. God becomes incarnate in the poor, the sick, the addicted, and the lost. God’s love continues to thrust Him into the universe, to guide it, to care for it, and put it at man’s service. In our busy lives we forget that all is ordained or permitted by God, that nothing occurs by chance, that God’s will prevails in every act of created existence. In times of distress and pain we must remember that the Incarnate God knew such trials and even greater ones and showed us how to confront them with forgiveness and love. Yes, the Incarnation continues, not only in the suffering of the world but also in the smile of a child, the love shared between a husband and wife and between children and their parents, in our love for one another and wherever joy abounds. To realize this, that the Incarnation is present in our sorrows and our joys, should enable us to conquer all doubts, all misgivings about the presence of God in our midst and His unconditional, unfailing love. All of our energies, all of our thoughts are usually placed in more immediate circumstances: a deadline at work, illness in the family, loss of employment, the death of a close friend. All of these can blur the transcendent presence of God in our lives. We must stop our frenetic activities and experience God’s Incarnation in the daily events of our lives. At the first Incarnation there was no room for Him in the inn. In His daily incarnations in our lives we must make room for Him in our hearts or our lives will have no meaning. He humbly waits for our response.

The children of the world are the greatest exponents of the Incarnation. Their conception is brought about by love as God’s Incarnation was the result of love. They require our care and benevolence as God required the care of His earthly parents. They love unconditionally as does their Creator. They bring hope into the world as God’s Incarnation suffused the universe with hope by bringing light into darkness and conquering death with life.

We can see every human birth as a call for new hope in the world. The love of two human beings has joined with God in His creative work. The loving parents have shown hope in a world filled with travail. The new child has the potential to be a channel of God’s love and peace to the world.
AmericanCatholic.org Reflection on the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary September 8, 2013

Every child born into the world is a new thought of God, an ever fresh and radiant possibility.
Kate Douglas Wiggin

We thank you for enabling us to care for our children. May the Incarnation of the Son of God be a daily event and source of joy in your lives. Have a Blessed Christmas and Fulfilling New Year. We love you and wish you God’s peace.

Villa la Paz Newsletter September 2015

Joy: 1 a very glad feeling; happiness; great pleasure; delight
2 anything causing such feeling
3 the expression of showing such feeling
Webster’s New World Dictionary Third College Edition

As disciples of Jesus, we are sent to wherever there is poverty, loneliness, suffering of any kind. We are given the courage to be with suffering people. We can trust that by entering into places of pain, we will find the joy of Jesus. A new world grows out of compassion.
Henri Nouwen

We are caught in an absurd, materialistic spiral. The more we make, the more we need to live decently and respectably. Somehow we have to break this cycle because it makes us sin against our needy brothers and, therefore, against our Lord. And it also destroys us. Sharing with others is the way to real joy.
Ron Sider

It seems paradoxical that joy can be found by entering into the pain and suffering of another. Our concept of joy is usually that of the definition given above, a personal feeling of great happiness, almost of ecstasy. But perhaps a better definition of joy would be a sense of completion, a sense of closing a circle and alleviating the pain and suffering of another. What could make one happier than to see another person’s life situation changed and improved by one’s efforts? True joy can only come from the compassion one exercises towards others who are in need of our help and it is true joy because it is joy shared with another. Feelings of great happiness experienced by a person personally but not derived by showing compassion and love towards another is not true joy since it is not shared. The gospels are replete with God’s healing ministry during his earthly sojourn. Imagine the joy imparted to those who were healed of their afflictions and our Lord, being fully human in everything but sin, surely derived a sense of joy at being able to alleviate the suffering of others. That is true joy; joy shared by the person who loves and out of compassion helps another and by the person who is being helped. All too often we turn away from persons who seek a compassionate response and in so doing deprive them and ourselves of mutual joy. The joy of the giver is rooted in the words adamantly spoken by our Lord, “What you do to the least of these My little ones you do to Me.” The joy in the receiver derives from the fact that he is loved, is respected as a child of God, and has found hope. Shared joy is true joy.

Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.
Mark Twain

It is a simple thing: joy in everything that lives. Anyone who can rejoice in life, in other people, in the fellowship of church community – anyone who feels joy in the mutual relationships of trust and inner fellowship – such a person experiences what love is. Anyone who cannot feel joy cannot love….Only where there is joy do love and justice dwell. We need the spirit of joy to overcome the gloomy spirit of covetousness, the spirit of unjust mammon and its deadly hate.
Eberhard Arnold

The most beautiful and spontaneous expressions of joy which I have seen during my life were by poor people who had little to hold on to.
Pope Francis

Our home for children rings with joy. Our volunteers and employees give totally of themselves in the care of our children and the children, in receiving the attention, rise above their discomforts and pain, and feel wanted and loved. We share our mutual joy with their parents who are grateful for our efforts on behalf of their children.

O Lord, infuse the world with joy, the joy of mutual love, mutual understanding, mutual compassion. Instill in us the desire to engender joy in the circumstances of our daily lives, in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our workplaces, in the world. In so doing we find You since joy is the infallible sign of Your presence.

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

Villa la Paz Newsletter June 2015

Omnipresent: present in all places at the same time
Ubiquitous: present, or seeming to be present, everywhere at the same time
Webster’s New World Dictionary Third College Edition

Oh how we long to find God in some moment of spiritual ecstasy, looking for the Divine in some spectacular or extraordinary event. Yet God comes to us, if we are to believe-fully believe-what scripture says, in a humble disguise, in unexpected places. God comes to us poor, hungry, thirsty, diseased, imprisoned, alone and lonely. God comes to us in an old woman forced to use a public street for a toilet. God comes to us in people, places and ways that make it difficult for us to see Him or receive Him. We don’t find God where we expect or want to find Him.
Gerard Thomas Straub

I sought to hear the voice of God and climbed the topmost steeple, but God declared: “Go down again-I dwell among the people.”
Blessed John Henry Newman

The discovery of God lies in the daily and the ordinary, not in the spectacular and the heroic. If we cannot find God in the routines of home and shop, then we will not find Him at all.
Richard J. Foster

Know that even when you are in the kitchen, our Lord moves amidst the pots and pans.
St. Teresa of Avila

We have a tendency to compartmentalize God, to imagine Him in a far off place which we call heaven. We experience His presence in church or other places of worship but not in the creases and folds of our hectic lives. One who loves wants to be with the one loved and since God is love perforce He has to be present among us even in the most ordinary aspects of our lives. Can you imagine that? God is present with you at work, as you clean your home, as you care for your spouse and children, in all circumstances, no matter how humdrum or ordinary. What a tremendous liberating thought! We are never alone. In the most joyous occasions, a birth, a wedding, a graduation, or in the direst, loss of employment, an illness, the death of a loved one, God is there, accompanying us, sharing our joys and sorrows. Why do we not experience His presence? Why are we not comforted and consoled by the knowledge that He is constantly with us? It is because of our lack of faith. We can be told something and accept its veracity but in order to embrace it completely we must have faith. Faith enables us to enter fully into our relationship with God, experience His constant presence and revel in it. There is no greater gift than this.

God walks with us. He scoops us up in His arms or simply sits with us in silent strength until we cannot avoid the awesome recognition that yes, even now, He is there.
Gloria Gaither

O Lord, I know that it is in silence, in a quiet moment, in a forgotten corner that you will meet me, call me by name and speak to me a word of peace. It is in my stillest hour that you become the risen Lord to me.
Henri J.M. Nouwen

Nowhere is God’s presence in our world more evident than in children. He tells us several times through His Word that we must become as children if we are to enter His kingdom. We must become vulnerable, innocent, trusting and love unconditionally, the attributes of childhood. We must emulate their joy and exuberance, for where there is joy there is God.

Our sincere gratitude to you for enabling us to care for our children. We love you and wish you God’s peace.

Villa la Paz Newsletter March 2015

Oneing-A Middle English term that describes the unitive nature of creation. A Modern English equivalent would be uniting. The term oneing was also used to describe the encounter between God and the soul.

Oned-A Middle English term which means to be one, united, blended, joined or fused.

The love of God creates in us such a oneing that when it is truly seen no person can separate themselves from another person.

In the sight of God all humans are oned and one person is all people and all people are one person.

In general I am in the oneing of love, for it is in this oneing that the life of all people exists.

Lady Julian of Norwich
1342-1416

The concept of the unitive nature of creation, that we all constitute a oneness, derives from the fact that all that exists owes its being to one Father. The concept of the oneness of creation runs counter to our cultural concepts of individualism and the differentiating of ourselves from others by means of education, wealth, physical aspects, race or religion. These latter concepts divide us into different levels in society and deny that a oneness exists. But in the eyes of God there is only one level: all of us are His beloved children and all have equal dignity. Through the Incarnation He elevated human nature to a higher level, He divinized it and all share equally in that divinization. Education, wealth, success can be laudable but we must realize that they are gifts given to us in stewardship to be used to help ourselves and others in our journey to our true home. They must never be used to compartmentalize, to group individuals as being superior or inferior to one another. The same Father who created the leaders of the world’s nations also created the unkempt, odorous homeless persons in our cities and all have equal dignity before God and are equally and unconditionally loved. God Himself experienced opprobrium during His earthly existence. He was born into extreme poverty, was a common laborer, was questioned as to how He could teach since He had no formal education and was considered a common criminal and was sentenced to an ignominious death. His message was too radical: love one another without distinction to one’s attributes as your heavenly Father loves you.

Our children suffer distinction by society. They live in shanty towns, in precarious houses lined with plastic sheets to shelter them from the cold and rain. Their houses have dirt floors and may not have running water or electricity. Their education is nonexistent or substandard. They are considered to be apart, the anawim of society, suffering judgment for their lack of material goods. Judging persons according to their physical attributes, financial status, or educational achievements is contrary to the will of God because we are all one.

In you, O Christ, we find that we are one, whether east or west, whether parent or child, whether human or creature. Renew us in life’s unity. Release in us again the mighty flow of the one river. And set us free, O Christ, to love.

John Phillip Newell
Celtic Treasure:
Daily Scriptures and Prayer

Our sincere gratitude to you for supporting our, and the world’s,

Villa la Paz Newsletter December 2014

Incarnation: Christian Theol. Effectuation of the hypostatic union through the conception of the Second Person of the Trinity in the womb of the Virgin Mary
Hypostasis: Christian Theol. The union of the wholly divine nature and of a wholly human nature in the one person of Jesus Christ (in full hypostatic union)
Kenosis: Christian Theol. The voluntary abasement of the Second Person of the Trinity in becoming man
Webster’s New World Dictionary Third College Edition

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God.
3 All things came to be through Him and without Him nothing came to be. What came to be
4 through Him was life, and this life was the light of the human race,
5 the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory of the Father’s only son full of grace and truth.
John 1:1-5, 14

The Word became flesh. The Word became a tiny child to break down those barriers, the dividing wall that prevents us shaking hands with those who are different. Behind those walls each group considers itself the best, the most important and the most loved by God. The Word became flesh to bring these barriers down so that all of us can discover that we are all precious to God and made for love.
Jean Vanier

The world is not as just, not as loving, not as whole as we know it can and should be. But the coming of Christ and His presence among us, as one of us, gives us reason to live in hope: that light will shatter the darkness, that we can be liberated from our fears and prejudices, that we are never alone or abandoned.
Reflection in Connections

The Lord made the world and made humanity in order the He Himself might descend into the world, that He Himself might become human. For in becoming human, God became not only Jesus Christ but also potentially every man and woman that ever existed. In Christ, God became not only this man, but also, in a broader and more mystical sense, yet no less truly, every man.
Thomas Merton

The Incarnation is the greatest single event in the history of creation and God’s greatest gift to us. It embodies His self-emptying love, His self-abasement but most of all His humility. Think of that for a moment. The omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent Divinity wished to become one of us, not because we had sinned and needed redemption, but because of His love for us. Many prominent theologians believe that the Incarnation would have occurred even if man had not fallen, that God wanted to experience our limitations, our sorrows, our sufferings, to be one with us since one who loves desires to be with the one loved. And so He who cannot be contained in the universe became an embryo in the womb of a poor teenager and was born in the direst of circumstances, in a smelly stable amid animal excrement and sweat. His first bed was a feeding trough for animals. What was His purpose in entering time and space in such a manner? To teach us that wealth, power, prestige, titles are not to be our priorities, that they are not the necessary components of a successful life. It was a lesson on how to truly live without being weighed down by the material aspects of the world. Because of His poverty and low social circumstances He could freely give of Himself. We all know that what we own in reality owns us. Cars and homes require maintenance, insurance, tax payments. These demand money which requires us to work harder. Owning a business imposes obligations that can spiral out of control and consume one. God, because of the simple life that He chose, experienced none of these obligations and was free to serve where He was needed.

Christ therefore chose poor people for His parents, people nevertheless perfect in virtue, so that none of us should glory in the mere rank or wealth of our parents. He led the life of a poor man, to teach us to set no store by wealth. He lived the life of an ordinary man, without any rank, to wean men from an undue desire for honors. Toil, thirst, hunger, the aches of the body, all these He endured, to encourage men, whom pleasures and delights attract, not to be deterred from virtue by the austerity a good life entails.
St. Thomas Aquinas

This year has been challenging for us. We have admitted many children who have recovered or on the way to recovery, which gladdens the heart. However, we lost two children to leukemia who, even though they are no longer physically with us, repose in our hearts and memories. Our children and the poor of the world are gifts to us. They enable us to become eucharist, to give of ourselves in gratitude and thanksgiving. They are portals to heaven and enable us to enter into the mystery of the Incarnation.

Almighty God, who poured upon us the new light of your Incarnate Word, grant that the same light enkindled in our hearts may shine forth in our lives, Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Christmas mass at dawn
Anglo-Saxon Sarum Rite

We wish all of you a most Blessed Christmas and God’s best during the New Year. We love you and wish you peace.

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