Imagine yourself standing at the edge of a canyon. As far as the eye can see – and it looks like you can see for a hundred miles! – there are rock formations, 300 million years of rocks, first laid down by oceans and compressed by time and the layers above them, then stripped away by water and wind, leaving columns and arches and exposed layers of many colors. In the distance there are mountains; close up, a drop of a thousand feet that makes your legs weak in the contemplation of it. The late afternoon sun fills the canyons with light and shade, and deep colors. And then, in the midst of all this strange, arid beauty, you listen. There are no sounds of cars, trucks, trains, airplanes. There is no hum of electricity, no sound of running water, no air moving through trees. No insects humming, no sound of birds. Only silence. Immense, vast silence that goes on for miles and miles. A silence like that becomes a thing, an object with mass and weight that you can return to in memory, and feel again the awe and peace, the extreme serenity of that immense stillness.
This is what vacations are for: to take us out of our busyness, and give us experiences that nourish us and show us that there is more to life than our schedules. I hope you had some vacation time this summer. My week in Utah was a great blessing. It was ever so good to spend time with my eldest daughter, and to spend that time together in some of the most remarkable places on earth, our national parks.(That was Canyonlands I was describing; we also went to Arches).
We will resume Mass this Sunday at 11 at St Joe’s. Last night at the Migrant Mass, I finally remembered that I had a camping lantern in the basement, so we had light. As I led the Mass, a feral kitten hiding under the altar kept batting at my feet. I felt embarrassed talking about my vacation with people who work seven days a week and never get vacation time, but they seemed to enjoy hearing about the parks. I sent a postcard to the young couple that’s expecting a baby. They don’t check the mail very often because there’s usually just junk mail and stuff for people that lived in their houses before them, so we went and dug it out of the mailbox. The young man’s face lit up as he looked at the postcard picture and I described what we saw. I’ll bet that was the first postcard he ever got.
Our friend Michael, who experienced a house fire back in July, reports that people have been so generous that he and his housemates now have more furniture than they know what to do with. Thanks for your prayers for him and for all whose lives are hard, especially the migrant farm workers.
The trees are starting to turn! Enjoy the fall colors.
Love to all,
Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Community of Liberation, Justice and Joy
Worshiping in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11 am
St Joseph's House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620