Day 3 – Into the City

Padre Martín’s Homily

Today was the first day the homily was given by Padre Martín since I arrived. I am used to hearing his homily’s, but he always seems to offer something special. Padre has a very special relationship with Jesus, and he often says that he just wants to be Jesus’ microphone. Today was no exception. Here are few quotes: “When you die everything you have is gone. The only things that are worth bringing to heaven are the actions of mercy and good that you have done in your life.” Speaking directly to the brothers about their vocation he said, “If you don’t let Christ live in you, then Christ cannot speak through you.” “The devil doesn’t want you to be free. He wants you to be a slave to sin. In that slavery your will and your heart will be very far from Jesus’ heart.” Then after Mass, he added this nugget: “If we don’t allow Jesus to change us then his graces just bounce off of us. We’re wasting our time.”

Prayers and the City

After the mid-morning prayer hour, five of us went into Lima to a monthly Rosary group run by several ladies in the city. Padre Martín has a strong friendship with them, and they provide supplies (groceries, etc.) to the community. It’s pretty clear these ladies are in the upper class in Lima. They are a lively group and were extremely welcoming and gracious to me. They were thrilled to see the video of The Lord showing His presence during a Mass in San Antonio last month. Once everyone had arrived and settled down, each person offered their intentions before we recited the Rosary. The recitation went from person to person, so it was completely in Spanish until it got to me, then I recited my parts in English. After the Rosary, Padre Martín gave a brief reflection on today’s gospel where Thomas doubted the other Apostles when they told him they had seen The Lord. Brother Luis Gerardo once again interpreted for me, but I found I knew some parts based on the small amount of Spanish I’ve picked up from the daily prayers. I didn’t understand exactly what he was saying, but I knew the point.

Almost all the ladies spoke English, so it was very easy to talk with them. As I was talking with a lady named Claudia, and we were sharing our experiences with Padre Martín, she started telling me a story. I quickly discovered I knew exactly what she was talking about because I’d already heard it from Padre. It is so great to meet these people that I’ve heard about over the past few years. Claudia’s husband is a lawyer and has been setting up a Peruvian non-profit for Padre’s community similar to this one. It is a very good and necessary step.

We were supposed to go see the tomb of St. Martin de Porres, but the meeting ran long and we all needed some lunch. We went to a seafood restaurant where Padre knows the owner. I tried the ceviche, which was excellent. We headed home after the meal (it was after 4:00 and traffic is horrible in Lima). Along the way home we detoured so I could see the Ministry of Education building. It is designed to look like a stack of books, and it does. We did have a minor incident where a driver banged on the side of our van and yelled at us as Padre Jose Maria (our driver) was trying to merge. We just laughed.

After dinner I interviewed Brother Juan Francisco for his biography, but I was without my human translator as he was ill. We used the Google translator program to work our way through it. Brother Juan Francisco heard his calling to the priesthood at the age of 13, but he was discouraged by many people. He was fortunate to have a priest become a father figure to him and help him fulfill his vocation. He is from Peru, but his hometown is about 12 hours from Lima. The answer as to how he ended up in the community was too long, he said, to type into the translator. Our interview got cut short due to night prayers, but I found out enough to know there is a lot more to his story. I’m looking forward to talking with him again.

Tomorrow should be a busy day. We are still trying to see St. Martin de Porres, and I have a lot more interviews to do. Oh, and I offered to cook lunch! I’m making a big pot of marinara sauce with sausage — assuming I can find the ingredients I need at the market. For now, though, that 5:30 am bell lingers in my thoughts. I need some sleep.