March 5, 2010

Babylon Burn Down

  • I just led another retreat group from St. John´s Prep (Danver´s Mass). This was a great for us, and I feel that the highschoolers all left inspired to continue a life of faith and service
  • Tutoring now in math, english, and FRENCH (I hoped it would come in handy down the line)
  • Soccer everyday, on the weekdays we play on a concrete court at Semillas, the weekends we play on the street
  • I used to eat lunch at home, making eggs or eating left overs. Now, Ive been eating at Damien House with the women, and often, Ill get pulled into a neighbors house for a second lunch, the standard is a bowl of soup and plate of chicken and rice.
  • 100 degrees everyday
  • Reading Liberation Theology (faith in making a prefferential option for the poor)
  • Listening to Bob Marley (the same idea as above)
  • Re-growing the beard
The days are long. Hospital in the morning, spending time with neighbors in the afternoon, then the afterschool program, and then hanging out with friends guaruntees that the days are always full. A lot gets thrown at me here, but Im learning to take it day by day. More importantly, Im learning to appreciate each new day as a gift, no matter what gets thrown at me.

But you guys dont want to hear about how busy my life is here... Arent we all busy?

Lets talk about ¨Babylon Burn Down.¨ What does that even mean? It stands for hope, from the Judeo-Christian tradition, Rastafarian especially. It means that amist all the suffering in the world, there is hope. Babylon, will burn down. Martin Luther King Jr. said it the best in accepting his Nobel Peace Prize... ¨I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, Other-centered men can build up.¨ I am inspired that Garrett, David, Melissa, and Nora are heading down to Haiti in May. Jon is practicing microfinance (small loans to those oppressed by lack of resources and opportunity) in Kenya. God calls us all to bring down Babylon. There is so much work to be done in the US! First in our hearts (no bad mind, no hatred, no envy, no grudge) and then in our action. Out faith must have praxis, or it is a dead, and selfish spirituality. I have faith that if we all act in love and make a preferrential option for the poor, Babylon will burn down.

What is Babylon then? In Duran... Babylon reigns when I meet a child, living in a cane house with 13 other people, mainly chldren. She is 13, and we practice multiplacation in a park. She has a one year old on her lap and there is a 2 year old to her side. We try to focus. She wants to learn, she has been out of school for several years now. 13 years old and illiterate, so we practice math. We practice multiplying numbers by 2, and then by 10, the easiest. Then the neighbors come and interupt. They want attention. Then her mother calls, she has to go by food for dinner. This child has more responsiblilty than I do! Born into a life of struggle and poverty, will she ever has a second to be a child?

Or what about my friend who has played the game well. She is smart, beautiful, and ambitious. She grew up in Duran and was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to school. She excelled. She was given another opportunity and got a scholorship to go to college. She excelled there. A bachelors degree! Coming from a child in Duran?! Finally, against all the odds, she made it, the promised land of having a college education. Today, she is unemployed. She has no connections and there are no jobs available. Imagine the heartbreak. You played the game right, worked your hardest, took advantage of every opportunity that came your way, and still no opportunity. The system just doesnt work.

Thats Babylon. And thats why we need to change.

Do we give up faith in a more just world and just focus on getting ours? Thats the temptation of our life. Thats Babylon Burn Down- God, give me the courage to dedicate a life for a more just world.


Yvette said...

HI Dan,

Enjoy reading your blog. You're amazing. Our daily chores seem so minuscule compared to yours. How rewarding for you.

Bonne Chance et Grosses Bises,
Aunt Yvette

KatieDe29 said...

You're words invigorate me. I think I may share some of them with the spring break service immersion participants tomorrow. Keep on keepin' on, Dan.

Take care,
Katie DeSalvo :)
DePaul University

Gisele said...

Important thoughts! You make me think about how I am part of Babylon and how I might help to chip away at it.
Remain courageous, my son!!!
Love, Mom