Conformity and Call

Conformity and Call

John 1:1-18; Mark 1:14-20

    There are two prayers that reflect  my journey: the first is an Ignatian prayer: “the grace to want what God wants,” and the second is one used by  Flannery O Connor to describe a gentleman, “who wanted so much to be called that he ended up calling himself.” We can not force grace.

    It takes time to separate the strands of conformity, and the call to see where God’s persistent voice is leading us, and to understand that conformity, being popular does not always go along with the call.

    My own journey has been one of my struggle   to conform my call to the expectations of others, thus forcing the call, and not letting God lead. It has lead me through my early years in the parish, to being a whore in Los Angles, and to street ministry. It is a continuous struggle with desperately wanting to conform, be liked, loved, a part of the team, or following where Jesus leads.

    We know we will never be a part of the “team”, we always live “outside the gate;” and that we will often times stand in the center of the storm holding up the Gospel in order that the message transcend to new ways of being heard. Our world is not black and white.

    Our world is pro-life–one in which we oppose all war; believe that all are entitled to health care, a decent place to live, and food; we believe that we all should share of what we have in order that all might have; we believe that the environment and climate change are our top priorities–we must sacrifice in order for all of creation to be taken care of; on this anniversary of Roe versus Wade we believe that each woman should have a choice, each being gifted by God with the freedom of choice, should be allowed to make that choice; we believe the drug laws are archaic and the war on drugs should be ended and the money used for treatment and rehabilitation. Harm Reduction is a health practice that views working with people where they are, letting them make their choices, and offering them other options–this is what the Bible describes as God working with humanity–we are given freedom of choice. We live in the grey areas of life.

    In Laudato Si, Pope Francis addresses the importance of concern for all vulnerable beings however, “different, “troublesome”, or “inconvenient” they may be. The measure of being pro-life is what we do each day to respect the dignity of each human being we encounter. The measure of being pro-life is what we do each day to systematically and tirelessly oppose anything that will destroy or diminish the life of any person.

    Each person is created in the Creator’s image and how we treat them is how we treat God.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

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