Dec 7 – Pearl Harbor . . . . Dom Helder Camera, Advent Journeys

Wednesday  December 7
“. . .  cares for weary companions . . . “

Back home from 3+ days with my sister Midge and her family in Carson City.  Out the window we had some lovely snow + a couple mule deer & several large raptors (I think perhaps a golden eagle).  Here at home we have a lovely dusting of snow and hints of sunshine.

This morning I fished from 2015’s Advent posts and found Nov 30, 2015’s note on Dom Helder Camera, a saint in my book and worth a re-read.  Yes, it is also the anniversary of Pearl Harbor.  Whenever I read this saying, this sacred old man stops me still with his delicacy and his flint-hard courage.

Have a blest weekend.

john sj

Today’s Post – Dom Helder Camera

“It is possible to travel alone, but we know the journey is human life
and life needs company.
Companion is the one who eats the same bread.

The good traveler cares for weary companions, grieves when we lose heart,
takes us where she finds us,  listens to us.
Intelligently, gently, above all lovingly, we encourage each other to go on
and recover our joy
On the  journey.”

February 7, 1909 – August 27, 1999


p.s. Advent often reminds me of one of the saints in my life.  Here’s a meditation about Dom Helder Camera I wrote early in Advent two years ago.

Dom Helder Camera was archbishop of Recife and Olinda from 1964 to 1985 during military dictatorship in Brazil.  He interpreted Catholic teaching with a consistent, fierce attention to the violence of systems maintaining brutal poverty.  He made serious enemies.   It is said that some of them hired a hit man to remove him.  Like the professional he was, the hit man stalked Dom Helder for some time, learning his habits, seeking a place and time apt for killing.   In the process, he listened to him speak a number of times until, one day, he fell at Dom Helder’s feet, weeping, and begged for the grace to change his profession and his life.   When he walked this earth, Dom Helder’s presence engaged the world’s wounds.

This unblinking attention to the violence of poverty was matched by legendary playfulness.  Here is one story among many, this one I witnessed.  Once Dom Helder was speaking to about 1500 people who sat on the St. Louis levee overlooking the Mississippi River (by the Arch); in the middle of the talk, a helicopter took off right behind him filled with tourists taking a ride with a bird’s eye view of the river and the city.   It made enough of a racket that it was impossible to hear what the Dom Helder was saying.  He paused, turned around to the helicopter, and gave the tourists a puckish little wave.  When the helicopter got a little farther out on its trip, he turned back to us.

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