Articles from Third Ministries!
I've been back from Haiti for more than two weeks now. And I've been trying to write something about it. I would love to lay down on the page all the great deeds we performed. Perhaps even all the people we lifted up out of their misery. But with a mere five days, wandering through Cite Soleil, one of the most desperate slums in our world, I'll be honest: I don't come home feeling settled. I don't come home feeling as if we accomplished any great thing. And I don't come home feeling like I've put another notch in my belt or that I've done my good deed so that I can go back to living the comfortable life I've found for myself here at the seminary.
I've seen what there was to see, and it can't be unseen. I've smelled what there was to smell, and the scent remains. It’s not easy to forget the burning tires used in the kilns to make metal pots, just feet away from homes and schools where children grow up without a clue of how comfortably I sit here as I write of their plight.
As the group of men to be ordained this June as priests for Los Angeles, we did not find our way into the lives of the poorest of the poor in order to accomplish anything. We went there to see for ourselves the utter desperation of a people. We went there to see the darkness, so that we know what we're talking about when we say that God's love is, yes, even in that place.
One of the great gifts of this trip was to preach at Mass with the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa's order of Sisters, who live among the poorest of the poor. It was humbling to try to speak of Christ's presence and struggle in the poorest of the poor to the women who know it intimately and live it with so much love and toil. All I could possibly say was that they knew it better than I, and that they were right in what they had given their lives to. Mother Teresa, when asked who she hoped to meet whenever she traveled to new places, the most desperate places, said herself: My great desire is to meet anybody who has nobody.
It is stunning and downright confusing then that Jesus would speak the Beatitudes as he does. The ones who are crowned blessed and victorious are just these people. The anybody-who-has-nobody, the poor in spirit, the meek, the sorrowful, the ones who make peace and are mocked for it, the ones who strive and fight for purity and holiness and are abused by the world for doing so, the little children running around the burning rubber tire kilns in Cite Soleil, those of us with broken hearts for those whose hearts beat only to survive another day. Blessed. Lives expanded by hope in God alone and love.
As a class, we may not have gone to Haiti to accomplish anything. We went to meet the blessed ones.
Dcn. Tim Grumbach is in his final year of Seminary studies at St. John Seminary in Camarillo, CA. He has a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy from CSU Dominguez Hills. He was ordained as a transitional Deacon in August of 2016, preparing to be ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 2017. Growing up in Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica, he has a real connection to the surf, the mountains, and the people of Southern California. Spending a fair amount of time on surf boards and mountain bikes, his current priorities include finishing an MA in Theology at the Seminary, with a concentration on New Testament Scriptural studies. Dcn. Tim is greatly anticipating his first assignment as an associate pastor after ordination somewhere in Los Angeles, beginning July 2017.