Sunday, July 11, 2010
Domingo, el 11 de Julio--Sunday Reflections by Fr John Parker
We began the day between 630 and 7am with four rounds of strings of firecrackers (40 per bunch?) which we took to be "Welcome to the neighborhood" festivities. The ladies of our team were certain that they were being set off in a trash can immediately outside their window/door.
All gathered at 915a in the chapel to receive the blessing of Madre Ines, the abbess of the monastery, who had arrived shortly before with Madre Maria, the other Nun who lives at the Lavra Mambre monastery nearby.
The children sang The Akathist for Holy Communion incredibly beautifully, and nearly entirely (45mins-1 hour) from memory. Then, following the singing of the Great Doxology, we served the Divine Liturgy. Deacon Mark and I worked hard to sing the Liturgy en espanol, and I nervously but excitedly delivered the homily en espanol tambien.
Also attending the liturgy were a dozen or so local Orthodox Christians and some visitors, including Mother Ines' mother, Olga, whose name day was today.
After the service, I was driven by a delightful doctor and dear friend of Madre Ines to bring communion to her father, who suffers from terminal cancer. Thank God he is not in much outward pain, though he cannot communicate or otherwise move.
Miraculously, after communion--which I just basically touched to his lips ("Lo, this has touched your lips, and shall purge you of all your iniquities and cleanse you from your sins" cf Isaiah 6:7)--Don Manuel opened his eyes and smiled--for about a half hour. Before today, he hadn't really opened his eyes for weeks. Glory to God.
I was invited to stay for lunch with the family--ceviche (shrimp cooked only by the acid of lime juice--and delicious), followed by a creamy shrimp curry and, for the first time in my life, rabbit livers. Yes, you read that correctly. "They are gamey, father," I was told.
During the meal, we eagerly watched La Copa Mundial, almost all of us cheering for Spain (Viva Espana!). We were biting our nails until 2 minutes left in the second overtime when Spain metio un gol. 1-0. True to hispanic form, the announcer yelled, "Gooooooooooool" for nearly a minute, no exaggeration, and without a breath.
An easy evening watching Free Willy in Spanish followed by rice and beans for supper, along with a little salad.
A delightful evening meeting, as usual, and as I type, all working on the crafts for tomorrow.