Spring Newsletter 2018
Some News from the Dubuque Rescue Mission
Love Last year, the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast was a box-office hit. The Beast is a hideous creature who is rude, mean and lacks any shred of civility – as a Beast should be, I suppose. I share this because I experienced a similar Beast, of sorts, here at the Mission. I was awakened at 3:30 inthe morning by a call from the Mission because a resident was drunk and assaulting another resident. When I arrived, Roger was clearly under the influence, bleeding from a wound, screaming, kicking and punching another resident who was trying to get away from him. He was so enraged, he literally looked like a wild man thrashing about and pouncing on his victim. Another staff and I were able to restrain Roger, but his wild/beastly behavior was frightening the other staff. I remained calm and kept telling Roger to breathe deeply and stop his resistance – we were there to help, not harm him. Because Roger was so violent, the Police were called and he was taken to the hospital. It wasn’t until I arrived back home around 5 a.m. that I sat and prayed for Roger. In my prayer I was reminded of the Beast in Beauty and the Beast. As portrayed, the Beast was angry, violent, rude, and belligerent because of what happened to him – he had been put under a spell by an evil witch. It took someone who was kind and loving (Belle) to see that this was not his true nature – that underneath the ugly and fierce skin was a glorious child of God (Prince in Disney’s version). This was true of Roger – his beastly outburst was the result of years of abuse and shame – being physically/sexually assaulted as a child; fighting and drinking his way through life until so much pain and alienation landed him years in prison. Now, today, a lifetime later, all that ugliness, anger and violence came rushing out like a Beast looking to attack its prey. I wonder if the two thieves that hung on either side of Jesus were like the Rogers of this world -vile, beastly, ugly and profane. Yet, the one recognizing Jesus’ innocence was able to humbly ask to be remembered, while the other mocked and taunted Jesus to save himself and them. We know today that Redemption is possible – people change and their true “princely/divine” nature is discovered when someone chooses to love them rather than alienate or shame them. That’s what we do here – try to love the ugliness, anger, rejection, beastly nature of some of our most wounded residents. As it was for Belle, it can be frightening to encounter. You may move forward in loving-kindness and they lash out in anger and violence. Yet, we keep trying, hoping that the next encounter, something is touched deep down inside and they begin to transform before our eyes. What was one day ugly and vile is now beautiful, gentle, humble and pure. This was Roger two days after this whole ugly episode. I was able to sit with him and have him see another part of himself that is buried deep inside. Like the Beast, love was able to bring about his true identity and a new creature was born. This encounter was touching and transforming for both of us. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 Many of you are aware that we cannot offer and be present to the “the most wounded among us” without your support and prayers. I’m often asked what the Mission needs: We need your prayers. We need your compassionate and loving presence. We need your financial help. We need your commitment to love those who sometimes seem beastly and vile. Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to each of you who have accompanied us over these 86 years – making this Mission an extraordinary place of hope and healing.
Love Last year, the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast was a box-office hit. The Beast is a hideous creature who is rude, mean and lacks any shred of civility – as a Beast should be, I suppose. I share this because I experienced a similar Beast, of sorts, here at the Mission. I was awakened at 3:30 in
Trust I believe in heavenly beings who are present to us on this journey called life. As difficult as some days can be here at the Mission, I have to trust that what Jesus said is true: “I will be with you until the end of the ages (Mt. 28:20). There are times when I feel so close and loved by Jesus that my confidence and vigor seem to be without end. Other times, it’s more like the picture below: There are celestial beings everywhere, protecting and comforting the men and others who come so burdened to our ministries. When I leave the Mission each night – I trust that all the men will be well as they rest in the lap and arms of any number of heavenly beings. I guess the good sisters of my Catholic grade school years taught enough about our Guardian Angels that the impact has comforted me through some pretty challenging times. So, each day, we arise and trust the Easter promise that love conquers hate; light overcomes darkness; new life follows death; hope carries us over the valley of despair; goodness wipes out evil; and forgiveness heals alienation.
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for the angel of the Lord came down from heaven and going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. Its appearance was like lightening, and its clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. The go quickly and tell the disciples: He is risen from the dead and is going ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see him.
May the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection fill you with hope and love. A Blessed Easter to all our readers.