Section 3

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A big ego diminishes into peace, joy, and happiness in the hands of the caring presence.


La Misma Nada or Nothingness Itself.

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I went on pilgrimage to active Mission Churches in San Antonio Texas. Out of a chain of Missions only 4 remain active as spiritual centers. The principal mission was founded by Fr. Antonio Margil in 1720 who is now Venerable meaning up for candidacy as a saint in the Catholic Church. So is Black Elk born in 1863. What do these two holy men have in common: La Misma Nada, nothingness itself.

Let me explain. My own spiritual journey is toward littleness. By littleness I mean leaving behind behaviors that thwart the innate needs of any in my domain. By domain I mean my personal culture.

Black Elk was a holy man of the Sioux Native Americans. Fr. Margil was a holy man of the colonial Spanish culture. I am on their journey. Both have inspired me to littleness. Fr. Margil signed his name as La Misma Nada.

Here is a brief passage from one of Fr. Margil’s preserved letters.


Black Elk had a vision. Here is the full description of his vision as written by Neihardt a cultural anthropologist.

“Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy.”

Both Black Elk and Fr. Margil were humble. So humble as to exude and reflect their vision of a God who had nothing but good in mind for all mankind.

What kind of God is this? One who loves us. The common thread between Fr. Margil and Black Elk was their ardor of heart for all they served. Each had a deep profound love for all around them. Fr. Margil was ready to die at the hands of Native Americans that he wished to teach the nature of the Trinitarian God he so loved as love itself.

Black Elk catechized over 400 contemporary Native Americans to the God of his vision that he found in his Catholic religion.

Who would not, could not, love both men willing to die for a vision of unity for all mankind.

Mahatma Gandhi was another man whose life I studied who said: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Martin Luther King was another man who died for his dream. “I have a dream…”

Littleness is found in the Anawim, those who were willing to trust God for all that they possessed. Throughout history they alone knew the true oath to God was to suffer at the hands of all those around us, to satisfy their innate needs even when they thwart our own.

My last example is Jethro. He was a good man. Moses met him and married one of his daughters. A 3 part documentary depicted a scene where Egyptian war lords demanded tribute in taxes on Jethro who was a Midian priest of the Midian culture. Moses knew they could not afford the taxes. In one scene Moses asked: “What do we do?”

Jethro answered “We do what we always do. We delay and negotiate.” Jethro did not say we kill them. Jethro was willing to suffer satisfying the Egyptian demands that thwarted Jethro’s innate needs while satisfying theirs. The process was peaceful.

God wants peace not death. Man has free will. As man chooses on this earth so too will he choose for eternity.