Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cold hands - Warm hearts

Walking into the GR Public Library, I asked the man at the information desk if he could make an announcement that some friends from our church had hot soup and sandwiches for anyone in need. I said a silent prayer as I waited for the manager's approval. Yes! The announcement was made followed by a stream of thankful brothers and sisters leaving the shelter of warmth to endure the cold air for a few moments.

The library worker came down the steps to make sure we told the people that they had to eat the soup outside. My gratitude collided with slight irritation.

"Lord, help me to love from the depth of my heart when others don't understand." The guy was just doing his job. After all, they did make the announcement, right?
Who among us has not been less than compassionate to the needs of those cast aside by much of society?

Just about two months before we began this mission, I stepped out of our car in St. Andrew's parking lot with my parents and daughter only to see a lady coming towards us asking for help. There were other people milling around Division also. It was dark, and I was thinking of the safety of my daughter and focused on getting inside for Mass. The lady kept calling to me, so I turned and told her I couldn't help right now because I was going to church.

BAM! The Holy Spirit convicted me as I walked away. Oh sorry lady, I can't help you because I'm going to see Jesus! All I could think of was PHARISEE! HYPOCRITE!

Jesus was calling to me right there on the street, yet I was blind. Blinded by selfishness or fear at the same time I was seeking to receive the pure love of Jesus in the Eucharist. How could this be? Our family has spent month after month at God's Kitchen making meals for people such as this woman.

Certainly, I am supposed to be cautious and take care of my children first. Yet I could have acknowledged the woman and asked her to follow us up to the church. Jesus was calling me right there on the street. "whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25

If we are open, God will "heal our blindness" through times like this...

As I entered the cathedral, I knelt and prayed for forgiveness,asking the Lord for another chance. Only HE can take our wrongs and use them for His glory.

Weeks passed, and I put the incident away in my mind. Little did I know that I would soon be waking up in the middle of the night yearning to go outside on the streets to meet my hungry, lonely and cold brothers and sisters. Looking back, I now see.
So many others, too, have heard and acted on the Lord's call. There are countless kind-hearted individuals that share the Lord's compassion to make our world a better place each day.

Each day it is important that we pray and encourage our children in prayer to "put on the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2) so that our hearts may be open to those in need. For children, it begins in small ways like helping a classmate with a task or opening a door for an elderly person.
For us, it can be sharing a smile with everyone we see. Introduce ourselves to someone we don't yet know at church or school each week. The opportunities are endless. God will open the doors.

Speaker and author, Matthew Kelly, encourages people to ask themselves and their children this question each day - "How did God speak to you in your life today?" This prepares our minds to listen to God for direction instead of listening the world.

The words to a much-loved song keep echoing in my mind - "We are one body, one body in Christ, and we do not stand alone. We are one body, one body in Christ, and He came that we might have love."
He came that each one of us might have His love.
He came for each one of us to share that love with other people, not things.
People are meant to be loved and things are meant to be used NOT the other way around.

Among the friends we have met...

Please pray for Amy who recently lost her job due to medical leave. She lives in an apartment downtown and is looking for administrative work.

Pray for those with mental disabilities that the world would have compassion and they have stable housing and be well-cared for.

Pray for the veterans who have heroically served our country but are now lost in the shuffle of the streets that they may be given their benefits and be lovingly cared for in their old-age.

Continue to pray for the married couple, Annette and Karl, who are capable of paying monthly rent, but are having trouble negotiating a do-able deposit for an apartment. The spend nights in separate shelters. Pray that they turn to Jesus and trust Him for their needs.

Pray for those who are estranged from their families and find themselves without homes that forgiveness an reconciliation may enter into their hearts and the hearts of their loved ones.

While we can't do everything, we can all do something.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can;and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen.