Stirrings of the Spirit

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Love of the Poor

“When we serve the poor and the sick we serve Jesus.  We must not fail to help our neighbors, because in them we serve Jesus” – St Rose of Lima

Someone tweeted this the other day, and it seemed to be a good reminder for me, of how as Christian we are called to serve the poor.  And while I know this, I struggle with it.  It is something that has been playing on my conscience since getting married and moving into the neighbourhood that we now live.

The week I moved in was the same week that a Meth Lab was busted across the road.  I suppose that set the tone for our time there, and we seem to experience a few things that make very interesting stories in the retelling.  The tenant that lived in the house before us sounds like a lovely woman.  She was happy to have people come to her house, and they would stay in the front yard at times they couldn’t get into the drug rehabilitation centre across the road (seperate to the meth lab).  The neighbours mentioned when I moved in not to be too worried if there were people sleeping in my garden when I came out for my morning coffee, because that’s just what happened.  So prior to moving in, we informed those people there were new tenants, and they’d have to find somewhere else to sleep. 

Its difficult to find that balance between helping the poor and keeping your own safety.  We live less than a block away from the St Vincent de Paul Office, but they usually aren’t open when I encounter these people, so I can’t, at that moment, delegate it to someone else more suitable to deal with the problem. 

On the weekend, I was at a church to practice reading for the Easter services.  A man came into the church looking for help.  I did try to delegate it elsewhere, but with no luck. Everyone I rang wasn’t answering.  So I opened up my wallet and found a $50 note and gave him that in the hope he’d find somewhere to spend the night before seeking help the next day. He said he had lost his job, and as a result couldn’t pay his rent and was evicted on Friday night.  I hope that he found a room at a cheap backpacker’s hostel or something, and was able to sleep safely and comfortably that night. 

I was shocked at my willingness to give, but can only put it down to location. The people that come to my house, sometimes ask for a couple of dollars and I’m always reluctant to give it to them. I instantly shut them out, when I should be opening my heart to them. 

In a conversation with someone recently, I mentioned this struggle I feel, and said that maybe God was giving me these opportunities to improve that part of myself.  The Bishop that I work with overheard me and said that he’s looking forward to see how I go with this, especially after identifying it as being sent by God. 

I should learn to not say such things around him.

The saints are such examples of living and working with the poor.  I try to draw from that example, but every time fail to live up to it.


April 15, 2011 Posted by | Faith, Spirituality | , , , , | 1 Comment