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Turn Not Your Face From The Poor (Book of Wisdom)

St. Vincent de Paul Image from Wellcome Images,  Via Wiki Commons

St. Vincent de Paul
Image from Wellcome Images,
Via Wiki Commons

I have always had a special affection for St. Vincent de Paul (1584-1660). I have looked to him for daily inspiration – “St. Vincent de Paul, help me to care for the poor.”  This has been my frequent prayer to the patron saint of the poor.  In years past, I lived in the house where his body is venerated, on the Rue du Sevres in Paris.  As I offered Mass at his tomb each morning, the ideals of his priesthood took hold of my heart.  “Remember the poor!”

If we wish to be close friends with God, have concern for the injured people of our society. The main theme in the Scriptures embraces the poor and their helplessness.  Jesus tells us in St. Matthew that our final judgement will depend on our care of the needy, “I was hungry, thirsty, without clothes, ill, in prison and you helped Me.  Enter into my Father’s Kingdom.” In His days on earth, Jesus spent most of His days with the outcasts of society, the lepers, the sinners, the little people of His time.

When I notice my hours and days taken up with my own personal agenda, my comforts, my little goals, I grow sick at heart. I cry out in prayer for God’s agenda to enter my life.  “Lord, help the poor, the sick, the dying.”  I don’t want to be like the rich man in the Scriptures, who closed his eyes and ears to the poor man Lazarus outside his front door.  According to the story this man had a most unhappy ending.  “Whatever you do to the least of mine, you do to Me”, Jesus said.

If we have some special need in our personal life, think of making a contribution of money to a charity group, like Catholic Charities, or the Salvation Army. This can bring God’s blessings upon us quickly.  In our closets, I’m sure we all have clothes that we will never wear again, garments that could keep needy people warm and comfortable.

John Denver, a favorite of mine, said if our family had the last loaf of bread in the world, the wisest thing would be to share that bread with others. Remarkable things happen to people caring for the poor, even though these people are not in immediate contact with the needy.  A family finds itself down to its last few funds, but with a great leap of faith, this family gives a portion of this to charity.  Almost in a miraculous way, new income appears to the family out of nowhere.

Lent is a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Give of yourself to those in need during this Holy time.

Fr. George Mc Kenn

February 20, 2016 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Hi Fr. George! Such a hard topic for me! I wonder why my life is so comfortable – when so many are so poor, with such difficult lives. I often think of an article I read about the ‘boat boys’ – young boys in Africa who must spend long hours diving down for fish – some as young as 4 – spending 12-14 hours a day – kidnapped and then forced to work in dangerous and miserable conditions. Why does this happen? When others have so much!!

    I walk past the homeless on the way to work – living on the streets, lying in filthy blankets or just cardboard – I sometimes give money or buy food – sometimes I am afraid to even approach them. It is a hard moral dilemma. But I actually didn’t realize until reading this that I can ALWAYS pray for the poor! That is something that I will add to my prayers and especially to my rosary petitions.

    Thank you for shinning a light on an uncomfortable topic for me. Praying will help my uncertainty about my role in life as compared to the poor.

    I love you!

    Comment by nancywest22 | March 7, 2016 | Reply

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