Sat, November 22, 2003

Sensitive inaction

The other day I left work and went out to grab a little lunch. As I drove back to my office with my “to go” order and turned into Lexington Green, I noticed a man standing on the median facing outgoing traffic and holding a cardboard sign. I couldn’t tell what was on the sign—I only saw the back of the man and sign—but I immediately thought that it probably said something like “Need Food.”

I recognized that especially during fast periods, such as the present Nativity fast, we should give alms. “I should go back there and give him my food,” I thought. “I don’t need it. I should at least go see what he needs—perhaps I can help.”

“But it’d be inconvenient to go back there,” the argument came. “I’d have to turn around twice and maybe he just is looking for a ride somewhere.” So I didn’t bother to do anything. Needless to say the meal wasn’t very satisfying. I chastised myself for only wanting to give when it was convenient or easy. Real love and charity is often messy.

“May the poor eat and be filled and may they who seek the Lord exult in him, and may their hearts live forever!”

I spoke with father about this and he pointed out that the poor are always around us. He encouraged me in growing a sensitive heart and to pray for another chance to give. He also suggested I remember this stranger in my prayers.

Lord have mercy. Show me and this man your loving-kindness.

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