Friday, February 15, 2013

Devotion for today: Profiles in Charity

I wish I had a lot of money. I really do. Then I would start GNN - Good News Network. Can you imagine it? Instead of 24 hour coverage intended to upset and hype the viewer into a sense of urgency and doom, we would be viewing news coverage of the amazing wonderful things man is doing for his fellow man. Every single day people give of themselves, totally without reward or recognition, for the betterment of their fellow man. I would love to have that broadcasted into our homes instead of the latest piece of gossip or distorted, discussed and dissected news event, wouldn’t you? Well, today my friends, I am here to satisfy that desire. After Mass the other day I was challenged on my recent blog “pet peeve” comment where I stated that I really don’t think too much of the statement: “Let me know if there is anything I can do for you” when I am in a desperate situation. The key word, of course, is desperate. I said people should list the things they can do to help and then do them. My commenter stated that we don’t always know what is needed. I guess that may be true, but it doesn’t take too much brain power to analyze a desperate situation, see a need and fill it. What it takes is time and self-commitment, and that is much tougher than a passing, albeit well intended comment. So today, here on GNN, I present three examples of Profiles in Charity from the lives of people I have the privilege of knowing. We have spent the week acknowledging that Faith and Charity are inseparable. Let us see how that looks in the real world.

Profile #1: Here is what a podiatrist did
A friend of mine is a podiatrist. He works in a lovely office in a nice part of town. Recently, while on business in the city, he was taken aback by the physical condition of the homeless. Why it hit him so hard on that day, when he had been in the city for years, is beyond me. But it did. Now, what could he do about it? He could walk around passing out his business card saying, “Let me know if there is anything I can do for you,” or he could actually do something. He assessed the situation, and to make a very complicated story simple (bureaucracy being what it is) he started a podiatry on wheels clinic where he drove around the city caring for the feet of the poor at no cost. Hmmm, washing the feet of others….

Profile #2: Here is what a mother and father did
A friend of mine has a daughter who came home from college “with child.” She wanted to keep her baby. She is bright, beautiful and loving. Her parents took her in, paid for her to go to a local college while the dad took early retirement and the mom gave up all her activities to care for the baby.  Their daughter finished college with a job waiting for her. Her child is three, and thriving. My friends, well, let’s just say they saw a need and never asked the cost, like maybe dying on the cross for others….

Profile #3: Here is what a friend did
Not too long ago, I had surgery to remove cancer from my eye rim. It required my eye to be sewn shut for three months, with no driving, exercise, or any activity that would cause the stitches to come loose. My dear friend took a look and my situation and announced that she would do three things for me: she would drive me once a week to my beloved Bible study; she would bring me dinner on Thursdays, and she would visit my 90 year old mother and 91 year old aunt in their apartment every Wednesday afternoon. Now let’s see, when I was hungry, when I was lonely, when I was desperate for activity….

See? It really isn’t too hard. In fact, it is very simple. When you are tempted to think of yourself, think of God instead. Then see what He has done for you in your desperation, and turn those same beautiful eyes of mercy onto others. It will cost you something, for sure, but the gift you will give is priceless. Why not spend this Lenten season not giving up, but giving out?

Here are the words of Pope Benedict XVI to inspire you. He addressed these words to the sick at the International Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Poland on May 26, 2006:
 Dear friends who are sick, who are marked by suffering in body and soul, you are most closely united to the Cross of Christ, and at the same time you are the most eloquent witnesses of God’s mercy. Through you and through your suffering, He bows down to humanity with love. You who say in silence: “Jesus, I trust in You,” teach us that there is no faith more profound, no hope more alive, and no love more ardent that the faith, hope, and love of a person who in the midst of suffering places himself squarely in God’s hands. May the human hands of those who care for you in the name of mercy be an extension of the open hands of God.

Scripture to live by: Matthew 25:40:
 and the King will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

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