It’s amazing how things come together with the utterance of but a few words.
Before Mass yesterday, a friend of ours mentioned she was going to be meeting with someone to give them assistance through the St. Vincent de Paul Society. She asked if we were interested in helping her so we could see first-hand what SVdP does. Being new to the whole process we eagerly accepted her invitation.
When I attended Ozanam Orientation for the St. Vincent de Paul Society on Saturday I wondered how I would feel when I met someone face to face that was so desperately in need. I wondered if they would seem cold and unappreciative, and I wondered if I would seem distant and uncaring.
I had no idea what to expect.
I have heard it before, and you may have too, but St. Vincent de Paul said, “The poor are your masters, you will see the face of Christ in the poor.”
I’ve often wondered what that truly meant. Until tonight, I thought I knew.
Matthew 25: 34-40 says,
Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in:
Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.
Tonight, I knew we were going to meet with someone in need. I knew we were going to be talking to someone desperate for assistance. I knew we were going to be face to face with someone who simply wanted their children to know they would have food to eat.
I think I was more nervous pulling up to that door than they were answering it. When we arrived, I said a silent prayer.
It wasn’t much, but He knew exactly what I needed.
As their door opened, I could feel the hunger in their bellies. As they greeted us, I could hear the desperation in their souls. As we carried groceries into their home, I could sense the appreciation in their hearts. But most importantly, as we placed the food on their table, I could see the face of Christ in all of their faces.
As we stood in their living room and they told us their story, I realized how truly blessed we were. I realized that by serving these people who were suffering, we were serving our Lord Jesus Christ. By standing with this family, listening to their situation, showing them compassion and giving them hope, they were no longer alone. For a moment (that may last a lifetime) they were no longer desperate, they were no longer hungry, they were no longer thirsting.
We made them aware of additional resources, we gave them a list of agencies, and we prayed with them, but most all, we listened. Did you know, when you listen close enough you can feel the breath of God in every person you meet? I know, I felt it tonight.
He strengthened my faith, my heart, and my desire to know Him better. What a blessing that was. It’s amazing how things come together with the utterance of but a few words.
Lord, thank you.