Thursday, October 11, 2012

Give Them Whatever They Need

Lectio Divina

He will get up to give him whatever he needs.

Luke 11:8


In an electoral frame of mind, I found the 2012 platform of the Green Party and have been studying it. I could not find a PDF version of it, but the 2010 platform is available in PDF format. Meanwhile, continuing the Miller biography of Dorothy Day.


Last evening at Old Mission Santa Barbara, we listened to Gerry Straub, formerly a producer of television soap operas and now a chronicler of the world's worst poverty. He told us the story of his conversion, inspired by the life of Saint Francis of Assisi, and he showed us scenes from his short films. Here is a man who has heard his vocation and found his ministry. His encounters with and sharing in the experience of the homeless, the hungry, and the sick make my pretensions to poverty laughable. His call to compassionate solidarity with all peoples sets the bar for every Franciscan's call to minority. I left the mission with the urge to remain silent and start being or doing something more than I am or have.

This morning, left San Lorenzo for our meeting with Dennis, Tensie, and Jorge of Beatitude House, the Catholic Worker community in Guadalupe. Shared their baked potatoes, steamed broccoli, and apple pie, while we shared our garden-grown cucumber-and-tomato salad and dairy-free fettucine alfredo. We learned about the origins of this community; talked about the challenges of living the way of Gospel personalism and raising children to consider doing likewise; and speculated about the ways a committed personalist could or should engage with the powers of state to bring about the kind of society ready to receive the reign of God.

The good vibrations of the Catholic Worker movement were still resonating in my mind when, on a stop at the shopping complex in Santa Maria on the way home, I met a family of Romanian immigrants who were begging money for rent and food. The mother and father had come here less than a year ago with their three young children; they had skills but limited English and no employment. Despite all my formation, I had to strongly resist the urge to walk on by and find my brothers. I stayed, prayed, held their begging sign for them and urged shoppers to give. I stayed with them long enough to offer them a little cash and the way to the Catholic Charities office in Santa Maria and Beatitude House in Guadalupe.

I probably did a little good, but I could have been more to that family in spirit. The words of Jesus in Luke today sear me: "I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence." Will I? Do I?


It's always sunny in the valley, but God knows how and when it rains down elsewhere.

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