Sunday, November 10, 2013
A Meditation from a Friend
An open letter to Catholics (and all Christians) as we begin to prepare for Advent:
You don't know me, but I know you.
I sit next to you in the pew. I sit behind you on Sunday. I am standing in front of you while we listen attentively to God's word.
I am the man who sits alone, his hand folded in prayer and heart crushed by soul numbing loneliness. My attempt at a smile and a "Peace be with you" hides the tears at the edge of my eyes. My personal prayer during the prayers for the faithful is for my family, and then for you. Please pray for me. Know that I am praying for you.
I am the father of the small family who gives their time and what little treasure they have back to God, having faith that he will multiply them like the 5 loaves and 2 small fish. The giving is done freely and without strings, while inside I struggle to grasp on to the faith that all will be taken care of in my life...yet knowing that there are those who are even worse off than myself. I give because someone has to. Please give if you can.
I am the one who wears nearly the same thing to Mass every Sunday. My clothes are modest, in simple colors and styles that do not go out of fashion. Classics you'd call them. You do not see the thread bear inseams, the little holes and tears around the collar, the loose threads that barely hold together the same shirt I've been wearing for the past 2 years. The holes in the bottom of my shoes from countless miles of walking. Walking that includes the walk to church that morning in the cold or the rain.
I am the man who passes by the hall where you are raising money for a good cause with a lunch or dinner. The smells waft by, tantalizing the nose while the conversation and laughter fills the ears...yet penniless I turn and walk home. My stomach grumbles and my soul aches for the fellowship of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, yet I am an outsider in my own Church. I am a second class citizen of our little private society because I do not have even a dollar to offer for your cause. You do not outwardly shun me, but I am no less shunned. I lower my head and let my hair cover my face as I walk alone. I fight back the tears of shame and hope the cold wind gives me a reason to have red cheeks of embarrassment. I long to join you, but I feel I am not welcome.
Not welcome, in my own Church.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 26:11 "The poor you will always have with you". You think of the poor as the homeless person with their shaggy hair and disheveled clothing, but the poor are even closer than you think.
Please look for me. I am here. Please remember me, for I am forgotten.
Your Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Your fellow parishioner
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