We might do better if we try and be our brother's keeper more often.
Not simply correcting or admonishing everyone we think doesn't live up to our standards, but offering support to them instead.
Showing ordinary kindness to one another, being courteous, being polite. Offering a kind word rather than a rebuke or a complaint. Offering a helping hand. Being a friend.
I definitely know how cliche that sounds, but I'm thinking of the tragic death of the Belgian brothers. Was there no one to reassure them? Was there no one to give them hope? Was there no one to be a friend and assure them they would be there for them, to help them get through things, whenever they needed someone?
I was reading something by Matthew Kelly which struck me. Under the heading, Fostering the Inner Life, Kelly discusses the different callings in life, to married/family life, priesthood/religious life, and then the single life:
"Still others are called to live as single persons, and use the versatility of their singleness to live and proclaim the Good News in ways that would be impossible for the married or ordained."
That impressed me. Rather than argue if there is a single vocation or not, one eventually understands and accepts the fact they are single, and most likely will be for the rest of their life. I'm not married, I'm not called to religious, But I'm single. So make the best of it. The single person's life does indeed offer a versatility oftentimes not available to others. The single person offers an availability other committed persons may not enjoy.
What if some single friend of the Belgian brothers said something like, "You could move in with me and I'd help you guys." Or, "Maybe we could share a house?" Or, "I will always be there for you - I will check in - I will help you out."
Sort of like L'Arche, but doing it for people who aren't especially that disabled.
I don't know. But I think we must be more generous with one another, and available. Childless parents might think along these lines as well. What about an aged and dying out religious house, what if they took someone in? What if a retired priest shared his house with someone in need? We rescue pets from the animal shelters.
A woman at church died a few years ago and left a grown son an orphan. I only knew his first name. He actually befriended me in the parish. He lived with his mother and attended Mass and devotions with her. He's an alcoholic and has some brain damage. Under his mom's care, he went to AA and did really well. After his mom died I asked him what he was going to do, he said he didn't know. He was staying with a relative but told me he didn't know how long he would last - he was referring to being sober and staying with the relative. It's been about 3 years now since I've seen him. No one has heard what happened to him. I'm always sorry I didn't think to keep in touch with him, though I promised him my prayers.
They use the term 'falling through the cracks' for people like him. It means they don't necessarily qualify for public assistance or group home living, and so on.
All I did was offer to pray for him.