Sunday, December 20, 2009

A comment not published.

On "charity has no strings"...
A friend sent me the following anecdote from the life of Dorothy Day:
"Tom Cornell tells the story of a donor coming into the Catholic Worker and giving Dorothy a diamond ring. Dorothy thanked her for it and put it in her pocket. Later a rather demented lady came in, one of the more irritating regulars at the house. Dorothy took the diamond ring out of her pocket and gave it to the woman.

Someone on the staff said to Dorothy, "Wouldn't it have been better if we took the ring to the diamond exchange, sold it, and paid that woman's rent for a year?"

Dorothy replied that the woman had her dignity and could do what she liked with the ring. She could sell it for rent money or take a trip to the Bahamas. Or she could enjoy wearing a diamond ring on her hand like the woman who gave it away. "Do you suppose," Dorothy asked, "that God created diamonds only for the rich?"" - What I Learned About Justice From Dorothy Day
Thanks DJ!


  1. Beautiful.

    Whenever someone says, "what if he uses it for booze?" i say "So what? I'm not his mother and he's not a child."

    For many homeless, a little warming nip might be the only bright spot for them. I like a drink on occasion. But, oh, I'm clean and white and I pay taxes, so it's okay?

    Sorry, I just don't get the logic of the booze argument. Thanks for posting these, Terry.

  2. Remarkable. A reminder that maybe the most painful deprivation that poverty imposes is the loss of dignity and freedom of choice? Often the reason that the homeless do not want to use shelter, for good reason.

    Thanks so much, Terry.

  3. I've never given money directly to a beggar "in case" he uses it for drugs or booze. I am now rethinking that position.

  4. I was told once that if we fail to show charity, then the sin is ours. But if someone abuses the charity they were shown, then the sin is theirs, and theirs alone.

  5. Thank you for this important reflection.
    I am reminded of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta's constant saying that she and her sisters were called 'to give whole-hearted service to the poor'.
    No strings. Just love.
    Like God.
    He waits for us; He beckons us; He helps us.
    But He doesn't force or control us.
    Satan, however, intimidates, lies to, manipulates and accuses us.
    God's mercy and love are so unbelievable. Every day I marvel at His patience and generosity with a poor sinner, a beggar, like myself.
    Thank you, again.


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