Thursday, February 18, 2016

"Do you suppose, that God created diamonds only for the rich?"

Pieter Bruegel the Elder - The Cripples.

A friend once 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

Charity has no strings.  A Missionary of Charity sister once told me that.

I used to think Dorothy Day was a Communist.  I used to think Oscar Romero was too.  At one time I thought many Jesuits, Maryknoll-ers, and Little Brothers of Jesus were too.  Their type of religious poverty, their closeness to the genuinely poor and marginalized scared me.  It made me uncomfortable - they identified and lived with the poor and served them, sharing their outcast state.

After my conversion, I wanted to be a contemplative.  Yet these religious- priests, brothers and sisters, were contemplatives in the street, closer to the model Jacques Maritan predicted would emerge one day, than I was.

A meditation from Blessed Mother Teresa which showed up in Magnificat this week, may help to illustrate what I'm trying to say.

One of our novices had come from a far-off country and a well-to-do family. She was sent right away to our home for the destitute who are dying, just like the rest of the novices. Before they left, I told them, "During Mass you have seen with what care and tenderness the priest touched the body of Christ changed into the Bread of Life. Do the same in the home for dying destitutes."

Three hours later, the novices returned. The newly arrived novice came up to me and said full of joy, "Mother, I have been touching the Body of Christ for three hours!" I asked her, "What have you done?" She said that she had rescued a man lying in the gutter, half eaten by worms. "I really felt that I was touching the Body of Christ as Jesus said, 'I was sick...,'" she continued.
That young sister was a contemplative. She had been touching Christ for three hours and offering her love to him. To be able to do the same, it is necessary to know the poor.... - M. Teresa of Calcutta

Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Charity has no strings.

Pope Francis is demonstrating these things.

I will say it again, every single day he makes me want to be a better man.  

h/t to my long lost friends, DJ and Stephanie.

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