Sunday, October 26, 2008

Works of Mercy

The Works of Mercy are a wonderful stimulus to our growth in faith as well as love. Our faith is taxed to the utmost and so grows through this strain put upon it. It is pruned again and again, and springs up bearing much fruit. For anyone starting to live literally the words of the Fathers of the Church--"The bread you retain belongs to the hungry, the dress you lock up is the property of the naked;" "What is superfluous for one's need is to be regarded as plunder if one retains it for one's self"--there is always a trial ahead. "Our faith, more precious than gold, must be tried as though by fire."

Here is a letter we received today: "I took a gentleman seemingly in need of spiritual and temporal guidance into my home on a Sunday afternoon. Let him have a nap on my bed, went through the want ads with him, made coffee and sandwiches for him, and when he left, I found my wallet had gone also."

I can only say that the saints would only bow their heads and not try to understand or judge. they received no thanks--well, then, God had to repay them. They forbode to judge, and it was as though they took off their cloak besides their coat to give away. This is expecting heroic charity, of course. But these things happen for our discouragement, for our testing. We are sowing the seed of love, and we are not living in the harvest time. We must love to the point of folly, and we are indeed fools, as Our Lord Himself was who died for such a one as this.

. . .our hearts are often crushed at such rejections. But, as a Carmelite nun said to me last week, "It is the crushed heart which is the soft heart, the tender heart."

from Dorothy Day, Selected Writings, edited by Robert Ellsberg (Orbis Books, page 99)



Justin said...


Thought you might like this video that I found at the work of the people dot com. Entitled "what is poverty"

Anonymous said...

This sort of thing has happened to me as well. I have never had my wallet stolen, but have certainly been used and deceived by those who God has given me a chance to help. It is a great reminder that we as Christ followers shouldnt serve to be thanked, but we should love for the sake of love.

A good friend of mine recently helped a lady in bad situation and the lady stole her wallet and her identity. It has been a hassle for several months now, but I know my friend wouldnt go back and undo the chance to serve.

And I am so thankful that I know Christ wouldnt go back and take back his sacrifice for me no matter how ungrateful I have been or how much I have abused his grace.

Larry James said...

Justin, the link you shared is among the most powerful and "right on" pieces of truth I have ever seen/heard. Thank you, my friend for sharing it. I don't always agree with you, but that is true of me and all my friends! But, I love you heart, your soul and your passion. I will post your link this week. Again, thanks!

Justin said...

No problem. I thought you would appreciate it. You were the first person I thought of when I watched it. Second thing I thought was how I can insert this video into worship at my church. Working on that now.

Anonymous said...

This story reminds me of a close friend of mine here in Abilene,TX who stopped to offer a man a ride one day to the Salvation Army. It was the result of her getting involved in helping his friend who was trying very hard to keep her job and find a place to live. She asked my friend to borrow a hundred dollars for a deposit on an apartment. "Diane" gave her a slip of paper that said I owe you one hundred dollars written on it.
Long story short "Don" was in prison and my friend had gone to see him and he confessed to her that the two had used that money to celebrate Diane's birthday and he felt the need to confess that because she was such a good person to them.
My friend never said anything to Diane about the money just continued to help her as much as possible. She has since left the state and never repaid the money. Here is what my friend told me in conversation about that IOU she said 'I wrote on the back of that IOU I could never repay Jesus for what he did for me when he died on the cross for the wrongs in my life'. I am thankful for a friend who teaches me with the love of Christ in her.