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...a sweatshop of moxie

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Easter Way

Easter means a lot of things to many people. But to Christians, it's a time of renewal of faith and interaction with one's fellow adherents, if only for a week, or for some a day -- Easter Sunday.

To some, this once-a-year Christianity may seem hypocritical, and such was my dilemma on Saturday, when I was feeding the few indigent of my church, having promised to help with Saturday's traditional free breakfast in the parish kitchen.

Now before you annoint me as the next Mother Teresa, let me fess up -- my mother made me volunteer.

See, like so many people, I often forget what it means to be a Catholic, thinking my "good works" of being polite to strangers, being loosely involved with health care, and giving a fiver to a homeless person every once in a while can see me through the year, Christian-wise.

I'm not quite sure how to solve this problem, since it's about my personality as much as anything. So let me do a couple of things here which may inch towards a kind of solution.

Tim Worstall, my blogging colleague, is in need of our help. Click on his link HERE.

Read what he has to say -- it won't take a moment of your time. And if you should happen to have a little extra time, please wish him a Happy Birthday. He'll feel great, and so will you.

And now, since I have your gracious attention, I'd like to tell you of a priest I know. Let's call him Father José, who came to South Florida from Rio de Janeiro some years ago.

Father José is one of the hardest working guys I know. He's not a young man either, being about 55.

He works at Camillus House, our local homeless shelter, as well as attending to his pastoring duties in several parishes, since if you have been living as a hermit for 50 years, Catholic priesthood is dwindling and they have to spread themselves thin all over. He drives around in the parish car, an unreliable little Ford, and frequently takes the bus or even walks, when it fails him.

One day, when my mother and I were talking to him, he seemed to be close to a faint, but he didn't hurry us away, but you know, we did notice it.

So my mother goes to pick me up from my Saturday "volunteering", and she seems very emotional. I ask what is wrong, and she says Father José isn't well. He has cancer, and isn't expected to live much longer.

I was shocked, but I reminded her of that incident, when he almost keeled over as he spoke to us, and I said, "I suppose he was feeling the effects of his illness then".

She looked at me and said, in a voice cracking with pain, that she had only just found out that often he skips meals, since his Order has stricter vows about that than most. He only has one full meal a day, and it's a sparse one at that.

So every time my mother and I tarried and spoke to him, he was sacrificing that meal to chat with us.

I'm sure that we weren't the only ones to whom he gave his time, and thereto, his sustenance, either.

You know, in this day in age where you hear only revolting stories about priests and nuns, and those who have given their lives to something they can't see, nor can they hear, based on faith alone to a man who lived 2000 years ago, such incidences seem rare.

But they're not.

They happen every day, we just don't hear about it. People sacrifice themselves every day for us, for our welfare, our bounty, and our solace, and they never tell you about it.

So for those persons, I dedicate this post, and thank God they exist, so that I may feel good about myself once a year.


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