I woke up early today to go to work. I needed a few extra hours, so I picked up these short, early shifts a few days this week. Because I woke up early and worked hard for a few hours, I wanted to have a burger for lunch. As I pulled off the highway at the exit where the fast-food joint was, I saw a man sitting on a milk crate on the side of the road with a sign that read,”I’m hungry, and I’m dreaming of a hamburger. Please help make my dream a reality.” When I ordered my food, instead of ordering one of everything that I wanted, I ordered two. I went back, pulled over, and handed him a bag with a bacon cheeseburger and fries inside and a soda.
This interaction was so striking to me because of a quotation that was shared with me a few days ago. St. Basil the Great said this:
“When someone steals another’s clothes, we call them a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat unused in your closet belongs to the one who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the one who has no shoes; the money which you hoard up belongs to the poor.”
That quotation, in me, stirs up this desire to make a change in my life to benefit those who are poor or hungry or naked. It urges me to consider how I am wasteful in my life and how I can cut out the unnecessary things that keep me from loving God as fully as I can, as fully as I was made to love Him. So I offer you a challenge: how can you make a change to help those in need. I know I’m still considering what this looks like for me. Don’t expect to come up with the perfect plan over night. Don’t sweat it it you need to tweak your plan to help others a few times to get the balance between your time, energy, and livelihood and helping others. Feel free to email me or comment if you want help talking out what a good plan of sacrificing to help others would look like in your life.
One last thing before this post is over: this marks the start of a new, more consistent year at Contagious Caritas. Charlie and I will be posting weekly, alternating authorship week-to-week. This means that you will read at least one piece from me every two weeks and one from Charlie every two weeks. We are committed to this schedule, and we hope that it will be spiritually fruitful both in our lives and in yours.
My sincerest prayers for you and your family.