Friday, 5 March 2010

The poverty of someone on the move

During late Autumn, I found that I was not able to continue with my work on Eucharistic Adoration in my parish, and gently withdrew. One of the nearby parishes has started Adoration all day on the first Friday of the month, and so I am able to pray a holy hour there, without the demands of preparing one for others. (I have no timetabled activities on a Friday so it is often the first day of my weekend!).

Today, I used the passage below from the writings of Madeleine Delbrel as one of my meditations; it is from pp.93-96 of her book The Joy of Believing. I think it is a very good expression of that stage in evangelisation that is described as "presence in charity" - or, in Madeleine's words "passing among things and people".

For a more from Madeleine Delbrel, see here, here and here.

He had very ordinary clothes,
clothes that made no impression.
His eyes looked straight ahead
and had a limpid clarity about them
that left its impact on what they saw.
The whole street was rejuvenated by his glance
and seemed to be existing for the first time.
He carried nothing in his hands.
His flat pockets seemed to have little in them
and his two hands were open
and floated on the air around him.

Maybe he was a little mad,
but he was in himself a lesson in wisdom.
His whole work seemed to consist in going,
in passing among things and people.
He was like the personification of a parable,
like a signal of true poverty.
"For if you love only those who love you ..."
you won't need to keep going ...
they will come to you.
But if you love those who do not love you ...
you have to go to meet them at every moment.

This is the poverty of the man on the move.

So we will find those things interesting
that anyone else is interested in,
and we will find ourselves becoming virtuous
through kinds of heroism
that have never attracted us,
and find ourselves becoming the brethren
of people who are not like us at all.

Then those whom we meet on their journey
will stretch out their hands
for the treasure that will pour from us;
a treasure uncompromised
by our earthenware vessels,
our gaudy baskets,
our trunks or baggage,
a treasure that is simply divinity;
a treasure that will be dressed in everybody's fashion
because it will have ceased
to be dressed in our fashion.

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