The Vincentian Family is committed to doing something about homelessness. Visit the website of the Vincentian Family Homeless Initiative. It reveals a breadth of vision and calls for major practical initiatives.
A question hit me! I wonder how many people will commit to something very simple at street level. I mean how followers of Christ the Evangelizer of the Poor will make a resolution to talk – talk with and about the homeless?
Into my head popped the well-known words of Blessed Rosalie Rendu. “Never have I prayed so well as in the streets,” she would say.
Now that got me thinking more deeply about talking! Not any kind of talking. Talking to God about the homeless people. Talking with the homeless people I walk by. Talking on behalf of the needs of homeless people.
Talking with God about the homeless people I drive or walk past. Too often I am afraid that I live the warning of Jesus… “seeing they do to see.” What if I made a conscious effort to talk to God about the homeless person I see when I am stopped at the light? Thank you, Rosalie, for that one.
Talking with a homeless person. I mean really talking in the sense of engaging with a person. Even when I give something I can’t say I engage with that person. God has called us by name. Think about what a difference that makes! What difference it might make to ask someone their name. It might be the only time that day that they hear their name spoken gently. But of course, we must first ask what is this person’s name.
Talking on behalf of homeless persons. No doubt the Vincentian Family will undertake many initiatives in the years between now and 2020. I may not be able to spearhead any of these initiatives. But maybe I can speak up when I hear of some piece of legislation that will either hurt or help the poor in my world.
Finally, If I listen, what can a homeless person teach me? As I reflected on all the above possibilities I recalled a very powerful brief video I did some years ago at a Vincentian Family Gathering. I had just heard Sr, MaryAnn Daly tell of being Evangelized by the Poor. So I asked her to share the powerful lessons learned at the wake of a homeless person who people walked past daily going into and out of building dedicated to serving the poor.
Thinking of these things, maybe this year I will make a very simple resolution other-directed New Year’s Resolution.
An earlier version of this post first appeared on FamVin.