(Prayer offered over the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 25 February 2015 as part of Poverty Week)
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
Hi Everyone. If you’re anything like me, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed by the stories and statistics that you hear about poverty or social justice. It can be disheartening to read the paper or watch the news. It’s easy to think of the problems you see or hear as “elsewhere problems.” You start to feel detached from the things you read or watch. There is a situation in SYRIA or a crisis in SUDAN or a shooting in MISSOURI. These problems are taking place far away from little Rhode Island. You can also feel helpless to make a change. It seems like poverty is such a huge global issue that there is no way to combat it. I used to think to myself “What can I possibly do?” Sometimes trying to tackle global issues feels like beating your head against a wall. I used to get discouraged in the face of poverty or injustice, with the same question always coming up, “What can I possibly do?”
The answer to this question comes in two parts. The first part is awareness. Not just listening to statistics or watching the news, letting information go in one ear and out the other. But rather become aware of the poverty that exists in our own communities. It’s not a far off global issue. It’s a problem that is affecting our neighbors and friends. It’s about seeing poverty with your own eyes and through your own experience. You are all given a fantastic opportunity for awareness through your Christian Service projects. In fact, my own Christian Service at McAuley House was the first time I was able to put faces to the statistics I had heard. I didn’t have to travel to the Philippines to see those in need. I only had to go to Elmwood Ave. If you are currently doing your Christian Service, I urge you to see the humanity of the people you serve.
The second part of the answer to the “What can I possibly do?” question is to commit yourself to the good. Decide what is good and what is right and commit yourself to aligning your actions with this awareness. For me, that meant committing to a year of service. The Lasallian Volunteer program I am part of offers me the opportunity to “put up or shut up.” It is a great first step to be aware of issues like poverty, but it is not enough. We need to commit ourselves to action. You’ve all probably heard the expression “actions speak louder than words.” St Francis says it another way. “Preach the gospel—use words if necessary.” We’ve all been blessed with special gifts and talents. Be grateful for the many gifts you have received from God. These gifts and talents are your tools for action and service.
Let us pray-
At the Passover meal you washed the feet of your disciples. With this great example of service in mind, let us wash each other’s feet. Help us to be, not only like Jesus, but like the disciples as well, willing to let our own feet be washed. Allow me to transform others with my actions. Let me be both teacher and student, allowing myself to be transformed by the people I come into contact with. AMEN.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.
Thomas Darnowski–Class of 2008 and Lasallian Volunteer (The San Miguel School)