(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday morning, 23 February 2016–Poverty Week)
Let us remember we are in the holy presence of a loving God.
It was a November morning when I saw the flashing lights in my rear view mirror. I knew I shouldn’t have been speeding but I was more concerned with the immediate inconvenience that a ticket would cause.
I am now ashamed of my first thoughts when the judge gave me 15 community service hours. I thought to myself “How am I ever going to find time for this?”
My first service hours were at Mary House right down the road on Smith Street. I quickly realized that community service was no joke. Hunger, shelter, and lack of essential things is a real problem in the world and not just something we hear about. People at Mary House would wait outside in the cold winter air for an hour just to be the first ones to eat at 4 o’clock when the food was served.
Despite their circumstances, almost all of the people I was serving showed the utmost kindness and respect. They would thank all of the servers upwards of 10 times, they would smile and talk about the Christmas season, and at the end of the meal they would wish each other a warm night. I learned a lot from these people. I learned how many blessings I have in my life even if sometimes I fail to recognize them. I learned the importance of happiness. The positive attitude of the people we served, despite their situation, amazed me. If they could remain so positive and faithful, there is hardly any situation where I should be frowning.
One night I served food right outside of the Cathedral in Providence. This specific night it was well below 10 degrees outside. It amazed me to see a line the size of a football field of people waiting to get food. What really surprised me was that some of the people waiting to be served had nothing but a t-shirt on and very few of them had hats or gloves on. I remember wondering why anyone would stand in such frigid weather without warm clothing just for some meatballs and hot chocolate. Then I realized that they had no choice. If they missed this meal, they did not know when their next meal would be.
No matter how crazy our life seems, it is very important not to get to caught up in what we are doing. It is important to always keep in mind the less fortunate and remember that they are struggling every single day for things that we aren’t always grateful for, like winter coats, shoes, or a warm bed. Now I’m not saying that everyone has to go out today and do 100 community service hours, but that we should be grateful for ALL of the blessings in our lives and remember that poverty is real and there are little things that we can do to make a tangible difference. Maybe we cannot end world hunger but we can help John or Angela who live on Smith Street right here in Providence as they struggle every day for food.
Let us pray
Lord help us to not get to caught up in our own lives and to always remember those who need us most.
We pray for those who are in need of warm shelter during this cold weather.
And we ask that you help us always stay grateful for all of the great lives that we have
Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.
Nicholas Maiorisi–Class of 2016