(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 24 February 2016–Poverty Week)
Let us pause and remember that we are in the presence of a loving God.
This week, you’ve been learning about many different types of poverty in your classes. Our founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle, dedicated much of his life to fighting poverty by educating poor children. A major theme of Pope Francis’ speech to Congress during his visit to the United States this past September was poverty. He said “I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes.”
In the Gospel of Matthew it says “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Jesus tells us that whatever you do for the least of my people you do for me.
As I reflect on my own life, I am grateful for all of the blessings that I have – food, clothes, shelter, my education, my vocation, my family, and our Lasallian community. However, I know that it is not enough to simply give thanks and that I must do more to help those in need.
In the words of Dorothy Day who tirelessly advocated for the poor and homeless:
“What we would like to do is change the world – make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended them to do. And, by fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of the workers, the poor, the destitute – the rights of the worthy and the unworthy poor, in other words – we can, to a certain extent, change the world; we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world. We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever-widening circle will reach around the world. We repeat, there is nothing we can do but love, and, dear God, please enlarge our hearts to love each other, to love our neighbor, to love our enemy as our friend.”
Let us pray,
Lord, help us to never forget those suffering from poverty and give us the courage to act to bring about positive change in this world. Amen.
St. John Baptist de La Salle . . . pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts . . . forever.
Chris Hall–Chairperson of the Mathematics Department