Tuesday, July 21, 2009

San Egidio

San Egidio is a ecclesial community that among other things, works with the poor and provides a number of soup kitchens.

(sidenote, this story is a bit old, as I am currently in China, not Rome)

I went there the other night to serve at their dinner service and ended up stamping tickets. As I looked up at each person walking through, I saw the diversity of people. We had people from Afghanistan, Nigeria, Russia, Poland, France, Bangladesh, and on and on. Each of them down on their luck. It's so heartbreaking to see these people here wandering kind of aimlessly just trying to get by. They pick up some food here and maybe some luck somewhere else. But it isn't easy. So many of them seem lost.

And all I could do is stamp their ticket and send them on their way. Even I felt a bit lost in the chaos. But I remembered who I was and realized that there was something I could do. I could pray for each of them and do my best to bring one small piece of joy into their lives with a smile. It's not much. But it left me with some ability to effect change, no matter how small.

I love going out to places to serve because I think it is the greatest reality check. After waking up early to go to Mass, dozing through parts of some classes that are not very entertaining, and complaining about the food for pranzo, a simple experience with the poor blows all these other thoughts away. My life is easy. My life is blessed. I am not sure what God has in store for so many of these people and I can't explain why I am in a nice comfortable seminary while they are out on the street. I simply can't. But it is a moment like this that makes me realize how much God loves me and how much He wants me to love others as best I can.


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