Inspired to Serve
The World Meeting of Families must be working because we were inspired to be a family of service on the 3rd day of the meeting. My 15 year old son has been quietly collecting extra snacks that he thought would be appreciated by the homeless we have been seeing in downtown Philadelphia. We took it to the next level when prompted by a Dominican Nun from Nashville, who told us about a Pizza place a few blocks away that specializes in feeding the homeless. Rosa’s Pizza encourages all customers to purchase pizza slices for $1 and donate a slice to a homeless person. Many times, you share a meal with a homeless person in the restaurant. You can also buy a t-shirt or sweater and the restaurant will match your purchase and donate another one to a homeless person.
This place was started by a former NY Stock Broker. It is an inspiration and a great example of someone who got tired of chasing after the things that wouldn’t satisfy. The people who work at this pizza shop were so nice, the clients are more friendly that usual, there is a simplicity about the place and a feeling of community. When you buy food for a homeless person you get a sticky note, and tradition is that you write something on it and stick it on the wall. As you can see, lots of people are generous.
Inspired by the Talks
We attended some really outstanding talks today, we attended a talk by Cardinal Tagle, he spoke about the woundedness of humanity and that we are all wounded in some way, but it is because of our wounds that we are able to learn compassion for others and help them in their sufferings. He spoke of how Christ became human to take on our wounds and become the healer and this is what the family is to provide, a place of healing. The home should always be our refuge of healing and the most painful wounds are those inflicted by members of the family, while in fact it will also be the same place that will provide the healing. He quoted a beautiful song, “A House is not a Home” that spoke of the home as the place for where one’s love is. Without the presence of the people you love there is no home.
We also attended a talk by Christopher West, it doesn’t matter how many times we hear him speak, we are always amazed by his ability to effectively communicate such a complex subject as human sexuality. The main point I will share with you is that there are three type of people, Stoics, Addicts and Mystics. Stoics repress passion (avoid avoid avoid) and addicts indulge in their passions (use and abuse) while mystics have learned to redirect their passions towards the infinite God rather than finite pleasures and properly orders their passions.
Inspired by Prayer
We were blessed to run into the Community of St. John outside of the St. John the Evangelist Church where the relics of St. Maria Goretti were being venerated. They invited us to pray vespers with them. The Community of St. John has had such a profound impact on our family over the last several years. We have worked with them to conduct retreats for the family, Fr. Nathan Cromly is the spiritual director for our ministry and my daughter Ellen spent a month at Ecclesia, which is a ministry for young adults staffed by members of the Community of St. John. These religious men and women have such a prayerful, generous and humble spirit.