A reflection by Ray Towey
Service to the poor at a personal cost is a purifying process because the spiritual journey needs a painful removal of illusions previously held. There is no grace-filled experience without an emptying and there is no emptying without resistance. The poor are the gift for clarity of vision. When love of the poor replaces fear of the poor the kingdom of God is at hand, the poison of racist words has no power over you, the stranger is welcomed, our gifts are shared, nonviolence reigns as the greater power.
When you give from your excess you still remain secure but when you give from your core you change, and when you change, at the core, for the sake of the poor the Kingdom of God is at hand.
There are no easy solutions, no easy answers, just a few questions among friends.
Service to the poor at a personal cost is not extraordinary. It is the ordinary chance meeting when time is spent and money not made, when money is given away and time is made, for the poor, for the community, at a personal cost. Until the personal cost is purchased is it seen that the joy of the personal cost is the greater. There is no special debtor in the Kingdom of God because we are all debtors to the God who chooses life, who chooses us.
And so we come home and exchange our stories, the good and the bad, and continue to explore the journey and test out the Gospel to see if it is still good, to see if it is still news, to the poor.