Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sister Jerk, The Little Weed

The local parishes take turns having Mass at an area nursing home. I go around the home and help bring the residents to Mass. Anyhoo, one man another person was helping to Mass has dementia. As someone wheeled him out of his room and onto the elevator he says, "I'm cold." I'm wearing a shawl and I did not offer it to him. I could not even give the man my shawl to drape over his shoulders during Mass. What a jerk I am! Here I am valuing a piece of fabric over a human in God's Image.
I can't believe how happy these people are to have me hold their hand or even just smile at them. All they want is a little company and a little love. All I can think about is not getting drool or snot on me.
One saint, I can't recall which, said that the Gospel can be summed up in five words, "YOU DID IT TO ME!"
I will get another chance to be charitable. I pray that God grants me the grace to overcome my weaknesses. But for the rest of my life I have to KNOW that I heard Our Lord say to me "I'm cold," and I clutched my shawl and walked away. I wasn't even cold, I didn't need to wear the darn shawl at that moment.
I have heard this story about His Excellency Archbishop which has given me a little comfort that many have struggled with this(not that that makes it right!):

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, in his autobiography TREASURE IN CLAY, recounts a visit he made to a leper colony in Buluba, Africa. He intended to give a silver crucifix to each of the 500 lepers residing in Buluba.
The first person who came forward, however, was a man so disfigured by the ravages of leprosy that Sheen was repulsed by the sight. The man's left arm was eaten off at the elbow by the disease; so he extended his right hand. This hand, too, was unspeakably corrupted by this awful disease.

Unable to bear the leper's presence, Sheen held the crucifix above the man's palm and dropped it, where it was immediately swallowed up in the decaying flesh. Instantly, Sheen was aware of his unrighteous act. He had taken the crucifix--God's sign of identification with humanity--and refused to associate himself with one of God's children. Overcome with remorse, Sheen dug his fingers into the man's leprosy and removed the crucifix. This time, he gently placed the crucifix in the man's hand. Sheen respectfully handed a crucifix to each of the remaining 499 lepers and, in the exchange, learned to love them.


  1. Ahhh...memories of being a brownie and Christmas caroling at the nursing home...I cried, then passed out. Too much depression, heat and the pervasive smell of urine for this little borwnie to handle.

  2. Sounds about right. But it is also very fulfilling.

  3. Oh that's a beautiful story. It reminds me of Mother Teresa telling her Sisters to pick the maggots out of infected wounds as if it was the most pleasing job in the world, and always with a smile.
    Do not be discouraged. You have become aware of your shortcomings and yielded them to Almighty God, and next time will be different.

    C x

  4. What a beautiful story about the Archbishop.

    God will give you another chance at charity. I'm very humbled by your work of mercy.

  5. amanda@catholiccarepackages.comMarch 25, 2009 at 1:05 PM

    It was Mother Theresa of Calcutta. Her mother taught her that the Gospel could be said on just 5 fingers. YOU,DID,IT,TO,ME.