Dear fellow Vincentians,
The past month has presented difficulties for all. Some see us as suffering, some are. Some have died, way too many. We are staying home, seeing the horror of the virus through media eyes, unless it has hit us directly, through family or friends. We are chastened in our normal routine, not so normal now. Some have protested, believing their rights have been taken from them. Others are grateful for the governmental orders that serve to protect us.
There is an old phrase that depicts the difference between the wealthy and the poor, used here with a different slant to it: The Haves and the Have nots.
- We are well and not infected with the Virus, or not
- Our family members are well at home, or not
- We have a steady income / retired, or not
- We are receiving unemployment benefits, or not
- We are able to order food for home delivery, or not
- We can pay our bills, or not
- We have family at home to watch over us, or not
- We live in a safe place with people that treat us right, or not
During this period of confinement, the majority of calls to Vincentians reflect the need for food. When evictions and utility shutoffs are no longer suspended, those calls will come soon enough. Will Conferences have funds to handle requests? Will Conferences with greater reserves share with those less fortunate and more needy?
How selfish are we? Have we stayed at home due to our own vulnerability, our anxiety or fear of dying? Have we given or done anything to help our Neighbors in Need during this difficult time? Have we listened to our children who have ordered us to stay in, due to their own fears and concern for a loved one? What is our motivation as we go about our daily life as we stay safe in our homes?
The Haves and the Have-nots could be any Vincentian or Neighbor in Need. This virus has affected all of us, our friends, relatives, and Neighbors in need.
Please reflect on your attitude and behavior during this difficult time. Please reflect on how you will help our Neighbors in Need when protective orders are lifted. Will we be more generous with our time? Will we still be afraid?
There is no right answer to these questions. There is no judgment no matter what avenue is chosen.
What would Frederick Ozanam, Blessed Rosalie Rendu, or St. Vincent de Paul do in a pandemic? Different times, surely, but the poor have always been with us.
God bless to all of you. Find strength in prayer and friendship until service is a greater option.