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Saturday, December 3, 2011

ROOM FOR CHRIST

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It is no use saying that we are born
two thousand years too late to give room
to Christ. Nor will those who live at
the end of the world have been born too late.
Christ is always with us, always asking
for room in our hearts.
But now it is with the voice of our
contemporaries that he speaks, with
the eyes of store clerks, factory workers,
and children that he gazes;
with the hands of office workers, slum
dwellers, and suburban housewives that
he gives. It is with the feet of soldiers and
tramps that he walks, and with the heart
of anyone in need that he longs for shelter.
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And giving shelter or food to anyone
who asks for it, or needs it,
is giving it to Christ.
If we hadn't got Christ's own words
for it, it would seem raving lunacy to
believe that if I offer a bed and food and
hospitality to some man or woman or child,
I am replaying the part of Lazarus or
Martha or Mary, and that
my guest is Christ.
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There is nothing to show it, perhaps.
There are no halos glowing around their heads -
at least none that human eyes can see.
It is not likely that I shall be vouchsafed
the vision of Elizabeth of Hungary,
who put the leper in her bed and later,
going to tend him, saw no longer
the leper's stricken face, but
the face of Christ.
The part of a Peter Claver,
who gave a stricken Black man his bed
and slept on the floor at his side,
is more likely ours.
For Peter Claver never saw
anything with his bodily eyes except the
exhausted faces of the Blacks;
he had only faith
in Christ's own words that these people
were Christ.
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And when on one occasion the Blacks
he had induced to help him ran from the room,
panic-stricken before the disgusting sight
of some sickness, he was astonished.
"You mustn't go, " he said, and
you can still hear his surprise that
anyone could forget such a truth:
"You mustn't leave him -
it is Christ."
It would be foolish to pretend that it
is always easy to remember this.
If everyone were holy and handsome,
with alter Christus shining in neon lighting
from them, it would be easy to see Christ
in everyone. If Mary had appeared in
Bethlehem clothed, as St. John says,
with the sun, a crown of twelve stars
on her head, and the moon under her feet,
then people would have fought to
make room for her. But that was not
God's way for her, nor is it Christ's way
for himself, now when he is disguised
under every type of humanity
that treads the earth.
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Dorothy Day 1897-1980
Journalist, Social Activist
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Service to others is the rent you pay
for your room here on earth.

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Mohammed Ali
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Many people that wish they could help the homeless, don’t have much money themselves. There are countless ways to help the homeless, both directly and indirectly. Here are a few ways that you can help the homeless, without spending any money.
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Understand who the homeless are - End the homeless stereotypes. Learn about the different reasons for homelessness, and remember, every situation is unique. A homeless person may be someone who lost their job, a runaway, or someone with a disability. One of the first steps in helping people is to see them as individuals and to find out what they need. Talk to them. You may be the only person to talk to them that week.
Respond with kindness - It doesn’t’ take much to make a difference in a homeless person’s life. Try a kind word and a smile.
Respect the homeless as individuals - Give the homeless people the same courtesy and respect you would accord your friends, your family, your employer. Treat them as you would wish to be treated if you needed assistance.
Bring food - Leftover pizza is a favorite for all Americans. It’s especially great for the homeless, because most people tend to order too much. With so many pieces left over, you could give a homeless man and his friend a dinner that they never anticipated.
Give recyclables - In localities where there is a “bottle law,” collecting recyclable cans and bottles is often the only “job” available to the homeless. But it is an honest job that requires initiative. You can help by saving your recyclable bottles, cans, and newspapers and giving them to the homeless instead of taking them to a recycling center or leaving them out for collection. If you live in a larger city, you may wish to leave your recyclables outside for the homeless to pick up — or give a bagful of cans to a homeless person in your neighborhood.
Donate clothing - Next time you do your spring or fall cleaning, keep an eye out for those clothes that you no longer wear. If these items are in good shape, gather them together and donate them to homeless centers.
Donate toys - Children living in shelters have few possessions –if any– including toys. Homeless parents have more urgent demands on what little money they have, such as food and clothing. So often these children have nothing to play with and little to occupy their time. You can donate toys, books, and games to family shelters to distribute to homeless children. For Christmas or Chanukah, ask your friends and co-workers to buy and wrap gifts for homeless children.
Volunteer at a shelter - Shelters thrive on the work of volunteers, from those who sign people in, to those who serve meals, to others who counsel the homeless on where to get social services. For the homeless, a shelter can be as little as a place to sleep out of the rain or as much as a step forward to self-sufficiency.
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Volunteer your professional services - No matter what you do for a living, you can help the homeless with your on-the-job talents and skills. Those with clerical skills can train those with little skills. Doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, and dentists can treat the homeless in clinics. Lawyers can help with legal concerns. The homeless’ needs are bountiful — your time and talent won’t be wasted.
Tutor homeless children - A tutor can make all the difference. Just having adult attention can spur children to do their best. Many programs exist in shelters, transitional housing programs, and schools that require interested volunteers. Or begin you own tutor volunteer corps at your local shelter. It takes nothing more than a little time.
Take homeless children on trips - Frequently, the only environment a homeless child knows is that of the street, shelters, or other transitory housing. Outside of school — if they attend — these children have little exposure to many of the simple pleasures that most kids have. Volunteer at your local family shelter to take children skating or to an aquarium on the weekend.
Volunteer at battered women’s shelter - Most battered women are involved in relationships with abusive husbands or other family members. Lacking resources and afraid of being found by their abusers, many may have no recourse other than a shelter or life on the streets once they leave home. Volunteers handle shelter hotlines, pick up abused women and their children when they call, keep house, and offer counseling. Call your local shelter for battered women to see how you can help.
Teach about the homeless - If you do volunteer work with the homeless, you can become an enthusiast and extend your enthusiasm to others. You can infect others with your own sense of devotion by writing letters to the editor of your local paper and by pressing housing issues at election time.
Educate your children about the homeless - Help your children to see the homeless as people. If you do volunteer work, take your sons and daughters along so they can meet with homeless people and see what can be done to help them. Volunteer as a family in a soup kitchen or shelter. Suggest that they sort through the toys, books, and clothes they no longer use and donate them to organizations that assist the poor.
Recruit local business - One of the easiest ways to
 involve local businesses is to organize food and/or 
clothing drives.
Play with children in a shelter - Many children in
 shelters are cut off from others their own age. Shuffled from
 place to place, sometimes these kids don’t attend school on a 
regular basis, and have no contact with other kids. Bring a little
 joy to their lives by taking your children to a local shelter to
 play. Plan activities such as coloring, playing with dolls, or
 building model cars (take along whatever toys you’ll need).
 Your own children will benefit too.
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From the howcanihelppeople.com website

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Look! I am standing at the door and knocking.
 If anyone listens to my voice and opens the door,
 I will come in to him and eat with him,
 and he will eat with me..
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Revelation 3:20
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Wherever a man turns he can find
someone who needs him.
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Albert Schweitzer
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