Saturday, September 25, 2010

Unseen Angels

Last Thursday night, I worked my monthly shift at the Food Pantry. This pantry has my heart. It challenges me, every single month. I come home and cry after every single shift. And I don't ever want to give it up. My pantry shifts make me a better person.

For about a year now, the pantry managers have been training me to do the intake and recertification interviews for our clients. For several months, I just observed the interviews. For the past few months, I've been running them, always with a helper in the room to guide me, and to fill in any information I miss. Since I only do this once a month, the learning curve has been steep for me.

This past Thursday, I was sitting in the small office when a volunteer from another organization came in and asked for an emergency box of food to bring to a woman, sick herself and home with three sick children and no food at all in her house. I sat and listened. The pantry managers and this volunteer swapped pertinent information and experiences with other organizations, and within a few minutes, the man was on his way with a box of food for the woman and her family.

I realized, as I sat there, that these men, aging and worn down a bit from decades upon decades of living, were angels... messengers for the Lord. They were not spending their "golden years" traveling the globe, or sitting on the beach, or even sitting on their front porches with the newspaper. They were feeding the poor. Literally. I couldn't begin to count the hours each week that these men dedicated to caring for those with less. I was humbled to be in their presence. I am humbled that they allow me to play even my small part in their work... humbled further that they are so grateful for my help every month.

Today, on the feast of St. Vincent de Paul, who himself worked tirelessly for the poor, I am pausing to praise God for all the unseen angels he places among us, to guide us, to show us how to love better, and to bring us ever closer to Him through His work. St. Vincent de Paul, pray for us... and, most especially, pray for the poor and those who serve the poor.

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