Diary of a Ghetto Priest | Loneliness – the suffering of modern man
It is the 80th year of my life. My back and my mind are creaking. I seek my Heavenly Father with great eagerness, yet I want to do more and wish I had done more in the service of the poor ones. God knows my heart’s desire, but the past has gone, the present is today, and tomorrow is all I’ve got. Yes! I’d like to do more in building up the arm forces of Jesus in service of the poorest of the poor. Pray for me!
The need is very great. Recently on a tour in Houston, Texas, we witnessed in the area where we were staying such loneliness and poverty. It was a middle-class community. House after house, there was desolation. There were lonely men and women all by themselves, many elders, sad and forgotten, scared and some, hungry. There were Vietnamese, Filipinos, Chinese, Afro-Americans and ordinary Americans.
At one particular home, a Vietnamese woman was startled when the brothers knocked and did a visitation. When brother Max opened the front door, there was an old lady sitting on the floor, not able to get up in her pajamas. “What do you want?” she asked angrily. The TV was on, but she was inattentive to it. “Mamma” said Brother Max, “Are you hungry? Why are you sitting on the floor? You need to be cleaned up.” Brother Max and Brother Peter offered to lift her to a chair.
When the old lady saw that they meant her no harm, she complied. The brothers lifted her. They saw she needed to bathe. They took her to the shower. Peter got her some new clothes then wiped up the mess on the floor.
Brother Max helped to put on the clothes. “What is your name?’ “Nana,” was the answer. We must get her some soup. Before that, Brother Max brushed her teeth, combed her hair, touched her cheeks, and smiled at her. She looked at him tenderly.
Nana looked at the brothers and smiled. “What is that?” she pointed to the cross around the brothers’ necks. “This is Jesus,” answered Brother Peter. “This is why we are here.” She took the cross and kissed it.
Then the brothers fed her. Brother Max began to speak to her while Brother Peter cleaned the house. Her broken English did not hide the essence of what she said, “Nobody visits. My children, they go about their business. They give me a nice house, but I am all alone. My children, they are now big people. They want to get rich. They have no time for me. Sometimes a relative comes and helps around the house. Thieves come sometimes, but I have little money.” She cried and cried. Brother Max held her hand and prayed with her. “Do you want us to come back tomorrow?” Yes! Yes!” she said eagerly. “You come back.”
My dear beloved friends, even as you help us and our poor, please spread the message of love in the United States, Canada and Europe, and in your own neighbourhood. It is not just physical hunger, but also spiritual hunger that cries out. Loneliness is a great suffering. To provide food is important, but loneliness, lack of companionship, lack of friendship and love can be terrible and heartbreaking.
We spent one week in Houston, Texas; this richest of all places is maybe the poorest spiritually, with broken families, children separated from their parents, husbands from their wives, lovers divided, every single home seemed empty and begging for warmth, love and companionship.
You can help your own in Missionaries of the Poor style. Bring good news, bring love to your own. Maybe they have enough materially, what they need is your love.