The problem is, those of any religion -- who use it to spread and/or justify violence -- cannot see that they themselves are phony. They seem to be basically ill-intentioned folk -- who grab onto and use a skewed idea of their "religion" -- to harm others/to make the world a more dreadful place/etc. This would apply to a Christian, Muslim, or anyone else. Sometimes it is people in a temporary mindset of ill intentions and hate; other times a person is set that way for life. But in this mindset, the person cannot see that they are not being true to the actual religion they claim to be acting in the name of. (And I am speaking of religions in which the majority of believers manage to believe in and strive for non-violent solutions to things.)
Have you noticed when watching a sports event, say a basketball game, how the athletes give a hand slap, or a high-five, to a teammate, even when they have just missed a free throw? It is sometimes done so often that it becomes meaningless.
Well, I would like for all of you, right now, to turn to the people around you, give them a firm, meaningful handshake, and say thank you, thank you!
Brothers and sisters, for what you have done, and what you continue to do, a "Thank You" hardly seems enough. Since the first of this year your generosity has:
Helped feed 2,513 families. It has provided rent or utility assistance to 152 families.
It has given furniture, beds or mattresses to 38 families.
And, it has helped 128 families with either clothing or medical prescriptions.
Behind these numbers are 2,831 stories of need and suffering. Let me share just three of them.
David stood in line several hours to get help with his rent. When we visited him at his home, he shared that he had several diabetes, and is able to work only part time. He was so grateful for help from St. Vincent de Paul, that he even shed a few tears. When our volunteer called his property manager to say we would help, she said, "Oh, thank you, and God bless you! David is such a wonderful young man, and he tries so hard!"
Juan and Maria, a young couple with a two year old son, and one on the way, came to the Hertle Center to get food. Juan is learning to speak English, and had just been laid off from his job. Maria is attending school in an effort to get her high school diploma. She takes their son to the childcare program at the school. They are hardworking and sincere, and Juan has recently been able to find some work. We were able to provide food, and help with their rent. Juan now volunteers at the Hertle Center when he can.
Mabel is a senior citizen who struggles to live on her $750 a month Social Security check, and she regularly comes in for a little food. One day she came in crying. She had paid some medical expenses, and now had to little left to pay her rent. All our volunteers received a big hug when we told her we would be able to help.
We are again in need of volunteers. We desperately need help on the furniture truck. If you can spare a few hours, just one or two days a week, bring your strong back to the Hertle Center, and we will put you to work!
We also need someone with a pickup truck or van to pick up boxes. As I have told you before, "The pay isn't much, but the benefits are out of this world!"
Some time back, I started one of these talks by telling you that I had seen Jesus that week. I said that several of us had seen Jesus at the Hertle Center. And we did! In his gospel, Matthew tells us that Jesus is present in the poor. He taught us that we all gain in spirituality when we assist those in need. We literally earn our way to heaven through our good works.
Most certainly, each of you has earned many spiritual benefits through your generosity and your caring. So I say again, Thank You... Thank You... and please keep on caring!
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