Courtesy: Jake Cooper
Well, we wanted change. We’ve been complaining for weeks. Mother Nature, I am sure, was weary of hearing us kvetching. Last night, the clouds rolled in, and snow began to fall, and fell well into this afternoon. Right now there is a good dusting of snow on the ground.
If the forecaster on tv got it right, 10 to 15 cm of snow will fall on Tuesday. That means it will be a messy night for travel.
December is always a tough month, for folks in the rooms, those who came in the rooms, this month, and the expected souls who will make their way in over the next thirty days.
I know how hard it is to stay sober over the holidays, and what lengths I went to, to stay sober that first holiday season.
There is much discussion going on right now, about how we can better serve the new comer. Our first January Sunday meeting will fall on the 3rd. The first Sunday in January.
As it happens, some some folks come in, who got caught drinking and driving, and come here by the courts. Then there are those who will make New Years Resolutions to A) Moderate their drinking, B) See if they really have a problem, or C) Decide to clean up, spend a few weeks drying out in the rooms.
Some, will stay, but sadly, most will go. And never return.
Tonight we decided on a plan to make sure everyone who walks in the doors, is welcomed, not that we don’t do that already, but sticky times need a concerted action on our part, to make sure that you know how important you are and that we care.
As it was the last Sunday of the month, so it went we read from the Twelve and Twelve and Tradition Twelve.
I must decrease, so that He may increase. I am not the center of the universe. And it is not always about me. The only person I can talk about is me. I cannot talk about you. Your safety is more important that my ego.
I don’t fear talking about me. It is more important that people know that if a problem arises, that maybe I can help. There again, it isn’t about me. All I have is what I’ve experienced. Everyone has a story, and every story matters. I think the important thing we can hope is that we can learn from each other, each in our own ways.
The future seems very bright. We are on a journey of discovery and I hope that the New Year brings light, love and hope.
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I have several books at my bedside and I’ve been rotating through them. My reading of Pope Francis continues. I have an updated copy of “Pope Francis (Untying the Knots) in, “The Struggle for the Soul of Catholicism.”
This is quite a large book, having been able to skip past the chapters that came in an earlier book, we are reading another writer, Paul Vallely, who has been present in Papal history as it unfolded as Francis became Pope.
It is striking to me, reading the stories of his first few months as Pope, similar stories that were told about Pope John Paul II. John Paul II living in the Apostolic Palace, and Francis living in Casa Santa Marta. Two diametrically opposite locations. One more austentacious and sprawling than the other more modest and simple lodging.
Francis chose not to take the aparment because in his words “these rooms could accomodate 300 people.” He opted for a two room suite in Casa Santa Marta, where he desired to live “with/and in community.” Because he states openly, that “he desired community, rather than exclusivity and separateness.”
One story I never tire in telling, concerns both Holy Men.
It was Christmas, and John Paul II was visited by a number of Cardinals, who all ignored the Swiss Guard, standing guard outside the door. Once they had left, John Paul walks out with a chair, and invites the young man to sit, the young man responds, “I can’t sit down, I am on duty!”
John Paul replies, “Well I am the Pope, And you can sit.” He goes back into the house and brings the guard some holiday treats to eat.
Pope Francis, early in his papacy, has the very same experience. And the story is almost written in the very same words that were written in John Paul’s case for sainthood file.
We could all learn a great deal from the Pope. The world is out there, and we must go out into the world and share, with those who most need it. We must not hide in the world of materialism and pride and ego.
Francis asks us to challenge the way we see and experience the world around us, and the people in it. And find ways to serve our brothers and sisters in the best way we can. Because everyone matters, believers or not.
Francis states, “All of us, man, woman and child, no matter where you come from, or what you believe, we are all Children of God.”
He said this to a room full of reporters just after his election, in his first interview, knowing that there were many people sitting with him, and he wanted to make it perfectly clear what he was all about, and how he saw each person, as a child of God, no matter their faith, or belief.
Francis believes that the church, as it was, was turned in on itself, and kept to its rules and gates and fences. Waiting for the people to “come to the church.” For Francis, he says that for the church to do its job well, “the church must go out to the people.”
And as he sent home, the cardinals who elected him Pope, he encouraged them to go out into the world and be present, and to be human, and to experience all the people that reside in their cities, towns and villages.
To find ways of helping the least of these, and not concentrating on those who have too much and want nothing to do with those they might see as “other or less than.”
Here in Montreal, we have seen a great outpouring of love and affection for the many. A new reality in the lives of the indigenous people has come, with the Truth and Reconciliation commission.
Our government has pledged truth and assistance to those who, for decades and lifetimes, have gone unnoticed, abused and forgotten.
Syrian refugees are coming by the plane load. And Montreal and other Canadian cities have opened their doors and their hearts. People are giving and knitting, and sharing and loving those who most need it right now.
Montreal, here at home, over the last two years, have spent countless hours counting, documenting and working to help every homeless human being on our streets. An effort that has taken countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears.
These past few months have proven that we, as community, can do better, and we must do better. It is all well and good to give to the rest of the world, but charity begins at home. First we must take care of our own, to see that they have what they need, and do it.
And these efforts in our own communities, have turned into the ability to welcome and serve those, Canada is bringing to our country, who have nothing, because of war, genocide and terrorism.
I have said it before, that there is so much more we can do, if we just step outside our comfort zone and find the will to try.
This is the message of Christmas.
When we turn our eyes from MORE and begin to accept what is ENOUGH, we will find that we really do have something to give, and we find that, not far from our own doorways and homes, there are those who have very little or nothing at all. If every human realized just how much ” a little goes a long way …”
There is new hope in the world. And we must bring that hope to all the corners of the world, because failure is not an option, when the odds are so high, and terrorism and destruction is so rampant. Not to mention what goes on right beneath our noses, here at home.
Francis want us to go out into the world and to serve.
So go out into the world and serve…
“A little goes a long way …”