The Lord hears the cry of the poor..


I just got home from a few days at St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia. I went there to help and I was helped. St. Francis of Assisi said, “it is in giving that we receive,” and that is what happened. I have never witnessed such poverty nor ever lived among its victims and I am deeply touched by what I have witnessed. I don’t have the words yet for all that has happened in the last few days. There are not words adequate to explain what I have seen and heard.

From the time I arrived on Thursday afternoon until my departure this afternoon I have been transported into a new awareness of what it means to be homeless, tired, and forgotten. Kensington and Hagert are within earshot of the takeoff and approach of commercial aircraft and I pondered the distance between the passengers of those craft and the poor souls that come to St. Francis Inn for succor. The inn is an oasis of peace in an ocean of violence and neglect. This was poignantly punctuated last night as I heard dozens of gunshots in the surrounding neighborhoods. I had no idea how far away those shots were, but I thought of how frightening they must be to the unfortunate inhabitants of this unbelievably dreadful place that is off the radar of most Americans.

The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the Lord hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
The LORD redeems the lives of his servants;
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him.
The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

I was with a small group of Secular Franciscans from Mt. Irenaeus and one spouse who had come to St. Francis Inn to help. This weekend was a reverse mission for me. I came to help and was helped.

One Reply to “The Lord hears the cry of the poor..”

  1. You might enjoy this poem by Carie Winslow, copywrighted in 1991. It’s called

    Rules for the Poor

    Buy white bread.
    Don’t borrow money from friends.
    If you borrow money:
    lie if you had fun with it.
    Don’t get angry.

    Don’t forget to feel guilty for being born poor and lazy.
    Don’t be too conspicuous when you get in for free.
    Don’t forget to grovel if someone pays for you.
    Don’t assume that you have a right to anything.
    and…Don’t get angry.
    Don’t ever let your kids miss school,
    have runny noses,
    or stained clothes.

    Don’t buy fresh fruit or vegetables.
    Don’t make any mistakes.
    and…Don’t get angry.
    Don’t look too apologetic,
    or arrogant
    Someone may suspect you of stealing something.

    Don’t talk about money.
    Don’t ever ask someone how much they make.
    Don’t talk to other poor people.
    and…Don’t get angry!
    Keep rubbing those pennies together.
    Follow all of these rules for at leas a year.

    before you even notice it…
    Bitterness will replace unease.
    Fear will replace dreams.
    You will forget who you were.
    You will forget who you wanted to be.
    You won’t be a threat to anyone.

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