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Poverty of the Heart

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Poverty of the Heart

Poverty manifests itself in many ways. There are many who are financially poor. There are those of poor health. There are those who possess poor character, and most of todays youth are said to make poor choices. And then there are the poor of heart.

Have you ever stopped at a busy intersection and observed one of those wretched souls standing strategically in the median. As you yield to the traffic light you find yourself uncomfortably eye to eye with him. You nervously glance back and forth at him, feeling a little embarrassed because you were taught not to stare. His eyes seem to want to say something to you but they stutter as he glances quickly at you and then humbly to the ground. His clothes are dirty, his hair is unkempt and he's holding a sign that reads “will work for food”or “homeless...will accept anything you can spare.” What do you think of him? Do you wonder what his name is? Do you wonder how did he get himself into this predicament? Do you even give him a second thought? Or maybe you've had the displeasure of watching an infomercial exploiting one of those children, from some third world country, with the distended belly and the lost, soulless eyes. Did it prompt you to reach for your checkbook to make a guilt offering? Maybe you just flipped the channel to save yourself from being shamed into giving a half hearted penitent gift. If you have ever had the opportunity to encounter one of the down-trodden, then you have had an encounter with the poor of heart.

On August 30,1976, Mother Teresa gave a stirring address before the LaSallian Federation World Convention of Christian School Alumni in Malta. In her dissertation she spoke of encounters she has had with the broken spirited, the lost, the hopeless. In particular she spoke of a nursing home for the elderly, a place she said the elderly were placed because they had become a burden. She noticed that though all of their material and medical needs were met, none...

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