Daily Reflection - Seminary Pilgrimage to St. John The Compassionate: Day 3
Thursday April 11, 2013
By Seminarian George Ellis
Today is April 11, 2013, our second full day at St. John the
Compassionate Mission in Toronto, Canada. We have been staying at the Lived Theology
School (LTS) with a few of the other students who live and study here year
round. Their hospitality has been
astounding. They are all easy to talk to
and we get along with them wonderfully.
They show what a community really is, not just through their work at the
also through their interaction with us here at the LTS since our arrival
Tuesday evening. They have definitely
made it easy for us to feel at home.
Today started out with the third hour service at 9AM. After this, Deacon Pawel gave a talk on the
start of the St. John
the Compassionate Mission. He told us
that a common misconception about the Mission
is that Fr. Roberto started working with the poor and developed it 27 years
ago. This is not true. He actually has
been doing it for most of his adult life.
started in a low income part of town.
The goal of the Mission
is to work with the people and help them, and in the process you start to
realize that they are helping you. At
the Mission we
keep hearing that the best way to help someone is to ask them how they can help
Fr Roberto shared an example of how helping another person ends up
helping both the person AND the helper. The first example happened on one
Valentine’s Day. There was a gentleman
who would always come to the Mission
to eat. He always appeared angry and thus intimidated everyone. On that
Valentine’s Day, one of the Mission workers
got up enough courage to go and sit down next to him and talk to him. Despite
all her attempts to be courteous, he refused to say a thing. After the
gentleman had left, the worker felt as though she had failed at her attempt to
help him, because he didn’t say anything to her: he just ate his meal and then
got up and left. Later on he returned
with a bouquet of flowers and gave them to her with great gratitude that she
showed him courtesy and actually sat with him while he ate his lunch.
I have another example of this that is personal. It happened today, while
eating lunch with a gentleman and some fellow seminarians. The man told us about some of his problems --
that he had arthritis in his neck, and more seriously, had been re-diagnosed
with cancer. On top of all this he is divorced.
Despite all these trials and tribulations, he still seemed content and
happy with his life. What I learned from
this is that the Mission
helps those who are poor in spirit. What
I didn’t know until after talking with this gentleman is that I, too, am poor
in spirit. The man’s life story made me look at my life in a different way and
made me realize that I don’t have as much faith as these people do. You
can have nothing, and yet still be happy; there is no reason to worry about not
having enough money to buy those new pair of shoes that you want or about how,
exactly, you will pay for your college loans the next month. If you have enough faith and trust in God
then He will truly provide us with what we really need.