Friday, March 2, 2012


          Unless we have totally withdrawn from the world, our life will be a window for other people.  People can see what we are about.  And it should hardly come as a surprise that others can usually see quite clearly what our values are.

          We do not live only for ourselves.  For even if we never do anything for another person, we do something to other people even when we don't realize it.

          The art of care, the act of service, the expression of compassion and the practice of active helpfulness however, is never only for another.  It is also for ourselves.  As a matter of fact, sometimes we even gain more than those we seek to help.

          In serving others we gain various satisfactions, develop particular skills and usually gain the commendation of the wider community.  At a somewhat deeper level, we gain the long-term benefits of becoming a certain kind of person through the practice of caring helpfulness.

          But these by no means exhaust all that we can gain.  Far more basically, we can gain sustenance for our very own life from our active participation in the lives of others.

          Those who live in the first world cannot long be unaware of the grinding poverty that exists in the third world.  The media however, has a way of reminding us about these conditions --- a way that probes the edges of our guilt and moves us to make our token gifts.

          Yet, we are also aware of the "Fourth World," that exists within our world: the world of permanently unemployed, the world of those with disabilities and handicap, the world of the alcoholic, drug dependent and criminals, and the world of unwed mothers whose lives of their babies are being threatened to be victims of abortion.  Here we also make our limited response by giving the extra penny over and above the welfare peso that comes out of our taxes.

          But those who inhabit the 'fourth world' are sometimes not known to us personally.  Their faces remain that of a stranger.  We only know them by the stylized image of the television, crafted to inspire pity.  They never sit at our tables.  And we have never clasped their hand in true companionship.

          Undoubtedly, we need those we are serving as much as they need us.  God speaks through the broken hearts of the handicapped, who are considered marginal and outcasts.  From them, we can learn the important lessons of joy in the midst of pain, purpose in the face of meaninglessness and hope in the midst of rejection.  For God is more frequently with those who are at the margins than with those who are at the height of ecclesiastical power.

          Hence, why is it that we keep giving dimes without daring to look into the face of the beggar?

          The answer is painfully obvious: beggars more surely invite us to inhabit their world than beckon us to fill it with good things.  There must come a time when giving is no longer enough and companionship becomes the call to integrity.

          Such companionship never means that we attempt to become the beggar, the disabled person, the drug addict or the unwed mother.  It certainly does not mean that we negate who we are or what we have.  But it does mean that we clasp the beggar's hand, break bread together and join one another in the journey towards liberation and in the promise of fullness of life.

Written by: Swiss Wenger


  1. People should not assimilate someone’s disability with inability . That is the problem with this society, they make believe that they are only capable of being a passive recipient of benefits. That they need special attention, charity or pity them. THIS IDEA NEEDS TO BE CHANGE!!!


  2. Indeed Pangz! That notion has to change!!! If we want this world a better place to live in, we all need to be pro-active! Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts.