Loving the unlovely

Fr. Luke Reese has a wonderful sermon up at the St. Joseph of Arimathea website on imitating Christ.

Loved this:

His example gives us the pattern of virtues that are the most needful to be practiced by us.  In all His dealings with the lowest of the low, Our Lord never turned away one who was in need no matter how revolting or frightening.  Neither did our Lord ever hastily disregard or ignore anyone who asked His attention; He was accessible to all who sought Him.   These virtues, perfectly demonstrated by Our Lord, are most admirable for the simple reason that they are virtues indicative of true charity.

Interestingly, when I try to discern what the Holy Spirit is saying to me through Pope Francis, it is along this line.  When he talks about inclusion, I have to see where I still have layers of selfishness that need to be peeled away.

I’m reminded of a time more than 30 years ago, when, as a journalist working for Canada’s public broadcaster, I did some research at a drop in centre for mentally ill street people.

Some were so obviously sick and crazy my heart went out to them.  But there was this other guy who kept jumping up to pour himself coffee, milk, whatever in the most irritating, attention-getting, fashion.  He behaved like a buzzing fly.  I watched in amazement at how young woman on staff treated him with such patience.

The other thing, there was a stench of homelessness in the room.  Unwashed bodies, the scent of dirty hair, the bitter smell of tobacco, a whiff of urine and offal and vomit.

“Mother Teresa, I am not,” I thought to myself.

Then I think of my late friend Mary Wells. One of her many gifts was her ability to love people who others might consider unlovely.  She always had room at her dinner table and in her heart for those who were lonely, awkward, who had no one else, who were disfigured by scars, internal or external.

I think of some holy priests and bishops I know who seem to have love for everyone.

Thank you, Fr. Reese for a lovely homily!

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