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Sunday, December 5, 2010

His Alms

(Shoes by Vincent van Gogh, 1853-1890, Dutch
Post-Impressionist painter)

A gentleman came to our house and he told me, “There is a Hindu family with about eight children who have not eaten for a long time.” So I took some rice quickly and went to their family and I could see real hunger on the small faces of these children and yet the mother had the courage to divide the rice into two and she went out.

When she came back, I asked her, “Where did you go? What did you do?”

And she said, “They are hungry also.”

“Who are they?”

“The Muslim family next door with as many children.”

She knew that they were hungry. What struck me most was that she knew and because she knew she gave until it hurt. This is something so beautiful. This is living love. She gave until it hurt. I did not bring more rice that night because I wanted them to enjoy the joy of giving, of sharing. You should have seen the faces of those little ones. They just understood what their mother did. Their faces were brightened up with smiles. When I came in they looked hungry, they looked so miserable. But the act of their mother taught them what true love was. This is the greatness of our poor.

~ Mother Teresa (1910-1997), Albanian-born Indian Catholic nun, in
Daily Readings with Mother Teresa, edited by Teresa de Bertodano


Here, here I live,
And somewhat give,
Of what I have,
To those, who crave.
Little or much,
My alms is such:
But if my deal
Of oil and meal
Shall fuller grow,
More I’ll bestow:
Meantime be it
E’en but a bit,
Or else a crumb,
The scrip* hath some.

~ Robert Herrick (1591-1674), English poet

* scrip - temporary certificate of money

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