Friday, February 01, 2008

From the Writings of Dorothy Day...

During the holy hour for First Friday, the Sisters at the Motherhouse shared this reflection from the writings of Dorothy Day. Someone shared the reflection with me via e-mail. Since I found it very inspiring, I thought I'd share it here with you. My apologies for not being able to reference the exact source. If anyone knows, please feel free to mention it in the comments.

It is no use saying that we are born two thousand years too late to give room to Christ. Nor will those who live at the end of the world have been born too late. Christ is always with us, always asking for room in our hearts. But now it is with the voice of our contemporaries that He speaks, with the eyes of store clerks, factory workers, and children that He gazes, with the hands of office workers, slum dwellers, and suburban housewives that He gives. It is with the feet of soldiers and tramps that He walks, and with the heart of anyone in need that He longs for shelter. And giving shelter or food to anyone who asks for it, or needs it, is giving to Christ. We can do now what those who knew Him in the day of His flesh did. I am sure that the shepherds did not adore and then go away to leave Mary and her Child in the stable, but somehow found them room, even though what they had to offer might have been primitive enough. All that the friends of Christ did for Him in His lifetime, we can do. Peter’s mother-in-law hastened to cook a meal for Him, and if anything in the Gospels can be inferred, it surely is that she gave the very best she had, with no thought of extravagance. Matthew made a feast for Him, inviting the whole town, so that the house was in an uproar of enjoyment. We can do it too, exactly as they did. We are not born too late. We do it by seeing Christ and serving Christ in friends and
strangers, in everyone with whom we come in contact.

Christ Himself has proved it for us; and no one has to go further than that. For He said that a glass of water given to a beggar was given for Him. He made heaven hinge on the way we act toward Him in His disguise of commonplace, frail, ordinary humanity.

Did you give Me to eat when I was hungry?
Did you give Me to drink when I was thirsty?
Did you give Me clothes when My own were all rags?
Did you come to see Me when I was sick, or in prison or in trouble?

For a total Christian, the goal of duty is not needed ---always prodding one to perform this or that good deed. It is not a duty to help Christ, it is a privilege. Is it likely that Martha and Mary sat back and considered that they had done all that was expected of them---is it likely that Peter’s mother-in-law grudgingly served the chicken she had meant to keep till Sunday because she thought it was her “duty”? She did it gladly - she would have served ten chickens if she had had them.

If that is the way they gave hospitality to Christ, it is certain that that is the way it should still be given. Not for the sake of humanity. Not because it might be Christ who stays with us, comes to see us, takes up our time. Not because these people remind us of Christ, but because they are Christ, asking us to find room for Him, exactly as He did at the first Christmas.


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