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Friday, February 29, 2008

Homeless Teens - Crushed - Abused - Abandoned

"I would rather be homeless," one street teen said. "It is cold and miserable on the streets, but it is better than being beaten up by parents who don't care."

Teens often live in "families" of as many as 20 adolescents, huddling under bridges, in woods, on beaches or in abandoned buildings. Most were forced to support themselves by panhandling, theft, drug sales or prostitution, reports a Stanford University study.

Fully 92 percent of those surveyed came from broken homes. Half reported family alcoholism and 40 percent reported drug abuse. In addition, 56 percent of the teens reported physical abuse and 38 percent reported sexual abuse in their families.

"There are throwaway, as well as runaway, teens among the homeless youths," the researchers said. "The parents of throwaway teens, those who were forced out, felt that the teens caused too many problems. The teens also mentioned frequent conflict with parents, lack of money or room, and teenage pregnancy and homosexuality. Most teenage homeless were not wanted nor well cared for."

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pure Gold - Prayer, Fasting and Mercy, Part II

Continued from Wednesday, February 27, 2008, Saint Peter Chrysologus declares that prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives. He shows how prayer, mercy and fasting are one, and they give life to each other.

“Therefore, let prayer, mercy and fasting be one single plea to God on our behalf, one speech in our defense, a threefold united prayer in our favor.

“Let us use fasting to make up for what we have lost by despising others. Let us offer our souls in sacrifice by means of fasting. There is nothing more pleasing that we can offer to God, as the psalmist said in prophecy: A sacrifice to God is a broken spirit; God does not despise a bruised and humbled heart.

“Offer your soul to God, make him an oblation of your fasting, so that your soul may be a pure offering, a holy sacrifice, a living victim, remaining your own and at the same time made over to God. Whoever fails to give this to God will not be excused, for if you are to give him yourself you are never without the means of giving.

“To make these acceptable, mercy must be added. Fasting bears no fruit unless it is watered by mercy. Fasting dries up when mercy dries up. Mercy is to fasting as rain is to earth. However much you may cultivate your heart, clear the soil of your nature, root out vices, sow virtues, if you do not release the springs of mercy, your fasting will bear no fruit.

“When you fast, if your mercy is thin your harvest will be thin; when you fast, what you pour out in mercy overflows into your barn. Therefore, do not lose by saving, but gather in by scattering. Give to the poor, and you give to yourself. You will not be allowed to keep what you have refused to give to others."

St. Peter Chrysologus sermons were so inspiring that he was given the title "Chrysologus" (Greek for "Golden-worded) and was eventually declared a "Doctor of the Church."

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pure Gold - Prayer, Fasting and Mercy, Part I

In today’s blog and in a two-part post, one of the greatest preachers of the early church explains the key penitential practices of Lent: prayer, fasting, and mercy. Saint Peter Chrysologus, Early Church Father declares that prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives. He shows how prayer, mercy and fasting are one, and they give life to each other.

“There are three things, my brethren, by which faith stands firm, devotion remains constant, and virtue endures. They are prayer, fasting and mercy. Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives. Prayer, mercy and fasting: these three are one, and they give life to each other.

“Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. Let no one try to separate them; they cannot be separated. If you have only one of them or not all together, you have nothing. So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others. If you do not close your ear to others you open God’s ear to yourself.

“When you fast, see the fasting of others. If you want God to know that you are hungry, know that another is hungry. If you hope for mercy, show mercy. If you look for kindness, show kindness. If you want to receive, give. If you ask for yourself what you deny to others, your asking is a mockery.

“Let this be the pattern for all men when they practice mercy: show mercy to others in the same way, with the same generosity, with the same promptness, as you want others to show mercy to you.

To be contninued ...

St. Peter Chrysologus sermons were so inspiring that he was given the title "Chrysologus" (Greek for "Golden-worded) and was eventually declared a "Doctor of the Church."

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Put on a Shelf

What has happened.....
they ask when they see me.......
I am homeless......
they think I did it to myself..........
they think I am scum to be put on a shelf........
A shelf of denial....
a shelf of of pain.......
They look down on me as I stand in the rain......
For I once too had what you had.........
A job , a car, a family too....
but that was all taken by no one , not even you.......
for I came from the bottom and worked my way too the top.......
then by no fault of my own it had to drop.......
So here i am as I stand in the rain.....
you can look upon me with all the pain.......
for no one is safe from this one disease.....
Homelessness can happen as fast as you can sneeze......
So the next time you see me on the street threadbare.....
just remember not to judge me for we all can be here...........

by Anonymous


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Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday Morning Prayer Request Blog, I

"The Lord is near to those with crushed hearts" Psalm 34:18

Today, HIA inaugurates a new tradition, the Monday Morning Prayer Request Blog! First and foremost, we pray for those dear to the heart of Jesus - the homeless, the poor, the abandoned, the crushed and forgotten. Next, we pray for you! Each Monday come, post as many prayer requests as you wish for yourself or others - first names or initials only. Prayer requests are then presented every weekday for one hour at Adoration for the Lord‘s consideration, great mercy and compassion.

* We are here to pray for each other and to bring each other home.
* In a very present living God, the Father, the power behind prayer.
* In the mercy and compassion of Jesus, His son to answer our prayers.
* We are asked to pray unceasingly.
* That that God hears and answers our prayers.
* That God will have mercy upon all of our loved ones, living or dead.
* That we can pray for you, especially if you do not know how to pray at this time.
* That God wants to have a personal, Fatherly relationship with all the persons you are concerned about.
* That through prayer and the mercy of Jesus Christ, the persons we are praying for will be healed of their sins and lead into eternal adoption into the family of God.
* That that through prayer, we will see more of our loved ones and neighbors come to the Christ.
* We will see the Holy Spirit poured out and transforming lives in great and new ways.
* That in these Last Days, we need to pray.
* God hears the cry of the poor.
We believe in prayer!

Therefore, who do you know that is crushed, broken, lost, abandoned or hurting? Yourself? A family member? A dear friend? Who is experiencing “poverty “or “homelessness” by way of all types of anxiety, addictions, depression, divorce, illness, job stress, anger, pride and confusion? Our HIA online prayer community wants to know this person’s initials or first name, your request and then we will pray for their good for one week. Please visit every Monday to post the same request or post a new one. Pray with us!

Here is how to post a prayer request:
1. Click on COMMENT at the bottom of this post.
2. Click the circle Anonymous at the bottom of the page.
3. Type your prayer request in the box at the top of the page.
4. Use your first name or initials at the end of what you wrote.
5. Visually check your spelling (no spell check)
6. Fill in the wavy letters in the security box.
7. Click on publish.
8. Daily pray with us until next Monday!

Please contact your family and friends. Share with them the news that through prayer, God has come to save! Visit us today at

Coming soon … The Tuesday Morning Praise Blog where we give thanks to God for His mercy and compassion and for answers to your prayers!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Coming soon ... "We have JESUS"

Bloggers had a lot to say about Coming Soon, Monday Morning Prayer Request Blog (see Thursday, February 21, 2008)! Sylvia writes, “Sounds like a great idea! Count me in.” Cecil said, “Great idea!” Anonymous enthusiastically said, “Count me in! I'll be a prayer warrior! I need prayers for my son in a big way. Well, for all of my family, really... I think it's so cool that you are expanding it in a big way.”

Sr. Angela beautifully wrote about our brokenness, “Yes, we are all broken in some ways and we need each other's prayers, acceptance and support to get up and be healed from this brokenness. Some are broken financially and others are broken emotionally. Yet the worst brokenness we have is the spiritual one, sin, in which I believe is the source of all kinds of brokenness that people are suffering. Though we are crushed by difficulties or any unpleasant situations in life, yet our God is a saving God. We have JESUS who is our hope, our salvation and everything. We believe that Jesus' love will heal every kind of brokenness; that we only need to cling to Him, trust Him, and give Him chance to be the Master of our lives. I am with you in praying for the broken hearts.”

Duly noted is Ileana’s wrestle with prayer itself and so she has the last words about Coming Soon …, “I have a question, how do you know when to stop praying for someone? I don't mean to be funny. I want to know what people think. I find that my list of people to pray for becomes longer and longer until it runs the risk of being a laundry list. Sure, someone gets the flu and you pray for them to be well and when they're well you're done. But, for instance, if you pray for someone grieving the death of a loved one, you can't know when the grief is healed. They could still suffer that grief 10 years from now. Do they stay on your list a week, a month, a year? Do the prayers lose their effectiveness when they are diluted by such a long list? Do you begin to forget to add them to the list at the same rate they become healed? Because I start to forget to pray for people after awhile but then maybe that's okay since maybe God heard and answered them first time. Honestly, I'm not meaning to make fun of prayer. I just want to get it right and pray for a long as my friends need it.”

Pass it on! Coming Soon, Monday Morning Prayer Request Blog, tomorrow – Monday.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

At the Last Judgment There Will Only be One Test

“Jesus and justice – rarely do we bring them together as the Gospels do. Somehow, we find it hard to bring together the Jesus who is so uncompromising in the area of private prayer and integrity, who says we delude ourselves if we think we are following him but are not praying or keeping the commandments, with the Jesus who tells us unequivocally that at the last judgment there will only be one test as to whether we will go to heaven or not – namely, how we responded to the poor during our lifetime. The Jesus who invites us into a personal piety and church doctrine is the same Jesus who tells us that nobody will get to heaven without a letter of reference from the poor.” by Fr. Ron Rolheiser, O.M.I., excerpt from the Tidings, February 15, 2008

Fr. Ronald Rolheiser — author, lecturer, retreat leader, columnist and spiritual guide — is one of the most influential voices in Christian spirituality today. A member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, he is president of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. He is the author of many bestselling books including Holy Longing and The Restless Heart.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Lord, Hear the Cry of the Poor!

"In the Evening of life, we shall be judged on love."
Saint John of the Cross

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

1 Timothy 6:17-19

Many are the needs of all the poor around us - from office cubicles to alleys; but so few laborers will climb Calvary with them to help carry their cross. Great is the generosity of God who makes of our hands His hands, if we would only respond ...

For those who go to bed hungry,
- that they may be fed by those who have more food than they need.
Lord, hear the cry of the poor!

For those who suffer the diseases of all kinds of poverty,
- that they may find help from those who have diseases of affluence.
Lord, hear the cry of the poor!

For those who are neglected and ignored by family and friends.
- that at they may find a home in those who are loved.
Lord, hear the cry of the poor!

For those who have died, forgotten and abandoned,
- that they may find eternal care in the family of God.
Lord, hear the cry of the poor!


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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Coming Soon, Monday Morning Prayer Request Blog

"The Lord is near to those with crushed hearts" Psalm 34:18 (HIA) is all about connecting with everyone's "poverty" - the brokenness inside each one of us. We believe, that as a result of sin ("All have sinned." Romans 3:23), everyone is physically and/or spiritually broken and “homeless” and in need of a Savior (see Garden Roots, Wednesday November 28, 2007). If you don't think you need a Savior, please see your parish pastor for further counsel.

Beginning Monday, February 24th, HIA inaugurates a new tradition, the Monday Morning Prayer Request Blog. Each Monday check in and post your prayer request(s) for the week. Then, from Tuesday-Monday, all the prayer requests will be daily presented at a weekday one hour Adoration, petitioning the Lord for his consideration and great mercy and compassion for your request(s).

Starting Monday (and each following Monday), you may post prayer requests for yourself or others, but with first names only, please. Who do you know that is crushed, broken, lost, abandoned or hurting? Yourself? A family member? A dear friend? Who might you know that is "poor" and experiencing homelessness, divorce, anxiety, addictions, illness, career collapse or any of the other terribly confusing ups and downs of life? HIA wants to know about this person and to pray for their good.

So, what do you think? Will you join us with your prayer requests? Possibly even support the petitions with your own prayers?

Please contact your family and friends right away and share with them the news about HIA's Monday Morning Prayer Request Blog - to please post prayers on Mondays under COMMENT at

Also, coming soon, the Tuesday Morning Praise Blog. We will give thanks to God for answers to your prayers and for looking upon our community of faith with His mercy and kindness!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Thankful for Volunteers: A Team is Born

Putting the spirit of Lent into action, we are thankful for the inspiration to serve that comes from DJ (taking the photos), Cecil (photo bottom right), Becca, Ines, Laura, Joel, Paul and Evelyn (photo top right). The team, made up of parishioners from various churches, was born this past weekend to hand deliver food supplies to homeless living under bridges, in alleys and on the streets of Los Angeles. Thanks to St. Paul the Apostle's "Sandwich Builders," hundreds of lunches were prepared the night before and also put into use at St. Peter's daily food line in Chinatown, Catholic Charities and at the Transition House in downtown.


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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Out of the Valley of Darkness

Lent is a privileged time of interior pilgrimage towards him who is the fount of mercy. It is a pilgrimage in which he himself accompanies us through the desert of our poverty, sustaining us on our way towards the intense joy of Easter.

Even in the “valley of darkness” of which the Psalmist speaks (Ps. 23:4), while the tempter prompts us to despair or to place a vain hope in the work of our own hands. God is there to guard us and sustain us. Yes, even today the Lord hears the cry of the multitudes longing for joy, peace and love.

As in every age they feel abandoned. Yet, even in the desolation of misery, loneliness, violence and hunger that indiscriminately afflict children, adults and the elderly, God does not allow darkness to prevail. In fact, in the words of my beloved predecessor, Pope John Paul II, there is a “divine limit imposed on evil,” namely, mercy …

In the face of the terrible challenge of poverty afflicting so much of the world’s population, indifference and self-centered isolation stand in stark contrast to the “gaze” of Christ. Fasting and almsgiving, which, together with prayer, the Church proposes in a special way during the Lenten season, are suitable means for us to become conformed to this “gaze” [Christ’s mercy].
by Pope Benedict XVI

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Monday, February 18, 2008

A Champion to Alleviate the Curse of Homelessness

On Presidents Day, we celebrate a modern-day leader and role-model; Jimmy Carter, who as president of the United States was deeply committed to social justice and basic human rights for the poor and homeless. He and his wife Rosalynn left the White House in search of meaningful ways to contribute in these areas. In addition to promoting peace and human rights through the nonprofit Carter Center in Atlanta, they also lead the Jimmy Carter Work Project (JCWP) and became actively involved with Habitat for Humanity International. They build homes for the poor.

Jimmy Carter's involvement with Habitat for Humanity International began in 1984 when the former president led a work group to New York City to help renovate a six-story building with 19 families in need of decent, affordable shelter. That experience planted the seed that continues to grow housing for the poor to this very day. Each year, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter give a week of their time—along with their construction skills—to build homes and raise awareness of the critical need for affordable housing.

"We have become small players in an exciting global effort to alleviate the curse of homelessness," Carter said. "With our many new friends, we have worked to raise funds, to publicize the good work of Habitat, to recruit other volunteers, to visit overseas projects and even build a few houses." Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and making decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat for Humanity has built more than 200,000 houses worldwide. Volunteers work with future homeowners to build or renovate houses, which are then sold to partner families at no profit, with no interest charged on the mortgage.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Drive to Subscribe! Update

In follow up to the Drive to Subscribe! Gashwin writes under Serve Christ in the Poor, (see Wednesday, February 13, 2008) ... "Thank you for adding me to your list (and keep me there!). HIA has been on my blog roll at for a while now. I'll forward the URL to some friends in India ... so y'all can go international as well. :)"

Neva dittos the post and writes ... "It [HIA] will be passed all the way around 'my world' - Alaska to Florida and Texas to Rhode Island. I will also send to friends in Iraq, Kuwait, Korea, Germany and other places overseas. They are all American soldiers so this should get around the US and the World. Thanks for including me in the mailing."

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Let the Lenten Journey Continue as We Unite with the Poor ...

Enter into Complete Nakedness, Emptiness and
Poverty in Everything in this World
“Endeavor to be inclined always:
not to the easiest, but to the most difficult;
not to the most delightful, but to the most distasteful;
not to the most gratifying, but to the less pleasant;
not to what means rest for you, but to hard work;
not to the consoling, but to the unconsoling;
not to the most, but to the least;
not to the highest and most precious, but to the lowest
and most despised;
not to wanting something, but wanting nothing.

Do not go about looking for the best of temporal things, but for the worst, and for Christ, desire to enter into complete nakedness, emptiness and poverty in everything in the world.”

by John of the Cross (b. 1542 - d. 1591), The Ascent of Mount Carmel, Book One, Chapter 13, Verse 6.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

The New Covenant

Covenant House provides shelter and other services to homeless, runaway and throwaway youth. It is the largest privately-funded outreach in North and South America. Since its beginning in New York City in 1972, Covenant House has outreaches in 21 cities throughout the United States, Canada, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua. Covenant House operates a 24-hour crisis hotline in the United States called the NINELINE, 1-800-999-9999 or

In addition to food, shelter, clothing and immediate crisis care, Covenant House provides a variety of services to homeless, runaway and throwaway youth including medical care, educational and vocational programs, drug abuse treatment and prevention programs, legal aid services, recreation programs, mother/child programs, transitional living programs, life-skills training and street outreach.

A typical year for Covenant House is to provide services to more than 60,000 youth. Covenant House street outreach teams made contact with an additional 28,000 homeless and at-risk youth on the streets in the 21 cities where Covenant House operates facilities. The NINELINE received and immediately responded to more than 48,000 crisis calls from youngsters all over the United States who needed immediate help and had nowhere else to turn. The Covenant House 24-hour national crisis hotline in Mexico, received and responded to more than 13,000 crisis calls.

More on the Internet

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Lord, Give Me Eyes That See

Scripture Meditation
“Did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?” James 2:5.

If God really values the poor, what does that mean for each one of us?

Lord, help me to have ears to hear your command to “love one another”. Give me eyes to see Christ in the poor, the abandoned and the suffering. Make me an instrument of your love. Mold me into your hands of compassion. Lord, give me a heart of flesh; I’ve had a heart of stone for so long.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Serve Christ in the Poor

"Blessed are the merciful, because they shall obtain mercy", says the Scripture. Mercy is not the least of the beatitudes. Again: "Blessed is he who is considerate to the needy and the poor". Once more: "Generous is the man who is merciful and lends". In another place: "All day the just man is merciful and lends". Let us lay hold of this blessing, let us earn the name of being considerate, let us be generous.

Not even night should interrupt you in your duty of mercy. Do not say: Come back and I will give you something tomorrow. There should be no delay between your intention and your good deed. Generosity is the one thing that cannot admit of delay.

Share your bread with the hungry, and bring the needy and the homeless into your house, with a joyful heart. He who does acts of mercy should do so with cheerfulness. The grace of a good deed is doubled when it is done with promptness and speed. What is given with a bad grace or against one's will is distasteful and far from praiseworthy....

If you think that I have something to say, servants of Christ, his brethren and coheirs, let us visit Christ whenever we may; let us care for him, feed him, clothe him, welcome him, honor him, not only at a meal, as some have done, or by anointing him, as Mary did, or only by lending him a tomb, like Joseph of Arimathaea, or by arranging for his burial, like Nicodemus, who loved Christ half-heartedly, or by giving him gold, frankincense and myrrh, like the Magi before all these others.

The Lord of all asks for mercy, not sacrifice, and mercy is greater than myriads of fattened lambs. Let us then show him mercy in the persons of the poor and those who today are lying on the ground, so that when we come to leave this world they may receive us into everlasting dwelling places in Christ our Lord himself, to whom be glory for ever and ever and ever. Amen.

From a Sermon by Saint Gregory Nazianzen, Bishop (329-389)
Saint Gregory was born at Nazianzus, Cappadocia in 329. He died at Nazianzus on January 25, 389. Declared a Doctor of the Church, Gregory is often surnamed "the Theologian" for his eloquent defense of orthodoxy and the Council of Nicaea.
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Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Recently it was reported that since August of 2005, New Orleans' homeless population has doubled since before Hurricane Katrina and most homeless emergency shelters have still not re-opened, leaving many people to squat in abandoned homes and buildings. "Yet again, New Orleans is showing how important [or not important] it is that poverty be addressed in this country," said Andy Kopplin, executive director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority.

Across New Orleans, from abandoned sections of the Lower 9th Ward to apartments near City Hall and even wind-shredded suburban houses — a homeless population that has nearly doubled since Hurricane Katrina is squatting in the ruins of the storm. Through pried-open doors of some of the city’s estimated 80,000 vacant dwellings, the poor, mentally ill and drug-addicted have carved out living conditions like those of the Third World.

“These are abandoned people, living in abandoned housing, in a city which in many ways has itself been abandoned,”
said Martha Kegel, executive director of UNITY of Greater New Orleans, a group that helps the homeless.

In many ways, New Orleans is a microcosm of how we as Americans care about the poor. Initially, Katrina brought out the best in us, and now almost three years later reveals the worst disregard in us as well. Many Americans have helped, yet many others prefer to look the other way and pretend that the abandoned do not exist.

And so, many questions are left unanswered ... What is the moral responsibility of neighbor to care for neighbor? Where would responsibility begin? In our own backyard, in New Orleans or both? Does personal responsibility even exist? Is there one?

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Repent and Believe

Through all your days ... keep the Lord in mind, and suppress every desire to sin or to break His commandments. Perform good works all the days of your life, and do not tread the paths of wrongdoing.

Do not turn your face away form the poor, and God's face will not be turned away from you. Give to the hungry some of your bread and to the naked some of your clothing.

Whatever you have left over, give away as alms; and do not begrudge the alms you give. At all times bless the Lord, and ask Him to make all your paths straight and to grant success to all your endeavors and plans. Tobit 5-7, 16, 19

"Repent and Believe the Gospel" Mark 1:15

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Padre Pio, A Modern Prophet with an Ancient Command

Padre Pio was born May 25, 1887, ordained a Cappuchin Priest in 1910 and died September 23, 1968. He was a mystic, confessor and stigmatic; bearing for 50 years all the while suffering five wounds of the crucifixion. Padre Pio is the founder of a hospital to care for the sick and the dying in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy. A true victim with Christ, he is a credible sign to our time that God’s plan is for each of us to be channels of His charity and grace for the poor. He expressed the spirit of his hospital as tangible proof of the Good Samaritan this way …

“We must be quite forgetful of self. Rising above selfishness, we must bow down to the sufferings and the wounds of our fellow men. We must make them our own, knowing how to suffer with our brethren for the love of God. We must know how to instill hope into their hearts and bring back a smile to their lips, having restored a ray of light into their souls. Then we shall be offering to God the most beautiful, the most noble of prayers, because our prayer will have sprung form sacrifice. It will be the very essence of love, the unselfish gift of all that we are in body and soul. In every sick man there is Jesus in person who is suffering; in every poor man it is Jesus himself who is languishing; in every man who is both sick and poor, Jesus is doubly present.” Saint Padre Pio

"Love is the first ingredient in the relief of suffering" Padre Pio

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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Pope to Pope

Regarding, Ash Wednesday Lamentation (see Wednesday, February 6, 2008), M.D. writes ... "Apparently, in his Ash Wednesday sermon, Pope Benedict XVI quoted St. John's ringing rebuke of those who turn their backs on souls in need. Said St. John: 'How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need, and yet refuses to help?' (1 Jn 3,17) The Pope asked us to make it our special work this Lent." M.D.

Making note of the blog post, John Paul II Reflects on God as Defender of Poor (see Friday, February 1, 2008) Anonymous writes … “It is certainly correct what this person says about the rights of the poor being violated. But, it is more disturbing, at least in my opinion, that the same rights violations are being committed some times by the very same people in the Church that are in an authority position, and who are there, supposedly to protect and to defend the dignity of the poor. God have mercy on them! Because they, being in authority positions are making a big injustice.”

And so, K.D. has the last word on JP II today, writing … “What bothers me when people say these things, and you know it is against the Church, is that there are bad people everywhere, in power in all types of organizations - governments, institutions, clubs, etc. There are corrupt rabbis, evangelical pastors, Muslim imams, Boy Scout leaders, public school teachers, the list goes on. But the Pope always gets all the blame for all the bad in the world. JPII did the best he could with what he had and he always promoted love and compassion for the poor and vulnerable.”

Friday, February 8, 2008

Drive to Subscribe

Many of us have slowly walked a six month journey since HIA began publishing in August of 2007 with triumphal insights into one's own brokenness, poverty and illusions. We’ve even gained insights into the plight of the homeless and the poor. Now, more than 150 blogs later the journey continues.

Today is dubbed, "Drive to Subscribe." Who can you invite right now, today - to join us in the journey? It’s the season of Lent, what a great time to admit more sojourners into our family of subscribers? Those who may feel lost in a divorce, an addiction, a bad job and illness or just crushed by the daily cares of life - they may be lost but are seeking to be found by the living God in their brokenness. Let's invite them and we pray for them!

It's easy ... If you are already a subscriber or a returning reader, copy the link below and send it to a family member or friend. Recommend that they join our family of bloggers. Let them know that you don't need to be homeless to "hear the cry of the poor." Let them know that here at HIA we seek to triumph over "poverty" of all sorts. We are even looking for a few "wealthy poor," - those who are internally “poor” and struggling and probably have a beautiful roof over their heads. The Lord does not discriminate. He hears the cry of all the poor.

So what’s the goal? Each current blogger enrolls 1-2 subscribers! Do everyone a favor and invite many of your family and friends to join today! Peace be with you ...


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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Tornado Alley

Yesterday, it was reported that President Bush called the governors of 5 states - Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee assuring them of help after dozens of tornadoes left many residents instantly homeless and 54 dead. Homes were reduced to piles of rubble as the deadliest cluster of tornadoes in nearly a decade tore through the region, snapping trees and crumpling dwellings.

And so, once again we discover homelessness plays no favorites and comes to both the rich and poor alike as was demonstrated last fall in the San Diego – Malibu fires that left thousands destitute (see Malibu Burning, Monday, November 26, 2007). Whether the tragedy of homelessness strikes residents of tornado alley, shell-shocked Iraqi war veterans, the mentally ill, drug addicts or Malibu movie stars; our stance must be one of actively showing compassion and mercy for all.

May we take this Lenten season to reassess our opinions of winners and losers, homeless and not homeless? May we choose mercy and not judgment? Will we let mercy triumph over judgment? Be assured that in a forthcoming unknown hour of one’s own need, that … “Blessed are the merciful, they shall obtain mercy.”

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ash Wednesday Lamentation

“…Share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, cover him …”

Why do we Fast with no Spiritual Results?

"’Why have we fasted, and thou seest it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and thou takest no knowledge of it?' Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high.

The True Fast Revealed

“Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a rush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the LORD?

The Lord Promises to Hear Us, If …

"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.

The Fast of Serving the Abandoned and Afflicted

“Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am. If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in." Isaiah 58:1-12

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Fat Tuesday

Today marks the day that many will now make final decisions about how to observe the 40 days of lent which begins tomorrow, Ash Wednesday. Traditionally, some give up chocolate and ice cream, yet others increase prayer time or go to daily Mass. What will you do?

As we make our penitential plans, may we consider possibly including ways to serve the poor? It’s good for the Lenten journey as well as a big help to those who need it most. St. Peter’s in downtown Los Angeles Chinatown serves 150 hot lunches to the homeless each day (except Sundays) from 10:00am to 12:00 noon. If you do volunteer, you can arrive one hour early and help with the preparation of lunch boxes. Check out PATH (Hollywood) and deliver a hot dinner from your own home kitchen for about 25 residents at one of their facilities. PATH allows you to sign up in advance for a specific day and time so you can plan a menu, shop and cook. Also, team up with Saint Paul the Apostle (West Los Angeles) parish for their monthly Friday night “Sandwich Builders.” Bring bread, PBJ, socks, t-shirts and hygiene items for the homeless and help deliver them the next day. From Los Angeles to New York, wherever you live, the possibilities to serve the poor are endless!

Acts of penance remind us of our own broken nature and our need for a Savior. All the while we are opened up to God’s miraculous grace. We receive healing for our own brokenness. Jesus tells us, “Blessed are the merciful, they shall obtain mercy.”

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Monday, February 4, 2008

Super 8

Cont'd from Sunday ...
Eight Ways to Truly Help the Homeless, Part II

5. Pray for the homeless.
Exposure to the elements, dirt, occasional violence, and lack of purpose all drain years from a person's life. God can use your prayers and the brutality and the futility of life of the street to bring many of the broken to Himself.

6. Take precautions for your own safety.
Some living on the streets are criminals and fugitives running from the law. Always be prudent while talking with street people. Stay in areas where other people can see you. Don't take unnecessary chances.

7. Encourage the homeless to get help through your local Mission.
Rescue missions that are members of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions offer immediate food and shelter to the homeless through their emergency shelters. Many offer long-term rehabilitation programs that deal with the root causes of homeless.

8. Support your local Mission.
Most rescue missions receive little or no government funding. They are supported by caring individuals, churches, businesses, and civic groups who see the value of sharing their resources with the less fortunate.


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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super 8

Eight Ways to Truly Help the Homeless, Part I

What do you do when you see someone holding up a sign, "Will Work for Food"? Do you roll down your window and give them money? Do you pretend you didn't see them?

Here are some simple guidelines from the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions ( to equip you to truly help the homeless people you meet:

1. Never give cash to a homeless person
Too often, well intended gifts are converted to drugs or alcohol - even when the "hard luck" stories they tell are true. But, do give them food, water, clothing, prayer cards and other spiritual aid

2. Talk to the person with respect.
Taking time to talk to a homeless person in a friendly, respectful manner can give them a wonderful sense of civility and dignity. And besides being just neighborly, it gives the person a weapon to fight the isolation, depression and paranoia that many homeless people face.

3. Recognize that homeless people (and their problems) are not all the same. The homeless are as diverse as the colors of a rainbow. The person you meet may be a battered women, an addicted veteran, someone who is lacking job skills...the list goes on.

4. Share God's love whenever you can.
If Jesus were walking the earth today, He would certainly spend time with the homeless. He would speak with them, heal them, and help them. Today, Jesus chooses to work through those who believe and follow Him.

To be continued …
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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Saint Bridget of Ireland, Model for Serving the Poor

Many stories and legends have grown up around the memory of Saint Bridget (b. 450 A.D.). She served the poor of Ireland around the same time that Saint Patrick was preaching and whom was a friend of her family. In those days there were many lepers in Ireland, and when there was no one else to help and pity them, the poor outcasts were always sure of a kindly welcome from Saint Bridget.

One of the stories tells of a wretched leper who came to Saint Bridget, so poor and dirty and diseased that no one would come near him. But like our blessed Lord, Saint Bridget felt only compassion for him, and with her own hands washed his feet and bathed his poor aching head. Then, seeing that his clothes must be washed, she bade one of the sisters standing by to wrap her white mantle round the man until his own clothes should be ready. But the sister shuddered and turned away; she could not bear to think of her cloak being wrapped around the miserable leper. Saint Bridget's blue eyes looked sternly at the sister as she put her own cloak over the shivering man.

"I leave thy punishment in God's hands," she said quietly; and even as she spoke, the sister was instantly stricken with the same terrible disease, and as the cloak touched the beggar, he was healed of his leprosy.

Tears of repentance streamed down the poor sister's face, and her punishment was more than tender-hearted Saint Bridget could bear to see. Together they prayed to God for pardon, and at Saint Bridget's touch the leprosy was healed.

Friday, February 1, 2008

John Paul II Reflects on God as Defender of Poor

On December 2, 2004 John Paul II addressed a general audience, which he dedicated to reflect on Psalm 72:

“O God, give your judgment to the king; your justice to the son of kings; That he may govern your people with justice, your oppressed with right judgment … That he may defend the oppressed among the people, save the poor and crush the oppressor ... May he rule from sea to sea, from the river to the ends of the earth. May his foes kneel before him, his enemies lick the dust…. May all kings bow before him, all nations serve him. For he rescues the poor when they cry out, the oppressed who have no one to help.” Psalm 72:1-12

John Paul II said … “ We just heard the first great movement of this solemn prayer. It opens with an intense choral invocation to God so that he will grant the sovereign that gift which is fundamental for good government, justice. It is explained especially in relation to the poor who, instead, are usually the victims of power...

“If the rights of the poor are violated, an act is carried out which is not only politically incorrect but also morally unjust. According to the Bible, an act against God is also perpetrated, a religious offense, as the Lord is the guardian and defender of the poor and the oppressed, of widows and of orphans, namely, of those who do not have human protectors.”


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