The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

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Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Porridge and Worms

Last night I was thunderstruck.

I was watching ABC's 20/20 news magazine and they ran a story about how the AIDS crisis in Africa has left so many children orpahans, having to raise themselves. One of the scenes they showed was a seventeen year-old girl cooking dinner for her three younger siblings. She dished each one them a serving of porridge made from the little bit of wheat they grew behind their disheveled hut. As a source of protein, she mixed in worms gathered from a tree.

Before they ate. These children made the sign of the cross and prayed grace. How many of us would thank God for a gift like this? I instantly felt ashamed, almost embarassed by all the times I have sat down to meal and not given Our Lord a second thought.

If I want to eat something, I simply go to my pantry or fridge and make my selection. If I'm low on food, I can drive down to the local market and select from a multitude of foods. If that's not to my liking, there are a bevy of fast food joints around where I live, or I can opt for finer dining and be served. What is more, should my world collapse and I find myself homeless, there are a large number of shelters around the city that would make sure I had something to eat; something far more appetizing than porridge and worms.

I'm 40 pounds overweight. I didn't really notice the gluttony and sloth as it was happening, but the evidence is in the spare tire before me. Over the years I've watched my pant size increase by twos. From 32 to 34 to a slightly snug 36. I've kind of drawn a line in the sand here. Capitulating to a size 38 is to admit defeat.

God has blessed me with the ability to be fat. I've never known real hunger, even in my "starving" college years. I've never been in a place in my life where a dish of porridge and worms would be something I would thank my Lord for. Yes, I can give money to charities that help the kids in Africa, but what I want more than anything is to bring that parentless little family into my small living space and cook for them a good meal. Right now, that is beyond my reach, but I am hopeful someday it might not be.

Give thanks for every meal God gives you; and if you are up for it, fast once in awhile and ask Christ to give that meal you could have to someone else who is far less fortunate.


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