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  • Writer's picturePhil



Am I mistaken, Lord,

is it a temptation to think

You increasingly urge me

to go forth and proclaim

the need and urgency

of passing

from the Blessed Sacrament

to your other presence,

just as real,

in the Eucharist of the poor?

Theologians will argue,

a thousand distinctions be advanced …

But woe to him who feeds on you

and later has no eyes to see you,

to discern you

foraging for food among the garbage,

being evicted every other minute,

living in sub-human conditions

under the sign

of utter insecurity!

Dom Helder Camara, Brazil.

The challenging voice of a modern prophet. "When I feed the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why so many people are poor they call me a communist." So said Dom Helder Camara (1909-1999), one of the great prophets of the Catholic Church in the twentieth century. As Archbishop of Recife, Brazil, he gained an international reputation as a champion of human rights during the era of military dictatorship and as a dedicated champion for the poor. Banned from the media in his own country, he toured the world denouncing oppression in the Third World and drawing links between the gospel and liberation. And yet his stern call to justice was inflected with a joy-filled, mystical love of God and creation that brought to mind the image of St. Francis.

Disturbing God,

you identify with the weak and powerless,

and surprise us as we seek to do your will.

Help us to find true hope

in the now of our action

rather than in the distant future of our longing.

Joy Tetley, England.

Lord, you placed me in the world

to be its salt.

I was afraid of committing myself,

afraid of being stained by the world.

I did not want to hear what ‘they’ might say.

And my salt dissolved as if in water.

Forgive me, Jesus.

Lord you placed me in the world

to be its light.

I was afraid of the shadows,

afraid of the poverty.

I did not want to know other people.

And my light slowly faded away.

Forgive me, Jesus.

Lord, you placed me in the world

to live in community.

Thus you taught me to love,

to share in life,

to struggle for bread and for justice,

your truth incarnate in my life.

So be it, Jesus.

Peggy M. de Cuehlo, Uruguay

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