9 May 2011
Third Week of Easter
A project of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in Camden, NJ,
De Sales Service Works welcomes volunteers to join
in service, prayer and learning in our struggling neighborhood.
- Service Word
- Last Week in Camden
- Upcoming Events
1. Service Word Luke 24:13-35
Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures for us?” So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem…
Isn’t the observation, “our hearts burning within us,” rich and expressive. The phrase conveys excitement, warmth, attraction, unsettledness, energy. I want to share two recent Camden experiences that I have been mulling over in that way—that have my heart burning.
First is Caylee a young woman who began staying at Joseph’s House in March. It is hard to guess her age, but she must be only in her late twenties, but life on the street has hardened her appearance. The sun and cigarettes have punished her skin, and she often has the vacant look and distracted, abrupt manner of an addicted person. She stands out because she is pregnant. The first time I encountered her, my heart sank in my chest with sadness—”What kind of life lies ahead for the child she is carrying?” “What kind of mother could she possibly be?”
As you might expect, she got a ton of attention from the staff and from fellow guests at the shelter: kindnesses and sharing—along with professional attention: counseling and search for housing and a program for her. This week staff got her into a program at Good Counsel Homes, an agency for pregnant women in difficult situations. The journey is not over, but this is a very promising development.
The second comes from a personable, good humored young man, Philip, who is back in college and a support program after dropping out last semester. He said he realized that life involves work and challenge whatever path you take—so why not choose a positive path? Part of the reason he had dropped out of the program is because it involved living away from home and putting a focus on school. Both of these were unfamiliar things for him and his family. The delayed gratification and long-view required for school also were unappealing. His hard-won insight warmed our hearts.
The disciples in this gospel are walking away from Jerusalem, “the destination” for all the Lord’s public ministry. Their encounter with the living Lord gets the two disciples to turn around and walk in the right direction, to the place of cross and new life. That sort of place in any of our lives can require a leap to get going, but we can imagine the warmth of their encounter with Jesus makes it possible.
-Are there experiences you have had that the gospel image “hearts burning within us”describes accurately?
-Can you say that you are on the right way, headed in a good directions, looking at various trajectories of you significant choices?
-What about Jesus moves you, attracts, or unsettles you?
2. Last Week in Camden
Father Judge freshmen generously served sandwiches & food bags and went to New Visions on Tuesday.
3. Upcoming Events
Judge freshmen will be here Tuesday for their last service retreat of the year.
Read past essays from the Peace & Justice Blog.
Happy Easter Season! Father Mike McCue, OSFS