At a recent dinner at the home of a Vincentian, the host shared with his guests stories from recent travels to the Middle East and India, a trip he had looked forward to for a long time. There were a number of mishaps during the journey. One time his luggage was stolen from an airport bathroom while waiting to fly from one country to the next. On another occasion, he discovered he had left his smartphone in the cab on the way from the airport to the hotel and called the taxi service, hoping to retrieve the phone, but to no avail. Feeling very discouraged, frustrated and even a little bit mad at God for allowing this to happen to him, he looked out the window of his lovely, safe hotel room and noticed a man sleeping on a concrete wall overlooking the bay.
The next morning he watched as the man got up and went out into the streets. That evening the man was back again and settled in for the night on his spot on the wall. This behavior continued for several days. Finally, curious and wanting to offer a meal or some help to the homeless man, our host asked the hotel manager to speak to him. He learned that during the day the man walked the streets and begged. He politely declined the invitation to a meal, but gratefully accepted an offer to take some tea with our host and the hotel manager who would act as interpreter.
During their meeting, the homeless man explained that his god is very good to him. He has given him a cool place to sleep at night where no one bothers him and from that place he can look out at the bay and enjoy a nice breeze. When he goes into the streets every day, people are kind to him and give him the food he needs to survive. He was full of gratitude for his life and satisfied that he has everything he needs.
The man’s simple trust in God’s goodness was a revelation to our host and brought him back to a place of gratitude and stronger faith. As St. Vincent de Paul once said, “Go to the poor—you will find God.”
Photo credit: PhotosThroughMyEyes / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA