1511) A Simple Gift

     Jesuit priest Pedro Arrupe (1907-1991) tells of visiting his brother Jesuits who were working in a desperately poor slum in Latin America.  During his visit he celebrated Mass for the local people in a small, decrepit building; cats and dogs wandered in and out during the Mass.  Afterward, Arrupe was invited to the house of one of the members of the congregation, where he received a memorable gift.

     Here’s what happened, in Arrupe’s own words (in One Jesuit’s Spiritual Journey):

     When it was over, a big man whose hang-dog look made me almost afraid said, “Come to my place.  I have something to give you.”  I was undecided; I didn’t know whether to accept or not, but the priest who was with me said, “Accept, Father, they are good people.”  So I went along with him to his place.  His house was a hovel nearly on the point of collapsing.  He had me sit down on a rickety old chair.  From there I could see the sunset.  

     The man said to me, “Look, sir, how beautiful it is!”  We sat in silence for several minutes.  The sun disappeared.  The man then said, “I didn’t know how to thank you for all you have done for us.  I have nothing to give you, but I thought you would like to see this sunset.  You liked it, didn’t you?  Good evening.”  And then he shook my hand.

    As I walked away I thought, “I have seldom met such a kindhearted person.”  I learned many things that day among the poor.  


Image result for sunset slum images


Ecclesiastes 5:18  —  This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink, and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot.

Ecclesiastes 6:9  —  It’s better to enjoy what we have than to always want something else, because that makes no more sense than chasing the wind.

Psalm 50:1-2  —  The Mighty One, God, the Lordspeaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets. From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.


All praise to thee, my God, this night
For all the blessings of the light.
Keep me, oh, keep me, King of kings,
Beneath thine own almighty wings.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow,
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

–Thomas Ken, English pastor and hymnwriter  (1637-1711)