Sanchez: Feeding

ONE of the first ministries I joined when I became a Catholic charismatic was He Cares Mission (HCM).

He Cares is committed to caring for homeless, wounded, and vulnerable children in Metro Manila, restoring their hope, and helping them to make a meaningful contribution to the world. It helps the street children by providing basic needs like food, clothing, education, and medical assistance. It has since then expanded to Bacolod.

Most of the kids live in the slum areas of Purok Magnolia, Barangay 7. Later, it expanded to the Bacolod plaza. I’m unable to attend Wednesdays since my focus as its editor-in-chief is put to bed The Feast Bacolod Bulletin, the weekly newsletter of The Feast Bacolod held every Thursday and Saturday.

The HCM servants and volunteers teach the kids to pray by introducing to Jesus through kiddie Bible studies and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Then comes the feeding part. Feed the soul, feed the stomach.

This makes sense. Harvard researchers found that people who attended religious services weekly or who practiced prayer or meditation daily in their youth reported having a higher life satisfaction and positivity in their 20s.

Individuals were found less likely to smoke, have symptoms of depression, use illicit drugs, or have sexually transmitted infections than people who engaged in less regular spiritual practices.

That’s true. When I was the prayer guide of the Prayer and Life Workshop among the inmates, the participants shared about their road to crimes: neglected by parents or abandoned by their families. The only family they knew who cared for them are the criminal gangs.

The problematic kids under HCM initially shared the same situation. But says the Harvard study, “Many children are raised religiously, and our study shows that this can powerfully affect their health behaviors, mental health, and overall happiness and well-being.”

As American journalist, social activist, and Catholic convert Dorothy Day said, “We feed the hungry, yes,” she said. “We try to shelter the homeless and give them clothes, but there is strong faith at work; we pray. If an outsider who comes to visit us doesn’t pay attention to our prayings and what that means, then he’ll miss the whole point.”

Dorothy Day said that justice is not just a project for the government, do-good agencies, or radical movements designing a new social order in which allthe world’s problems will be solved. It’s for you and me, here and now, right where we are.

Jesus did not say “Blessed are you who give contributions to charity” or “Blessed are you who are planning a just society.” He said, “Welcome into the Kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world, for I was hungry and you fed me.”

Pope Francis came down hard on those who are not working toward feeding the hungry around the world. "The planet has enough food for all, but it seems that there is a lack of willingness to share it with everyone," he said during a homily for the general assembly of Caritas Internationalis. Amen to that!



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