WIDENING OUR HORIZONS
Widen the space of your tent,
Stretch out your hangings freely,
Lengthen your ropes, make your pegs firm:
For you will burst out to right and to left. (Is 54:2)
In a podcast I made for the St Vincent de Paul Society a couple of years ago, I stated: “If there’s one organisation I would hate to be without in parish life, it would be that of the Society of St Vincent de Paul”. I would still stay that with every fibre of my being. For a parish priest, the Society relieves him of a tremendous burden, no matter what area he may be living in. Sometimes though, I wonder, do we not need to widen our horizons somewhat? I notice this happening in the Horowhenua where they have taken a lease on a building to provide somewhat more than just food and clothing. This project has come about after a long time of wondering, feeling blocked, needing to change one’s mind and then voila! A series of off the cuff comments and it all falls into place.
The scripture text above reminds us that when we are involved with God, we never know where it will lead us. God needs us to be daring, like Moses leading the people out of slavery. God’s work may have elements of the humdrum, but it is exciting, challenging and moving on. If it isn’t then we have lost something vital, and you can safely bet it will be the awareness that God is with you, leading you and unfolding things before you. It is a natural enough trait to want to be secure and settled in all that we do, but we also need an openness to God’s call.
I have just read an article on Newshub which states that the $350 given to former prisoners upon release has been the same for 30 years. Who would even think that amount would set up such a one after an absence of several years from society? A recently released prisoner has confirmed for me that this information is correct. The same person also informed me that there are many prison inmates unable to apply for parole, simply because they have nowhere specific to go.
Issues like this are a matter of justice. It implies one standard for the rich and another for those less well off. We need to speak up. Before we do though, we need to be involved. That is why I wonder about widening our horizons.
- What is your immediate reaction to ‘widening our horizons’?
- Let’s say that the Leadership of V de P decided to ask all Conferences to do something concrete for former prisoners who have no one to meet them and nowhere to go? What would be your immediate reaction?
- Do you think it would be possible for the New Zealand branch of V de P to provide accommodation for former prisoners with nowhere to go?
Please pray this prayer each day throughout the month:
Once a prisoner
Feeling abandoned … even by God.
Grant us the grace of compassion
For those who live without hope
Help us find a way to go the extra mile
To let those without hope
They are loved.