Monday, December 29, 2008

Homeless will get into heaven ahead of many of us

I came across two homeless men soaking in the sun this morning on the curb of the parking lot for Germantown Cleaners on Jefferson Street in north Nashville.

I always smile and look the homeless in their eyes. And they warm up to me because they see my large wooden Rosary that I pray every day.

So the men felt confident and comfortable enough to speak to me. One asked me if I was a Catholic. I answered "yes". And he made the sign of the cross.

The other fella grudgingly asked me if I could give them something to help. I had only seven dollars in my pocket, but I readily gave it to them and apologized that I did not have more. They were grateful and not one bit threatening. And I apologized to them for Nashville authorities rousting the homeless and driving them like cattle.

They appreciated my recognition of their plight and said they were just trying to survive. I told them to "endure" and then included them in my petitions of my Rosary.

Then one of the men summoned the courage to ask me if he could have the Rosary. He wanted a symbol of Emmanuel, God is with us. I had to tell him "no". The Rosary belonged to my mother. Anything tied to her is an icon to me.

But I am going to start carrying Rosaries with me to hand out if asked in the future. The homeless also need God. And to be honest, they'll get into heaven ahead of all of us, just as Christ said the tax collectors and prostitutes of his day would enter eternal glory ahead of those of us who considered themselves righteous.

Yes, putting Rosaries in the hands of the homeless is a good idea. The advocacy of Our Lady would give them great power, even against a Catholic mayor of Nashville seemingly intent on driving these people out of Music City.

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