"If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday" (Isaiah 58:10)
For those of us who volunteer at Clare House, this passage from Isaiah has lots of meaning. When people stand in line for food and baby items, we know they are hungry and have great needs for their children and other family members. They are truly "afflicted." And, we think that we are providing an important service for them by handing out groceries, baby food and diapers twice a week or cooking lunch for them at St. Mary's twice a week. But, in reality, they are the ones who provide a valuable service to us.
They are a constant reminder that we have a moral obligation to each other, especially to those in need, to help them survive from day to day. For the poor, each day can be consumed with figuring out just where their next meal is coming from, or where they will find shelter tonight, or if they have enough clothing, or if there's any chance to finally get a job in order to support themselves. Many of us take these things for granted. For the poor, very little can be taken for granted.
In thinking about this, we realize that, as Clare House volunteers, we are not just the ones who help the poor in our community "sustain and rebuild" their lives, they are the ones who, as importantly, sustain and rebuild our lives. They are the shining lights in our darkness and those who make our gloom seem as the noonday.
Being a Clare House volunteer is a wonderful privilege. It grounds us in remembering just who we are and should be in God's plans for the world. The rest is up to us.