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In Matthew 25:36, 40, 45 Jesus tells us that he will reward us if we visit those in prison because if we do that for those “least brothers of mine” he will consider it done to himself.
When Irish immigrants began coming to the United States, the governor of Massachusettes, Henry Gardner, referred to them as a “horde of foreign barbarians.” He probably was not alone in his lack of acceptance because the Irish were seen as the outsiders, foreigners and Catholics, very different from the majority of the population.
“Getting in over my head” or “biting off more than I could chew” are two phrases that describe situations in which I found myself.
The first was when I agreed, in my youthful priestly enthusiasm, to attempt to attract more people to make a weekend retreat. I spoke at the weekend Masses of many parishes, I received slips of papers that I had placed in the pews on which people could guage their interest in making a retreat, and I followed up with telephone calls to those who demonstrated the least bit of interest. After three months of numerous telephone calls in which I invited the signees to a retreat, and after receiving either a direct “no”, or “not right now” or “maybe next year” I became discouraged. I didn’t know what else I could do to be effective. I said to myself, “perhaps I said yes too quickly. I think I’m in over my head.”
In Detroit, the Capuchins run the famous Soup Kitchen that has served meals since the time of the great depression to the poor and hungry. One day the Capuchin in charge, Fr. Quentin Heinrichs, grew nervous as he saw the long line waiting for a meal as the bread was quickly diminishing. Father went over to the nearby St. Bonaventure Monastery and told the saintly Capuchin, Fr. Solanus Casey about the problem. Fr. Solanus stepped out of the monastery, made the sign of the cross over the Soup Kitchen and told Fr Quentin not to worry: “God will provide”, Fr. Solanus said.