The Quartet of the Vulnerable

Dear Lord, why does society avoid the quartet of the vulnerable? Why are widows, orphans, immigrants, and the poor ignored by society; why does society oppress this forgotten foursome? Our Lord’s prayer ends with the promise that God’s will be done, on earth, as in heaven. Yet, in our lives, we overlook and shun these souls that are before us every day.

God gives us strength to remain upright through all the trials that torment us on a daily basis. Jesus gave us the second great commandment, to love others as ourselves. We do not love ourselves when we oppress this quartet of the vulnerable. In biblical times, the Israelites kept their doors open and a place at their table for the stranger, the unexpected guest, perhaps waiting for the Messiah or a godly prophet. This represented true godly compassion and love for those lost in a modern society. Yes, modern for their times. Yet, in our modern society, we have no room for this person.

I am just as guilty as others on this. I fear inviting the unannounced stranger into my home. The open violence in society strikes fear in my heart. In feeling this way and not doing what is right, I sin against the word and love of God; I sin against his trust and protection. I try to cover this sin by donating liberally to all programs that aid the poor and oppressed, the homeless, and the frail. But this does not reverse my sin.

So, I pray, and I meditate, and I write. I use these holy gifts to soften my lack of action, my lack of accepting the stranger. And I pray that God will look kindly on me.

© Russell Kendall Carter

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