Reflection on Poverty
We are one of many groups across this province who continue to see the crisis of poverty in the faces of so many people we meet day in and day out. This weekend many of us will gather with family and friends to give thanks for the abundance we have in our lives. As humans we need to do this, not because it is a day on our calendar, but because we need to grow in the awareness that all of life is a gift. Harvest time is that season when we gather the fruits of land and share the bounty with others, especially with those who do not have enough – and they are many, in our towns and cities throughout this province.
All our sacred texts (from every tradition) reminds us first, that it is God who provides, it is God who walks with us, and will not abandon us. The more we know this the more we are grateful. So when we look around us and see the widow, the elderly, the orphan, the homeless, the child, the prisoner, the refugee, the sick, we are the human face of God offering others who may not know or who have forgotten that God truly is with them.
The poverty we see around us is because we have forgotten that we are all connected to each other. When we forget, it is not the other who is to blame but a stark reminder that we all have failed. So times like Thanksgiving remind us all that what we have and what we share is all gift. Each of us must look inward to see what our hearts tell us and look outward to see others who may not be living as well as we are. We need to talk to each other.
Meg Wheatley, a woman who has traveled globally talking with people who want to build just and inclusive communities, reminds us that because we can’t see everything so we should talk with those we know, talk with those we don’t know and talk with those we never talk with. Then we will all see more and in that seeing, find solutions that will help us build communities where we all can share in the abundance of God’s gifts. Our leaders are public servants wanting to find solutions to the challenges facing all of us. Poverty is one of the constant challenges before them. We need to keep talking with them and today we ask all of us to pray for them. We live in a wealthy country. They as much as us who are gathered here today, want to cultivate hearts full of gratitude. From a life full of gratitude, we are energized to continue to bring politicians as well as activists, the wealthy as well as those whose live in poverty, and those with faith along with those who do not believe. There is space for all of us, because our living is full of thanksgiving.
Sister Joan Atkinson of the Sisters of St.Joseph of London, ON was one of those who spoke and prayed at the vigil at Queens Park on Oct 6th, 2016.