Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Praying for food

What does it mean when we pray for the hungry?  Does it mean we hope that food will magically appear, that it will rain meatballs, or that the sensation of hunger will disappear?  Personally, I believe that when we pray for the hungry, we are praying for an openness in our own hearts that allows us, as people, to help one another when need arises.  I hope that you'll see in this blog that does happen.

The month of May is all about the Rosary in Catholic Communities.  I’d never seen the type of praying that they had done here before.  Every day they wake up at 5 am walk down the road, dreary eyed and exhausted to pray the first rosary of the day.

This year I decided to pray the rosary every single day, either with the other volunteer, the kids, or by myself.  I know many of my friends from school are probably like… WTF are you doing Large!  I can’t really explain what it is but praying the same thing every day puts you into this semi meditative state.  It’s amazing what some time away from the TV and Computer can do to help you think.

I’ve recently started praying the rosary again and I’m trying to keep it to every single night.  I do some yoga poses and will hold them for an entire Hail Mary or two.  It is more about self discipline than anything else.  I’ve lived much of my life doing what I WANTED to do and not feeling fulfilled I think it’s time to start doing what I need to do first.

So here is a story.  A common prayer is for food for the poor.  I never realized it but that’s what they pray for too.  It all started when Carmen (my fellow volunteer), invited me to go do the rosary with her in the Barrios (suburbs) of Okinawa.  Usually the Barrios we go to are the poorest areas.  I reluctantly decided to join here, because I was still not enjoying doing the rosary every freaking night, but I went.

We show up at a stranger’s house where Carmen and I are warmly welcomed.  We are given seats, of which there aren’t many, and polite conversation until it is time to start.  I don’t know if any of you recall the story I wrote about picking a kid up and removing him from class, but that kid was there.  We saw each other from across the room and the glare could have melted steel.  I know I should be more love but this kid seriously got on my nerves. 

Anyway, I pushed it aside, or tried to, and prayed the rosary.  They do three rosaries and one of the kids gets a turn to lead.  It really is beautiful.  At the end they go around and instead of doing 10 Hail Marys they do 1 for each little kid there.  The thought being that God hears little kids better than he hears adults. 

After every rosary is food some sort of snack of cookies, saltenas, or soda.  The food is provided by the owners of the house because the children have come to say the rosary.  It is a gift for a gift.  Sometimes the owners of the house don’t provide anything, believe it or not, that usually happens at the best furnished and nicest houses. 

We would visit three houses every night.  And without fail I was always offered seconds, which it would be rude to refuse.  I learned how to sneak something to the kids around me but I couldn’t always manage it.  I usually prayed that the kids would find some food, shelter, and love; things hard to come by in Bolivia.

As time went on Jose Louis and I bonded, not quickly, but it was there.  He’d forgiven me for embarrassing him in class and I was realizing how tough he had it.  One day I asked him why he came to the rosary.  He obviously didn’t like it.  He mumbled the prayers if he said them at all.  His response was, “This is my dinner.”

p.s. I am a little to busy to edit my blogs right now so... I hope you'll forgive me. 


  1. Hi Eric,

    Glad to hear about keeping up your habit. I'm doing the same. To my amazement, I haven't stopped since I saw you last. Our Lady has worked wonders in my life, and I pray that She continues to do so in yours too.

    Yours in Christ,

    P.S. When are you and Shannon getting married?

  2. ERIC! Thank you for this post. I can only imagine how God is working in your life right now!