Thank the Lord for my wife, Bess.
Really, I didn’t do anything wrong, I’m honestly starting this way because I am truly grateful for her. Bess is, as I told Immaculate Conception’s Youth Ministry, my prophetess. She doesn’t predict the future, but she does challenge me as prophets in the Biblical sense are supposed to do. To put it in the words of my father, “She seems really good, she calls him on his crap.” One of the biggest areas that I need this challenge is my own forgetfulness.
In the Hargadon household one of the most common excuses (a true excuse, but an excuse nonetheless) is “oh, I forgot.” Fortunately, Bess is gracious with me in regard to my forgetfulness and is willing to go the extra mile to help me remember. So is God.
Psalm 10:12 reads, “Do not forget the poor, Oh Lord!” Since God does not suffer some form of Divine absentmindedness we have to wonder what are these words insinuating. I think that through the words of the Psalmist the Word of God is trying to help us overcome our forgetfulness.
He is first trying to remind us that we need His help in order to take on the world’s various forms of poverty. We need Him if we are going to take on material poverty, emotional poverty, or spiritual poverty. And that need is a poverty in and of itself. We are impoverished without Him, and we can’t cast off ‘the poor’ as those other people because we are all poor! At some level, we are all beggars at the table of grace. We would do well not to forget this.
But I often do. I forget my responsibility for those around me whose poverty I can help alleviate. So, God has me pray for them because it is just and because He is trying to call me to act. If I am truly praying, authentically praying from my heart, I won’t merely mouth the words of the Psalm. I will yearn for God’s grace to be able to be His co-worker in serving the poor. I will swallow my pride to seek help for my own poverty, so that I may in turn help others. This Psalm calls me to action.
Thank the Lord for Bess, because she keeps my head on straight (and keeps me humble). Thank the Lord for the Word of God, because without it I’d forget the work He is calling me to. And thank the Lord for Pope Francis’ call to be a poor church for the poor, because in the words of G.K. Chesterton, “[we are] all in the same boat, [and] we are all seasick.” We need to be a poor church for the poor, because to forget our own poverty is to forget that all our ministries, good works, service projects, and prayers start in the mind and the grace of the Lord.
“Do not forget the poor, Oh Lord!” Do not let me forget them, and do not let me forget my own poverty.
Even if Bess has to remind me about it.
Adapted from a reflection I wrote for Ite Missa Est. The original can be found here.