I have been meditating on the vision that I wrote about last week. The “tattered man” has been on my mind. Often, there are so many meanings to visions. Almost as soon as I pushed the Send button on the computer another image came to me. I saw an image of Jesus as the “Tattered Man.” Not only do I see a homeless man needing so many things; not only do I search for homeless spaces in my soul, not only do I wonder if you might have spaces, too, but I see Jesus laying propped against the wall needing bread and water and a home.
This last week was the feast day of St. Martin of Tours. Martin was a military man who converted to Christianity and was preparing (a long process) for baptism. The book, HOLY WOMEN, HOLY MEN, says this about him. “According to an old legend, while Martin was still a catechumen [preparing for baptism], he was approached by a poor man, who asked for alms in the name of Christ. Martin, drawing his sword, cut off part of his military clock and gave it to the beggar. On the following night, Jesus appeared to Martin, clothed in half a cloak, and said to him, ‘Martin, a simple catechumen, covered me with this garment.’” Martin was eventually baptized, ordained and consecrated Bishop of Tours. He continued to defend the poor and helpless around him.
The Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 40:34-39) has Jesus telling this story. I give it with a couple of modifications. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Jesus might have said, “I was leaning on a wall by a restaurant door and you stopped by to help.”
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ [When did we see you by the door?] “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
When I was at Seminary, I was trained by the Vincentians. The Vincentians believed that God had called them to serve the poor, but not just those that we would call poor – the whole person poor. They see the “poor” as anyone whose options are limited, not just those who have no money. Examples: You need to go to the doctor, but you can’t drive, you’re poor. You are blind and have limitations, you are poor. You had surgery and can’t get around – you are poor for the moment. You are in prison; you are elderly; paralyzed with lots of money – poor. Alzheimer’s – poor. Can’t walk; bound by addiction; abused – poor. Grieving – poor. Don’t know Jesus loves you – poor. You get the idea. These are also the tattered people. These are our neighbors. These are the ones we are to serve. Through discernment and prayer we will be able to know how to do this. And we will see the face of Jesus as we serve them.
I wonder what else Tattered Man has to tell me.
Peace and Love,