Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

11/15/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink

Dorothy Day saw the face of Jesus in the face of the poor. She heard the word of Jesus spoken through the poor. She points us to  the deeper meaning behind the sobering scene recounting the last judgment which is recorded by the Evangelist Matthew in the 25th Chapter of his Gospel

Dorothy Day rendering by an artist

Dorothy Day rendering by an artist

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/15/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Dorothy Day, Peter Maurin, Catholic Worker Movement, solidarity, canonization, Cardinal Dolan, US Bishops Conference, Deacon Keith Fournier


BALTIMORE, MD (Catholic Online) - Cardinal Timothy Dolan led the Bishops in Baltimore, Maryland  this week with the confidence, conviction, concern and charisma which make him a treasure for the Church in this challenging time. This man is a true leader.

Among the topics of discussion was the canonization cause of the Servant of God Dorothy Day. Though considered by many to be a controversial topic, the discussion led to a unanimous voice vote on Tuesday affirming the continuation of the process.

Cardinal Dolan had to leave the Dias because he was to present the motion. Dorothy Day was from New York and, as the Cardinal Archbishop of New York noted, he had a "very enjoyable conflict of interests".

Dorothy Day, along with Peter Maurin, founded the Catholic Worker Movement.  Her cause was initiated by the late John Cardinal O'Connor, certainly not a political leftist by any stretch of the imagination.

The late Cardinal was able to see someone whose love for the Lord - and for the poor in whom she saw His Face - transformed her.  He wrote a letter to Rome on February 7, 2000 initiating her cause. Here are some excerpts:

"It has long been my contention that Dorothy Day is a saint - not a "gingerbread" saint or a "holy card" saint, but a modern day devoted daughter of the Church, a daughter who shunned personal aggrandizement and wished that her work, and the work of those who labored at her side on behalf of the poor, might be the hallmark of her life rather than her own self.

"To be sure, her life is a model for all in the third millennium, but especially for women who have had or are considering abortions. It is a well-known fact that Dorothy Day procured an abortion before her conversion to the Faith. She regretted it every day of her life.

"After her conversion from a life akin to that of the pre-converted Augustine of Hippo, she proved a stout defender of human life. The conversion of mind and heart that she exemplified speaks volumes to all women today on two fronts. "

"First, it demonstrates the mercy of God, mercy in that a woman who sinned so gravely could find such unity with God upon conversion. Second, it demonstrates that one may turn from the ultimate act of violence against innocent life in the womb to a position of total holiness and pacifism. In short, I contend that her abortion should not preclude her cause, but intensifies it."

"It has also been noted that Dorothy Day often seemed friendly to political groups hostile to the Church, for example, communists, socialists, and anarchists. It is necessary to divide her political stances in two spheres: pre-and post- conversion. After her conversion, she was neither a member of such political groupings nor did she approve of their tactics or any denial of private property. Yet, it must be said; she often held opinions in common with them. What they held in common was a common respect for the poor and a desire for economic equity."

"In no sense did she approve of any form of atheism, agnosticism, or religious indifference. Moreover, her complete commitment to pacifism in imitation of Christ often separated her from these political ideologies. She rejected all military force; she rejected aid to force in any way in a most idealistic manner. So much were her "politics" based on an ideology of nonviolence that they may be said to be apolitical. Like so many saints of days gone by, she was an idealist in a non-ideal world."

"It was her contention that men and women should begin to live on earth the life they would one day lead in heaven, a life of peace and harmony. Much of what she spoke of in terms of social justice anticipated the teachings of Pope John Paul II and lends support to her cause. I have subjected Dorothy Day's post-conversion writings to the careful examination of a dogmatist, moralist, and canonist. All assure me that her writings are in complete fidelity to the Church."

The comments from the Bishops on the floor prior to the vote were moving. Cardinal George of Chicago warned "we should be clear who we are endorsing here" and then whole heartedly endorsed her.  Cardinal Dolan called her conversion "Augustinian" ntoing"she was the first to admit it: sexual immorality, there was a religious search, there was a pregnancy out of wedlock, and an abortion. Like Saul on the way to Damascus, she was radically changed". He called her "a saint for our time." Cardinal O'Malley of Boston echoed the sentiment calling her a "magnificent model for our time."

Retired Washington Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick said, "Of all the people we need to reach out to, all the people that are hard to get at, the street people, the ones who are on drugs, the ones who have had abortions, she was one of them.  What a tremendous opportunity to say to them you can not only be brought back into society, you can not only be brought back into the church - you can be a saint!"

I was struck by the prophetic nature of the action taken by the Bishops given the our current charged political atmosphere. I thought of two scripture passages, "The poor you will always have with you; but you will not always have me" (Jesus, Matthew 26:11) and this scripture "And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." (Jesus, Matthew 28:20) Have we considered the significance of the fact that the same Jesus who promised to be with us always also told us that the poor would be with us always? Perhaps it is because they are connected.

Dorothy Day saw the face of Jesus in the face of the poor. She heard the word of Jesus spoken through the poor. She points us to  the deeper meaning behind the sobering scene recounting the last judgment which is recorded by the Evangelist Matthew in the 25th Chapter of his Gospel:

"Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.' "

This scene follows the "Parable of the Talents" (Matthew 25: 1- 28) wherein another kind of judgment is rendered. This one is a judgment on the contrasting way of life lived between two groups of people, those who believe that what they have is their own and those who understand that all that they "have" has been given - as a gift. These two groups approach their relationship with the goods of this earth (which are all good because the Lord has made them) quite differently. The ones who were praised by the Master know the relationship they have with the Giver. They also know their obligations to bear fruit by living the call to solidarity and stewardship that are inherent in receiving those gifts.

These folks live their lives in gratitude. They look for ways to participate in the ongoing mission of the Lord. They know that He works now, through them. They understand what they truly have and they "invest" it by giving it away to others. Sadly, those who grasp on to the goods of the earth, thinking that they are "their own" and bury them, experience the barrenness of self centeredness and the hollowness of the empty pursuit of "stuff".

The point of this passage is as profound, in some respects, as the Last Judgment scene. It participates in the same mystery. They both address matters of the heart and reveal what can be called the economy of heavenly scale. ""To anyone who has, more will be given, and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away." (Matthew 25:29)

In my life I have met few folks who have grasped this mystery, or better yet, were grasped by it. I have a long way to go in entering into the implications of it myself. Those who truly love the poor - like Jesus loved the poor- are a gift for the rest of us. They are a sign of the kingdom, making it present in their wake. They are men and women of action. Dorothy Day was a heroic witness and prophetic voice of the 20th century. She grasped this mystery so well. She still calls from the grave with this challenging message. 

She gave herself away, living with the poor, because she embraced her own poverty with honesty. Her brother in that work of solidarity, Peter Maurin, once wrote with such utter simplicity and searing honesty: "We cannot imitate the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary by trying to get all we can. We can only imitate the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary by trying to give all we can".

Another great Christian woman of our age, Chiara Lubich, the foundress of the flourishing ecclesial movement called "Focolare" expressed the heart of this call, "Yes, love makes us be. We exist because we love. If we don't love, and every time we don't love, we are not, we do not exist ("Even what he has will be taken away"). There's nothing left to do but to love, without holding back. Only in this way will God give himself to us and with him will come the fullness of his gifts.

"Let us give concretely to those around us, knowing that by giving to them we are giving to God. Let's give always; let's give a smile, let's offer understanding, and forgiveness. Let's listen, let's share our knowledge, our availability; let's give our time, our talents, our ideas, our work; let's give our experience, our skills; let's share our goods with others so that we don't accumulate things and everything circulates. Our giving opens the hands of God and He, in his providence, fills us with such an abundance that we can give again, and give more, and then receive again, and in this way we can meet the immense needs of many."

I knew a woman who challenged me to the core concerning this truth. She was not an easy person to be around. Prophets rarely are. She went home to the Lord several years ago. She once wrote to me: "In the end, there are two kinds of poor people: those who already know they are poor and those who don't know yet. Here is the crisis: If the latter don't discover this before they leave this planet, they are doomed to be poor forever. What can those of us who already know we are poor do for those who don't know yet? Love them."

The West, with all of its promise of economic freedom, flirts with "economism." This is a phrase used in the social teaching of the Catholic Church to refer to an instrumentalist materialism devoid of any understanding that the market was made for man not man for the market. In this kind of economic order the accumulation of capital can triumph over the flourishing of the person, the family and the common good - and the poor can be forgotten. Perhaps the challenging witness of Dorothy Day will help us to remember.  

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

MASSIVE OIL SPILL: Santa Barbara declares state of emergency over massive oil spill in Pacific Ocean Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

About 9 miles of the Pacific ocean, across a popular spot on the California coast, was damaged after a pipeline leaked massive amounts of oil in the water earlier this week.     MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to officials, up to ... continue reading


UC Santa Barbara massacre survivor speaks on the day's events and his journey to recovery Watch

Image of www.thisischriswhite.com

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The fateful night of May 23, 2014, Antoine Cherchian managed to survive being shot by the virgin killer, Elliot Rodger, during his killing spree at UC Santa Barbara. While Cherchian sustained fatal injuries, along with six other students murdered, he is thankful for ... continue reading


Crackdown by federal agents on 'Pill Mills' in four southern states Watch

Image of An average of 44 people in the U.S. dies every day from opioids. These drugs include Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Drug Enforcement Administration and other authorities are raiding pharmacies, pain clinics and other facilities in four southern U.S. states. It is all part of an aggressive crackdown on prescription pain drug abuse. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Matt C. Abbott: Why I wrote Pope Francis about an exorcist

Image of Father William S. Bowdern, S.J. Father Bowdern was the chief exorcist in the 1949 exorcism of Robbie, the teenaged boy whose case inspired William Peter Blatty's 1971 novel The Exorcist, which subsequently was made into a feature film.

By Matt C. Abbott

Here's one name I haven't heard mentioned in regard to possible canonization, yet it seems he'd be a good candidate: Father William S. Bowdern, S.J. Father Bowdern, who was born in 1897 and died in 1983, was the chief exorcist in the 1949 exorcism of "Robbie," ... continue reading


FBI lectures High school students on resisting ISIS recruitment Watch

Image of The FBI is planning to take its message to other schools in the Tri-State Area to reach kids at critical adolescent ages.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

High school students at Bergen County School, in Bergen County, New Jersey got a surprise lecture from FBI agents. They warned students away from sophisticated new techniques used by Islamic State to join their ranks. In particular, a new ISIS-produced video ... continue reading


Bin Laden's secret files: What we found and what's been released Watch

Image of The U.S. Department of National Intelligence has released a report of documents that were captured during the May 1, 2011 raid in Pakistan that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. government has begun declassifying and releasing documents that were captured during the 2011 raid of Osama bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan, and some of what has been released shows that America's number one enemy for almost a decade was obsessed with ... continue reading


Are there weapons aboard? U.S. Air Force space shuttle's secret contents no longer a secret Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. Air Force's X-37B space shuttle, launched into Earth's orbit, was revealed not to contain weapons as many feared. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to the published manifest, the space shuttle carries a new form of Hall ion-powered ... continue reading


Catholic University removes insensitive mural honoring convicted killer Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Marquette University in Wisconsin has officially taken down a mural of Assata Shakur, one of the FBI's most wanted. Shakur was convicted of killing a state trooper in New Jersey before fleeing to Cuba in 1973. The Catholic university's authorities were warned of the ... continue reading


As John Wayne would say, YO! America's biggest ranch up for sale for $725 million Watch

Image of  The Waggoner Ranch includes the 510,000-acre ranch spread over six North Texas counties, with two main compounds, hundreds of homes, about 20 cowboy camps, hundreds of quarter horses, thousands of heads of cattle, and 30,000 acres of cultivated land.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Waggoner Ranch, America's biggest ranch stretches over 510,000 continuous acres, or 796 square miles, making it a plot of land bigger than the island of Oahu and New York City. It is up for sale for $725 million. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Realtors are hoping ... continue reading


See what is REALLY killing Americans with macabre 'Death Map' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While heart disease and cancer are the most common killers in the United States, a new map proves that these causes vary from state to state. Said "Death Map" shows the most distinctive cause of death, which is the rate higher than the national average. LOS ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 28:16-20, 30-31
16 On our arrival in Rome Paul was allowed to stay in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 11:4, 5, 7
4 Yahweh in his holy temple! Yahweh, his throne is in ... Read More

Gospel, John 21:20-25
20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 23rd, 2015 Image

St. John Baptist Rossi
May 23: This holy priest was born in 1698 at the village of Voltaggio in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter