"We should not serve the poor like they were Jesus. We should serve the poor because they are Jesus." ~ Mother Teresa
Treating others with dignity. Understanding that it's not always our responsibility to attempt to "fix" others, but that there is a great gift in presence, in the extending of one's hand. These ideas are the foundation of what we're focusing on this year at BASE Camp.
The first day is always joyful. I love seeing everyone come together for liturgy, for prayer, for friendship. Seeing some we have not seen in weeks, months, perhaps since last year's BASE Camp. Seeing the instant camaraderie. Seeing the way our BASE Camp "newbies" are immediately welcomed into the community. Seeing the ways the ties of this family continue to bond, and that bond be strengthened.
We're focusing on the words of Mother Teresa for this year's BASE Camp experience because her life, her ministry was all about treating others with dignity. Each day our prayer focus will be on her words and what they speak to us about the human condition and our call as Christians.
Tonight we watched the film "The Soloist." And as I explained to the young people it aptly portrays the stages we often go through in our relationships... the first tentative reaching out... developing our conversation and interaction... going to that next level of empathy and compassion... our sometimes misguided (no matter how noble) attempts to make change in someone else's life... and finally realizing that what's most important is the be present, to be a friend.
We will have many opportunities in the week ahead to be present. To be present to our good friend Sr. Kitty. To be present to the people of Southwest Baltimore. And sometimes most importantly to be present to one another. To be present, and treat others with the dignity they deserve. To see the Christ that is present in others. To be the presence of Christ to all those we encounter.