My Daily Visitor Home
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. — Psalm 31:6
Mass readings: Acts 7:51-8:1 / John 6:30-35
My dominant memory of the movie Ben Hur is the scene at the leper colony. Sure, the actors only wore icky makeup, but I still covered my eyes. The disease’s deformities were dreadful, but its victims’ greatest suffering was portrayed as their exclusion from society. Shunned by those who feared contamination, the lepers had to announce their presence by ringing a bell to warn others to flee.
Today is the feast of St. Damien, a Belgian priest who devoted his life to serving the leper community on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. He died of leprosy and is the unofficial patron of those with HIV/AIDS. What’s more breathtaking than the scenes in Ben Hur is learning that St. Damien volunteered for this ministry: He ran toward the bells, not away from them.
Prayer: St. Damien, help us reach out those whose suffering at times repels us.
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