[quote="InspiritCarol, post:19, topic:319067"]
There is a part of you that must do this because of the "us and them" mentality I see throughout these posts.
There is no "them" you see... "the poor" are just people the same as you and me.
When Jesus said "you will always have the poor" he wasn't making some proclaimation of doom. He was noting the inescapable aspect of our humanity that leads us down wrong paths, or that holds us hostage to our environment.
It seems like you think you are better than "the poor" (maybe you are IDK); somehow seperate from "them". And you seem to think that your presence among them will somehow help them. I have met many who think this way ... it's almost cliche.
Check out Jon Krakauer's "Into the Wild" as one example.
I recently had to take out a stalking order against a woman who had "followed where the 'Spirit' led her" for over 40 years. She had completely lost it. Her expectations of hearing from God had grown to such degrees that either her mind invented voices or demons haunted her possibly both.
"Fruits" would be a nice way to determine our paths in life, but they surely do not help us when we are making decisions in the moment. Look at the life of Joseph, son of Jacob if you have any doubt of this.
Persecution seems a better indicator. Every single Saint that comes to mind suffered horrible persecution due to their efforts to advance God's Kingdom. Believe me, if something is telling you: do a thing and you'll feel good; you really need to pause and take inventory.
It's great you're not just doing that stimulous/response thing; you're trying to think this through; but you are heading blindly down a well worn path that has no possibility of measurable "success". You are throwing away the gifts God gave you because you think that's what He wants you to do. Somehow you think your mom and some priests are okay with this but you'd be wrong. They are just trying to not push you away (have you pull a Krakauer) and have you just go off on your own.
Try to see this objectively:
- of course you felt good at the soup kitchen; everyone feels good at the soup kitchen there's a waiting list at ours for people to help out;
- if you keep a low paying/flexible job and live in a low-rent district, what differentiates you from every other slacker that does this same exact thing?
Please read the sincerity in my words.
I'm *not *saying: don't do this.
I *am *saying don't do this blindly.
Thank you very much for your response. I'll give everything you've said thought and prayer. All I want to say is that I don't see myself as separate from them, firstly because I am quite poor myself so even if I wanted to delude myself that way it would be quite difficult. Secondly, the people I've met where I volunteer are my friends. Fellow volunteers and people we serve. When I'm walking downtown and see them I say hi, we walk and talk together. If anything I have an us vs them mentality with very rich people because I see them as selfish, and obviously having wealth doesn't make a person selfish. But I'm not sold that it's a wise thing to do to give everything I do have to help those in need, in whatever capacity I can help them. Thirdly, I don't see this as me generously condescending to help people below me. I don't really have much material things to offer people. I'll give what I can that way, but the reality is I don't have much. I look at it the same way as if God were calling me to become a doctor and to live a Christlike life in those circles. It's not that I'm better, it's just what I feel led to do. To give myself to Christ by giving myself to the poor. If God calls someone to give themselves to Him by giving themselves to the rich, or to whatever particular group of people, it's the same thing. Writing my plans that way was how I thought to explain in writing what is on my heart to people who don't know me.
As for your comment about persecution and fruit. Obviously doing what I want to do will be difficult and I'll lose some friends. I'm not sure why you think doing this would be all joy. It would be joyful, but it would also be very difficult for a number of reasons (losing friends, losing the comforts of life I have now, people not understanding my choice, people thinking I'm throwing my education and life away, the list goes on and on). Also, the fruits from my volunteering are not just joy and peace. Those were examples.