I’m not sure if this is the correct sub-forum for this question and I won’t be able to speak to a priest at work I respect until Tuesday, but I did something today that I’m still trying to work through my heart hours later.
I gave a barefoot man my shoes today and walked away across the wet ground in my socks.
I was at 8-am Mass when I noticed a man in the back of the church. We have a pew against the back wall with a wide space before the rows of pews proper begin. He had long hair and a bear (rather Jesus looking) and less than pristine clothes; I wouldn’t go as far to say they were shabby. The most striking thing in his appearance was that he had bare, dirty feet. Mind you, today we are expecting a major winter storm. By all appearances he was a homeless man.
I looked back during the Kiss of Peace and no one in the back pews stepped out to offer him peace.
As I knelt and prayed during the Consecration, I could not help thinking about this man and his lack of shoes. What brought a homeless man with no shoes to a Catholic Church on the outskirts of the city? Our city has a large homeless population. Our state has only a couple of urban areas that can even offer any type of public assistance - my city being the state’s largest.
Was it the Holy Spirit working within me? I am sure of it. I could not sit at Mass and bear being there if I did not give that man my shoes, especially on the eve of a storm.
After communion, I prayed for courage and as I returned form receiving Our Lord, went to the man and sat next to him. I said hello and added, “There is a big storm coming and you don’t have any shoes.” “I think I have some somewhere,” he answered. So I gave him my suede hiking boots and he put them on. “Take them,” I said. “Peace of Christ.” “Hallelujah,” he answered.
I got up and left before the Benediction in my socks.
It was a very spiritually emotional experience for me. I figure Saints have done more and some Popes have done less. St. Martin of Tours gave a beggar half his cloak. I gave his barefoot man both my shoes.
Did I do the right thing? What was a barefoot man doing at (our) Church? What I a fool and taken advantage by this man? Do I dare think these thoughts? I truly believe the Holy Spirit gave me the courage to do something to live out my life in Christ by giving this man my shoes at Mass. I think where my faith is being put to the test is giving in to the fear that my action was a foolish one. That I was duped and taken advantage of. That people will think I was stupid.
It’s easy to give to Charity with a faceless check or dollar bill it was really hard to give up a personal item to help someone without. Difficult, but freeing.
I’m not sure if I’m looking for affirmation from this post. I’m not not sure if I’m looking for reasoning. I would like to ask if anyone had a similar experience and how your faith supported you.