Among the homeless poor whose lives mingle with the litter of the streets, a nuisance to many in their grime and smell and soliciting eye, not all are deranged and lunatic. Surely some are true souls of despair who have embraced a life of forsakenness to enclose and silence within themselves a mistake now long past. And if these latter have a stifled passion we do not suspect, and a recurring thought that another life was possible with a different choice, in some cases the occupied faces hurrying past them may share more kinship than they realize with their own crossroad when they could have chosen differently...‘The poor you have always with you’. And yet it is rather easy to look at the derelict poor and consider self-inflicted the scars from alcohol and drugs that mar their faces – easy to harbor disdain for their indecency. But then surely we sometimes miss a lonely man’s eyes looking up in a wish that his face will not provoke this time a glance of revulsion. And perhaps the same look of these eyes was also in the eyes of Jesus as he carried the cross to Calvary.
Lines from Contemplative Provocations, by Father Donald Haggerty.