The Daily Office: Day 59- Considering the Poor
Silence for 2-5 minutes:
If your mind wanders, silently pray a simple prayer again and again, such as, "I surrender to your love" or "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" until the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of peace and focus.
1 Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him; 2 the Lord protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies. 3 The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.
4 As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you!”
In Psalm 41, David proclaims that there is great blessing for the one who considers the poor. The Hebrew word for “considers” is sakal and it not only means being generous in giving to the poor, but also understanding the plight of the impoverished. Inherent in the Psalm is the idea that those who consider the poor will not judge them in their distress and will work hard to help them.
David proclaims that this generous and empathetic person will be blessed in the land. They will be protected from death when sick, kept from their enemies and forgiven of sin. This is quite a litany of blessings! Of course, our Lord himself said that when we are engaged in acts of love to the least of his brothers, we minister to him. (Matthew 25) Jesus is faithful to abundantly bless someone who does these things for he reflects in the poor what Mother Teresa called his “distressing disguise.”
When we remember the poor, we remember our Savior, who became poor, so that through his poverty we might become spiritually rich. The gospel is good news to the poor for the Savior of the poor understands their plight. The riches of our Savior, fill our hearts with love, understanding and generosity towards the poor.
What is your attitude toward the poor? James states that it is easy to despise the poor. (James 2:6) Think of the conditions that ensnare many in a vicious cycle of poverty. What might it mean for you to consider the poor?
O Lord, everything I have, you have given me. There can be no boasting, except in you, for your blessings in my life. Help me live a life that reflects the generosity, empathy, and compassion of the Savior. Amen.