Anawin: A Hebrew term meaning overwhelmed by want, representing the poor, those that are aware of their dependence upon God for deliverance. In Hebrew scripture the anawin are most often represented by the poor, the widow, the orphan, the alien, those with no hope of personal support who had to rely on God for their sustenance.
Lawrence, a deacon of the church in third century Rome was summoned by the Roman prefect who had heard that the sacred Christian rites were performed with vessels of silver and gold. The emperor needed funds for his wars and the prefect enjoined Lawrence to hand over the treasures of the church since deacons administered the assets of the church. Lawrence asked for three days to gather the treasures of the church and on the third day Lawrence presented to the prefect the sick, the poor, the orphans, and the widows of Rome who relied on the Christian community for their sustenance. “These are the treasures of the church,” Lawrence told the prefect and paid for that truth with his life. In effect, the poor and marginalized, those who would have been considered as anawin in ancient Israel, were then, and continue to be, the treasures of the church. How do we respond to this treasure? What significance does it have for us? Do we see the face of God in the poor and marginalized, do we see them as tabernacles of the indwelling Trinity, or do we see them as dirty, offensive, unpleasant, angry and to be avoided? In our consumerist society in which power, wealth, pleasure and fame hold sway, the marginalized are frequently looked upon as dispensable, to be used for personal aggrandizement. How else can one explain wages paid to workers that do not meet theirs or their family’s basic needs or the exploitation of the poor in developing countries by transnational companies. The poor are our treasures. Their purpose is to engender in us compassion and enable us to rise above ourselves and forget our own needs to meet theirs. In serving them we redeem ourselves. We must remember that God Himself would have been considered as being a member of the anawin. During His earthly existence He was destitute and completely depended on others for His sustenance. He had no place to lay His head, was rejected and despised, was executed as a common criminal and was laid in a tomb given to him by a benefactor. Poorer than this no one can be.
Our children and the children of the world are our treasures. By their very existence they invoke compassion and induce us to forget ourselves and our needs and to serve them. Our service to them must be urgent and complete. So many are uncared for, abandoned and ill, without the possibility of medical care. They are our anawin.
Taking a child, He placed it in their midst, and putting His arms around it, He said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the one who sent me.
Mark 9: 36-37
How does the Church witness to Christ in the world? First and foremost by giving visibility to Jesus’ love for the poor and and the weak. In a world so hungry for healing, forgiveness, reconciliation, and most of all unconditional love, the Church must alleviate that hunger through its ministry. Whenever we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the lonely, listen to those who are rejected, and bring unity and peace to those who are divided, we proclaim the living Christ, whether we speak about him or not.
Society Daily Meditation
November 6, 2010
Lord, I pray for the graces I need to serve the poor, the hungry the naked, the sick, the elderly, the dying. Grant me the joy that comes from loving service to you in the needs of others. Amen
The Challenge of the Cross We thank you for enabling us to care for our children.
We love you and wish you God’s peace.
Fracture of the neck
Born with interrupted esophagus
Born with interrupted esophagus
Cleft lip and palate