“Salt is something to be used, not to keep for oneself, but to give to others.” Pope Francis said in 2016. “Salt does not give flavor to itself; light does not illuminate itself.” Christians are called “to give flavor to the lives of others, to give flavor to many things with the message of the Gospel.” He added that prayer is the “battery” that keeps us from running out of light and salt.
Isaiah tells us to practice the works of mercy so that light will rise for us in our gloom. When we pray and work for mercy, the Lord rushes in to support us with healing and help. Family Support Circles, coordinated by Catholic Charities, is an example of salt and light added to the life of families experiencing homelessness here in Raleigh:
Lisa had two children and a job at a factory. After the factory closed, she lost her health insurance, and soon, her house. The three family members lived in her two-door coupe and drove from neighborhood to neighborhood, trying to find places to sleep that were safe and secluded. Lisa’s health continued to deteriorate. When she turned to Catholic Charities for aid, they set them up in transitional housing and enrolled Lisa in a Family Support Circle, a group made up of 10 individuals from a local faith community that helps provide financial assistance and mentorship.
With the spiritual, financial, and emotional assistance of the individuals in her Support Circle, Lisa was able to access much-needed medical care and slowly get back on her feet. With their help, she found that she qualified for subsidies which made it possible for her to purchase her own home. Every time she passes the same type of car they spent so many nights in, it’s a reminder of how far she has come and how much she has accomplished – and how much more she has to look forward to.
We can also encounter our neighbors and share our “bread” by volunteering to work at Catholic Parish Outreach food pantry or the Oak City Outreach center. Your BAA contribution also supports these mercy centers. Let’s ask the Lord to help us discover other ways for us to be salt and light and heed Isaiah’s call to “not turn your back on your own.”