Service Matters – 6th Week of Easter

14 May 2012

Monday of the 6th Week of Easter

St. Matthias, Apostle


A project of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in Camden, NJ,

De Sales Service Works welcomes volunteers to join

in service, prayer and learning in our struggling neighborhood.




  • Service Word
  • Last Week in Camden
  • Upcoming Events
  • Links


1. Service Word   John 15

“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.

Remain in my love.

If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love.”


Brian is a homeless guy, 34 years old; he sometimes works on projects in the park during weeks with no student groups.   We met more than a year ago, and at that time, he struck me as about the most negative person I have run into here.   He continually listed his various setbacks; all involving someone else’s fault or circumstances beyond his control.   Several times he had stories about how everything would turn around if he could just get $6.50 or $3.00 for the bus, to this place or that, for a job, a program, to get to a relative’s house.   I listened, hoping venting would do him some good, but I never broke our policy of not giving money.   A couple times I offered to drive him to one place or another, trying to call his bluff—or to be genuinely helpful.   Each time he had a reason why that would not work.


More recently Brian has a different attitude that takes into account his role in bad events and demonstrates gratitude, good sense, and humor.


See if you agree with my observation: I think all of us have a kind of “home base” or “default” way of seeing our lives and our world.   Some people seem to look at things from a place of gratitude or opportunity; others seem to focus on coming up short or on guilt or fear; others seem to have blame for others or passivity as lens for their experience.    Perhaps these vantage points come from our genes or from ways we learn early on to survive—or to thrive.


I think this is part of what Jesus is talking about in John’s Gospel admonishing us to remain in his love.   We are going to have some “home base” from which to habitually see the world.  Make it a place of life and truth, the Lord says.    We do that by deliberate choice to follow the commandments.     And we do that when allow belief in God and in his love for us to be our “home base,” when we remain in his love.


-What do you think of my premise: that people have a typical or characteristic attitude toward life?

-How would you describe your “home base” from which you see experience?

-Where is God in your way of seeing?


2. Last Week in Camden

Joseph’s House board met Wednesday; director John Klein is doing a great job moving the project forward toward a new location and next steps to assist our homeless neighbors.



3. Upcoming Events

Freshmen from Father Judge High School will be here Tuesday.   They are the last group of freshmen for this school year.

An Urban Promise group from Tennessee is staying with us for the week.

Our first group of Summer Interns arrives Sunday afternoon ready for a great three weeks of life and Salesian service in Camden!!



4. Links

Pope John XXIII offers a great example of Christian living for our time—even though he lived in the first half of the 20th century—and was a pope.   Check out this video footage.    The film is very old fashioned, but it conveys the excitement of the church having a leader who clearly had a positive faith-filled way of seeing things.    Pope John was very influenced by St. Francis de Sales.


Easter Peace,  Mike McCue, OSFS

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