But one day it crossed my mind that maybe those people needed something more – a smile, a kind word! So I began asking them: “How are you?”, “Are you okay?”, “Have you eaten something today?”, “Is it cold/warm here?”… It is beneficial to them to know that there are people who care about them. In this way I found that those poor people enjoy listening, talking to them from our soul, and it’s then we realize how priceless is a sincere smile. It may seem strange to some, but that’s what I do: I talk to beggars!
If we listen to them without judging them, we may help them even a little bit. However, we can learn things we have never thought; they are also people as we are. This way, maybe, we will start cherishimg things we have. Many times we believe that we deserve everything, all we have or what we are given, sometimes without any effort.
Most of those who beg have sad stories. The fact that the people passing by don’t say and do not give them anything do not upset them, but there are people who make them feel sadder because the talk ugly, judging them. And this is as sad as it can be.
One day, a poor beggar (who has a sick child) told me how he took part into a scandal, in front of the Church. The poor man told me that he is not upset when someone has no money to offer him, he is happy and glad even if that person tells him a kind word, a “Lord help us!”, a little pray to God. But the fact that they talk badly to him, troubles him more. I advice him to forgive that person and to confess. I also reminded what Saint Augustine said : “Do you suffer from a bad man? Forgive him, so it may not be two bad men.” At the end of the conversation, he thanked me for talking to him. I didn’t do something impressive, I’ve only listened to him; but this set at rest his soul. People need to be heard; it’s better to sacrifice a bit of our time. A word of encouragement is always good.
Another time, on a hot summer day, I met an old woman who is expecting a penny without being insistent. I thought it will be best to give her the bottle of water I had in my bag. I marveled how much she enjoyed this little gesture! She thanked me, saying frankly that “More charity than this you could not do!”.
Another old lady told me that she is begging because she has not enough money for food, because she has to pay the rent and the other bills. It is difficult for her considering that she has a heart illness.
But young people need help too! Many of them remain without a job, without being able to support their families. They come to beg with all their children. I entered into a conversation with a young woman who was sitting on the concrete, with a child in her arms (and there are more like her); she started to tell me how she remained homeless. Neither she, not her husband have no where to work and have six children. She comes only in the afternoon to beg, protecting in this way her boy from the sunlight.
As I said, money it’s not enough , give them also something to eat (even sweets for children), clothes, toys, notebooks or anything else – all given from the heart! There are many beggars who ask only for food, clothes – things absolutely necessary.
So always try to reach your neighbor! If we have the opportunity to do a good deed, do not postpone! Postponing, we lose that opportunity. Also, we mustn’t just wait for special occasions or celebrations for doing good, but to seek opportunities, to create them! A simple example – school will start soon. There are children whose parents are unable to buy them all necessary things…Also, from time to time, we can prepare them a small snack (an apple, a packet of biscuits) to offer to a hungry person.
As much as possible, we must not do charity for reward (although the reward will come from the Lord) but for love. Even though we do not have the perfect love (and we can pray to gain it!) at least for knowing that we owe to God everything, it is better than none at all, since our neighbor receives our help. I hope that God will appreciate the will and the effort.
A Father told me to imagine that when I meet a beggar, that Christ asks for something through that person. And how can you deny Christ? How can you not offer straight from the heart all your best to the One who loves you so much, the One who gave you everything you have?