A good example from Venerable Pierre Toussaint:
Venerable Pierre Toussaint’s work as a highly sought after hairdresser for the upper class of New York provided material wealth for his family well beyond what was needed. It is written that Pierre and his wife Juliette “were conscientious Catholics; charity was for them, not only a religious duty, but a spontaneous feeling of the heart.”
On one occasion, Pierre discovered that an affluent man he was acquainted with had been reduced to material poverty. The man, sick and suffering, craved a delicacy of food that he had formerly enjoyed and grown accustomed to, but now had no financial means to obtain it for himself.
“For several months Toussaint and Juliette sent his dinner, nicely cooked, in such a way that he could not suspect from whom it came. ‘If he had known,’ said Toussaint, ‘he might not have liked it; he might have been proud.’”
Juliette further recounts that when Pierre went to see him periodically, the man would brag about his prestige, his good friends, and how every day somebody sends him a nice dinner cooked by a French cook. Sometimes the man would even describe the various food items one by one.
“My good husband would come home, and tell me, and we would laugh very much.”
Step 1: I will pray and reflect with my wife – “Where are our hearts moved to help a specific person in a specific way?” (Note: Our financial resources are dramatically less than what Pierre and Juliette had access to, yet perhaps there is a different sort of wealth from which we can draw.)
Some possible results:
- I may better notice simple ways to lovingly meet the needs of others – empowering me to be less self-centered and more generous in my actions.
- I may become more aware of the stirrings in my own heart and those of my wife – helping me to seek God’s grace for greater interior healing, purification, and sanctification.
- I may enjoy embarking on a sort of “secret mission” with my wife – adding to the richness of our friendship.
Venerable Pierre Toussaint, pray for us!