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Saturday, May 07, 2005

Why Do Service?

I have my own philosophy about doing service work. I hate "hours". Hate it. Know why? Because it requires you to do the bare minimum. You have to "do so many hours". Seriously?

How 'bout attitude? I want the kids to have a change in attitude, or adopt an attitude.

Esp in the wealthy community that I work in. I want them to know that life ain't all about them. No, there are brothers and sisters in their community that need their help and to whom much is given, much is expected. Just because you come from a life of comfort don't sit there on your duff and think someone else should take care of the poor or the lonely. Get up and serve.

I also ask them to do it with our group for a sense of community. Some kids are terrified to do the work, some are afraid of how they'll look-some are very giving and selfless. I want them each to see one another and grow. I want the givers to reach out and be the example. I want the lazy duffs ("when is this over" ) to see their compadres serving Christ by serving others.

But that's my philosophy (thanks RKT!)

What's yours?


Blogger said...

My take on charitable work comes from my experience in the lay movement Communion and Liberation ( But I will share what I do with the Confirmation class.

First, I insist with them that the charitable work that they do with for the confirmation class is primarily symbolic. I'm not interested in making them jump through hoops. I'm interested in them learning what charity is truly about, what it is truly for. I'm not interested in "be a good person" charity, I want them to understand the meaning of charity.

I only require 10 hours of charitable work. 4 of those hours are a group activity. The group activity is divided as follows: 1 hour lesson the meaning of charity, which is done by reading and understanding this document: The Meaning of Charity

Then two hours are spent doing some work and 1 hour is spent singing songs and eating.

The point isn't to do some great work, but to emphasize the "nothingness" of charity. The fact that it is not your accomplishment that makes charity worthwhile, but rather your love.

Finally the last 6 hours can spent pretty much anyway possible, as long as the intention is to dedicate those hours of service first and foremost to God. THey can do up to 3 hours of the spiritual works of mercy (mostly done by doing holy hours, attending funerals, daily mass for the poor souls) and 3-6 hours doing the corporal works of mercy. The corporal works of mercy can but just about any free service as long as they recognize that this act (whatever it is) has a greater purpose, tends toward something greater, namely God.

I have even had kids go fishing for 4 hours and then clean the fish, cook em, and take them to an elderly couple or over to the homeless shelter as part of their "service."

For me, the point isn't so much the work as it is understanding that the act is done "for another" concretely in the person you do the charity for but that this is what it Jesus means when he says "what you do unto me."

Finally, I make them write a paper on the the purpose of their charitable work and what they learned from it in respect to Msgr. Giussani's talk on "The Meaning of Charity."

10 hours of service, but the point is clear. It's not the work. It's the what the work means that is important.

2:46 AM  
Blogger TCYM Lounge said...

V. interesting. I have been thinking about the works of mercy...

Say, what do you use for texts, and what age/grade is your confirmation class?

4:37 PM  

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