Friday Thoughts: Clean Enough to Care


What if someone handed you a child?

A small child.

A tiny child.

An infant.

A few hours…a few minutes old.

What if you were the only one that the child could be handed to?

Only you.

No one else around to help.

Would you receive that child into your arms?

There’s no sterilized room, no sanitary precautions, no sink, not even a bar of soap—just plain old you, a bunch of imperfect circumstances, and a poor tiny child that needs to be embraced.

You know what you would do.

Even if your hands were filthy, completely covered in soot and mud, you know what you would do.

You’d quickly rub your hands against your pants or shirt and wipe away the obvious dirt.

Then you’d hold out your hands.

Wouldn’t you?

Yes. You would.

We all would.

That’s what makes us human.

That’s what makes us children of God.

We’d do what we could with what we have to help an innocent child.

We know that “cleanliness” in such cases really doesn’t matter. For even if the circumstances were “perfect” we’d still have that uneasy feeling. That feeling that we’re not worthy to hold such innocence, to be entrusted with such treasure.

It’s a holy hesitancy that only true humility can bear.

Yet, it’s the necessity to help, the clear need for our assistance—the abundantly clear reality that we’re the only “hands” on deck—that drives us to overcome such holy and righteous fear—a fear that reveals just how poor we really are, much poorer in fact than even the helpless child we are about to embrace.

It is preciously this beautiful fear of God that propels us to love boldly—to boldly reach out beyond ourselves, to boldly become part of God’s mystical body, to become His very arms and hands—to embody Divine Love Itself—that perfect love of the eternal Father for each and every child ever created.

For it is the Father’s love that creates us, and sustains us, and longs to flow through us.

We just sometimes need extreme circumstances—ridiculously obvious situations—in order to tap the needed courage to let it to flow beyond our own borders and into those around us.

You are in such a situation. Right now.

We all are.

This very moment.

No matter where you are or what you’re doing.

Such a situation is at hand.

A child, a new born—cold, hungry, and without a home—desperately needs to be held.

Quick then, wipe your dirty hands, make due with what you’ve got—believe the Word of God, it’s good enough—now hold out your hands.

You’re clean enough to care.


—Howard Hain


3 thoughts on “Friday Thoughts: Clean Enough to Care

  1. jim

    Years ago when I worked in a parish in New England, on a cold November
    evening we were sitting down to dinner and I said, I hear a cat in trouble
    somewhere outside this building. The group at table said, the windows
    are closed and there is heavy traffic going by, you must be mistaken.
    Such was the situation when I heard the cat again and decided to
    leave dinner and go outside the rectory to see what was going on.
    In the bushes near the front door I found a 3 month old baby in a basket
    with the name Michelle on the basket.
    I took her inside the Rectory and all were excited to see this
    beautiful baby, there was an empty bottle with her, and we heated
    up some milk in the kitchen, mixed it with a little water and she drank
    it . We cared for that baby for two days, we made diapers from dinner
    napkins, and i made a crib from a drawer in my room. She slept fine
    and the next day. the janitor who had a new baby at home, brought some diapers and supplies…..finally we found a family in the parish who would
    foster this baby temporarily and eventually we found the mother , who
    was very sick in the hospital and was at her wits end, and decided
    to leave her baby at the Rectory front door. The baby brought a great
    blessing to us for days and days, and we missed her when she had to
    leave…..but we were very happy that the mother got better and was
    eventually re-united with her baby… Who knows what God has in store
    for any of us….we just need to stay open to life as it is, as it is TODAY

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