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They ate and were satisfied… and there was left over.

[caption id="attachment_5181" align="alignleft" width="200"] Sr. Joye Gros, OP is currently on a 2-week mission serving refugees in El Paso, TX.[/caption] The reading on Saturday, February 16, was Mark's Feeding of the multitudes. "In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat, Jesus summoned the disciples and said, 'My heart is moved with pity for the crowd because they have nothing to eat...'  The disciples responded, 'Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?' Taking seven loaves, he blessed them, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute....they ate and were satisfied.  They picked up the fragments left over - 7 baskets." (Mk 8:1-10) Over these weeks, I've noticed that volunteers often begin a conversation noting their limitations: "I don't speak Spanish,” "I don't know how to cook for so many.” "I wish I could..."  All came with a generous heart and awareness of our perceived shortcomings in the face of great need.  And like Jesus, who said, "My heart is moved with pity for the crowd,” we came. We wondered if our compassion would be enough because the need is great and continuous.  We received between 30-150 people a day at our site alone.  Some came sick.  Several small children needed to be taken to the emergency room or to a doctor's office.  One doctor stops by the shelter most days just to check on the most vulnerable – his services are offered at no charge.  When the children are taken to his office, no one pays. Over these weeks I have witnessed the wealth of contribution - the multiple gifts, large and small, that have been blessed and shared.  The perceived limitations combined have been multiplied and overflowing. "They ate and were satisfied- and there were leftovers.” The abundance came from generous hearts moved with compassion, and the willingness to do whatever to respond to the need that was presented, When I was a novice one speaker had us memorize a quote from Edward Everett Hale.  It comes back to me often and certainly daily here. I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.

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