“We are all called to go further. We can and we must do better for the helpless.”

The Holy Father’s recent World Food Day message to the director general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (F.A.O.) hit me like a ton of bricks … perhaps because I had just returned to work from maternity leave.  The precious time I’d spent with my son – our first child – had peaked my emotional sensitivity, and hearing the Pope’s message brought to mind the trials of the young mothers and vulnerable children in the world.

For my husband and me, the transition from “a couple” to “parents” already had us feeling much more intentional about EVERYTHING we did. It was changing our perspective on every little thing, from meal prepping to choosing work attire ahead of time. How could we spend more quality time together as a new family? How could we remain passionate about our faith and keep alive our commitments to our own spiritual growth? We felt tired just dealing with our new day-to-day responsibilities.  How could we possibly go further – do better for the helpless in the world?

Pope Francis may have addressed his message to the UN’s director general, but it resonated with me. And it should resonate with all of us.  Even as I contemplated the challenge and considered my own growing responsibilities, the Holy Father’s words – the poor cannot wait – stirred something deep in my soul.

I don’t make my infant son wait. Even before he cries, I want to be prepared with a bottle to feed him. I don’t let him suffer hunger pangs, but am always eager to fill his little belly.

Ask yourself this: What is stopping us from joining together and doing the same for the hungry around the world? What is keeping us from reaching out with help before their suffering overwhelms them?  What in our busy lives has dulled our compassion and diverted our best intentions to be a light in the world?

I have accepted Pope Francis’ recent message as a personal challenge, and I invite you to do the same today. His challenge should make us want to do our part. It should convince us that “…beautiful words and good wishes…” are not enough.

Will you join me in stepping out of your comfort zone and opening your heart with this simple prayer?

Gracious Father in heaven,

Thank you for giving me eyes to see and ears to listen.

Thank you for bestowing your love, grace and forgiveness over my life.

Lord, help me to see the needs of those around me.

I’m only one person, but I know you can use me in mighty ways to accomplish life-transforming miracles. Constantly remind me that in you and through you, I can go further and do better for the helpless.

Guide me to opportunities. Use me to combat hunger in my community and around the world.

And through those circumstances, may people see, know and glorify YOU.

In Christ’s name, AMEN.

(Want to learn about a quick and easy way you can start learning more about food needs around the world today? Check out this page. You can help through prayer, a contribution or simply by opening the eyes and heart of someone you know.)