snstephen

By snstephen

Breathing space

It has been a long and tough day today, with the rain making it difficult - I spent most of the evening tramping round the centre of the city. But the big blessing of today is that I have been given a breathing space with food: today's picture is €5.19 or just under 4,000 calories worth of shopping, with hopefully a good enough mix of nutrients (ignore the chocolate biscuits) thanks to the very generous gift of €10 from someone I met today and told what I am doing. It frees me up tomorrow, and almost certainly Saturday too, from an evening food hunt in the city centre, and with the weather improving that gives me the opportunity to venture into more distant parts of the city.

And the money that is left? St Ignatius would tell me to give away that portion of what I had received but didn't need. But that feels very tough to do. 

Generosity has been a big theme today. I spent a couple of hours at Dublin Mosque and was welcomed for lunch, conversation and a time of prayer. It was when we began talking about how we experienced God's presence in the daily practice of our respective faiths that I, at least, felt the most powerful connection was made. We had something that was different but also shared. 

I am lucky with this pilgrimage that I get to come home to a comfy bed each night, but what has become very clear over these few days is that if you have little money there are very few places for you in this city centre and probably any city centre - tonight, as I walked round, I could see little groups of people sheltering where they could, with nothing to keep them occupied. Many were waiting for the charities to appear with their food for the night. I only have to do this for a few weeks, but these hours of monotony are so far proving to be the toughest part. I can only imagine what it must be like facing that reality day in and day out.

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