There were people who asked me: “Father, why don’t you also help the poor instead of just the lepers?” The fact is, most of the lepers are poor and not just poor in the ordinary sense, they are the poorest of the poor.
Not just that, most of them are homeless, and without food and proper sanitation; they have no future. Their pain and suffering has no end. Their feet have been so crippled that they cannot walk, and their hands have been so deformed that they cannot touch or even scratch an itch. They are voiceless; their lives are not much different than if they were dead.
They are the people whom society has forgotten, abandoned, and neglected. Day after day they live among others with the same fate for the rest of their time remaining on the face of the earth.
What can we do for them? Each piece of rice, each drop of water we give is a loving kindness to encourage and comfort them, to ease their pain of abandonment and rescue them from the destruction of human selfishness and ambition.
Only merciful love can ease their agony and pain. The remedies that can heal the wounds in their souls must be our gifts from the heart, our sacrifices, and our prayers.
One of the most realistic objectives that we can do to help them is to give them clean water to drink. Their water which is brought home in jars from the creeks and streams in the jungles is cloudy, full of alum and sludge, growing with mold and algae.
In eradicating this dreadful disease, leprosy, we need to provide them a constant source of clean water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. For many years we have been trying to help them with food, medicine, shelter, land and cattle, and now, more than ever, together, we must help them with the means so that they can have a life with better sanitation and hygiene.
This work of charity is not only bringing more happiness and fulfillment to many suffering people, but also brings more meaning to the life of everyone helping. With the help of Saint Damien, our patron, I wish for all of you a joyful and restful summer. May our merciful and loving God continue to pour upon you his grace and blessings!
Sincerely in Christ,
Rev. Viet Huynh