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The “It’s Not Over ‘Til It’s Over” Theory

Shared by Fr. Dennis Holtschneider

picture-91The theory goes something like this:

  • You serve the poor, then you do something to build up your heart.
  • You serve the poor, then you go back and read scripture and realize, perhaps for the first time, how much of scripture is about the poor.
  • You serve the poor, then you start to learn about the services that are available from various governmental and charitable agencies, and you learn how to work the system to help the poor.
  • You serve the poor, and then you read Vincent’s or Louise’s or Elizabeth Ann’s letters to let them strengthen your inner self and teach you something you weren’t ready to hear before you had actually met the poor.
  • You serve the poor, and then you spend time reflecting with others who serve the poor to learn from them and to support one another. You serve the poor, and then you pray, and read the writings of the spiritual masters, and perhaps begin to meet with a spiritual director.
  • You serve the poor, and then you begin to ask why it has to be this way, and then begin to read sociology, economics, social work, psychology, substance abuse, history, politics, government, housing, nutrition, health, management, spirituality, and so much more.

The “It’s Not Over ‘Til It’s Over” Theory insists that we keep learning along the way. The “It’s Not Over ‘Til It’s Over” Theory insists that there’s always more to learn, there’s always room to grow as a human being, there’s always a gap between God and ourselves than can be made closer, there’s always more we can understand that will help us help the poor. This doesn’t have to be steady. There are other important things in life too. It can come and go in waves, but formation isn’t something that’s meant to be front-loaded at the beginning, once for all time. It’s not over ’til it’s over.

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