The Power and The Point of Place

Think of the places you have visited in your life that have made you feel somehow completely happy. My list includes a tiny guest room near New York City that boasted a bookshelf, a glowing lamp, and a big poofy comforter, turned down just for me. And, ahhhh – the front porch of a certain beach house, where the rocking chairs don’t squeak, the cold drinks are within reach, and the glorious view is unobstructed. Ooh, and of course that lonngggg outdoor table under the Roman moonlight, laden with food I myself would never voluntarily order, surrounded by most of the best friends I will ever have. You have places like that, too, don’t you? Places that mean so very much more than a disembodied voice on the GPS could ever say.

The Canticle Cafe is a place like that.

If you’ve been around our church in past Advents, you have probably seen a touching video about St. Al’s outreach center and the ministry performed by our Franciscan friends downtown. It was nice. But it was getting out of date. Plus, whenever I saw it from my pew, it made me imagine a place that was doing really good, inspired work but was still… well… quite depressing. Which couldn’t be further from the truth! So, for a few months now, and especially in these past few weeks, my daughter and I have been working to put together a powerpoint presentation to help you experience at least a taste of the genuine happiness of that place. We want to show you what really happens when simple people accept God’s blessings and share them with others. Just some of the sharing there includes:

• Socializing and community building

• Recognizing all human dignity

• Feeding the hungry

• Warming cold bodies

• Providing internet access and an email address for job seekers

• Clothing men, women, and children

• Counseling those in need

• Advocating rights for the neighbors

• Increasing quality of life for the community

• Refurbishing computers and holiday decorations

• Caring for spiritual and physical health

That’s a splendid list. But it still doesn’t really connect us to the power of the place. See, the Canticle Cafe is a place where ALL (volunteers and clients alike) are treated as honored guests – like a poofy comforter has been turned down just for them. The Canticle Cafe is a place where all people can find comfort, peace, and an unobstructed view of God. The Canticle Cafe is a place where the food proffered turns out to be quite satisfying, and the friends around the table to be among the very best. The Canticle Café’s power, and point, is GRACE. Each person who enters the place experiences it. I hope our upcoming presentation conveys that to you, and that it inspires you to support that amazing place by buying Canticle Cafe coffee or Friar Lights (made from recycled church candles), or by attending or donating to the Christmas Ball, or by becoming quite familiar with its joys yourself – by becoming a regular part of the place.