Every night, the friars here in Cochabamba, Bolivia, give away any extra food remaining after dinner to the poor who come to the door. No left-overs are kept until the following day.
I used to think this was a wonderful custom — to empty the pantry for the poor and to give no thought to tomorrow. Now, I have second thoughts.
Whenever it is my turn to take the food out, I feel like the monks in The Name of the Rose who dump out their trash onto the poor who wait down the hill to scavenge through what the monks have thrown out. I open the big front door to the monastery here and then hand the left-overs to the hungry poor who wait on the other side of the fence.
Tonight, as I took the food out, I thought to myself, “If St. Francis were alive today, where would he be? In the nice, warm monastery eating with the friars, or out on the street waiting with the poor?”