“For The Poor”

My confessor gave a wonderful Mass at St Joseph’s yesterday evening for the celebration of our Patron Day, but I couldn’t help but feel a stab of black humour listening to both his homily, and the speech later given by our local mayor, at their remarks that “there are no poor here” (paraphrased) and “everyone here has enough to eat” and “our charity therefore needs to be focused on people elsewhere” ; paraphrased : “we here live in wealth and happiness, so we needn’t give our charity to any among us, but only to those living afar” — not only is this attitude perfectly blind to the hardships and poverty existing here and under people’s very noses (and NO, NOT “everyone” here has “enough” to eat), but it’s a complete betrayal of the very principles of Christian Charity, as our Blessed Pope John Paul II once explained them, in one of his more important homilies (given before I was even a Catholic) — Christian Charity ALWAYS starts with those who are closest and dearest to us, and then those living around us, those we can see, and touch, and speak to.

Pope John Paul II rightly reminded us that if we don’t care for and pay attention to the poverty and the suffering that we can see on our doorsteps, then whatever donations and aid that we may provide for those living far away, no matter how worthy our efforts may be, are not Charity in the Catholic Christian sense, because those who we are being asked to help in our own flesh, by our own presence, through the Spirit within ourselves, will have been ignored in favour of some distant strangers.

Our Blessed Pope also pointed out that this sort of help from afar reduces charity to a figure on a cheque or on some banknotes and coins (though I’m paraphrasing here), which is about as far away from true Charity that you can get.

True Charity is to be a Christian presence in the flesh amidst the poor and suffering ; True Charity is to be WITH the poor and suffering in our own persons, to be with them, to accept them into our own lives, our own hearts, into True Holy Communion with our very souls and with their own souls, in the One True Church of our Risen Christ.

Not this bourgeois masquerade posing in its place.

5 thoughts on ““For The Poor”

  1. Nice, Jabba. I tried to “like” it but it doesn’t seem to like me. Didn’t know you had a site. I’ll be back to have a look properly later. 🙂

  2. Beautifully put Jabba, thank you! Yes, that is TRUE charity – “to be a Christian presence in the flesh amidst the poor and suffering…”. It is not reduced to handing out some coins, some of our excess wealth, but to be Christlike, giving of the very best of ourselves to those in our midst.

    There is plenty of loneliness, suffering and great need (material and spiritual) all around us, if one is sensitive and open to seeing it. And sometimes just sharing something we value greatly in the West, our TIME – time to listen, console and encourage – is all that is needed to help a suffering soul.

    Without wanting to embarrass you, I might add that sharing one’s learning and intelligence (like you do on the internet) to sort out people’s great desire TO KNOW THE TRUTH, is also “giving to the poor”…… helping others to understand the great and awesome mysteries of our Faith.

    God Bless you dear friend.

  3. It’s true that Oscar said, “Charity begins at home, and ought to stay there,” But I do think what the mayor and the priest said was not entirely untrue.
    Poverty, like everything else, is relative, and there are no poor people in the village where I live, that is to say people who don’t know where the next meal is coming from, or if it will come at all.

    Of course there may be poverty of spirit in Moratinos.
    But surely only God is in a position to deal with that? It would certainly be beyond me, who may well be pretty poor in that department myself, for all I know.

    • But I do think what the mayor and the priest said was not entirely untrue

      I did not say that it was …

      If you like, I’m saying that local truths (and partial ones, at that) are overcoming the more universal ones.

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