Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Take part with your family in the adventure of encountering Jesus in the poor and gaining great wisdom from it

Download the one-page leaflet here.  


•           Each person has an infinite dignity. This teaching of the Popes is based on each one having the image and likeness of God, and the fact that Jesus has united himself with each one, especially the neediest: “as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me,” said Jesus. (Mt. 25:40) 

•           Loving the poor heals our pettiness, selfishness and materialism. Blessed Alvaro del Portillo said: ‘It makes us see that often we are concerned about foolish things that are simply the result of our own selfishness and pettiness.” The Catechism states that “Love for the poor is incompatible with immoderate love of riches or their selfish use.” 

•           The poor give us great wisdom. Pope Francis told us of the wise lessons we can learn from them: dignity is not based on possessions; humility; trust in God; generosity; spirit of detachment. St. Josemaria wrote that “The poor are my best spiritual book”. (Furrow 827)

•           Being with the poor is a soul-enriching encounter with Jesus Christ. St. Josemaria explained that the goal of visiting the poor is “to see Jesus in the poor, the sick, the helpless, the lonely, the suffering, in the child. So [young people] will learn to wage a great battle against misery, against ignorance, against disease, against suffering.” He said that “contact with poverty is an occasion that the Lord usually uses, to enkindle in souls desires of generosity and divine adventures. At the same time, it makes young people aware of always having a heart for justice and love.”

•           Through almsgiving, we practice the virtues of charity, mercy and justice.  The Catechism calls almsgiving “one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God.” Because God created all the goods of the world for everyone, the Catechism explains through the words of two great saints: "Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs." (St. John Chrysostom) “More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice..” (St. Gregory the Great)

           God hears their cry and asks us “to give them something to eat.”(Mk 6:27) “The wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts” (Jas 5:4)

•           We follow the lead of Jesus and his Vicars, the Popes who want a Church of the poor for the poor. “Our faith in Christ, who became poor, and was always close to the poor and the outcast, is the basis of our concern for the integral development of of society’s most neglected members.” (Pope Francis) The option for the poor “is implicit in our Christian faith in a God who became poor for us, so as to enrich us with his poverty”. (Benedict XVI) Pope Francis taught that Matthew Chapter 25 which speaks of love for the least and of using our talents is “the standard by which we will be judged” at the end of our life.           


•           Show great respect, love and caring for the poor, especially those closest to you. Pope Francis taught: “what the Holy Spirit mobilizes is not an unruly activism, but above all an attentiveness which considers the other ‘in a certain sense as one with ourselves.’ This loving attentiveness is the beginning of a true concern for their person.”  Start with just pay and extra caring for your household help. 

           Work so as to "be able to give to those in need." (Eph 4:28) Pope Francis taught that the economy’s key concern is the dignity of each person and that business is a “noble vocation to serve the common good by striving to increase the goods of this world and to make them more accessible to all.”

           Be involved in efforts to alleviate the problems of the poor and solve poverty. Take part in and donate to educational endeavors. Work “to eliminate the structural causes of poverty and to promote the integral development of the poor” and reject “all forms of injustice and corruption which, by stealing from the poor, poison the very roots of society.” (Pope Francis)

•           Pray for the poor and for good government. Pray for the poor people that you see in the streets, the slums, on TV and in the web. When you pray “Give us this day our daily bread”, think of replenishing the needs of all the poor people. Pope Francis taught us to ask God for politicians who will fulfill their lofty vocation in politics, solving the roots of the world’s evils and practising charity at the macro level.

•           Give spiritual help. Pope Francis emphasized that “Our preferential option for the poor must mainly translate into a privileged and preferential religious care.” Help in teaching catechism to the poor.

•           Make visits to the poor. (1) Identify the poorest people in the area or the most needful among the sick in the public hospital.  Visit those who are most in need of consolation. (2) Bring gifts. Children can contribute to the gifts from their allowance to help them live the spirit of poverty and generosity. St. Josemaria recommended gifts that the poor do not usually receive. Give them spiritual items too, which can help them pray, e.g. prayer cards, rosaries. It will console them greatly, if we promise to pray for them and their needs.  (3) Interact and converse with each person with warmth and affection. This is the most important element of the visit. “The greatest gift we can give to them is our friendship, our concern, our tenderness, our love for Jesus. To receive Jesus is to have everything; to give him is to give the greatest gift of all.” (Pope Francis’ undelivered speech for his Encounter with the Youth in the Philippines)

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