CARE FOR THE POOR


Today the Church honors Saint Vincent de Paul, a man whose life and ministry focused on finding ways to serve the poor. He was zealous in his efforts to lead others to respond in Christian charity to the needs of their less fortunate brothers and sisters. We all have an obligation to use the means that we have been given by God to help others in need. Charity is at the heart of our Catholic faith. To love God and to your neighbor – there is no greater commandment than this. St. James reminded the early Christians that faith without good works is a dead and lifeless faith; it has no power, no conviction and no merit. But Saint Vincent de Paul modelled for the Church the true virtue of Christian charity. We are called as believers to involve ourselves in the lives of those in need. It is not simply dropping off clothes to a Vincent de Paul box, or donating to food to a pantry, or writing a check for charity. We must care not only for the physical needs of the poor, St. Vincent de Paul says, but their spiritual and emotional needs as well. We have an obligation in charity to pray with the poor, to get to know them, to walk the journey with them as companions and friends. This is the measurement of the last great judgement: when you do it for one of the least of our brothers and sisters, we do it for Jesus Christ himself. The Church has a fundamental option for the poor, a call to each of us to be concerned for the needs of the least of our brothers and sisters. St. Vincent de Paul taught that we don’t need to look for big ways to help the poor, just extend compassion, mercy, kindness and love to those whom God sends across our path each day. See in them the face of Christ; respond with a kind work; pray with someone in need; share your resources; encourage someone struggling; bring a meal to someone who is lonely and by themselves; visit the sick; lend a hand; look into the eyes of a beggar and treat them like a human being in need of tenderness and mercy. How blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall indeed see God. Saint Vincent de Paul pray for us!