|St Gregory Nanzianzen|
"Give something, however small, to the one in need. For it is not small to one who has nothing. Neither is it small to God, if we have given what we could."-St Gregory NazianzenOne of my favorite saints, St Martin, gave half of his cloak to a beggar, who then appeared to him as Christ, which reflects what Christ says in Matthew:
‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’
|St Martin with the beggar|
Those problems notwithstanding, our society has forgotten the corporal works of mercy, and the underlying reasons for performing good works. (In my understanding, these would be to reflect the love of God, and because we love our neighbors, who are worthy of our love as children of God. Thus, our faith is demonstrated.) During this season of Advent, as we learn about his first Coming and prepare ourselves for his second Coming, let's remember the sick, the homeless, the imprisoned, the hungry, and the dead.
Let us make our faith manifest by helping our brethren. Give thanks to God for He is good, and has blessed us. Share with those who are less fortunate, for they are children of God too, and helping them out is the way we can demonstrate God's love for them. But, don't limit it to Advent...make it a daily effort, to paraphrase the Boy Scout slogan.
This is one area of Catholic teaching I struggle with. We are called to give all of ourselves, yet we can't give everything away, because not everyone can be a beggar, especially those people who have families to support. The poor are out there, yet it doesn't seem the Church in the United States today helps them to alleviate their suffering in a very effective way (for the most part; the Schumann Center at St Martin of Tours Church is a notable exception). And if you are going to donate money to the poor, I would suggest giving to a religious order (one without any theological issues, mind you). I suggest the Missionaries of the Poor of Kingston, the Missionaries of Charity, the Order of Preachers, and the Franciscans.
This post was inspired by the NYPD cop who bought shoes for a man on the street..exactly what I'm talking about.