What can I do to help the poor?
When I go buy something, I always feel like I don't have the right to do it.
I am married to a wonderful man with a generous heart. We have two children, a house to pay for and no job. We have little money set aside.
I know we live in a spiritually poor society. What about all this question of poverty?
Your question reveals your good heart! You have a Christian heart, attuned with the heart of Jesus, who was moved by human misery!
I have no intention of advising you to close your heart to the sufferings of millions of human beings who, though far away, are indeed our brothers and sisters.
There are destitute people in North America; but there are considerably more in the rusted metal-sheet shacks of some countries. Millions of people starve to death. Scraggly children, emaciated adults tortured by the pangs of an empty stomach!
Meanwhile, we satiated people, have the heart to complain.
What to do?
"If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and no food for the day, and you say to them: 'Goodbye and good luck! Keep warm and well fed', but do not meet their bodily needs, what good is that?" This is Saint James' admonition to our dull consciences (James 2: 15-16).
John Chrysostom would complain today as he did in his time: "Your dog has a full stomach while Christ in the poor is craving for food".
Dear friend, may your heart, moved by Christ, keep suffering from the pain of all those who suffer! Never harden your heart!
But, you have responsibilities as a wife and mother. You have to care for your family. Nothing should make you forget that. You tell me you and your husband are unemployed and you have a house to pay for.
The money you have saved is a guaranty for the immediate future. You must spend this money wisely on behalf of those who depend on you in a rather difficult situation.
However, you can still give something to help relieve misery around you and thus testify to the goodness of Christ.
Material and spiritual misery knocks at your door. You are touched. In accord with your family, be good, be generous!
Your contribution will be small like that of the widow in the Gospel (Lk 21: 2-3). It will not be worth making the headlines, but it will be a gift from the heart!
And a gift from the heart is always agreeable to God and rewarded by Him (Mt 12: 42).
The needs of your family incite me to caution you against any excess of generosity. However, let your concern for poor people grow. Do what you can with a heart similar to Christ's!
"Let earthly things be possessed by us, not us possessed by them" (Saint Gregory the Great).
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