Hill: Pope Francis’ namesake has much to tell us about helping the needy
Ryan Summerlin September 24, 2013
Re: Vincent Capozzella’s Sept. 24 letter, “Pope Francis and the poor.”
Capozella writers, “Finally as a Catholic, I can totally agree with my Pope. This last week he shifted the emphasis…from constant condemnation…to embracing those in need of help and assistance [emphasizing the Church’s] compassion and support for the needy just as did Jesus.”
Pope Francis’ namesake, Francis of Assisi, renounced his family riches to be a monk shifting his emphasis from love of money to embracing the needy. It cost him everything to obtain the necessary poverty of spirit (humility) to accomplish his task.
Man’s “distribution systems” lack true compassion for the needy as America throws bread to the masses (49 million) in the form of “food stamps” to prevent rioting in the streets thus keeping the dichotomy of them v. us in place with the euphemism: “Except for the grace of God there go I.”
God’s grace isn’t a lottery where some get it and others don’t. Neither is God’s promise to provide daily bread distributed on the basis of those who don’t work don’t eat. Shifted emphasis does nothing, no matter what program or papal proclamation, if the rich keep getting richer and the poor poorer.
Our Declaration states all humans are created equal? Therefore, in God’s eyes there is no separation between the affluent and the needy. We are all sinners fallen short of the perfection of God. What keeps the affluent from compassionately caring for the needy? Is it not fear of becoming just like them?
Want to help others help themselves? I leave you this excerpt from “Abba’s Child,” by Brennan Manning (page 162) to assist you in your shift of emphasis: “Shortly after I entered seminary, I went to a priest and told him about innumerable bouts of heavy drinking during my three years in the Marine Corps and how I grieved over time squandered in self-indulgence. To my surprise he smiled and said, ‘Rejoice and be glad. You will have a heart of compassion for those who walk that lonely road. God will use your brokenness to bless many people’.”
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