Love.. in deed

Let us love, not with words but with deeds...

Pope Francis has marked November 19th, 2017 as the First World Day of the Poor.

In anticipation of this day, we invite you to reflect and pray on the themes in the document of the imperative to love that comes from being the Father’s beloved and of the centrality of being a community of love.

Watch for more details on the website and in upcoming bulletins!

 

 

 

 

 


Following is an excerpt from Pope Francis’ announcement of the First World Day of the Poor:

“Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in deed and in truth” 1 Jn 3:18. These words of the Apostle John voice an imperative that no Christian may disregard. Whenever we set out to love as Jesus loved, we have to take the Lord as our example; especially when it comes to loving the poor. The Son of God’s way of loving is well-known, and St John spells it out clearly. It stands on two pillars: God loved us first cf. 1 Jn 4:10.19, and he loved us by giving completely of himself, even to laying down his life cf. 1 Jn 3:16.

Such a love cannot go unanswered. Even though offered unconditionally, asking nothing in return, it so sets hearts on fire that all who experience it are led to love back, despite their limitations and sins. Yet this can only happen if we welcome God’s grace, his merciful charity, as fully as possible into our hearts, so that our will and even our emotions are drawn to love both God and neighbour. In this way, the mercy that wells up – as it were – from the heart of the Trinity can shape our lives and bring forth compassion and works of mercy for the benefit of our brothers and sisters in need.

“This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him” Ps 34:6. The Church has always understood the importance of this cry. We possess an outstanding testimony to this in the very first pages of the Acts of the Apostles, where St Peter asks that seven men, “full of the Spirit and of wisdom” Acts 6:3, be chosen for the Ministry of caring for the poor. This is certainly one of the first signs of the entrance of the Christian community upon the world’s stage: the service of the poor. The earliest community realized that being a disciple of Jesus meant demonstrating fraternity and solidarity, in obedience to the Master’s proclamation that the poor are blessed and heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven cf. Mt 5:3.

“They sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need” Acts 2:45. In these words, we see clearly expressed the lively concern of the first Christians. The evangelist St Luke, who more than any other speaks of mercy, does not exaggerate when he describes the practice of sharing in the early community. On the contrary, his words are addressed to believers in every generation, and thus also to us, in order to sustain our own witness and to encourage our care for those most in need.

I wanted to offer the Church a World Day of the Poor, so that throughout the world Christian communities can become an ever greater sign of Christ’s Charity for the least and those most in need. This new World Day, therefore, should become a powerful appeal to our consciences as believers, allowing us to grow in the conviction that sharing with the poor enables us to understand the deepest truth of the Gospel. The poor are not a problem: they are a resource from which to draw as we strive to accept and practise in our lives the essence of the Gospel.


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