“When Paul says that God has chosen the weak, the foolish, and the rejected, or when Jesus, in Matthew’s Gospel, describes the Kingdom of God as a wedding feast to which all the poor, the lame, the sick, and the blind are invited, they confirm that the weak have a preferential place in the hart of God. Jesus himself was rejected and outcast; he identifies with the rejected, the outcasts. Is that not the Gospel’s new order that replaces the old? We in L’Arche are beginning to touch something of the mystery that people like Saint Vincent de Paul grasped when he said: ‘The poor are our teachers.’”
“One can write reams about the poverty of Christ—drawing conclusions about what an imitation of that poverty would be like and what kind of implications this might have for us. What is beyond discussion is that whatever our life it must, if it is to be Christian, protect a place for Christ in our flesh and blood encounters—our meetings, our welcomes, our ways of relating—to the poor.
The poor man by reason of poverty itself often repels us (cf. Francis kissing the leper). He brings into our way of life the very contradiction that is Christ. It is the real presence of Christ in the poor man, when this is really believed and the poor man is known as a person, that can transform the encounter with him from a purely ‘social problem’ into something essentially and authentically Christian.
The poor must not be someone who is tolerated and put up with, but someone who is waited for and expected.”
“Saint Vincent de Paul saw that one truly intelligent way to follow Christ is to recognize our own spiritual poverty and to serve that poverty in ‘the least of these.’ He recognized that one truly intelligent way to practice theology was to tend to galley convicts, untouchables, and incurables.
[A]t the end of the day the question for each of us, is: What was my orientation of heart toward the people with whom I came in contact over the last twenty-four hours? How am I treating the people who can do nothing for me? Is my work for my glory or for God’s?”
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I’ve spent most of the past three days hanging out with my holy trinity of grandkids, Elena and her little brother and sister, twins Ignacio and Cecilia.
In a house full of adults, these beautiful little voices are simultaneously the center of attention—and the voiceless who “can do nothing for me,” helplessly needing care and nurture.
Sometimes the poor in our lives are, literally, the homeless, poor, and forgotten. Sometimes the poor in our day are those who need our help and attention, and can’t give us anything tangible in return, the children, the sick, the elderly.
How can I change the world always comes back to me. How did I respond to the people in my life today? What was my “orientation of heart,” my attitude?