Posted August 05, 2014 in The Pope's Corner:
The Gift the Poor Give

by Pope Francis.

On May 21, 2013, the pope paid a visit and gave a talk at Dono di Maria, the Vatican’s soup kitchen and shelter which is run by the Missionaries of Charity. It was primarily addressed to the guests at the home.

I (the editor) was struck by how deeply one, is the love of the poor of Pope Francis, of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, and of Catherine Doherty.

Here is an excerpt from that talk.

This [home] is a home. And when we say "home," we mean a place of hospitality, a dwelling, a pleasant human environment where one stays readily, finds oneself, feels … in a community.

There is a second very important word which describes this home: the word "gift." …

What do I mean? I wish to say that this home gives hospitality, material and spiritual sustenance, to you, dear guests … but you are also a gift for this home and for the Church.

You teach us that to love God and neighbor is not something abstract, but rather profoundly concrete: love means seeing in every person the face of the Lord… . You are, dear brothers and sisters, the face of Jesus. Thank you!

You "give" to all those who work in this place the opportunity to serve Jesus in those who are in difficulty, in those who are in need of help.

This home then is a luminous transparency of the love of God, who is a good and merciful Father to all.

Open hospitality is lived here… according to the teaching of Jesus: You received without pay, give without pay (Mt 10:8).

We need to recover the whole sense of gift, of gratuitousness, of solidarity.

Rampant capitalism has taught the idea of profit at all costs, of giving to in order to get, of exploitation without looking at the person. And we see the results in the crisis we are experiencing.

This home is a place that teaches love; it is a school of love which teaches me to encounter every person, not for what I can get, but for love….

Finally, there is one last characteristic of this home: it can be described as a gift "of Mary."

The Holy Virgin made of her existence an unceasing and beautiful gift to God, because she loved the Lord. Mary’s example is an inspiration to those who live in this home, and to all of us, to love our neighbors, not out of some sort of social duty, but out of the love of God. …

For us Christians, love of neighbor springs from love of God; and is its most limpid expression. Here one tries to love one’s neighbor but also to allow oneself to be loved by one’s neighbor. These two attitudes go together; one cannot be exercised without the other.

Printed on the letterhead of the Missionaries of Charity are these words of Jesus: whatsoever you did to one of the least of my brethren, you did to me (Mt 25:40).

[They strive to] love God in their brethren and their brethren in God.


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