Tag: Stealing From Poor

‘Serving God And The Poor, Not In Competition With Each Other’ – Fr. Jerabek

‘Serving God And The Poor, Not In Competition With Each Other’ – Fr. Jerabek

Beauty in Our Churches and Institutions

Note: This article is an explanation by Father Jerabek, regarding the last Post titled ‘Do you have a home chapel’, also originally published by him.

Is the beauty in our churches and other institutions ultimately depriving the poor of something that is rightfully theirs?

The question presents a proposition that is perhaps initially appealing. There is a certain facile logic to it. But when we dig into it a little more, we see how superficial it really is.

I took this picture.

“The poor, you always have with you.” – John 12:8

We can start to answer this question by asking some of our own: After we sell everything we have and buy food for the poor with the proceeds, then what? What happens when they get hungry again? What happens when a new generation of poor is born? I suppose the answer is: then the people that bought all of the stuff will be obligated to sell it and give the money to the poor. And so on, ad infinitum… Oh, but there’s another way we can approach it: Why should the Church have to sell its stuff? Shouldn’t the people with the money give it to the poor instead of buying works of art?… You see how the original question isn’t quite as facile as it might first seem.

We can also go deeper into the issue.

I have taken photos of this famous painting in the Vatican, but this photo is someone else’s I think.

First, we could raise the point that it was often poor people who made heroic sacrifices to build the churches that now stand as treasured monuments of beauty in so many places throughout the world. Apparently they thought that God should be given their best and finest, even as they themselves went without. The gospel passage about the Widow’s Mite comes to mind (Mark 12:42-43).

Second, if the Church did not patronize the arts and foster beauty in our world, it would deprive the poor of a great consolation. Consider the fact that all are welcome in the Church; that each Sunday – sitting in the very same pew – there could be a famously wealthy person, and not far away, a person wondering how he will feed his family that day. In the Church we all stand before God as equals, as his sons and daughters; we are all children of the King and have access to the royal palace. The fact that beauty is a consolation in a difficult world is self-evident, and to rid our churches of beauty would make an already-difficult life even harder to bear for the destitute and suffering.

Thank you, Google Image Search.

Third, people who ask this question need to be challenged to examine their own standard of living. It is easy enough to point fingers, especially at an institution as conspicuous as the Church. But to the person who poses the question, I ask in return: How are you living? Do you have a comfortable home? Do you have luxuries? What sacrifices of your own resources have you made to support the poor? It is often the case that the person is pointing while forgetting about the three fingers pointing back at him or herself.

Fourth, at what point did we start looking at artwork and beautiful things and seeing dollar signs? Is this not a terrible commentary on our modern culture, that we see everything as a commodity? Beautiful things that are to be enjoyed because of their beauty stand as a reminder to us that there is far more to life than money.

Finally, to claim that the beauty and expense of our churches deprives the poor is to forget or ignore that the Catholic Church is the largest charitable organization in the world. With her network of hospitals, shelters, crisis pregnancy centers, Catholic Charities, centers for assistance, and so forth, the Church provides a plethora of services daily to millions of people throughout the world. We must always do more: we must always be more generous in sharing the love of Christ and reaching out to those in need. Pope Francis has recently reminded us so many times about this. But it does not mean that to help the poor we must make the world an ugly place in the process.

After all, isn’t heaven going to be beautiful? Isn’t the Church preparing us now on earth so that we can spend eternity in that beautiful heaven? All of the beauty of this world combined does not compare with the beauty of heaven: “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9). The beautiful things of this world open our souls to the Lord more and more – they “warm us up”.  So that at the end of our lives, please God, all of us – rich and poor alike – will see him face to face in the glorious beauty of heaven, for ever.  Amen.

This type of wonderful line art used to be very common in prayer books and missals.

You Are Probably Stealing From The Poor, Read What The Pope Said

You Are Probably Stealing From The Poor, Read What The Pope Said

During his pontificate, Pope Francis has ardently pleaded with the world to address the dire situation around the world’s food supply. Keeping in line with his simple and pragmatic nature, he proposes that everyone make one simple change that can make a major impact: reducing food waste.

“Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of the poor and the hungry,” he said.

Roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tons — is wasted. That is enough to feed all those who struggle or die from hunger. In the United States alone, 40% of all food is thrown away and never eaten.

“This culture of waste has made us insensitive even to the waste and disposal of food, which is even more despicable when all over the world, unfortunately, many individuals and families are suffering from hunger and malnutrition,” the Pope said.

“Once our grandparents were very careful not to throw away any leftover food. Consumerism has led us to become used to an excess and daily waste of food, to which, at times we are no longer able to give a just value.”

In an unprecedented move, Pope Francis personally spoke today at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, where he marked World Food Day by calling for governments to work together to address the problem of hunger. Drawing a standing ovation, he said that population control is not the answer, but instead, a change in lifestyle and the use of resources.

“We cannot make do by saying ‘someone else will do it,” said Pope Francis

Right now, almost 900,000,000 people struggle with hunger every day. Every single second, a person dies from hunger. This is a tragedy of mind-numbing proportions. While many in the west throw food away without a second thought, people are literally dying. But, as Pope Francis said, you cannot expect someone else to address the issue.

To help the poor and hungry get access to life-saving nutrition, The Pontifical Mission Societies have created MISSIO, a new and innovative Catholic crowd-funding platform that allows you to directly assist Catholic missions and projects all over the world.

MISSIO allows you to search through life-giving and life-saving projects – ones providing for basic needs, others extending the Good News of the Gospel to remote areas, and still more, bringing the light of the Lord’s loving-kindness to those in the darkest circumstances. With MISSIO, you can choose one of these missions of Pope Francis and donate directly to them, knowing that 100% of your donation will go directly there. You can also share them on social media and reignite the discussion and remind people of these forgotten situations, so others can support the projects also.

Launched by Pope Francis himself, the MISSIO platform offers a direct connection to change-makers who work on the “front lines” making a difference for the poor and forgotten through direct, daily service.

MISSIO is powered by The Pontifical Mission Societies, the Catholic Church’s official support organization for overseas missions since 1822, providing for a global network of people who are making a difference for communities in need around the globe.

Remember the words of Isaiah 58:10:

If you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.

Check out MISSIO today and start giving!

Credit: ucatholic

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