This blog is by the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity , a community of apostolic women religious and our way of carrying out our little piece of the mission of God. There are posts by members of the Missionary Cenacle Family (Laity, brothers, priests and sisters)
Our chief effort is to develop a missionary spirit in the laity, with the goal that every Catholic be an apostle. Learn more about us at www.msbt.org
We are part of a family in the Church, the Missionary Cenacle Family.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Evangelization and the Preferential Option for the Poor
Testimony to Christ's charity, through works of justice,
peace, and development, is part and parcel of evangelization... Benedict XVI -
Caritas in Vertitate
Between evangelization and human advancement - development
and liberation - there are in fact profound links. Paul VI - EvangeliiNuntiandi
" And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say
to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for
me.' " Matthew 25:40
The necessary link between human advancement and
evangelization spoken of by Paul VI is reiterated in Benedict XVFs latest
encyclical. He reminds us that we are not only responsible for our own personal
growth, but also for giving testimony to Christ in works of love and for
helping others - family, friends, fellow parishioners, members of the Cenacle
family, neighbors, fellow citizens of our country, and even people all around
the globe. A particular emphasis of this love is the preferential option for
the poor "which requires that the [needy], the marginalized and in all
cases those whose living conditions interfere with their proper growth should
be the focus of particular concern." (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of
the Church - 182). These deeds of charity, which show this special concern, are
traditionally referred to as the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
Father Judge not only undertook these works of mercy in
traditional ways, but looked for ways to do them in the particular
circumstances of early 20th North America. To mention 2 such efforts: he led
the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity to staff the settlement
house which the Rev. Dr. White was developing in Brooklyn - Gold Street - to counteract
the influence of the Protestant institutions and to care for recent Catholic
immigrants. It was a center, not only of apostolate, but also of the social
work outreach that was soon to grow in Catholic circles. Father also made it
possible for members of the clergy who battled with alcoholism to serve as
chaplains at various Cenacle missions, since before Alcoholics Anonymous, there
was not suitable help for these men. And the Cenacle family has continued these
works of mercy and many others, in institutional ways and particularly as
individuals in the providence of everyday life.
It is a happy paradox that in helping others - giving of
ourselves - we often receive a gift of developing latent talents and in turn
being helped by those we aim to help. Each of us needs to think about what we
are currently doing to care for the needs of others, how we can improve the
service that we offer, and how we can get others involved in this work. It
could be that we could volunteer with groups that manage soup kitchens and food
pantries; perhaps it is to develop professional skills so that people in need
have access to clean water or to instruct people who are illiterate, etc.;
maybe, for the laity especially, it is to take an active role in civic affairs,
and advocate for measures that meet the pressing needs in our local
communities, home countries, and in international hotspots. However, we need to
keep in mind, that no government structures can replace the personal contact
and concern of individuals and local groups that are right on the ground in
areas in want.
Perhaps it is time to question ourselves, knowing that each
of us needs to personalize this examen:
How am I providing for the material and spiritual needs of those Our Lord has placed around me? What more could I be doing ?
Am I familiar with the Church's social doctrine and do I help others understand the power of these principles?
Is my prayer narrow and concerned only with my own and local needs? Or does it reach to global concerns?
Do stories of want in the media move me to pray for those involved? And to get involved myself in alleviating the sufferings of others? Theresa Panzera Ad Hoc Committee for the New Evangelization