By Ambrosio A. Valerio Rojas
CCSJ/AMMR, Migrant Support Officer/Translator
“The distinguishing mark of the Christian, today more than ever, must be love for the poor, the weak and the suffering. Living this demanding commitment requires a total reversal of the supposed values that make people seek only their good: power, pleasure, the unscrupulous accumulation of wealth. Yes, it is precisely to this radical conversion that Christ’s disciples are called” (St John Paul II)
Today we see how charity, goodwill and helping others suffer from a social virus that seems to affect the protection and care of the most vulnerable communities.
This virus is nothing more than the overexposure of social aid campaigns by media networks when covering or pursuing particular agendas.
Meanwhile, we are slowly beginning to notice how Timothy’s principle of “charity born of a pure heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned” (1 Tim 1:5) is fading.
However, the words of St John Paul II keep alive the sense of Timothy’s pure heart and Psalm 82:3, where the protection of the poor and the weak is advocated.
It seems that doing social work is more a matter of love of neighbour than of assistance, that sometimes only alleviates the agony of the vulnerable but not help them to overcome their needs.
We might find this kind of meaning of love in St Paul’s words in his letter to the Corinthians, when he says that “Love is… helpful… does not boast… does not seek its interest… does not regard harm received…”. Thus, we could understand that advocacy for the poor must come from the action of love.
In recent years, there has been a considerable increase in social media activity by some companies or celebrities, as well as social media marketing to get a better positioning from consumers. They are doing everything they can to gain wider acceptance.
Many of these companies are adjusting their algorithms to be more strategic and get more commercial users. This has been the fate of social support and humanitarian actions, which in many cases suffer from overexposure just to influence the public to gain mass acceptance.
However, there are some non-governmental organisations and civil associations that carefully select their partners and sponsors, trying to reach people who understand the commitment of social support and those who are pure in heart, as Timothy said: “Happy the man who cares for the poor and the weak: if disaster strikes, Yahweh will come to his help” (Ps 41:1).
This is where commitment to the social justice principles of the Church becomes important because it is not enough to give any kind of help to those in need. It must be the goodwill of love that helps us recognise our care for our brothers and sisters and motivates us to give and share.
As we come to understand our role as servants of social care, a part of us echoes St Paul’s service to the most vulnerable when he says that “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your good, he became poor so that by his poverty you might become wealthy” (2 Cor 8:9).
It is important to emphasise that the distinctive mark of the Catholic Christian must reverse this type of behaviour, which only fulfils interests contrary to the social justice of humankind.
So, the commitment that we have to protect the poor, the weak and the vulnerable is to understand and practise the meaning of the word “love” in its fullest expression every day.
To achieve that we must encourage ourselves into that conversion. Only in this way, with humility and compassion we can say that love is an act for the brave.
SOCIAL JUSTICE QUOTE
FOR THE WEEK
“While we should continue to insist that pharmaceutical companies stop using abortion-derived cell lines, given the world-wide suffering that this [Covid-19] pandemic is causing, we affirm again that being vaccinated can be an act of charity that serves the common good.”
– US Bishop Chairmen for Doctrine
and for Pro-Life
CCSJ Social Justice Education Committee