Let Us Be Servants of the Poor

One of the central principles of Catholic thought is the preferential option for the poor, expressed by Pope John Paul II as “a call to special solidarity with the humble and the weak, with those who are suffering and weeping, who are humiliated and left on the fringes of life and society, in order to have them realize more fully their own dignity as human persons and children of God.”

Now is a good time to heed that call, a time to become, to use the words of St. Vincent de Paul, “Servants of the poor.” The economic crisis is affecting everyone, but among those hardest hit are the poor. We see reports every day from food pantries around the country that their shelves are bare, even as increasing numbers of people are knocking at the door seeking assistance.

To quote Vincent: “My God! What a wonderful title and what a beautiful description … Servants of the poor! It is the same as saying Servants of Jesus Christ, for He regards as done to Himself what is done to them. What did He do while on earth but serve the poor?”