Contemplata aliis Tradere

A meagre contribution to the mission and work of the Order of Preachers: my reflections, thoughts, ideas and the occasional rant on matters mainly theological, philosophical and ecclesiastical, drawn primarily from my reading and experience of life and the world. Striving to be always Catholic, firmly Christian and essentially Dominican, flavoured with dashes of Von Balthasar.

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Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

A son of the English Province of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans); born in Malaysia but have lived in the USA, Singapore, the UK & the Philippines for varying durations. A pilgrim and way-farer, a searcher for Truth on the journey of Life... "Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!" - Hilaire Belloc

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Lord hears the Cry of the Poor...

Today, the 'Make Poverty History' rally gathers in Edinburgh to petition the leaders of the G8 Nations to show mercy and justice for the poor, for those are the marks of righteous and God-fearing leadership:

"Is not this the sort of fast that pleases me: to break unjust fetters, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free and to break all yokes? Is it not sharing your food with the hungry, and sheltering the homeless poor; if you see someone lacking clothes to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own kin? Then your light will blaze out like the dawn and your wound be quickly healed over… If you do away with the yoke, the clenched fist and malicious words, if you deprive yourself for the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, your light will rise in the darkness and your darkest hour will be like noon. The Lord will always guide you, will satisfy your needs in the scorched land…"
- Isaiah 58:6-11

In solidarity with the poor, the richer nations are urged to give voice and power to those without, to hear the cries of the poor and to make a commitment to eradicate poverty, in line with the vision and faith of the Church:

"Man should regard the external things that he legitimately possesses not only as his own but also as common in the sense that they should be able to benefit not only him but also others. On the other hand, the right of having a share of earthly goods sufficient for oneself and one's family belongs to everyone. The Fathers and Doctors of the Church held this opinion, teaching that men are obliged to come to the relief of the poor and to do so not merely out of their superfluous goods. If one is in extreme necessity, he has the right to procure for himself what he needs out of the riches of others. Since there are so many people prostrate with hunger in the world, this sacred council urges all, both individuals and governments, to remember the aphorism of the Fathers, 'Feed the man dying of hunger, because if you have not fed him, you have killed him', and really to share and employ their earthly goods, according to the ability of each, especially by supporting individuals or peoples with the aid by which they may be able to help and develop themselves."

We are urged to prayer and action, uniting ourselves in genuine Christ-like compassion with the poor. We are called to look upon the faces of our brothers and sisters, so many of whom languish in poverty. We would not ignore the cries and needs of our blood relatives... why then do we ignore those with whom we share in the Blood of Christ?

"The scandal of poverty is that it rips apart what Christ has made one. Poverty is not just an economic condition, the lack of food and clothing or employment.It tears apart the human family. It alienates us from our brothers and sisters. Lazarus at the door of the rich man's house is not merely excluded from sharing his food but from sitting at his table. The unbridgeable abyss that separates
them after death merely reveals what has been the case during their lifetimes. In our world today the rift between rich and poor countries, and within these countries themselves, is becoming ever more acute... The body of Christ is dismembered... Poverty is terrible. It matters only if it is reaching out across the boundaries that separate human beings from each other, a presence with our separated brothers and sisters. What possible authority could our words about our unity in Christ have if we do not dare to make this journey? The Eucharist is the foundation of the universal human home. Would a poor person feel at home and welcomed in our communities? Would they feel their dignity was respected? Or might they feel intimidated and small? Do our buildings attract or repel? One of the ways the poor are removed from the human community is by becoming invisible and inaudible... When one arrives at Calcutta Railway Station, the beggars rush up and thrust their deformities at one. They demand to be seen, to be visible. Do we dare to look for fear of what we might see, a brother or a sister?"

Let us today join those who gather in Edinburgh and let us resolve to do all we can in word, prayer, deed and example to Make Poverty History. For the love of Christ which saved us by His precious Blood demands that we respond in love to the needs of the poor and oppressed whose cries to God for justice resound more insistently than the blood of Abel!


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