The Cries of Our Sisters and Brothers Living in Poverty
by Sister Mary Beth Moore
“Like [the Good Samaritan] we need only have a pure and simple desire to be a people, a community constant and tireless in the effort to include, integrate and lift up the fallen.” Pope Francis Tutti Fratelli, #77
That is complex, say the experts.
Perhaps is it simple:
Create the conditions so that all human beings may have:
A loving home
A good education
Good health care
A secure dwelling.
Lack any one of these human goods and you are poor.
Possess them all, and you are rich.
The idea that there is not enough is a lie.
But simple does not mean easy.
Responding to the cries of the fallen
requires that we act in community.
Anyone who tries to face injustice alone soon gives up,
or becomes cynical and angry.
“Solidarity means much more than sporadic acts of generosity.
It means thinking and acting in terms of community. It means that the lives of all are prior to the appropriation of goods by a few. It also means combatting the structural causes of poverty…It means confronting the empire of money.” Pope Francis, Tutti Frattelli. #116
Out of the “pure and simple desire to be a people” comes solidarity.
A beautiful word, that carries within it
the sense of struggling together as equals,
each one bringing gifts and vulnerabilities to the work for justice.
In Spanish it’s la lucha, the struggle, a single shared work, difficult but life-giving, woven together of many many meetings, frustrations and joys,
And of course, celebration:
music, laughter, delicious food, wine and dancing.
There will always be cries on this earth
Rich and poor alike know sickness, tragedy,
betrayal, error, earthquakes, floods, fires.
And the mystery at the heart of innocent suffering. Why?
Maybe eliminating poverty can never be a master plan
Maybe the work is more like a quilt in progress where
each one brings their patch–solid, striped, polka dot, paisley
and sews it ever so slowly to the whole.
Let each one, architect and aviator, barber and babysitter,
Caterer, caretaker, doctor, dishwasher.
(you see where we’re going with this… )
Join the community
And learn how choices of their daily round connect to the grand project.
Let each one look deeply within
To nurture that “pure and simple desire to be a people…”
Asking not only, “What more must I do? “
But also, “Who must I become?”