PART III: LIFE IN CHRIST
Section Two: The Ten Commandments
Chapter 2: “You Shall Love Your Neighbor As Yourself”
Article 7, The Seventh Commandment
VI. Love for the Poor (cont’d)
§ 2444 “The Church’s love for the poor…is a part of her constant tradition.” This love is inspired by the Gospel of the Beatitudes, of the poverty of Jesus, and of His concern for the poor (CA 57; cf. Luke 6:20-22, Matthew 8:20; Mark 12:41-44). Love for the poor is even one of the motives for the duty of working so as to “be able to give to those in need” (Ephesians 4:28b). It extends not only to material poverty, but also to the many forms of cultural and religious poverty (cf. CA 57).
§ 2445 Love for the poor is incompatible with immoderate love of riches or their selfish use:
- “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you [pertaining to the death of Christ]” (James 5:1-6).
§ 2446 St. John Chrysostom vigorously recalls this: “Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs” (HIL 2, 5: PG 48, 992). “The demands of justice must be satisfied first of all; that which is already due in justice is not to be offered as a gift of charity” (AA 8 § 5):
- “When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice” (ReP 3, 21: PL 77, 87).
Tomorrow – Love for the Poor (to be continued)
(Part III, Section 2, Chapter 2, Article 7 – to be continued)
[Editor’s Note: The abbreviations in today’s posting are noted below.]
- “AA” – “Apostolicam Actuositatem [Apostolate of the Laity]”, Vatican Council II
- “CA” – Pope St. John Paul II (May 1991), “Centesimus Annus [Hundredth Year Anniversary of ‘Rerum Novarum’ (Of Revolutionary Change)]”
- “cf.” – “confer [compare or refer to]”
- “HIL” – St. John Chrysostom, “Homiliae in Lazarum [Homilies on Lazarus]”
- “PG” – “Patrologia Graeca [Greek Patrology]”, an enormous collection of writings of the Church Fathers and other ecclesiastical writers in the Greek language published by J. P. Migne, (Paris, 1857‑1866 A.D.)
- “PL” – “Patrologia Latina [Latin Patrology]”, an enormous collection of writings of the Church Fathers and other ecclesiastical writers in the Latin language published by J. P. Migne, (Paris, 1841‑1855 A.D.)
- “ReP” – St. Gregory the Great, “Regula Pastoralis [Pastoral Rule]”