Tag Archives: poor

Remembering Lawrence

We remember Lawrence the deacon on August 19. He’s a favorite of mine whom I followed through the many churches and works of art in Rome that witness his influence on the Roman church. Some years ago I worked with others to produce a video on Lawrence. (See above.)

Lawrence reminds us that the Poor are the Treasures of the Church. I’m wondering if a good bit of Pope Francis’ present popularity comes from his strong commitment to the poor. He’s reminding the church-and the world too–how important the poor are   to Jesus and those who follow him.

Augustine in a sermon on Lawrence says that you don’t have to be in charge of a major relief effort to be like Lawrence, however. Each of us, treasuring the poor in our own way, follow Jesus.

“The garden of the Lord, brethren, includes – yes, it truly includes –  not only the roses of martyrs but also the lilies of virgins, and the ivy of married people, and the violets of widows. There is absolutely no kind of human beings, my dearly beloved, who need to look down on their calling.”

We’ all grow in the garden of the Lord. That’s a nice way of saying we’re all have something to give. Who are the poor we  treasure?

Blessed are the poor in spirit

There is no doubt that the poor find it easier than the rich to receive the blessing of humility; for gentleness goes with poverty just as pride more commonly goes with riches. Nevertheless,  many rich people find that their wealth does not swell them up with pride: rather, they do good and benevolent things with it. For these people the greatest treasure is what they spend in relieving the distress and hardship of others.

  In the virtue of humility people of every kind and every standing meet together, because though they differ in their means they share a common purpose. Their inequality of wealth makes no difference if they are equal in spiritual blessings.
  What kind of poverty, then, is blessed? The kind that is not in love with earthly things and does not seek worldly riches: the kind that longs to be filled with the blessings of heaven.
Pope Leo the Great


Haiti: The God of Tough Places, the Lord of Burnt Men

Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, NJ  2010   $29.95

Fr. Richard Frechette, CP, Passionist priest and medical doctor, has served the poor in the tough, burnt land of Haiti through floods, revolutions and the recent catastrophic earthquake of January 12, 2010 which left 200,000 dead.

There’s not much he hasn’t seen. But here’s a book of stories that reveal what all of us find hard to see: there’s a mighty, joyful goodness in that tough, burnt land. Frechette uncovers the graces of God in the chaos, violence and poverty of “Calvary hill,” Haiti today.

He has eyes that see in the dark, beyond the defeat most see. His stories of Haiti’s poor, especially its children in the pediatric hospital and slum schools he directs, reveal  goodness, spiritual strength and wisdom. Here the poor speak, whom Jesus called blessed.

The book’s twenty or so stories introduce us to a land that few of us have a heart to visit, but all of us should learn from.  Most are set in the context of the feasts of the Christian liturgical year, which Fr. Rick says,  “empowers us to make grace present, concretely in our world.”

With poetic insight and faith he tells us about grace present.

Available at www.crossplace.com

Passionist Press

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Union City, NJ  07087

201 867 6400