John Chrysostom's Love For The Poor

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“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.” (St. John Chrysostom, CCC 2446) In the section on “Love for the Poor”, gives a very direct explanation on what the relationship of the Church and the poor should be. For many, this teaching seems radical and impractical, calling Christians to a way of life that seems uncomfortable at the very least. Truly, in Western society it is easy to have a certain disconnect from such entreations since many do not often encounter those who are commonly understand to be the poor. Yes, there may be rare encounters with homeless people in larger cities, but even those people are often dismissed as not actually poor, since it seems that it is their own bad decisions which dictate their circumstances.…show more content…
There seems to be no easy answers, only principles that point in the right directions, including those of solidarity and identification. Solidarity is that understanding that all of humanity is interdepedent and so the pain of one is the pain of all. It is not a static awareness that leads to wishing good things for others, but rather an active participation that works towards the common good. Solidarity must flow from identification with the poor, which is not just imaging what its like to be poor and then trying to act out of how it feels. Identification very simply is coming into one's true identity. For humankind, that means understanding that all are indeed poor in their very essence. Yes, some people may have more material poverty then others, but this does not change the reality that all are equal in poverty. From this embrace of humanity's universal poverty can flow a better understanding of what it means to serve the poor. It is not about someone above handing out charity to someone lower, but rather one poor man sharing with

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