The poor are in the heart of Pope Francis. He proclaimed a world day for the poor that will be held for the first time in the 33rd week of ordinary time, November 19, 2017. For that day, he wrote a message entitled, “Let us love, not by words but by deeds.” He wants to offer the Church, World Day for the Poor, “so that the whole Christian community can be a sign of Christ’s growing love for the smallest and the neediest.” He then invited “the whole Church, men and women who have good will everywhere, to turn their gaze on this day to all those who stretch out their hands and plead for our help and solidarity”

The Holy Father’s message, draws from the life of St Francis and he remarks that “just because he continues to look at Christ, Francis can see and serve him to the poor.” The Pope noted that “if we want to help change history and encourage real development, we need to hear the cry of the poor and commit to end their marginalization.”

Pope Francis also writes about how poverty challenges us “every day, in the face marked by suffering, marginalization, oppression, violence, torture and imprisonment, war, deprivation of liberty and dignity, ignorance and illiteracy, medical emergencies and lack of jobs, Humanity and slavery, Exile, extreme poverty and forced migration. “There is also poverty, the Pope highlights,” which hampers the spirit of initiative of many young people by alienating them from finding employment. “Faced with this scenario, Pope Francis stressed,” we cannot remain Passive, let alone resign. “Concluding his message, the Holy Father, underlined that,” the poor are not a problem: they are sources we can use to receive and practice in our life the essence of the gospel. ”

The Poor are Fellow Human Beings

Father Jules Chevalier was well-known to be very close to the poor. The love of the poor moves his heart with compassion. Once he wrote a message to his companions, specifically about the manner while visiting the poor. His writing can be summarized as follows:

  • Therefore, my dear brothers, take your money, your old clothes and especially your heart, and place yourself gladly on the way to the homes of the poor. The road is difficult and narrow, but keep it vibrant and have a heart for it. It is the way to heaven.
  • Hurry because the poor are hungry and hunger does not wait. Arriving in a disaster home, do not stand at the door as a bailiff carrying a schedule; Instead of coming in and greeting respectfully, they are fellow human beings.
  • Sit if you are offered a chair. Show your hospitality. Learn to focus on the interests of all family members, the number of children, their age, their circumstances, their resources, and you immediately gain their trust.
  • Talk to everyone in the house. Look with loving gazes to everyone, smile at them, little puncture to the children, and you will have all the sympathy from that house. Then hear the story of their suffering; Listen patiently.
  • Often the homes you visit are a mess, it is complete confusion, which serves as a bed of no shape; Dirty and naked children. Focus on your passion; It does not take you too far. Be patient … be patient. You often hear things that will surprise you.
  • Still have great tenderness and spirit of humility …. Multiply your charity, … charity, charity is the best of liver repentance tools. It makes people believe, makes others love, makes them wish; It leads to heaven, not only for those who receive it, but for those of you who run it. Amen.

To be with the Poor

Both Pope Francis and Fr. Jules Chevalier share the same view that as followers of Jesus Christ, we have to draw closer to the poor. Jesus was born in poverty, He lived with the poor, and He was poor when he died on the cross. Sometimes it seems the church has forgotten it. Jesus not only said the words of love, but he also lived it. The spirit of God’s love for the poor manifested clearly. There is absolutely no gap between what He said and what he lived. Faithful followers of Jesus are those who proclaim the word of God and live it.

Further readings:

Tiré de MR 68 :13. Sur la nécessité de visiter les pauvres et sur la manière de faire ces visites dans Manuscrits sur le Sacré-Cœur de Jésus, pp. 120-121


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