Helping Here and There: Emphasis on everywhere // Aiutare Qua e Là: Enfasi Ovunque

“Brothers and sisters:
As you excel in every respect, in faith, discourse,
knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love we have for you,
may you excel in this gracious act also.

For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.
Not that others should have relief while you are burdened,
but that as a matter of equality
your abundance at the present time should supply their needs,
so that their abundance may also supply your needs,
that there may be equality.
As it is written:
Whoever had much did not have more,
and whoever had little did not have less
.”

(St. Paul to the Corinthians, written in Bible 2 COR 8:7, 9, 13-15)

2nd reading for Sunday mass on July 1, 2018

I loved this reading immediately because it spoke to a question that I know many missionary friends and I myself have considered most especially after reading books that make a great case for making missionaries within the local culture of interest to be effective both in reaching hearts and spending less money on overseas travel and “unnecessary” insurance/living expenses.

I’d like to point out that there is a need for exactly that argument in most cases, because the great majority of the world lives around poverty and will not be traveling, much less have the time to volunteer or study world religions via experience or classes.

However, there are some cases that look differently. Do we need to invest differently in what the socioeconomic level standards consider ‘influencers’ among some cultures? My friend Marie is a ‘different’ case, and that’s worth discerning as she has a history of knowing the Lord and becoming closer to Jesus through work in Nepal and poorer communities within Europe. I have found myself as a ‘different’ case as I initially learned more about Central America (via my first mission trip to Guatemala) and became involved with a God-inspired, God-given, completely-God-accomplished passion acted out in mission work within Peru during young adult years.

I have learned the truth of such a passage: those who ‘we’ (U.S. Americans) consider in “impossibly difficult” living conditions both here in the U.S. and globally actually have a great advantage over the middle and upper class “lucky ones.”

  1. Space and resources must be shared: homes are smaller. This creates a necessity of family bonding via sharing resources within the home. Children share rooms, toys, meals, snacks, and experiences. Parents cannot afford childcare apart from relatives or occasional help, so they need to be on the pulse of their children’s care or (yes I realize worse conditions exist), in the case especially of single-parent homes, this could backfire in that wages are so low that kids have to stay with hesitant neighbors/relatives or average/questionable daycare facilities as the parents work as much as possible just to keep the most basic resources available for their children OR the parents may receive government aid that psycho-socially hurts the parents and makes the family dynamic more difficult for everyone involved.
  2. Free events must be found: staying involved in volunteering, church spirituality and community, and offerings for school events, library events, small driving weekend trips, park recreation, etc. This allows kids to socialize with kids from all over if parental supervision is provided and transportation is accessible. This assumes that the family can feel safe in communities and know enough about the community’s expectations to be able to get involved.
  3. Team commitment to family well-being: each family member is trying to chip in, do their best, and help the family get to a better place and ensure the basic resources needed.

I do understand this can backfire: screens become babysitters, parents work too often and see their kids rarely, teenagers feel like they take up space and find homes elsewhere…this can happen without the HUGE undertaking of a life living out virtue in small and big things every minute of the day, especially when that becomes the hardest choice. This does not have to happen, but it can happen to people with good intentions but the wrong idea of how to plan out virtue in their lives (by living apart from natural law that the Catholic faith does live out over time- there is a reason for so much of tradition based on Biblical Scripture).

How have I learned about this?

Click ‘Leer mas’ blue button to read what values in Natural Law cause in any community.

Not only by doing volunteering within my neighborhood, community, state, and country.

I learned this the moment I stepped off the plane into Guatemalan land.

I kept learning this in new, more stunning, in-depth, profound ways that affected my lifestyle and highest ambitions through years in Peru.

I saw virtue through faith (and I saw families in the same community with a lack of virtue…and I saw that difference each time I entered into volunteering).

Virtue is learned by openness of mind and curiosity toward what is good and what life means, plus veracity to find Natural Law. Again, the hack here is the Bible and Catholic saints’ autobiographies to know how to live a life of prayer and find meaning in sacrifice. This is the road to joy, and ‘poor’ families often have less materialistic distractions, which allows time to hear out the voices in the community who have found this path and want to give back to “the poor”…who become rich in virtue.

Look back at the reading: “Whoever had much did not have more,
and whoever had little did not have less
.”

Virtue gives more always, because it is the practice that Jesus Christ lived out as it was inspired by God our Father.

We continue this by seeking out the Holy Spirit’s home in ourselves and listening to how the Holy Spirit asks to act in our lives through an educated, practiced, extremely-well-formed conscience on Natural Law.

May we all become rich in virtue of Natural Law applied in our lives through a relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ, for the greater glory of creation’s God. Amen.

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