Pope Francis on Encountering the Poor

Here is my translation of an excerpt of the Holy Father’s comments in his video message for the feast of St. Gaetano. It is a good reflection for all of us.

The original language used was Spanish, and the Vatican website translated that into Italian. I, in turn, translated them into English.

One time, I asked someone, “Do you give alms?” They said, “Yes, father.”

“And when you give alms, do you look the person in the eye?”

“Oh, I don’t know, it doesn’t occur to me.

Well, then, you haven’t encountered the people. You have thrown an alm and gone away. When you give alms, do you touch their hands or toss the coin?”

“No, I toss the coin.”

“Then, you haven’t touched the man. And if you haven’t touch him, you haven’t encountered him.”

That which Jesus teaches, above all else, is to encounter him, and encountering, help. We must know how to encounter. We must build, create, construct a culture of encounter…. To go out is to encounter ourselves. The theme is, “Encounter the most needy,” that is those who have the most need of me. With those who are going through a difficult moment, worse than what I am going through. There is always someone going through worse times that me, right? Always! There is always someone…. With these people, it is these persons we must encounter.”

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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