This poor one cried out and the LORD heard, and from all his distress he saved him.” – Psalms 34:7
Throughout salvation history, God answers the cries of the poor and shares in their suffering.
His response is always a saving and healing act. In the World Day of the Poor, we join God in responding to the poor and ensuring our brothers and sisters in need do not feel alone or abandoned. Pope Francis says that to hear and respond to their cries, we must be in relationship and get to know people who are poor. He encourages parishes around the world to join in solidarity with people who are poor in their communities through a communal action, like praying together or sharing a meal.
HERE ARE 5 WAYS YOU CAN OBSERVE THE WORLD DAY OF THE POOR:
1. PRAY FOR THE POOR.
There are so many people who need our prayers. If you’re overwhelmed and not sure where to start, try praying with your newsfeed. As you see headlines about what’s happening around the world, pause and pray for the people affected by those stories.
2. LEARN ABOUT THE CAUSES OF POVERTY AND WORK TO CHANGE THEM.
There are many reasons why people around the world are trapped in poverty: lack of jobs, war and climate change that affects what farmers can grow are only a few examples. We can raise our voices together to ask our government to support policies that help address these causes of poverty. Advocate on behalf of people who are hungry and living in poverty by sending a letter to your Representatives and Senators in Congress at support.crs.org/act/nourish-change-13.
3. SUPPORT THE CHURCH’S OUTREACH TO THE POOR.
One way to care for the poor around the world is to support the work of Catholic Relief Services, the international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. CRS is motivated by the example of Jesus Christ to assist poor and suffering people in more than 100 countries. Go to crs.org/ways-to-give to help our brothers and sisters in need.
4. MAKE CARING FOR THE POOR PART OF YOUR ROUTINE.
Do you buy coffee, chocolate or Christmas gifts? One way to support low-income workers around the world is by buying things you use on a regular basis from organizations that pay a fair wage. If you drink coffee or tea, look for a fair trade label, which means that the farmers who harvest the coffee or tea are paid fairly and work in safe conditions. As you begin your Christmas shopping, consider buying gifts from around the world that are produced and traded ethically. You can find a list of ethical companies at ethicaltrade.crs.org/guide.
5. PRACTICE THE CORPORAL WORKS OF MERCY.
The Corporal Works of Mercy are drawn from Jesus’ life and teachings. They call us to: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, visit the sick and imprisoned, bury the dead and give alms to the poor. Pope Francis added a new work of mercy: to care for God’s creation. The Corporal Works of Mercy offer a clear model and starting point for how to care for our neighbors in need.