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Ask God for help when it’s difficult to love the poor


Shutterstock | Pavel V.Khon

Philip Kosloski - published on 09/27/22

If you find yourself repulsed by the poor and needy, ask God to help soften your heart.

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While Jesus challenges us to be generous to the poor and serve them with our whole heart, sometimes it isn’t easy to fulfill this command. Some people experience fear or disgust disgust when they encounter others in need, and try to avoid them at all costs.

Whatever our feelings may be, we can’t let them stand in the way of the Gospel mandate to serve those who are poor.

St. Vincent de Paul wrote about this feeling in a letter that is featured in the Church’s Office of Readings.

Even though the poor are often rough and unrefined, we must not judge them from external appearances nor from the mental gifts they seem to have received. On the contrary, if you consider the poor in the light of faith, then you will observe that they are taking the place of the Son of God who chose to be poor.

We must see Jesus in the poor and remind ourselves that whenever we serve the poor, we are serving Jesus.

The best way to overcome feelings of fear or disgust is to pray to God and ask him for help.

St. Vincent de Paul explains the need for divine grace in serving the poor.

[W]hen we visit the poor and needy, we try to understand the poor and weak. We sympathize with them so fully that we can echo Paul’s words: I have become all things to all men. Therefore, we must try to be stirred by our neighbors’ worries and distress. We must beg God to pour into our hearts sentiments of pity and compassion and to fill them again and again with these dispositions.

If we are lacking in compassion for the poor, we must pray to God that compassion will fill our hearts.

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