We know the rich has much to give to the poor. And we were taken by surprise when Pope Francis told those who give others to allow themselves to receive. At UST, he said: “Become a beggar. This is what you still lack. Learn how to beg. This isn’t easy to understand… Do you know you too are poor? Do you know your own poverty and you need to receive? Do you let yourselves be evangelized by those you serve?… Do you ask the poor to give you the wisdom they have?”
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta said: “The poor people are great people. They can teach us so many beautiful things. Maybe they have nothing to eat, maybe they have no home in which to live, but they are great people.” They teach us by their faith in God, their humility, and their patience in suffering. Mother Teresa often told the story about a man whom the Sisters picked up from the drain, half eaten with worms. He was dying, but he was not bitter. Rather, he was happy and grateful, knowing that he was going to die at least with someone loving him when he was brought to the Home for the Dying. Mother Teresa said, “It was so wonderful to see the greatness of that man who could speak like that, who could die like that without blaming anybody, without cursing anybody, without comparing anything. Like an angel – this is the greatness of our people.”
St. Josemaria considered the sick and the poor his “treasures.” When he had to start Opus Dei, he was only twenty-six years old and without money. He went to the hospitals and poor districts of Madrid and begged those people to offer up their sufferings, their hours in bed, and their loneliness to God for his apostolate. And because of their prayers and mortifications, the Lord has taken Opus Dei all over the world!
The poor people are God’s gift to us. They provide us the experience to put our love into action. They allow us to help them. And in doing so, we are serving Him. “Every work of love brings a person face to face with God,” Mother Teresa said, “Only in heaven will we see how much we owe to the poor for helping us to love God better because of them.” We owe a debt of gratitude to them.
Mother Teresa said, “We call them poor, but they are rich in love!” The poor people do certainly have much to share. We should never look down on them.
(Reference: Pope Francis’ speech at UST, January 18, 2015; “Mother Teresa’s Lessons of Love & Secrets of Sanctity” by Susan Conroy; “Msgr. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer: a profile of the Founder of Opus Dei” by Salvador Bernal)