Pope to Caritas Spain: Love is the most essential trait
By Thaddeus Jones
Greeting members of the Caritas Spain delegation visiting the Vatican, Pope Francis congratulated them on their 75-year anniversary of existence and the respect earned by Spanish society, beyond beliefs and ideologies, noting how Caritas manifests love, the most essential trait of human beings created in the image of God.
Communion with God and each another
The divine way of love shows the way forward for the work of Caritas, said the Pope. And as Christ calls us to communion with God and our brothers and sisters, the efforts of Caritas to build up this unity can be lost at times in individuals and society.
He highlighted the challenges to promoting this unity looking first at their work of encouraging those they serve, developing their capacities, while always accompanying them with the focus not just on results, but being present and available to their needs.
Then he noted the importance of the warm welcome offered to those needing assistance, helping them find paths forward for improvement and achieve their potential despite their and our own limitations, all with an openness to others and to God.
Giving of oneself
The Pope then spoke of a second challenge in their charitable outreach that regards providing services that make an impact on people's lives, not only meeting their needs, but also promoting their development. As Jesus taught, it is important to give, but above all to give of oneself and one's own life as a gesture that goes over and beyond concrete action when it shows the person an open door to a new life and perspective of hope.
The Lord calls on us to be a "leaven of a kingdom of justice, love and peace," the Pope continued, and He teaches us that the one who wishes to be truly great must become the servant of all.
Offering Christ's helping hand
The final challenge the Pope mentioned regards efforts to be a concrete channel of outreach for the Church, as the mystical body of Christ. Caritas shows the outstretched hand of Christ offered to those in need, he said, and that outstretched hand is also of Christ when He calls on us in our suffering brothers and sisters.
To be this helping hand means more than just managing resources and programs well and responsibly, the Pope concluded, saying it needs to be seen as an opportunity - a real vocation - for all to respond to the Lord's invitation to seek out others in need of our help.
Like the Good Samaritan who went out of his way to help the man who fell into the hands of robbers and showed him mercy, Jesus says to us, “Go and do likewise.”