Tag Archives: charitable work

Defining the Church’s charitable mission

Today, Pope Benedict spoke to the volunteers who work with the Cor Unum group led by Cardinal Robert Sarah. He defines very clearly charitable work. Pay attention Communion and Liberation people!!!

I am grateful for the opportunity to greet you as you meet under the auspices of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” in this European Year of Volunteering.

Let me begin by thanking Cardinal Robert Sarah for the kind words he has addressed to me on your behalf. I would also like to express my deep gratitude to you and, by extension, to the millions of Catholic volunteers who contribute, regularly and generously, to the Church’s charitable mission throughout the world. At the present time, marked as it is by crisis and uncertainty, your commitment is a reason for confidence, since it shows that goodness exists and that it is growing in our midst. The faith of all Catholics is surely strengthened when they see the good that is being done in the name of Christ (cf. Philem 6).

For Christians, volunteer work is not merely an expression of good will. It is based on a personal experience of Christ. He was the first to serve humanity, he freely gave his life for the good of all. That gift was not based on our merits. From this we learn that God gives us himself. More than that: Deus Caritas est – God is love, to quote a phrase from the First Letter of Saint John (4:8) which I employed as the title of my first Encyclical Letter. The experience of God’s generous love challenges us and liberates us to adopt the same attitude towards our brothers and sisters: “You received with paying, give without pay” (Mt 10:8). We experience this especially in the Eucharist when the Son of God, in the breaking of bread, brings together the vertical dimension of his divine gift with the horizontal dimension of our service to our brothers and sisters.

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Charitable work and the common fund: 2 wings of the Christian witness

candles.jpgI always look for evidence –that is, I am looking for light on a situation that may not be very clear for me– i.e., for the reality, the truth and beauty of a vigorous Catholic life by seeing if people are willing to live the Gospel. We do our best given the graces we’ve received and our own open hearts. I find myself in need to know that others belief that that the promises (and extraordinary claims) of Christ are true and are lived. Novel, right? Not really. We Catholics have been concerned for the welfare of others since the time Jesus and because our Christianity has its roots in Judaism, even before Jesus. Just read the Old Testament and dig into the narrative there. But it is Jesus gives a new lens by which to see life and to live differently today by the fact of the Paschal Mystery (His life, death, resurrection and ascension).

When one follows the lay ecclesial movement of Communion and Liberation (CL) you quickly find out that you belong to a group of friends larger than oneself and that we aim to care for the needs (the faith, education, culture, social assistance) of others. The idea is rooted in what we read int he Acts of the Apostles and various letters of Saint Paul. Our doing good is not just another forum of activism. It is based on the Savior’s life and example.
Here are two points made by Father Julián Carrón, President of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation and the successor of Father Luigi Giussani, to flesh out these two wings of our companionship –either as Catholics who live their life only in the parish, and for those who belong to a group like CL.

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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