Love is the greatest sacrifice. It is also a difficult discipline. To reach out and help heal physical, mental and emotional suffering is what it means to be a Christian. Christ Himself, the Holy Father reminds us, is the one who receives help when this is given to every suffering person without exception. He Himself is present in the suffering person. The Holy Fathers letter on suffering is, as he himself says, disturbing in that it reminds us that no matter what we think being a Christian is, Christ has a different view: I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was in prison and you came to me
I say to you, as you did it to the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.
Therefore, if we would take this Christian approach to suffering, we will visit the sick, be concerned about the imprisoned, become involved in the hunger of the poor at home and abroad, forsake the ethnic slur. If we remember that they are Christ.
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Veronica Treanor, an anthropologist, is a former editor of Catholic Near East Magazine.
Tags: Christianity Unity Poor/Poverty War