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Seeing the Poor differently

Inviting the poor brings happiness
The work in St. Martin-CSA evolves around vulnerable people, those who have disabilities, those who are sick of AIDS and many others. Jesus asks us to search happiness in giving and in sharing with such people:
{xtypo_quote}“When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your rich neighbours—for they will invite you back, and in this way you will be paid for what you did. When you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind; and you will be happy, because they are not able to pay you back. God will repay you….” (Luke 14,12-14){/xtypo_quote}
We expect to hear from Jesus: “Invite the poor and they will be happy”, but interestingly, we are told: “Invite the poor and you will be happy.

In St. Martin-CSA we have learned that there are poverties and vulnerabilities of many kinds: disabilities and sicknesses of the body but also disabilities of the heart. There are many people, who have been hurt in life, who do not trust other people, who find it difficult to share their life and love with others. Jesus is asking us to invite them into our lives, to love them and be close to them, even though they seem to be difficult characters, even though they may not be able to pay us back.

{xtypo_quote}The spirit of the Lord is on me and He anointed me.
He sent me to bring the good news to the afflicted,
to heal the broken hearted… (Isaiah 61, 1){/xtypo_quote}
.
Meeting Jesus in the poor
Jesus identifies himself with the marginalized and the least considered in society. In St. Martin-CSA we believe that we can meet Jesus in our beneficiaries. That we should not be focusing on a Jesus who is in heaven or who is very far from us. Jesus invites us to meet him in our needy brothers and sisters.
Physiotherapy with a disabled child meeting Jesus in the poor
{xtypo_quote}Then the King will say to the people on his right, ‘Come you that are blessed by my Father! Come and take as your heritage the kingdom prepared for you ever since the creation of the world. I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes, naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me’. The righteous will then answer him, ‘When, Lord did we ever see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink?  When did we ever see you a stranger and welcome you in our homes, or naked and clothe you?  When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?  In truth I tell you: so far as you did this to the least of my brothers, you did it to me. (Matthew 25, 34-40)

Anyone who welcomes a little child in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me, welcomes not me but the one who sent me. (Mark 9,37).{/xtypo_quote}

Seeing the poor as resource
In meeting the beneficiaries, we will come to a complete new understanding: that the vulnerable people are not a problem, but that they are a resource. They are a resource of love. God has entrusted them with an important mission: to help us to grow in love and to grow in solidarity; to help us remove our selfishness and to discover the love God has put in our hearts. In this way, the poor and vulnerable are not an obstacle towards the development of our communities, but they are the people who can promote the development of the heart. 

{xtypo_quote} God purposely chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise, and He chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful. He chose what the world looks down on and despises, and thinks is nothing, in order to destroy what the world thinks is important. (1 Cor. 1)

Indeed it is precisely the parts of the body that seem to be the weakest which are the most important. (1 Cor. 12, 22){/xtypo_quote}

St. Martin-CSA aims to bring together the rich and the poor, the able people and those who are vulnerable, out of the conviction that nobody is entirely weak or entirely strong. The vulnerable people have their own strengths, which are often hidden inside and not even recognized by the very people themselves. It is the task of St. Martin-CSA to bring these capacities out and to empower them. At the same time, those who are considered strong may have weaknesses in their heart, inability to share, inability to show love. In working for the poor and vulnerable we have a chance to overcome such weaknesses and to develop into more complete persons. That is why the vision of St. Martin-CSA states that we aim at integral human development of all: all people, the so-called ‘weak’ and the so-called ‘strong’. And that is what we see happening. Many of us joined the organization thinking to make changes in the lives of the poor, yet many of us have come to realize that it is we ourselves who have been changed.

Faith through action CASE STUDIES

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