Preferential Option for the poor

Preferential Option for the poor

Montfort experienced poverty. This thing is obvious. Many biographers dealt with this topic as we know from our tender years of novitiate. Needless to add more.

My emphasis will be more on the evangelical vision of poverty of Louis-Marie who anticipates a theology emphasized by Vatican II.

Who are the poor? The texts of the Magisterium are innumerable which state that the poor are those who suffer inhumane conditions for food, housing, access to healthcare, education, employment and basic freedom. This is a serious deprivation of material, social and cultural aspects that undermines the dignity of the person. “The ‘poor’ in the multiple dimensions of poverty, are the oppressed, the marginalized, the elderly, the sick, the children and all who are considered and treated as the ‘last’ in society” (Vita Consecrata, 82). Poverty is therefore not limited to material poverty. The societal dimension of poverty is essential: the poor are “the last.”

The justification for this preferential option for the poor belongs, says the Magisterium, to the heart of the faith. By living, the Christian “imitates the life of Christ” (SRS 42). If the Church “shows a preferential love for the poor and the voiceless, [it is] because the Lord has identified himself with them in a special way (Mt 25, 40)” (Ecclesia in Asia, No. 34). According to the unequivocal words of the Gospel, “in the person of the poor there is a special presence of the Son of God that requires the Church to have a preferential option for them” (Novo Millennio Ineunte). It is the Lord himself, according to Matthew 25, who just challenges us to face tragedies of total indigence (SRS 13). Since Jesus came to “preach the good news to the poor” (Mt 11: 5; Lk 7: 22), it is normal that the Church makes her own the “option for the poor and excluded” (Tertio Millennio adveniente No. 51).

Paul VI in Bogota in 1968 added about the poor: “You are the Christ for us … you are a sign, a face, a mystery of the presence of Christ… you are a sacrament, a sacred image of the Lord among us! “. This is what Montfort anticipated 300 years ago!
( Courrier gabriéliste, Canada, no. 196)