A high bar indeed:
397. Today we tend to defend our spaces of privacy and enjoyment too much, and we easily allow ourselves to be infected by individualistic consumerism. Hence, our option for the poor is in danger of remaining on a theoretical or merely emotional level, without truly impacting our behavior and our decisions.
It’s less a matter of divesting ourselves of leisure but more how we fill such times. Is it inclusive of others? Or do we withdraw from the circumstances of those around us? It may be likely that those who indulge a certain defensiveness to those in need may be closed off to those around us. If so, then it is indeed our problem.
Variations on a theme by Pope Benedict:
What is needed is a permanent stance expressed in concrete options and deeds (Deus Caritas Est 28, 31) that avoids any paternalistic attitude. We are asked to devote time to the poor, provide them kind attention, listen to them with interest, stand by them in the most difficult moments, choosing to spend hours, weeks, or years of our life with them, and striving to transform their situation from within their midst. We cannot forget that that is what Jesus himself proposed with the way he acted and with his words: “when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.” (Lk 14:13).
For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.