Let’s think about “Sacrifices born of love.”
187. This charity, which is the spiritual heart of politics, is always a preferential love shown to those in greatest need; it undergirds everything we do on their behalf. [Cf. Sollicitudo Rei Socialis(30 December 1987), 42: AAS 80 (1988), 572-574; Centesimus Annus (1 May 1991), 11]
St John Paul II is certainly a worthy guide from whom to take advice. But the preferential love for the needy and lost was a constant theme in Jesus’ public ministry. He certainly rubbed shoulders with the well-off and the rich. But his focus was on those who needed him the most.
Only a gaze transformed by charity can enable the dignity of others to be recognized and, as a consequence, the poor to be acknowledged and valued in their dignity, respected in their identity and culture, and thus truly integrated into society.
For too many people, all that is needed is respect and dignity. Once given and received, new possibilities beckon:
That gaze is at the heart of the authentic spirit of politics. It sees paths open up that are different from those of a soulless pragmatism. It makes us realize that “the scandal of poverty cannot be addressed by promoting strategies of containment that only tranquilize the poor and render them tame and inoffensive. How sad it is when we find, behind allegedly altruistic works, the other being reduced to passivity”. [Address to Participants in the World Meeting of Popular Movements (28 October 2014): AAS 106 (2014), 852] What are needed are new pathways of self-expression and participation in society. Education serves these by making it possible for each human being to shape his or her own future. Here too we see the importance of the principle of subsidiarity, which is inseparable from the principle of solidarity.
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