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Friday, September 01, 2006

Too soft?

Some may criticize me saying, 'Why should I help those people who won't help themselves?' 'I won't give money to a man on the street because he may use it for drugs. It's better to give to charity.'
Is that so? Really? I don't remember the Lord walking up to anyone and saying "Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps!"
It is not for us to judge those in need. Some may be lazy, or mentally ill or genuinely in need. It doesn't matter. If someone comes to you in need of food and you turn them away you will have to answer for that at the pearly gates. If you give money to someone on the streets and they buy heroin with it, they will have to answer for that as well.
However, like the Lord said to the women who was to be stoned, 'Go and sin no more.' Lets not forget that the spiritual works of mercy go hand in hand with the corporal. Giving a hot meal to a prostitute is different than distributing condoms to her. Your actions must lead souls to heaven, not hell. So admonish the sinner and feed the hungry.
If we can offer a Catholic home for people to retreat to, we offer the first step towards hope and a new start. It is only through love and charity we can lift up people who have fallen to temptation and ultimately the devil. When people come to know God and want to live for him, they cannot fall prey to old habits.