(Larry’s column appeared in the Feb. 18 edition of the Denver Catholic Register.)
How can I help?
That is a beautiful question. And those who answer it by serving the hungry and the homeless are performing acts of mercy.
Yet, charity is something each of us can do in every moment of every day. It’s simply saying “hello” and “God bless.” It’s listening to your neighbor. Helping your child. The most important thing may seem like getting your child to soccer practice. It’s really getting them to Mass, to the Eucharist, to confession. It’s sharing the love that you have for Jesus Christ.
The greatest charitable act that we can do—as parents—is to share our faith with our children. If you are raising children of faith, children who believe in Jesus Christ, they will take that charity into the world.
It’s not easy. Looking back, I thank God that my picture was not used as the poster boy image for the seven deadly sins. We’re all broken. We’re all searching for one thing, God. Fortunately, he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to search for us, searching our hearts to bring us home.
Pope Francis said that, to be like Christ, “we should not put ourselves above others, but indeed lower ourselves, place ourselves at the service of others, become small with the small and poor with the poor. It is regrettable to see a Christian who does not want to lower himself, who does not want to serve.”
At Catholic Charities—supported by your time, talent and treasure—we serve those we may not know. But that’s not separate from serving those that you do know. They’re both charitable activities. Charity may be giving something to someone: a coat, a sandwich, a place to sleep. That’s important. But charity is also living love and mercy at home, in the Church, in our neighborhoods and in the public square. When you truly think about your neighbors as yourself, it changes the whole dynamic of charity.
If that continues to happen, Catholic Charities will remain vigorous because the graces of so many lives lived close to Christ can’t help but overflow into our mission of Family and Child Care Services, Shelter Services and Women’s Services.
Visit Catholic Charities of the Denver Archdiocese at www.ccdenver.org or call 303-742-0828 to learn more, volunteer or make a donation.