“I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you” Acts 3:6 These are the great words of our first Pope, St Peter, when someone asked him for alms while he was going into the temple to pray. Of course, what happened next was a miracle: In the Name of Jesus Christ, St. Peter gave the man the ability to walk.
There is a great deal of talk today about social justice, but if someone is talking about patience in poverty, I have not heard it. There is a great deal of talk over what governments should do with their citizens’ money, but little talk of the need for penitents to give alms for the forgiveness of sins. It feels sometimes as if some were saying “I have no silver and gold, but what I do I have I give you, in the name of socialism, you should get benefits”
Today the politics of envy and greed abound and this development is not surprising, in fact it was predicted by our Holy Father Pope Leo XIII of holy memory in his encyclical Latiae Sanctae: an encyclical on how the Rosary is a great remedy to the evils afflicting society. (Listen to the Encyclical in Full on: The Holy Rosary Remedy for Modern Evils)
Lets look at what Pope Leo identified as one of those three evils.
“There are three influences which appear to Us to have the chief place in effecting this downgrade movement of society. These are--first, the distaste for a simple and laborious life…”
Pope Leo XIII goes onto explain how this manifests itself:
“In the workman, it evinces itself in a tendency to desert his trade, to shrink from toil, to become discontented with his lot, to fix his gaze on things that are above him, and to look forward with unthinking hopefulness to some future equalization of property.”
“Men's minds become a prey to jealousy and heart-burnings, rights are openly trampled under foot, and, finally, the people, betrayed in their expectations, attack public order, and place themselves in conflict with those who are charged to maintain it.”
I suppose if I name specific examples of movements provoking such things I will wind up getting into blog wars with their various defenders. Needless to say, there is no shortage of all of that going on today (civil disobedience, betrayed expectations, and lawlessness). Often times the anger does not only come from the lowest classes, but from the most privileged.
Pope Leo XIII had a remedy for these evils. The remedy will not be satisfactory to those intellectuals who are not satisfied with anything unless it is comprehensive; nor will it be for those activists who mask their desire for vengeance with demands of justice in their moral vanity. The remedy is meditation on joyful mysteries of the Holy Rosary.
Here he explains what we will find when meditating on those early years of the life of Christ.
“Here is the patient industry which provides what is required for food and raiment; which does so ‘in the sweat of the brow,’ which is contented with little, and which seeks rather to diminish the number of its wants than to multiply the sources of its wealth.”. (Listen to the Encyclical in Full on: The Holy Rosary Remedy for Modern Evils)
In this teaching we find the spirit of St Peter. The Catholic Church in its institution or its members does not have enough “gold and silver” to end poverty, but what we have is Jesus and that is what (or rather, Who) we can give people. With Jesus, poverty can go from unbearable to sweet (just look at the lives of the Saints). If we do not teach that possessions often hinder rather than help in the quest for salvation, then people will conclude that poverty is something to be striven against, rather than striven for.
If we tell the man with a dollar that his suffering is in vain and that he need not be patient in it then surely he will not be. If we tell the rich man that poverty is to be avoided he will probably make sure he has more than enough for himself, and not be generous in alms-giving. Both lead to more consequences here and in eternity.
“The power of God takes away or gives with the same ease in matters temporal as in matters spiritual.” said the Little Flower in an apparition as she provided money to a community of nuns in desperate need. taken from The Shower of Roses: The Miracles of St Therese. If we preach prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, men can ask God for their needs and He will grant them! The poor can have hope rather than burn with envy, and the rich will not worry about suffering want from being overly generous.
If we preach the Holy Rosary to all and teach its mysteries so mankind can meditate on the humble life of labor and poverty of our Lord, then the poor man strives to endure like Christ, and the rich man seeks to give alms generously in order to become more like Christ. I for one will not be putting any confidence in our Pope, or President, Congress or leaders to end poverty or provide for our needs. Rather let us all put our hope in our Heavenly King and Queen and ask for our needs while meditating and saying the Holy Rosary.
Queen of the Holy Rosary, Pray for Us!