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Preferential Option for the Poor

Q. What is the preferential option for the poor? 


A. The so-called “preferential option for the poor” is the Christian orientation of love and service towards those who are weak and vulnerable in society. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that “'The Church’s love for the poor … is a part of her constant tradition.’ This love is inspired by the Gospel of the Beatitudes, of the poverty of Jesus, and of his concern for the poor…It extends not only to material poverty but also to the many forms of cultural and religious poverty” (CCC § 2444). One saint who lived this out in an extraordinary way is St. Teresa of Calcutta, whose feast day is September 8th. In her simple wisdom, she writes, “Because a pure heart can see God in the Poor—a humble heart can love and serve Jesus in the Poor. Remember the five fingers— you—did—it—to—Me (Mt. 25:40)” (Taken from Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light, a must-read). When we live out this teaching, we love Jesus Himself in those we serve. Let us always remember to keep the poor close to our hearts and show them our love through action.  

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