Mind you, this is not just limited to those on the other side of the tracks. Studies indicate that among women fifteen to forty-four years old who have dropped out of high school, more than half of those who give birth do so while unmarried. And this is true not only of those at the bottom of the economic ladder. Among those considered to be middle class—nearly half of the women who give birth are unmarried. Yes, we are called to reach out to those in need, much as Jesus did on that hillside, the same hillside where He is believed to have delivered the Beatitudes.
We want to help the poor? Then by all means let’s do our part by helping at the soup kitchen or the food pantry. Let us provide our donations to St. Vincent de Paul and support ‘out-of-poverty’ and Habitat for Humanity programs, but keep in mind that Jesus calls us to provide for those spiritual needs as well. We are called to give 'preferential option for the poor', but that entails more than simply providing jobs and placing food on the table. "One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God." As Saint Agnes demonstrates for us through her life we commemorate today, it begins with us and the choices we make with our lives. What are we doing to demonstrate and live-out the virtues of chastity, temperance, or charity in our lives? What are we doing to demonstrate the importance of marriage and family? Want to help the poor? It takes systemic change, beginning with the most fundamental societal system--marriage and the family. It goes beyond well-meaning programs and writing checks. We need to go to church. We need to pray. We need to encourage healthy Christian family and married life. We need to live and share our faith. Embrace and live the Beatitudes and the Gospel of Life in all that we do. More than a Habitat House, it requires that we 'dwell in the House of the Lord.' Make a great day!