“And again I say to you: It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of Heaven”.
In the first centuries of Christianity
pagans said about Christians:
“See how they love each other.”
The love for God and neighbour
was the characteristic
of the first Christians.
This love was expressed
through the daily practice
of the Works of Mercy.
To feed the hungry,
to clothe the naked,
to shelter the homeless,
to instruct the ignorant
at a personal sacrifice
by the first Christians
as the right thing to do.
Surplus goods were considered
to be superfluous,
and therefore to be used
to help the needy members
of the Mystical Body.
The first ever CVM soup kitchen was held on the feast of the Annunciation 2006 in Canterbury and they have continued on a regular basis ever since. We have seen and fed and helped clothe countless guests, probably over a thousand. Some have died in that time. We have taken some on holiday; visited others in hospital; we have helped those who have found accommodation furnish their properties; we have taken some into our homes and many other actions long forgotten by us but well remembered by them. We hope and pray that these little works of mercy done for the love of God will have a lasting impact on them and so open their hearts to Him.
We wish to assure you that the regular soup kitchens, now held twice a month (generally the second and fourth Saturdays) will continue and we earnestly continue to seek your prayers and support for these because we are getting busier and busier and recently fed 35 guests.
Regrettably, because we get so little help from fellow Catholics, we have to depend on non-Catholics to run the soup kitchen.
The CVM blog is back up and running with updates which we think will interest our friends and supporters — https://thecvm.wordpress.com/
We would like to thank all our friends and supporters over the last ten years and ask for continuing support over the next ten years.
From The CVM
1. Christianity is the religion of love. This is not to say that charity is sufficient without justice, for there can be no real charity without justice. But justice cannot always bring us very far. There are many complex and tragic problems which justice alone is powerless to solve. Only Christian love can comfort the human heart and heal some of the deeper wounds of poor suffering humanity. There is a sense in which it is true to say that Christianity is charity. This is what Jesus meant when He said: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) “God is love and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16) Anyone who is without charity is not really a Christian. Egoism is the absolute negation of Christianity. The egoist is deaf to human sorrows and loves only himself. A Christian should love God above all things and his neighbour as himself.
2. When Jesus was asked what was the first commandment, He replied: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength. This is the first commandment. And the second is like it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is no other commandment greater than this.” (Mark 12:30-31) As St. Augustine says, the love of God and the love of our neighbour are two branches of the same tree, the tree of charity. “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother,” St. John warns us, “he is a liar.” (1 John 4:20) We must prove our love for God by showing charity towards our neighbour. All men are our brothers in Jesus Christ, Who has redeemed us by His precious blood. Our Lord has said that He will regard as done for Himself anything which we do for the least of our brethren. (Mt. 25:40) Like the Saints, we should see Jesus Himself living in the poor and suffering. The Saints gave Him everything they had, not only their possessions, but also their toil and love. Think how much those missionaries do who leave everything in order to go to foreign lands and win souls for Christ. Think of the charitable work of the sisters and nurses in the hospitals, asylums and orphanages. What are we doing ?
3. As well as the corporal works, there are the spiritual works of mercy. Everyone is not obliged to undertake the former; they would be impossible, for instance, for the destitute. But everyone is obliged to undertake the latter. Sometimes a kind word is more valuable than money. There are many ways in which we can carry out the spiritual works of mercy. There is the well-timed and understanding advice we can give to others; the visit to a sick man who is alone in his sufferings; the friendly and encouraging visit to an unfortunate prisoner; the tactful and patient instruction we can give to those who have gone astray through ignorance rather than through malice; and at times the rebuke we can administer to a hardened sinner in such a way as to make it quite clear that our only motive is to win him back to the real happiness which only goodness can give. Remember, however, that the practice of the spiritual works of mercy does not excuse us from the exercise of material works of charity whenever that is possible for us. (Cf. James 2:16)
The Catholic Volunteer Movement write that:
“As we celebrate the Septuagesima Sunday our thoughts inevitably turn to the penitential season. What better time therefore to remind ourselves of the Works of Mercy –
- To feed the hungry;
- To give drink to the thirsty;
- To clothe the naked;
- To harbour the harbourless;
- To visit the sick;
- To ransom the captive;
- To bury the dead.
We should think and pray hard about which of these we can do, most especially during Lent”.
Juventutem Hexham and Newcastle in Durham are regularly out on the streets of Middlesbrough serving the homeless, and St Joseph’s Catholic Helpers for the Poor serve the homeless in Winchester. They write in their latest emailed appeal:
“If most able body parishioners attended just one soup run this year, I would have a surplus of helping hands. Remember many hands make light work and every pair of hands certainly makes my load lighter and continues our mission of bringing Christ to our guests”.
What can you do to bring Christ to our neighbour??