You probably noticed that there’s been an uptick in the number of posts to this, my so-called “personal blog.” I do hope it’s a trend and not a fad. Of course, that is within my control and is not subject to external factors, much.
For the past few days I’ve been posting “pleas for help” for various people or situations. Homelessness unites two of the pleas, the other is for a friend in need after the death of her husband. One other thing that unites all of them is the notion of “solidarity,” a term from Catholic social teaching that means “we’re in all of this together.”
It is derived from the Biblical doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ. As members of the Church, Jesus is the Head, we are the various parts of the Body. When one member suffers, all suffer. When one rejoices, all rejoice. We are not “rugged individualists,” responsible only for ourselves and perhaps a select few others. Our “liberty” and “freedom” isn’t to be used in isolation or to just preserve our own rights. Our actions involving liberty and freedom should be in concert with others, to preserve and enhance it for all.
The early Catholic Church was far more communitarian than it is today. As we see in the Acts of the Apostles:
Acts 2: 44-47
“And then all who believed were together, and they held all things in common.
They were selling their possessions and belongings, and dividing them to all, just as any of them had need.
Also, they continued, daily, to be of one accord in the temple and to break bread among the houses; and they took their meals with exultation and simplicity of heart,
praising God greatly, and holding favor with all the people. And every day, the Lord increased those who were being saved among them.”
Many read this and claim the early Church exhibited an early form of “Communism.” No, the word I used above, “communitarian” is the better word. It implies a coming together in community, willingly and without coercion. Coercion being the common method of spreading Socialism and Marxism.
The early Christians form a community of believers, in solidarity with one another, each caring for all.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in paragraphs 1939-1942, explains this idea of “solidarity.”
1939 The principle of solidarity, also articulated in terms of “friendship” or “social charity,” is a direct demand of human and Christian brotherhood.
An error, “today abundantly widespread, is disregard for the law of human solidarity and charity, dictated and imposed both by our common origin and by the equality in rational nature of all men, whatever nation they belong to. This law is sealed by the sacrifice of redemption offered by Jesus Christ on the altar of the Cross to his heavenly Father, on behalf of sinful humanity.”
1940 Solidarity is manifested in the first place by the distribution of goods and remuneration for work. It also presupposes the effort for a more just social order where tensions are better able to be reduced and conflicts more readily settled by negotiation.
1941 Socio-economic problems can be resolved only with the help of all the forms of solidarity: solidarity of the poor among themselves, between rich and poor, of workers among themselves, between employers and employees in a business, solidarity among nations and peoples. International solidarity is a requirement of the moral order; world peace depends in part upon this.
1942 The virtue of solidarity goes beyond material goods. In spreading the spiritual goods of the faith, the Church has promoted, and often opened new paths for, the development of temporal goods as well. and so throughout the centuries has the Lord’s saying been verified: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well”
For two thousand years this sentiment has lived and endured in the soul of the Church, impelling souls then and now to the heroic charity of monastic farmers, liberators of slaves, healers of the sick, and messengers of faith, civilization, and science to all generations and all peoples for the sake of creating the social conditions capable of offering to everyone possible a life worthy of man and of a Christian.
via Catechism of the Catholic Church – Vatican.
Solidarity: the bond of brotherhood and sisterhood amongst people, the idea that your problems and sufferings are mine, too. As mine are yours.
The bond that should eliminate homelessness.
Do I live up to this? Not by a long shot, but I am endeavoring to try.
More Bible stuff:
Sirach 4: 1-10
“Son, you should not cheat the poor out of alms, nor should you avert your eyes from a poor man.
You should not despise the hungry soul, and you should not aggravate a poor man in his need.
You should not afflict the heart of the needy, and you should not delay an offer to someone in anguish.
You should not make requests of one who is greatly troubled, and you should not avert your face from the indigent.
You should not avert your eyes from the needy out of anger. And you should not abandon those who seek help from you, so that they speak curses behind your back.
For the pleadings of him who speaks curses of you, in the bitterness of his soul, will be heeded. For the One who made him will heed him.
Make yourself a friend to the congregation of the poor, and humble your soul before an elder, and humble your head before the great.
Turn your ear without sadness toward the poor, and repay your debt, and respond to him peacefully in meekness.
Free him who suffers injury at the hand of the arrogant, and do not carry animosity in your soul.
In judging, be merciful to the orphan, like a father, and be merciful to their mother, like a husband.”