In this part of my series on Pope Francis’ Game Plan, then, it seems helpful to look at key elements of the Ignatian charism that are evident in the Holy Father’s Apostolic Exhortation, the “Joy of the Gospel.”
Once, during a trip to New York City, some friends and I stopped into a restaurant on Seventh Avenue for dinner. I was happily slurping down my pho, a Vietnamese noodle dish, when I heard a familiar voice. The comedian Robin Williams -- Mrs. Doubtfire himself -- was sitting less than 10 feet away, telling hilarious stories to friends gathered around his dinner table.
There is a close connection between service of the poor, freedom and evangelization. Catholic apostolates integrate service to the poor with joyful witness to Christ; they serve because they love Jesus. They freely receive God’s mercy; they freely give mercy to others in turn. They imitate Jesus in His solidarity with the poor.
Plowing through a formidable stack of mail that accumulated while I was away last month, my eyes fell on a large envelope from Food for the Poor. Inside was a tabloid newspaper with a bold red headline: “Answering the Call.”
Whether it’s global warming or global terror, big government or big corporations, the poison in our food or the poisoning of the airwaves, the temporal world is and always has been filled with problems and challenges. And we must constantly strive to make the world better and safer for humanity.
At its best, media informs, inspires and engages. It creates unity and a common thread throughout a community, allowing people to share in the daily joys, sorrows and challenges of their neighbors. Media must provide for “an authentic culture of encounter” and serve to give voice to those on the margins of society.
You’ve seen them. Holding cardboard signs with scrawled pleas for help, they stand at freeway exits, hoping for a handout. Should you give them money? Should you circle around and return with food and water?
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