Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Sts. Vincent de Paul and Louise Marillac, August 6 - 14, 2000

General Intention: Justice in the distribution of the Earth's goods.

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5th Work of Justice and Peace: Work for reconciliation with truth, evangelism, catechesis, orthopraxis.

+ Let us pray together in peace, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, help the helpless, strengthen the fearful, comfort the sorrowful, bring justice to the poor, peace to all nations, and solidarity among all peoples. Open our eyes to see the beauty, joy, redemption, and goodness which comes through obedience to the call of your Son our Lord. Teach us to be a refuge of hope for all who are oppressed by injustice and violence. Give us strength to stand against the demonic powers which prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

O Mother of Perpetual Help, you who are called the refuge and the hope of sinners; be the refuge and hope of all who are excluded from sharing in the goodness and bounty of Creation. Help me, for the love of your son Jesus Christ, to stretch forth my hands to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless. I bless and thank Almighty God, who in His mercy had given me this confidence in You, which I hold to be a pledge of my eternal salvation.

Mary, tender Mother, help me. Mother of Perpetual Help, never allow me to lose my faith, hope, and love. Amen.

St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac, your lives were heroic examples of justice, compassion, and mercy. We ask your intercession today on behalf of all who are excluded from participation in the bounty of Creation. May we learn to live simply, that others may simply live. May our efforts to ensure just distribution be blessed with discernment and prudence. Amen.

Thoughts for the journey during the Jubilee Holy Year 2000.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church. "2402. In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labor, and enjoy their fruits. The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race. However, the earth is divided up among men to assure the security of their lives, endangered by poverty and threatened by violence. The appropriation of property is legitimate for guaranteeing the freedom and dignity of persons and for helping each of them to meet his basic needs and the needs of those in his charge. It should allow for a natural solidarity to develop between men." "2403. The right to private property, acquired by work or received from others by inheritance or gift, does not do away with the original gift of the earth to the whole of mankind. The universal destination of goods remains primordial, even if the promotion of the common good requires respect for the right to private property and its exercise."

Now is the time to open our eyes to see the sins against just community that occur daily. In the Third & Fourth worlds, land is often stolen from the poor. Merciless and corrupt governments and international agencies enable the exploitation of the powerless for unjust gain. Globalization, enforced by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the WTO, is making the poorest of the poor even more miserable and wretched and hopeless. 35,000 people die every day from the consequences of chronic hunger, many of them in countries where large corporate farms grow food that can't be eaten by the locals for export. This is affecting billions of people, and the past ten years have seen significant declines in their quality of life and increases in their mortality rates..

A just community respects both property rights and the social mortgage on the property. Yet, too often the property rights of the poor are accorded scant protection. Traditional lands are appropriated for the enrichment of others, making the original owners tenants on their ancestral farms. (Think about this when you buy a banana.) Sometimes the poor are killed for their land. In the past 30 years, 5 million units of low income housing have been destroyed, not by the free market, but by politicized markets in which the poor neighborhoods have no voice. Look at what happened to the Deep Deuce area in Oklahoma City. When a powerful government agency wants a cross-town freeway, the nearest poor neighborhood will do just fine. That's happening to the Riverside neighborhood south of I-40 right now. Or maybe a big corporate developer that makes a lot of contributions to the right politicians wants a conveniently located mall, as part of a project to redevelop and "improve" a poor neighborhood.

Sts. Vincent de Paul and Louise Marillac are two of the major patron saints of justice in the distribution of earthly goods. They lived 350 years ago, but their influence continues today in the many lay and consecrated religious movements that grow from their ministry. The Vincentian apostolates are primary agents of fulfilling the Gospel's call to justice in the distribution of the bounty of creation. The show us that the path towards reconciliation is illuminated by justice.

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Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac Compassionate servants and saints.

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