See how Our Lady carefully guides the steps of her Son. What did she advise the servants at the
wedding at Cana? "Do whatever he tells you." Good advice; we can recall that this includes
feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, challenging unjust structures,
speaking out against oppression and hypocrisy, loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.
How many sins against solidarity there are in this world. The poor are not our sisters and
brothers, they are degenerate misfits, with bad values and even worse morals. It is their own
fault that they are poor. We should segregate our societies so that decent people have as little
contact as possible with these wretched creatures. Thank God we don't live in one of those
Matthew Talbot, whom we honor together with Our Lady of Good Counsel, the Seat of Wisdom
in this novena, was born in a slum in Dublin, Ireland in 1856, and died in the same town in 1925.
Along the way, in his youth, he became a confirmed alcoholic. By the grace of God, however, he
experienced a true and lasting religious conversion, and spent his life among the poor, practicing
evangelical poverty, working at labor jobs and giving most of his money as alms to the poor and
for the benefit of missions. He helped many people find sobriety. His entire life was an
evangelical witness to the power of the Gospel to transform the most alienated and to bring new
life to community in the midst of despair.
We are in desperate need of his example, and the wise influence of Our Lady of Good Counsel,
in this post-modern deconstructed world, where the bonds of solidarity and mutual obligation
which once bound our communities together have gone the way of the horse and buggy. We
resent the poor, we hate those who are different, and we express that by (among other things)
segregating our communities by economic class.
But while resenting the poor, we can hardly resist the temptation to make money off of them.
After all, what's the point of having a bunch of poor people around if somebody can't make some
money off the deal.
We have forgotten a parable from the Old Testament, which a wise prophet once told to a king
who had acted with great injustice.
There was once a poor man who had nothing in the world except for one little lamb, who was
more of a pet than anything else. He had a neighbor who was rich (this was before planning and
zoning commissions made it impossible for rich and poor people to live in the same
neighborhood) and this neighbor had an unexpected guest. The rich man was determined to
provide hospitality, but instead of taking from his own huge flocks, he stole the one little lamb
from his poor neighbor, butchered it and gave it to his guest.
We sigh over this parable, but it happens every day. Our tax system, taken as a whole, is very
regressive. We restrict the economic rights of the poor, limit the ways they can earn a living, and
thus artificially create a large supply of cheap labor, from which the rich benefit tremendously.
May Our Lady of Good Counsel bring us to an understanding of the structures of sin that must be
challenged. May Matthew Talbot inspire us by his example to live in solidarity with the poor and
rejected. May we always work to protect the poor from those who would prey upon them.
Venerable Matthew Talbot, Servant of God
Seven Offerings of the Most Precious Blood
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