February 1, 2008

Faith, Hope and Charity / David Siler

‘Providing help, creating hope’

David SilerA few years ago, Catholic Charities USA, the national member service organization for Catholic Charities’ agencies throughout the United States, adopted the tagline “Providing Help. Creating Hope.”

Now, our own archdiocesan Catholic Charities organization has embraced this statement to clearly communicate what we do and what we seek to achieve.

Help is provided in many ways:

  • Helping homeless families find permanent housing,
  • Helping seniors find companionship,
  • Helping children find a safe haven after school,
  • Helping pregnant mothers make the best choice for their children,
  • Helping refugees find a home and a job,
  • Helping the hungry find food,
  • Helping the depressed find happiness.

Help can come in so many different ways, but the ultimate goal in providing help is to create hope.

When a family has a home, a senior has companionship, children are safe after school, pregnant mothers make good decisions for their children, refugees find a home and a job, the hungry have food and the depressed find happiness, the light of hope can enter their lives. The light of hope is the brightest of all lights and can make all the difference in the world.

I would imagine that all of us at some point in our lives have experienced a “poverty of hope”—those times when it seems that nothing will change to make our lives better.

If we have lived through those times and made it to the other side, I also imagine that we can look to some small ray of hope that revealed itself and gave us the strength to hold on.

At Catholic Charities, we know that the source of genuine hope is love, and since God is love, we can also say the source of hope is God.

Just before the conclusion of Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical “God is Love,” our Holy Father states it this way: “Love is the light—and in the end, the only light—that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working.”

I am reminded of an old song Burt Bacharach titled “What the World Needs Now is Love.”

Some would judge the song to be “corny,” but it tells us that there is just too little love and that the world needs more love.

I think Bacharach’s song connects with the Gospel of Jesus, who came to remind us that God loves us and wants us to live in the glory of his love.

Our Catholic Charities staff and volunteers provide help in many varied, formal ways through our 35 different programs. But we don’t need a program to provide help.

In both the smallest and largest of ways that each of you gives help, you too create hope for the receiver of the help and, by God’s grace, you too experience hope as the giver since “it is in the giving that we receive.”

How will you create hope today?

(David Siler is executive director of the Secretariat for Catholic Charities and Family Ministries. E-mail him at dsiler@archindy.org.) †

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