What Does ‘Option For The Poor’ Mean?

“An option for the poor does not mean that we reject those who ‘have,’ but will be rejected by them. When we are classed with the poor, it is a sign that we are living out our option.” — Medical Mission Sisters, Rubiataba, Brazil, 1978


  1. Rosemarie,
    Sometimes I don’t understand you but I always admire you. I feed on your input. I come from a conservative world of fundamentalists.

    I am now Catholic and oddly enough a retired Catholic bishop and I have become friends and dine out about ever4-5 weeks. I tell myself I am one of his pity projects. But, he insists we are friends. I trust him. However, I am so beleaguered by my life and my past. For instance, one of my regular publishers, a Southern Baptist mag. – googled me and decided I could not write for them any more. My editor was very encouraging and called me her best writer and was sad to have to dump me due to my crime. I continue to look for a second chance.

    My wife is passed now five weeks and our children have turned on me. Their anger is well founded. Life can be hard but I trust that if I recuse myself from the venue of ugliness and stay in the arena of love and patience I will find Peace and the presence of God. Blessings.


    • Dear Louis,

      Thank you for sharing with me and responding kindly to my efforts. It gives a genuine sense of joy to envision you and retired Catholic bishops–two old sinners, like the rest of us–sitting down to supper. No doubt the genuine friendship meets a profound need in both of you. I’m sorry that the publisher decided they couldn’t continue publishing your work. Sometimes Christians who have gotten themselves in a position with a “reputation to protect” end up getting crosswise with the gospel of Jesus Christ. It happens to all of us at times. Try to forgive them. I continue to pray for you and your family in this time of mourning the death of your wife and the fresh grief that raises up in your family. It is good that your can say honestly that your children’s anger is well-founded. Undoubtedly it is — and comes from the trauma inflicted upon them that was out of their control. But as you said, life can be terribly hard at times and no one is exempt from that. But we all must struggle to make something beautiful with our lives, no matter what our starting place. You must do that with your life as well as they with theirs. Such paradox is why I’ve never left the Catholic church. It is too exquisitely and painfully human for me to go anywhere else–both at the crucifix and at the Eucharist table. Be patient with yourself and others. Slowly things will change. Second chances will turn into thirds and fourths in the arithmetic of grace. Pray for your children. Ask your wife for her heavenly intercession with Christ on behalf of your children and for yourself. Be at peace. All will be well, all will be well, and all manner of things will be well. Take care– Rose


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