SOLIDARITY WITH THE POOR
“It is more important to teach the poor to fish than to give them a fish”, is supposed to be an old Chinese saying. Christian charity, human solidarity, natural goodness of sharing from one´s own possessions, should never produce dependency. So that it may be real and useful, charity should help to create freedom, to search for opportunities, to offer proposals to improve the quality of life.
The archbishop of Santiago de Cuba seems to have understood perfectly the Chinese adage. As a practical and intelligent man in the textile industry in his youth, he did not want to be conformed to the announcing of the Word of God. This was the reason that impelled him to evangelize and also to undertake social works for the promotion of the underprivileged classes. At that time, the majority of people in Cuba were in a deplorable situation without a basic formation or professional preparation, almost without anything…….
The archbishop began to work. He placed workshops in the prisons to learn some works so that the prisoners could leave rehabilitated and lead a life of dignity; he started a farm – school for both boys and girls where they could learn some techniques of agriculture and so he himself wrote a manual and devised methods. Those motivated by politics couldn´t do it, but Claret achieved it as the one sent by God. He filled the hands with the bread of the Word and the bread for human development. Thanks to his initiatives, many children and youngsters learnt to “fish”, found a way for their lives.
Do you know the difference between solidarity and alms giving?