Pope Francis shared a free lunch with nearly 1,500 poor people invited to dine at the Vatican for the 3rd annual World Day of the Poor on Nov. 17, 2019 | / Daniel Ibanez/CNA
When you give material help to someone in need, do not be afraid to get close and to look the person in the eyes, Pope Francis said on Saturday.
“This is one of the ugliest things: A Christian who is ‘on the balcony,’” the pope said on March 26. “Do not remain at the balcony, do not observe with detachment, but approach, bend down, touch with your hand. Touching with our hands humanizes us.”
Pope Francis spoke about almsgiving and closeness to humanity in a meeting with members of the religious institute Daughters of Our Lady of the Garden.
He told the religious sisters that when he hears confessions, he likes to ask the penitent if they give to the poor. When the person answers that he or she gives to charity, he said he likes to follow up with the question, “when you give alms, do you touch the hand of the person asking, do you look them in the eyes?”
“If you are able to touch, to look in the eyes, it is beautiful like that,” Francis explained, adding that it is important not to “balconize” one’s self, remaining aloof and indifferent, but to approach people and care for them in their humanity.
“Every time we approach a person with charity, with love, we restore his dignity. The dignity of Christ, who comes with our gesture of charity,” he said.