Let me nudge you to resist the condescending tendency to see those whom we serve as recipients of our merciful goodwill. “In fact, we likely are privileged beneficiaries of an unjust system that perpetuates their misery.” Thus Vincent de Paul wrote:
You will find out that Charity is a heavy burden to carry, heavier than a bowl of soup and the full basket. But you will keep your gentleness and your smile. It is not enough to give soup and bread. This the rich can do. You are the servant of the poor, always smiling and good-humoured. They are you masters, terrible, sensitive and exacting masters, as you will soon see. The uglier and the dirtier they will be, the more unjust and insulting, the more love you must give them. It is only for your love alone, that the poor will forgive you the bread you give them.
Vincent de Paul (1581 – 1660)
“This final sentence points to the fact that the fullness of love can bear to look the hungry or homeless neighbour in the eye only when it also examines why social inequality and injustice persists.”