Message From His Grace, Archbishop William Goh
This is such an insightful address from our Grace that we felt compelled to reprint it. He shares on the meaning of Christian charity, and how important it is for every one of us in ACTS to pray and discern upon, every time we make that commitment to go on a mission…
MESSAGE FROM HIS GRACE, ARCHBISHOP WILLIAM GOH,
ON THE OCCASION OF THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF ACTS, FUNDRAISING DINNER,
14 AUGUST, 2016
Dear Members, Patrons, Benefactors and Collaborators of ACTS,
Congratulations on your 10th Anniversary. The call to share God’s love and mercy with the less fortunate is indeed a noble call. It is a response to the demands of the gospel. The Good News cannot be preached merely by words but also by works of mercy. I praise and thank God that He has inspired goodwill people like you all, Catholics and Non-Catholics alike, to undertake this work of mercy of reaching out to the less privileged of our brothers and sisters in other countries. That you are walking in the right direction is seen by the number of people that have been inspired by your work and the fruits of your mission in these countries. We are edified by your generosity, commitment, dedication and passion for this work of mercy.
Yet, we must never forget that the work of charity of the Church is never merely a humanitarian work. Neither is it proselytization. The final goal of charity is to spread the Good News of God to all of humanity. We do not use charity to coerce others to conversion. Rather, as we help the poor, it is our hope that they can see the face of God in and through our service and generosity. In this way, they will be given hope in a hopeless world, love in a loveless environment. So at all times, we must bear in mind that in what we do, we are apostles of Christ’s mercy and love to others.
Christian charity is more than just feeding the poor and helping the under-privileged. It is to restore their dignity as human beings, and helping them to come to awareness that they are children of God, adopted sons and daughters in Christ. Through our outreach, we hope that they will one day become apostles of mercy themselves, when they are able to do so. Most of all, it is our hope that through our non-intimidating love, they will also come to faith in Christ so that their hope is not just in this world and the material things of life, but that they come to search for the fullness of life in Christ by living the gospel life and preparing themselves for eternal life.
Consequently, members must be instructed in the faith, or at least be imbued with the spirit of the gospel and the spirit of Christ in all that they do or say. They must not reduce the work they are doing purely to humanitarian service but truly a sharing of the gospel through the works of love and mercy. Success in this apostolate goes beyond mere human planning but must be sought through prayer and the grace of God.
Proper discernment is necessary in the work of charity; otherwise we can get over exhausted and the real poor may not be given the necessary assistance. In truth, we can never help all the poor in the world. If we are not careful in listening to the voice of God as we reach out to them, we can suffer burnout, or even get angry with God for not giving us all the resources we need to help them. So in prayerful discernment and trust, let us commend all our work to the Lord so that we remain joyful in service.
Assuring you of my prayers and fraternal support