Michael Tan in his Inquirer.net column on Translating Mercy quotes Fr. Soc Villegas on the 4 levels of helping people. 1st is to pray for them, 2nd is charity which includes the dole outs. 3rd is developmental or self-help which I interpret as enabling and lastly is liberational tackling structures that affect poverty. In words that we can relate to, it still translates to "Nasa Diyos ang awa, na tao ang gawa."
When a young boy selling rags lining up to see Pope Francis at Roxas Boulevard upon arrival was interviewed by reported Sandra Aguinaldo of GMA News’ State of the Nation, he said why he wanted to see the Pope, “Para gumanda ang buhay naming dahil pagod na po akong naghahanap ng makakain para sa amin.” His sincere view depicts 3 levels of the model; he is already doing a remarkable task by selling which is self-help and has asked for prayers to liberate them. I will pray for this young boy and wish he goes to school, enjoy his childhood, finish school.
While waiting for the Pope to return back to the Nunciature from Tacloban at the corner of Taft and Quirino Avenue, I was in a company of strangers with diverse backgrounds: There was an aggressive party of a mother, grandmother with a daughter who managed their way to a good vantage view of the pope’s entourage by climbing on the steel railing at the expense of the crowd behind them. There was another exploitative teenager girl who denied a senior citizen her seat and her vantage who lined up two hours earlier than her. On the other hand, there was a young family of three from Palawan who flew in the day before, traveled from Cavite bringing their luggage with them patiently waiting at the road for whatever view is offered to them. One needs praying, the other party needing assistance and a structure to enable them. Two apparently are enabled but lack the compassion.
Helping is a journey that passes through levels until one becomes self sufficient. To help others is a challenge. But when we realize what compassion is, which is acknowledging and emphatizing with one's suffering, why withhold help when we can?
Not to forget that we too also go through moments wanting for help. Pray for us too!