I am a Catholic, and while there is much to admire about Pope Francis, I find it difficult to reconcile his message “give until it hurts” with the reality that no matter how simply he lives, his position in the church ensures his security. He need not fear experiencing the despair of real poverty. His own is more symbolic than not.

The church does not offer my family that same security. We live simply and beneath our means now, to try and be prepared for whatever hardships the future may hold, and inevitable old age. To give until it hurts would entail hurting even more down the road. This is a reality the pope does not share.

In the face of the significant tax burden we bear, relative to our income, we are, in a sense, already “giving until it hurts,” so that, besides financial contributions, our charity sometimes must find its expression through other gifts, including volunteering.

There are many ways to give, even unto sacrifice. Any kind of giving leaves us more mindful of others, and God, to the enrichment of all.

Zoe Goody

Cape Elizabeth