Poverty or Misery

Fr. Francis Scaria

Smiley face The Vow of Poverty is an attempt to live the providence of God on a day to day basis. Poverty is voluntary giving-up of possessions of all sorts to be possessed by God. One of the great truths of this world, which is seldom perceived, is that one who possesses is in fact possessed by those things that one claims to possess. Poverty is an attempt to break oneself free from possessions.

It is an attempt to empty oneself to be filled with God. Poverty can be meaningfully lived only by those who have discovered the treasure. They give up everything for the sake of the treasure. It is this finding of the treasure that makes poverty so great and attractive a virtue. On the other hand, those who have not found the treasure and yet attempt to live poverty, end up in living misery dawn to dusk.

The greatest hero of poverty is Jesus who died naked on the cross. He was one who had “nowhere to lay his head”(Lk 9:58). He was born in a manger, lived the life of an itinerant preacher, died outside the walls of Jerusalem and laid in a borrowed tomb. He is the Blessed One of God who proclaimed deafeningly the pregnant words of the beatitude: “Blessed are the poor”(Mt 5: 3). The Kingdom belongs to them. The kingdom makes them rich. When they give up everything, the kingdom is theirs. Is there anything greater that a prudent person would like to possess? God makes HIS POOR rich by granting them the Kingdom, while he makes the rich go away empty (cf. Lk 1:53). The poor become rich by accumulating their wealth in heaven (cf. Mt 16:20). They are wise because they refuse to store up treasures that are bound to perish. They believe in storing up imperishable treasures in heaven.

St. Francis of Assisi, known to be the Second Christ, was second only to Christ in living the vow of poverty. He was enamoured by Lady Poverty and decided to be wedded to her for life. Those who visit the Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity cannot escape without wondering at the small cubicle where Mother Teresa lived – a tall proclamation of the greatness of poverty. Do I live poverty or suffer misery?

MUSINGS : 1-25, 26-50, 51-75

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