Lady Poverty ! ( Ecumenical Counsels Part III)

“Blessed are the Poor in spirit”  ( Matthew 5:3)

These words echo through the ages from the Sermon on the Mount, until today these words come back to remind us.

Jesus came and gave us examples throughout his life of what it is that he wanted from us, and how it is that we should love one another.

Indeed, There was the young man who wanted to know how it was that he could enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  Jesus told him to go, sell all that he had, give it to the poor, and come follow Him.

There was also the poor woman who gave to the Lord of her need, not of her want. The list goes on and on.


I think that it is important that we stop and take a look at what poverty is, and what is means.

Poverty comes in one of two varieties.  Material, and Spiritual.

Material poverty is a poverty that is born of sin.  It is the poverty which is selfish, and driven by mans own sinful desires for the worldly things.  The poverty forced on our brothers and sisters by those who are driven by the worldly desires for power, possession, greed, pride, and all other manner of sin.

That drive to have more, to possess more, to control more, and even to be more than what you are in your own estimation.

All these things and more done at the expense of another or many others, and indeed even ourselves, and our relationship with God.

What would happen if we began to look at others, not just your next door neighbor, but the person on the other end of the globe, not as a person of another country, another region, another race, or something other than what we are, as our brothers and sisters.. our spiritual family ?

Now lets look at Spiritual Poverty.

Many books have been written on this subject.  Many differences of opinion have been had over this very subject.  Even in our own beloved Franciscan family, there are differences on what spiritual poverty is and what it looks like or should be lived out.  A popular question amongst people who are wrestling with these ideas is something like ” How poor is poor ?”.


Spiritual poverty however, is the detachment from the material things.  A detachment from the things of this world so that we can then be free to love God both in Heaven and through our brothers and sisters.

So for the Priest, Nun, Sister, Brother and Monk, who belong to a religious order  this means that they literally give everything they own, give that to the poor, and go forward to serve God through us,, and all our brothers and sisters, for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

OK, you say, but what about us ?  What about the regular guy or lady, who work every day, who still have bills to pay, and food to put on the table every day ?  What about us ?  What about me, the one whose spouse does not get it ?  The one who did not or does not have a spouse or family who understand ?

It is sort of like Lent.  Its not so much about the mortifications, but what you do with it.   Just like Lent is a time for renewal, Poverty is a way not just about giving up things, its about serving God with the gifts that you have been given, and cleansing your spirit of the things that you thought you were holding on to, but that were really holding you to this world, and kept you from serving God for the sake of the kingdom.

May God give you the gift of His peace !









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3 Responses to “Lady Poverty ! ( Ecumenical Counsels Part III)”

  1. Says:

    Thanks……………Yours in St Francis

  2. SaintlySages Says:

    How poor is poor? I say we need certain material goods to conduct the daily duties of our state in life, and we need a reasonable reserve of goods for contingencies. Anything more is a burden that we must put to good use for God’s glory, or we shall be held accountable on the Day of Judgment, so says the Parable of the Talents (Mt 25:14-30). Wealth is a burden. How blest are those whom God has spared from it! God bless!

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