Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Blessed Are The Poor

Today is the feast day of St. Anthony.

St. Anthony is called the father of monasticism. He was probably not the first monk, but he was the first to bring it more to the forefront of the Church. St. Anthony heard Jesus calling when he heard the Gospel reading from Matthew which says, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you wil have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me," (Mt. 19:21). This same passage formed the call for St. Francis of Assisi. It seems many of the saints throughout the ages have felt the same call- this tugging towards gospel poverty.

What is gospel poverty? It is to live by only what is truly necessary in life. In some cases, some of the saints have even chosen to forego that and lived truly impoverished lives. What's more, they were truly happy to do so.

I, like many Americans, have a lot of stuff. I do not live an affluent life according to American standards. But I am sure that by the rest of the world's reckoning I am a rich man. And like the man in the story, I find it difficult to part with my things in order to follow Jesus. But it's bugging me. I am sure the Lord must be speaking to my heart too.

So I don't know how I will live out this ideal. I am not in a position to simply abandon all worldly goods, quit my job, and live by faith alone. That would not be responsible, nor do I believe it would bring glory to God. But I know I can get a lot closer to this ideal than I am currently. That's the problem.

While I haven't yet worked out the specifics, I do know that this is a path I must walk. What's more, I really want to walk it. I know that true joy and peace are found on this road. Gospel poverty brings with it gospel simplicity. Oh, how I long for such blessed simplicity!


Anonymous therese said...

A really good book to read about this subject is Happy are You Poor by Fr. Thomas Dubay S.M. Available at

It really helped me to think about each thing I own and to be more careful with each thing I purchase.
It is a very challenging way to live.

8:26 AM  

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