Chew The Fat With The Friar! Franciscans And Evangelical Poverty.

All Franciscans follow evangelical poverty. Why would you choose (or take a vow of) poverty? I have been asked that at different times and have tried to explain simply what evangelical poverty is and what it is not!


When we look at the world and see the dreadful destructiveness of poverty around us, then you would rightly think, that taking a vow of Poverty is complete craziness! But the call to evangelical poverty (the poverty that Jesus calls us to in the gospels) is freeing and not oppressive, demeaning or destructive.


St. Francis of Assisi understood the need for us to let go of those things that ensnare us! That includes, money, materialism and the things that make us captive to a twisted world view. Money, property, materialism does not make us rich! It can and does ensnare us! Jesus in the gospels is completely counter intuitive. The last shall be first...the first last...to live you must die..etc etc! His words in the gospels on what you should do if you are rich in the worlds eyes, is not palatable for those today, just as it was unpalitable when he walked and taught in Palestine, over two thousand years ago. The rich young man was told to sell all he had and give his money to the poor...Jesus says he has nowhere to rest his head, while foxes have holes and birds nests.. Jesus tells all who want to follw him, to renounce all that holds them prisoner, including...mother, father, money, property....all the things that can so can take and make us captives!


Francis, saw the problem of his wealthy past and gave it up! He wanted his followers, to do the same and follow the example of Jesus. The Word became flesh...the Almighty God became the all vulnerable one and gave up everything. This is the way of evangelical poverty! A kenotic God calls for a kenotic people!


I have found it very difficult at times to follow the evangelical council of poverty...I still hold onto books and some other things that I have become attached to...and that is the problem! They hold me captive! But, I have chosen to let go and empty myself of these things and I pray I will like my seraphic father, be able to lie naked on the floor at the end of my life....as I brought nothing into this world and will take nothing with me!


BM


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