by Grace Wilde
I am in 8th grade, and I had an assignment in history, to write an essay on “how to become prosperous?” Many could say this is a simple and easy assignment. But, I do not think we should be rich or even try to be. What benefit would it give you now, and more importantly in heaven? Jesus does not call for prosperity but Poverty. Instead I changed the question to “how to be poor” for that should be our real goal. And that is what I am going to talk about today.
Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven. (Saint Rose of Lima)
What is Poverty?
What do you think when you see the poor? In our society today we think two things. They made themselves that way, and that they are suffering. Those thoughts are not all completely true. They did not make themselves that way. A lot of the time they were born that way. They were kicked out of their homes because they could not pay to live there, or they were just different. Sometimes they are poor because of something we did that hurt them. They are suffering, but God always uses that suffering as a power. Someone can come to that suffering person and bring them to Jesus. If they were not poor, they would not have met the Lord in the first place. As a result of that power, the suffering person can be united with other people’s suffering in love and community. We can live in this suffering too! Poverty is a gift of suffering and freedom from God to man.
The community of believers were of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. (ACTS 4:32)
Why should we be poor?
Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be. (Luke 12:33-34)
We know that poverty is a gift from God. But, why should we be poor? First of all, let us see why it is bad to be rich. Let me specify that possessions are not bad. It is our consumption of things which make us self reliable to the point that we have no need to trust God. This leads us into a place where we cannot find the hope of heaven. This consumption that we do which consumes us is called prosperity. The definition for prosperity is “the state of being “successful in the worlds eyes” unusually by making a lot of money.” Successful!?! That is what our society thinks of prosperity, successful. I do not think this is at all accurate. Just look at what prosperity does to the world. All of the selfishness, all the sadness, all the pain, is caused by that desire for more money, more food, more clothes, more and more and more prosperity. And when we consume the world's resources and half of what we own are for nothing, and just end up in a dump, how do we feel? We feel empty. Because when we fill the holes in our hearts with this world and all that is in it, Jesus gets pushed out of our everyday life. We even find it hard to just go to Mass on Sunday. When we are poor we have nothing but the LORD. But, when we are rich, we have everything, but HIM. Now, don’t feel self conscious, we all fall prey to prosperity, even me. So we MUST all live a little poorer for Him.
“Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24)
How to be poor?
Poverty is a grace and we must live in it. How are we to do it? Instead of filling the holes in our hearts with things instead of Jesus so as to become rich, we need to tear those things out and give everything to the Lord in others. For when we decrease our belongings, possessions, and reputation in humility, we help others in need. As well as we embrace the Lord and embarking on a true relationship with Him. For when we have become so small and so humble, we do not need to push ourselves into heaven with all of our belongings along with us. When we are humble, Jesus can fill our hearts with him, pick us up, and lift us up Himself. Then in our poverty and humility, in every moment of every day we can ask Jesus, “How can I serve you in this moment, in my poverty, in my humility.” Listen to what he says, then ACT. Never be afraid of what another person may think because when we have given up all that we are attached to in this world, we have become not a part of the world. People will oppose because they do not see the world in the lens of the Father. But, never listen to them and teach them through quiet actions, the truth of the blessing of POVERTY.
Oh, how I would like a poor Church, and for the poor. (Pope Francis)
Today, Jesus calls for us to live the grace of poverty. It is a hard task in the world that seems like a burden. And even though society thinks of it as a suffering and hardship, it is truly a gift. And when you choose it you can never turn back even though you may try, for when you choose it your eyes are opened and you can embark on that relationship with the Lord with nothing of the world in the way. But, I can not tell you what to give up to the Lord for God calls us all in different ways to poverty and he chooses what we give. Remember that our possessions are not bad. They are our gifts from the Father to give to others. It is our selfishness and greed over those things that is bad. Today, let us pray through the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi the patron of the earth and a beautiful example of poverty. Let us pray through his intercession for the world to embrace and choose this beautiful gift of the poverty of the Gospel. Let us also pray that we may find where to put to use the gifts that God has given us.
Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received only what you have given: a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. (St Francis of Assisi)
On a Mission
Two passionate parents and their four children are excited to bring His Word to everyone in need while living a life of Gospel poverty as missionaries. They invite you to join them on a journey to encounter our global neighbors that Jesus commands us to love through works of charity and service.