From the Rector: Pope Francis: The Theology of Poverty

Pope Francis: The Theology of Poverty

The Holy Father reflected on the place of poverty in the Gospel, saying that the Gospel becomes incomprehensible if poverty is removed from it.

Let the poverty of Christ enrich us
Continuing his paraphrase of St. Paul, Pope Francis went on to call on all of us to follow the example of the Church of Corinth: the Church, whose members had a great deal of material wealth and so many things, who were poor without the proclamation of the Gospel, but who enriched the Church of Jerusalem, helping to build up the People of God. Here is the foundation of the “theology of poverty”: Jesus Christ, who was rich – with the very richness of God – made Himself poor, He lowered Himself for us. This then, is the meaning of the first Beatitude: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,’ i.e. “to be poor is to let oneself be enriched by the poverty of Christ, to desire not to be rich with other riches than those of Christ”:

“When we give help to the poor, we are not doing the work of aid agencies ‘in a Christian way’. Those are good, it is a decent thing to do – aid work is good and quite human – but it is not Christian poverty, which St. Paul desires of us and preaches to us. Christian poverty is that I give of my own, and not of that which is left over – I give even that, which I need for myself, to the poor person, because I know that he enriches me. Why does the poor person enrich me? Because Jesus Himself told us that He is in the poor person.”

Christian poverty is not an ideology
When one divests oneself of something, not only from our abundance, to give to a poor person, to a poor community, one is thereby enriched. Jesus acts in one who does this, when he does it, and Jesus acts in the poor person, who enriches one who gives to him of his substance:

“This is the theology of poverty: This is because poverty is at the heart of the Gospel; it is not an ideology. It is precisely this mystery, the mystery of Christ who humbled Himself, who let Himself be impoverished in order to enrich us. So it is understandable why the first of the Beatitudes is ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit.’ Being poor in spirit means going on this path of the Lord: the poverty of the Lord, who lowers Himself even so far as to become bread for us, in this sacrifice [of the Mass]. He continues to lower Himself into the history of the Church, into the memorial of His passion, and by the memorial of His humiliation, the memorial of His poverty, by this bread He enriches us.”

Homily of June 16, 2015 in the Chapel Casa Santa Maria (http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/06/16/pope_francis_the_theology_of_poverty/1151901)

 

 

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