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Evangelical Poverty — Divine Intimacy Meditation

Evangelical Poverty

 

Presence of God – O Jesus, for my sake You embraced a life of extreme poverty; make me realize the great value of this virtue.

MEDITATION

One day a scribe approached Jesus and said to Him, “Master, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou shalt go.' Jesus answered him, ‘The foxes have their holes, and the birds of the air have their nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matthew 8:19-20).

To one who is willing to follow Him, Jesus immediately presents a picture of His life, a life that is extremely poor and without the smallest comfort. Anyone who has not the courage to share, at least to a certain degree, His earthly poverty will have no part in His eternal wealth. No one can serve two masters at the same time: God and riches. “You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). If you are attached to wealth, ease and material comfort, in vain will you try to give your whole heart to God; it will always be the slave of worldly goods. That is why the rich young man, after asking what he should do to obtain eternal life, went away sadly when Jesus answered, “Go, sell for post on evangelical povertywhatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor,” for “he had great possessions.” He was a good young man; from his youth he had kept the commandments and he sincerely longed for eternal life, so much so that, “Jesus looking on him, loved him” (Mark 10:21-22). And yet, attachment to his possessions kept him from following Jesus. This is the story of many souls who, after having accomplished much in the service of God, stop and turn back because they lack the courage to detach themselves from the goods of earth. In commenting on this fact and speaking to His disciples, Jesus said, “How hard it is for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:24-25). Reflect that in these words Jesus was speaking not only of the man who is “rich” because he has great possessions but more especially of the one who is “rich” because he is attached to what he possesses.

COLLOQUY

“O gentle Lord Jesus Christ, most rich in love, experience has taught me that there is nothing in life more wearisome than to burn with earthly desires, for the love of riches is an insatiable hunger which so tortures the soul by the ardor of desire that it does not find solace even when it obtains what it covets. The acquisition of wealth causes great fatigue; the possession of it brings great fear; its loss occasions great sorrow.

“One who loves riches cannot love You, O Lord, but perishes with the things that are perishable, and he who relies on them with affection, vanishes with them in sadness. He who finds them, loses his peace; when he lies awake at night, he tries to think of ways to add to them; if he sleeps, he dreams of thieves; during the day he is anxious and troubled; at night his fears increase, and thus he is always miserable” (Ven. Raymond Jourdain [14th century abbot of Celles]).

How unfortunate I should be, O Lord, if the love of worldly things prevented me from following you closely! Oh! how little does my life resemble Yours! What a difference in our tastes and desires! You, the King of heaven and earth, could have surrounded Yourself with grandeur, since all riches were created by You. You could have had many servants to carry out Your orders, yet You wanted none of these; instead You chose, for the first place of Your stay on earth, a stable, and for the last, a hard cross. And I, who am but dust and ashes, with no right to possess anything, because I have nothing of myself and receive everything from Your generosity, would I claim a life of comfort, filled with so many desires for material well-being?

O Lord, do not permit the love of temporal goods to be an obstacle, to become a wall between You and me. Union of love demands resemblance; love either finds two beings similar or makes them so. I love You, O Lord, but my love is still weak; strengthen it, so that it may be able to destroy every attachment which hinders me from following You closely and becoming like You.

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Note from Dan: These posts are provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contain one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.

Art for this post on evangelical poverty: Christ and the Rich Young Ruler, Heinrich Hoffmann, 1 June 1889, PD-US, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of SpiritualDirection.com, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Patricia

    Money is necessary to live in today’s society for those not living in a religious community. It’s not the money, but the attachment to the money that binds the heart. One only needs to to glance at the Internet to see dresses etc. being worn that cost thousands of dollars, obviously much more that a prudent lifestyle would deem as necessary. Other examples are making time for work or sports more important than time for God. Sounds obvious, but one study showed that under 30% of those who self-identify as practicing Catholics attend Mass every Sunday (excluding those with valid reasons, taking care of sick child etc). What are they doing instead that is more important than going to Mass? Whatever it is, it is more important to them than God is . They are more attached to spending their time in that pursuit, instead of pursuing God.
    Today we also see being attached to reputation, honors, and opinions of others, especially when faced with the choice is making a morally right decision, although unpopular. Many in our society have been led to believe that they have to go along with many immoral ways because they must be politically correct and not be labeled as bigots, haters, etc. The main point is that we need to live our lives first and foremost for God. That could mean that if one does earn money they use it wisely to glorify God and not spend it on foolish and vanishing things. Instead they are good providers for their family and upholding society- contributing to the Catholic Church and its schools and charities, making contributions to worthy foundations (such as the Avila Institute), helping the refugees relocate, the homeless find shelter, the priest and religios retirment funds, missionaries, etc Our world is in [300 word limit met]

  • Patricia

    Not all of us live in religious communities, but the concepts in this meditation still apply. Money is necessary to live in today’s society. It’s not the money, but the attachment to the money that binds the heart. Some make more time for work and other activities but do not prioritize their time for God; they are more attached to spending time in that pursuit, instead of pursuing God. Today many are attached to reputation, honors, and opinions of others, especially when faced with the choice is making a morally right decision, although unpopula, they must be politically correct. The main point is that we need to live our lives first and foremost for God. That could mean that if one does earn money they use it wisely to glorify God and not spend it on foolish and vanishing things. Our world is in need of everything from faith and morals to clean water, so there are plenty of ways to choose to use money for God’s purposes. The important thing to keep in mind is our heavenly homeland, our final beatitude. Make following God and His commandments the daily priority and attach your heart to Him and pleasing Him alone.?

  • Everyone is called to Evangelical poverty, but it might not look the same from person to person. The general rule is: use your money and possessions to glorify God and in accord with love for your neighbor. We should not horde, waste, or show off our wealth. It’s a hard lesson for people in our culture!

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