Pixabay (2015), CC0 Public Domain[/caption]
The Call to Be PoorIn our consumer society, the word "poverty" has a very negative connotation. Nobody wants to be poor, everyone strives to have a better life, to earn more money, to have more social status. But then how to understand Jesus' call to poverty?
“If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mt 19:21) “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 5:3) “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Lk 18: 24-25) “You cannot serve both God and money.” (Mt 6:24)The poverty that Jesus refers to is the detachment of material goods or as he expression used by Fr. Jose Kentenich, founder of the Schoenstatt Apostolate, "heroic attachment to things," is to use everything that the good God gives us, but with the spirit of administrator and not of owner. We need to cultivate the awareness that all the goods we possess are not really ours: they have been borrowed by God for us to use them in the best possible way, sharing with the people that needs the most and one day we will have to be accountable for how we manage these goods. Creating this awareness is very difficult, because we tend to think that if I worked so hard to get a car, for example, it is not "fair" to say that it was God who gave it to me. But it is God who sustains your life with every breath, otherwise you would have died. It is God who allows you to have health to work and to raise money. It is God who gave you the intelligence and gifts you have to get this job. And this list of the gifts God gives you daily is infinite ... We need to learn to speak like Job:
"Naked I came out of my mother's womb, naked will I return. The Lord gave, the Lord took away: blessed be the name of the Lord "(Job 1:21).Create this feeling of gratitude, of praise, for all that we are and what we have, even in the midst of suffering and deprivation of material goods. This is the gospel counsel of poverty: to fight every day for my livelihood, for the support of my family, but without worrying anxiously about tomorrow; instead, trusting in Divine Providence. I must not worry about accumulating material goods; I can not fall into the temptation of consumerism, always seeking that novelty, that new clothes, that most modern cell phone. St. Augustine warns us: "The surplus of the rich is the property of the poor." That is, we should all worry about not spending money on what is superfluous, because this money would be much better used if it were given to the poor, who lack what is needed, as food and clothing. But how to put this evangelical counsel of poverty in practice? We share with you some ideas that can help you in this difficult mission of caring for detachment from material possessions and teaching our children to have that vision. * Since they are small, tell your children that everything they have actually comes from Mommy and Daddy (which is true, because the children have done nothing to "deserve" what they have). Parents lend things so that children take good care of them. This helps children create this awareness of being stewards and not owners. It also helps to gradually free themselves from the selfishness of children. For example, when one is crying because his brother took his toy car, remember that the car is not his, it is Mommy and Daddy's, who lent him to use it and care for it. In the same way, he must learn to lend the car to his brother, without being sad about it. * Whenever you buy clothes, shoes, toys, donate any clothes, shoes, or toys in the amount equivalent to what was purchased. This also applies to gifts we receive on special dates (birthday, Christmas). * When you throw a birthday party, donate the equivalent of what was spent at the party for some poor family or charity. This helps us moderate our spending on celebrations and teach children on the importance of simplicity and give joy to the poorest when we are celebrating. We must learn from St. Catherine of Siena:
"Nothing is to worry you, nothing will disturb you, everything will pass, God does not change, patience reaches everything, he who possesses God, nothing is lacking. God alone is enough!”
Copyright 2018 Flávia Ghelardi
About the Author
Flávia Ghelardi is the mom of four, a former lawyer already "promoted" to full time mom. Flávia published her first book FORTALECENDO SUA FAMÍLIA and is a member of Schoenstatt´s Apostolic Movement. Flávia loves to speak about motherhood and the important role of women, as desired by God, for our society. She blogs at www.fortalecendosuafamilia.blogspot.com.