Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Apostolic Poverty

Wednesday Week 25, 22nd Sept 2021, Josephinum

Luke 9:1-6

Today I want to reflect on apostolic poverty, 

on poverty and the diocesan priesthood.

In our text we heard the Lord say:

  • Take nothing for your journey.  No staff, no bag, no money, no spare tunic, etc (Lk 9:3)

But, we know that elsewhere He says:

  • Take a purse, a bag, and a sword (Lk 22:35-6)

An obvious and standard interpretation of these 2 apparently conflicting texts is this:

  • some of His commands are specific to a specific mission,

 specific to a time and place

There is a general rule we could phrase as this:

  • Poverty is measured by the needs of the mission

Today, in our era:

  • Pope St John Paul II has reminded us of the demands of poverty and simplicity of life for the diocesan priest

We take no vow of poverty, not even a simple promise

  • Yet, JPII teaches us:
    • The diocesan is called to live poverty for the sake of our apostolate
    • Poverty is REQUIREMENT OF living our state of life
      • I need to avoid all that “smacks of worldliness” (canon law 282.1), 
      • I need to adopt “a simple life” (directory, 67), 
        • “In all aspects (living quarters, means of transportation [car], vacations etc) the priest must eliminate any kind of affectation and luxury”(n.67).
      • I need to have the Lord for my “inheritance” (directory, 67) rather than earthly possessions as my inheritance.
  • And there is twofold reason:
    • First, to follow the Lord better:
      • “voluntarily embracing POVERTY to follow Christ more closely.”(n.67).
    • Second, as a MEANS to grow in “apostolic charity”
      • The freedom of poverty frees me to love,
          • love like an apostle, living for others

Living “a simple life” is not simple, 

    • it involves dozens of significant financial decisions per year
    • it involves multiple daily and weekly smaller decisions

Responding to what seemed (to my Bishop and me) as a call of Providence, 

I came here.  

I gave up a 6 bedroom rectory, 

a private garden, 

and threw away a thousand books, 

to name a few things.

Charity called, I was happy to follow, 

but I knew various things couldn’t follow with me.

I needed that interior freedom

But, I also stand here with an iPad and an Smart Watch 

(though not the most recent version -one of my constant criteria: 

never have the most recent model phone)

Difficult decisions.  

Qu: What is the criterion to judge?

An: The needs of the mission, 

which takes us back to today’s text.

(1) For some missions, 

take a “spare” tunic and two swords 

-you need to be ready for  the task.

(2) For other missions, 

take neither staff nor bread nor money 

-the Lord will provide.

(3) In all missions:

Apostolic charity is the measure.  

What I possess: 

 it must not hinder me from loving with the freedom of apostolic loving  

 it must aid me in my mission 

To close:

Three questions to take away:

    • What did you give up to come here, give up already?
    • What do you expect to give up in the future, to not possess because you’re a priest?
    • What are you willing to give up, for the sake of the mission?

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