Wednesday Week 25, 22nd Sept 2021, Josephinum
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)
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
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?