Monday, November 30, 2009

HOLY POVERTY AND THE HOLIDAYS (Advent reflections for Franciscans based on an article by Br. JR)-Part 1

As Advent dawns upon us, we begin to think of the holidays – Christmas is just around the corner. Many are thinking of the gifts to receive, the dinner parties they are going to host, how they will decorate their homes, who to invite, where they are going to travel. This may seem normal, but there is something that must be considered but is often forgotten. Anyone wanting to imitate Francis of Assisi’s Gospel Life must consider his plans to be consistent with the evangelical counsel of poverty as Francis understood and taught it.

Francis’ spirituality is a moral commitment. The Gospel still calls us to ‘leave everything and follow Christ.’ These words moved our holy father Francis to begin a new life, and nothing has changed in 800 years.

The Gospel still says ‘Deny yourself. Take up your cross and follow me.’

This was exactly what Francis and his brothers did. They denied themselves of many things – family, property, comfort, money, and sometimes, food. They worked for what they had. They kept what they needed and the rest were given to the poor. They put their talents to serve the brotherhood and the poor. Nothing was kept for themselves.

The Gospel still says, ‘If you want to be perfect sell all that you have; give it to the poor, then come and follow me.’

This was exactly what Francis and Brother Bernardo did on the town square the day after they heard these words from the Holy Gospel.

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