Today many Christians commemorate Francis of Assisi, who gave up a path to power and security for the sake of the Gospel; traded possessions, passion, and liberty for poverty, chastity, and obedience. It also happens to be the day many celebrate Sukkot, God’s reminder he made a home for his homeless people as they wandered on their way to his promise.
I happened into this passage on prayer and poverty – both literal and “of spirit,” I think – in Merton today. Thought it kind of fit today well.
The surest ascetism is the bitter insecurity and labor and nonentity of the really poor. To be utterly dependent on other people. To be ignored and despised and forgotten. To know little of respectability or comfort. To take orders and work hard for little or no money: it is a hard school, and one which most pious people do their best to avoid.
[The contemplative] needs to be able to identify himself honestly and sincerely with the poor, to be able to look at life through their eyes, and to do this because he is really one of them. This is not true unless to some extent he participates in the risk of poverty: that is to say, unless he has to do many jobs he would rather not do, suffer many inconveniences with patience, and be content with many things that could be a great deal better.
New Seeds of Contemplation (p. 251). Norton. Kindle Edition.
Theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
Take it away, Kid Brothers of St. Frank.
From Rich Mullins’ Canticle of the Plains, a 1996 musical based on the life of St. Francis, set in East Texas, I believe.