When I was in 6th grade I remember sitting at the supper table and saying, "I wish we were poor!" I didn't know we were. My parents freaked - my dad almost slapped me off my chair and yelled, "You're a g--d--n idiot." My mother started crying, "How can you be so stupid!"
We are poor you moron!
At the time, I was reading Johannes Jorgensen's biography of St. Francis and was deeply impressed by Francis' poverty and 'foolishness for Christ'. In fact, around the same time, I embarrassed my brother one day acting as if I was truly crazy and announcing over and over, "I'm touched! I'm touched!" I learned early on not to imitate the saints in everything.
That said, I wish Pope Francis could have talked to my parents ...
I love how the Holy Father praises poverty...
A Christian community – the Pope continued – shows that it is renewed in the Holy Spirit “when it is in search of harmony” and not internal division: “when it seeks poverty, and does not hoard riches for itself, because riches are to be put to the service of the needy”, and when “it does not show anger” or offense in the face of difficulties, but is patient like Jesus:
“In this second week of Easter, during which we celebrate the Easter mysteries, it would be a good thing to think of our communities, be they diocesan communities, parish communities, family communities or other, and ask for the grace of harmony” – a gift of the Spirit; “ask for the gift of poverty – not misery, but poverty: the capacity to manage my possessions with generosity and for common good”; to ask for the grace of patience. - Vatican Radio
St. Benedict Joseph Labre
St. Angela of Foligno praised the gift of poverty as well: "through temporal poverty the soul will find eternal riches; through contempt and shame it will obtain supreme honour and very great glory..."
Today is the feast day of my special patron, my man, St. Benedict Joseph Labre. So poor. Such a fool for Christ. He is also special patron to Benedict Joseph Ratzinger, whose birthday is today.
[Yeah, but ... Now watch how defensive all those vowed to poverty will get. I'm thinking a couple of priests may have some defensive posts up as well - what did the pope really say ... he said POVERTY.]
Happy Birthday Holy Father!