Saturday, June 04, 2016

Once there was a pope who lived in a hotel,very much like a pilgrim and stranger ...

"You could say, "let the birds nest in your crown. ... 
 throw your scepter in the mud ..."
 B. Sylvester, Brother Sun, Sister Moon

Some thoughts on being poor, and refusing honors and riches ...

First of all - remember St. Francis was really poor and he really loved Lady Poverty and he considered riches as so much dung... Just like the Desert Fathers centuries before him.

A great man came from a distance to Scetis carrying gold, and he asked the presbyter of the desert to distribute it among the brothers. But the presbyter said, ‘The brothers do not need it.’ But he was very pressing, and would not give way, and put a basket of money in the church porch. So the presbyter said, ‘Whoever is in need may take money from here.’ No one touched it, some did not even look at it. The presbyter said, ‘God has accepted your offering to him. Go away and give it to the poor.’ He went away very much edified. - Sayings of the Desert Fathers

Once Saint Anthony was traveling in the desert he found a plate of silver coins in his path. He pondered for a moment as to why a plate of silver coins would be out in the desert where no one else travels. Then he realized the devil must have laid it out there to tempt him. To that he said, "Ha! Devil, thou weenest to tempt me and deceive me, but it shall not be in thy power." Once he said this, the plate of silver vanished. Saint Anthony continued walking along and saw a pile of gold in his way which the devil had laid there to deceive him. Saint Anthony cast the pile of gold into a fire, and it vanished just like the silver coins did. After these events, Saint Anthony had a vision where the whole world was full of snares and traps. He cried to the Lord, "Oh good Lord, who may escape from these snares?" A voice said back to him, "humility shall escape them without more.” - Life of St. Anthony

“We often fail to realize the depth of evil, terrifying as it is. I am not speaking only of the selfishness of the wealthy, heaping up riches for themselves, or of those who sacrifice to achieve their self-selected goals. Or of the dictator who breathes in the incense due only to God. I am speaking of the selfishness of good people, devout people, those who have succeeded through spiritual exercises and self-denial in being able to make the proud profession before the altar of the Most High, “Lord, I am not like the rest of men.” Yes, we have had the audacity at certain times of our lives to believe we are different from other men. And here is the deepest form of self-deception, dictated by self-centeredness at its worst: spiritual egotism. This most insidious form of egotism even uses piety and prayer for its own gain.” - Carlo Carretto, Letters from the Desert

Sister Therese would keep for her own use only what was strictly indispensable, and the uglier and poorer these were, the happier she was. She used to say that there was nothing sweeter than to lack what was necessary, because then you could say you were really poor. She urged me never to ask for anything to be bought without first assuring myself that there was no other alternative, and then I was to choose unhesitatingly what was cheapest, like really poor people do. - Marie of the Trinity ocd, testimony for beatification of S. Therese.

There is no option. Either we practice poverty or we shall not only not be sanctified; we shall not even be saved. It was not a pious platitude but a sober truth when Jesus said how hard it is for the rich person to enter heaven. - Fr. Hardon

Refuse honors and riches, take the last place.  Do not even desire honors or riches.  Set your heart on the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  St. Bernard tells us because there was no poverty in heaven, and because Jesus longed for it so much, he came down from heaven and chose it for himself - to make it precious for us. 

1 comment:

  1. Didn't St. Francis say that Lady Poverty had no place in the Sanctuary? He understood that the Sanctuary was heaven, and in heaven there are riches beyond measure. Just read the book of Revelations descriptions. So, the Pope ought to accept and use the liturgical riches given to him and that are part of the patrimony of the Church. They are not honors for him, but honors for God. God deserves the best. We don't.


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