Franciscan Poverty


#1

I wanted to start this thread as I believe Franciscan Poverty is often misunderstood. In other words often when many people think of poverty they think immediately back to the material. I wanted to open this thread up to all of the other ways Franciscan Poverty affects us and can be applied practically in our life. I also thought maybe it would not be as much a hot potato as some of these threads have gotten lately. :stuck_out_tongue:


#2

joandarc2008 said;
I wanted to start this thread as I believe Franciscan Poverty is often misunderstood. In other words often when many people think of poverty they think immediately back to the material. I wanted to open this thread up to all of the other ways Franciscan Poverty affects us and can be applied practically in our life. I also thought maybe it would not be as much a hot potato as some of these threads have gotten lately.

*What part of “Franciscan Poverty” is being misunderstood? Francis’ poverty was directly related to the “material,” in every single thing that he did. The modern Franciscan Order doesn’t follow the earliest Rule, but true Franciscan poverty is still what Francis’ initially wanted and it was a simple matter of making do or doing without.

I belong to a Franciscan Lay Community and we follow the original Rule of 1221 and believe me, if you read it, you can see it for yourself! The bold print is the original Rule and the lighter print is the way the Rule is interpreted in our daily lives. The reason why will be obvious if you read the Rule.

bspenance.org/Rule_and_Statutes.shtml

DesertSister62 *


#3

OK, Sister, first it is not JUST material poverty was my point. You have the poverty that was described by St. Bonaventure - you also have slight differences in how that poverty is applied between 1st Orders and 3rd Orders.

I started this thread to expand the discussion past the discussion of material poverty as the misunderstanding is that is the ONLY form of poverty that must be embraced.

Also too - there is a big difference between reading 13th century rule and applying it in 21st century Secular life. This is also a good starting point from another thread on the Secular Order:

Originally Posted by joandarc2008 View Post
Brother JR put it nicely - the "life of poverty" I think could be a whole other discussion but I wanted to comment on it here. In a Secular Sense it is very different than that of the Religious. It is not about necessarily not having. It is about understanding that what we have is not ours - it is to be shared. I know a few SFO that have plenty but their homes are always open. It is also not just a material poverty. For instance - my body is not mine - (the Culture of Death would certainly like me to think it is)- it is shared with the Lord for the Lord's purpose. My talents are not mine. They are shared with the Lord and my fellow man. I think it is important when we introduce this to newcomers that they don't get the idea of living in a cardboard box. While we are welcome to do this - I know that someday when I get myself out of the material poverty I am in that my home will always be open to anyone who needs to stay there.(Scandal requirements aside of course. )

I think St Bonaventure does a very nice job adapting the Beatitudes to the Franciscan Rule to explain this Rule

So, Sister - what other types of poverty besides the material do you embrace and how do you find yourself embracing them.


#4

This is a wonderful point, not just for Franciscan poverty but I think for the whole idea of Catholics making sacrifice. It is easy to focus on only the material (of course, this is an important detachment to make!) and lose the purpose, which is a detachment from ALL that is not God. I think many people fast, make holy hours of adoration, etc. (which are wonderful things) without letting these penances do their work, expanding the spiritual life, the poverty within.

I am a diocesan seminarian and not a religious, but I believe that the heart of a religious is so important for all disciples of Christ to strive for. I feel that a huge part of spiritual poverty is giving up one's reputation, one's pride (what a challenge!) Giving away all my excess clothing, selling movies, CDs, etc. and giving to the poor is one thing, but letting go of my reputation, what others think of me? This is a very difficult poverty. But I think this is a big part of St. Francis' charism. He not only detached from all physical possessions, but he let go of his reputation. And he was thought by many to be a fool. Francis got to the point where, as long as God was being glorified by his life and in the lives of those around him, he had no concern for his own reputation. "He must increase, I must decrease" is an essential part of true spiritual poverty.

It is truly amazing how, the deeper one goes into his spiritual life, receiving grace and shedding sinful ways, the more he realizes how far from perfection he is. By the grace of God, may we all strive for this perfection.

I agree with the original poster (what a nice, non-confrontational topic :-) ) that it is so important not to stay in the material world, but through material sacrifice and poverty we may move more and more deeply into the mystery of the Perfect One.

In Christ and Mary,
Frank


#5

Thank you very much Frank. It brings to mind what you may face some day in a parish. There will be some that like your decisions and some that will not. But if you are obedient to God's will than some of those decisions will by definition be counter-cultural and therefore lead to a spiritual poverty.

The same goes for us in the secular lay lives. For instance a family of seven kids is often looked down on by some people in society although they have opened themselves to God's will. But yet the husband and wife have understood that their bodies are not theirs - they are shared and to be used or the will of God.


#6

Yes, that is very true, no matter what vocation God has given you, you will experience this need for spiritual poverty, and not submitting to it but being proud can be devastating.

For the religious, a need to feel that everyone thinks highly of you in the community can hinder spiritual progress. (For just one example, look at Padre Pio. Although many loved him, he was despised by many, even within the Capuchin community.)

For a diocesan priest, like you said, the desire to be well-liked and popular may keep you from the ability to make the really tough decisions. Sometimes God wants reprimand or correction, and some will certainly not like you for it.

For the married or single lay-person, standing up and witnessing to your faith can be such a trial, especially in the 21st century in a very secular America (or anywhere else in the world, really.) From large families to life issues, we simply must stand up for Christ, and not think of ourselves. Our lives should make people think highly of God, not of ourselves. And that will surely be difficult at times.

Francis (and many of the saints throughout the ages) have so much to teach us today. One must give up attachments to everything, material goods and even our own self, in order to be perfect disciples. What a challenge!

In Christ and Mary,
Frank


#7

[quote="joandarc2008, post:1, topic:223233"]
I wanted to start this thread as I believe Franciscan Poverty is often misunderstood. In other words often when many people think of poverty they think immediately back to the material. I wanted to open this thread up to all of the other ways Franciscan Poverty affects us and can be applied practically in our life. I also thought maybe it would not be as much a hot potato as some of these threads have gotten lately. :p

[/quote]

To me Franciscan Poverty is from a secular standpoint. Doing without and doing sacrafice. What I mean is yeah we can have material pocessions, but not extreme luxuries. ie having a car vs having a Rolls Royce. Giving yourself to God more and more everyday.


#8

I would like to leave a reply on this thread of Franciscan Poverty. I am actually a Franciscan Seminarian. I went through Aspirancy, Postulancy and Novitiate all in Italy. Now I am in the Holy Land. I see the point on spiritual sacrifice, and on being spiritually poor, but I think too, being a concrete example, being literally poor is what is lacking in the Franciscan life today. There is no need for huge fortress like Monasteries. There is no need for millions of dollars pouring in from all over the world. When we walk around here in the Holy Land, we are not seen as poor, but actually the ones who have money. Yes, with all of the money the Custody receives, they do help in some ways, but BEING poor would a more powerful witness to a people here in Israel that are so starved for. If we stood poor, shoulder to shoulder, WITH the poor, and actually LIVED poor, we would be heralds of the Gospel in the land Christ Himself walked in!
Br. Mark


#9

Thank you Brother Mark for both your take on Franciscan poverty and for the sacrifices you are making and have made to enter the Order. Based on your message I assume you are entering the Holy Land Custos. I think much of the reason for the extravagant monasteries/friaries there is due more to the history of the Holy Land and the political back and forth that goes on then the Franciscan ideals of poverty. Over the years various properties have been entrusted to the them, not to own, but to manage. If they vacate the buildings or transfer out of them depending on the regulations of that area they revert to Israel or to other religions. I know based on the magazine "The Holy Land Review", that the Franciscans are one of the few organizations within the Holy Land that still provide for the teaching and the support of the Holy Land Christians. Without money "rolling in" that support and the Catholic presence in the Holy Land would probably disappear.

Hopefully if you express your view on things with your superiors after you make your vows they may transfer you to other locations within your Order that truly meet your expectations of the Franciscan ideals. God Bless you and your mission.

Pax et bonum


#10

[quote="Athanasius296, post:8, topic:223233"]
I would like to leave a reply on this thread of Franciscan Poverty. I am actually a Franciscan Seminarian. I went through Aspirancy, Postulancy and Novitiate all in Italy. Now I am in the Holy Land. I see the point on spiritual sacrifice, and on being spiritually poor, but I think too, being a concrete example, being literally poor is what is lacking in the Franciscan life today. There is no need for huge fortress like Monasteries. There is no need for millions of dollars pouring in from all over the world. When we walk around here in the Holy Land, we are not seen as poor, but actually the ones who have money. Yes, with all of the money the Custody receives, they do help in some ways, but BEING poor would a more powerful witness to a people here in Israel that are so starved for. If we stood poor, shoulder to shoulder, WITH the poor, and actually LIVED poor, we would be heralds of the Gospel in the land Christ Himself walked in!
Br. Mark

[/quote]

You are so right, Brother ..It is the same here in Ireland. NB we have the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal here and they think as you do. They made their dwelling in Limerick out of two old unwanted houses.


#11

The vow of Poverty has been discussed amongst the Franciscans for ages. It is actually a healthy debate within the Order and shows that there is a spirit of renewal still amongst the Franciscans. MANY reform groups have sprung up in recent years that go back to the literally poor beggars on the streets. Others focus on the spiritual poverty that we are suppose to adhere to as well. But the problem I see, and I have brought up with my formators many times, is that some only focus on one or the other. A healthy Franciscan life would be balanced between both spiritual and material poverty. The Franciscan Life is very interesting and offers to a world racked by financial woes not to put faith in economies or proposals of governments but to look to CHRIST poor and Crucified as our example of what it truly means to be spiritually and literally poor. On the Cross, Christ literally had NOTHING and He was spiritually stripped as well as He took on all the sins of all time!

Pace e Bene!

Br. Mark


#12

[quote="Athanasius296, post:8, topic:223233"]
I would like to leave a reply on this thread of Franciscan Poverty. I am actually a Franciscan Seminarian. I went through Aspirancy, Postulancy and Novitiate all in Italy. Now I am in the Holy Land. I see the point on spiritual sacrifice, and on being spiritually poor, but I think too, being a concrete example, being literally poor is what is lacking in the Franciscan life today. There is no need for huge fortress like Monasteries. There is no need for millions of dollars pouring in from all over the world. When we walk around here in the Holy Land, we are not seen as poor, but actually the ones who have money. Yes, with all of the money the Custody receives, they do help in some ways, but BEING poor would a more powerful witness to a people here in Israel that are so starved for. If we stood poor, shoulder to shoulder, WITH the poor, and actually LIVED poor, we would be heralds of the Gospel in the land Christ Himself walked in!
Br. Mark

[/quote]

Wow...this is beautiful. What order are you with? Do you have a branch for religous sisters?


#13

There are actually Poor Clares here in Jerusalem that you can possibly look into and there are also the Teaching Sisters of St. Dorothy. There are other Sister's Communities throughout the Holy Land. There are Sisters here as well that live close by us in our Monastery. Many of the Communities speak Italian or French. My Community speaks Italian. Blessed Mother Theresa's Missionaries of Charity are also here and they speak English!

If you have further questions let me know!

Br. Mark of the Cross, OFM


#14

[quote="Athanasius296, post:13, topic:223233"]
There are actually Poor Clares here in Jerusalem that you can possibly look into and there are also the Teaching Sisters of St. Dorothy. There are other Sister's Communities throughout the Holy Land. There are Sisters here as well that live close by us in our Monastery. Many of the Communities speak Italian or French. My Community speaks Italian. Blessed Mother Theresa's Missionaries of Charity are also here and they speak English!

If you have further questions let me know!

Br. Mark of the Cross, OFM

[/quote]

Thank you, do those orders have a website or someone I could contact?

Thanks again.


#15

I will get the information for you!

These are the Teaching SIsters of St. Dorothy:

sdvi.org

There are also these Sisters: Suore Francescane Minime del S. Cuore

suoreminime.com/en/

There are the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart: fmscusa.org/

and for more communities of Sisters in the Holy Land, you can visit these pages:

catholicchurch-holyland.com/?p=515

I hope this helps!!!

Br. Mark of the Cross, OFM CTS


#16

Thank you so so much Br. Mark. I'll be looking at these pages. :)


#17

There is also this Order that you might be interested in...it is a new Order that has just formed and they live a radical form of Poverty and are always on the streets preaching in Italy:

nuke.poorfriars.net/HomeEnglish/tabid/469/Default.aspx

To me they seemed very interesting to meet, they do not have many in their Order at all and are not yet in the Holy Land.

Br. Mark


#18

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