The Bible says if you give to the poor you will receive

I think that’s true. Proverbs 19:17.

So I think whatever your situation is if you give money that you have to the poor it would help with your finances and work.

Doesn’t the Bible say there is a relationship to giving and receiving? That if you give you will receive?

I think this is not to be taken quite so literally. If you give to the poor here on Earth, your reward will be entry to the Kingdom. It is a far greater reward than earthly finances. That is why Jesus advised us to give up everything we own to follow Him. Money is, in many ways, an anchor that keeps people falsely attached to earthly concerns, and does more harm than good. To anyone concerned about the intersection of faith and finance, I would recommend the following passage:

Mark 8:36
For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul?

Don’t get caught up in the fallacy of thinking that earthly sacrifice will be met with an earthly reward. The reward promised by God is far greater!

But I thought there was a passage from New Testament that says that if you are very charitable and giving your “vats will overflow”. I thought that meant that you’ll get a lot.

Well, that might be a literal interpretation, but scripture is not always meant to be taken literally. Let’s examine the passage I believe you are referring to:

[quote=Proverbs 3:9-10]Honour the Lord with thy substance, and give him of the first of all thy fruits; 10 And thy barns shall be filled with abundance, and thy presses shall run over with wine.

Now, does this literally mean that if you sacrifice your first crop to the Lord your barn will automatically be filled with grain and your vats will instantly fill up with wine and olive oil?

I would venture to say no, not literally. I can think of plenty of examples of people who have given a great deal to charity only to be met with financial hardship themselves. Can’t you?

So we are obviously shouldn’t be taking this proverb literally, because we can see uncountable instances where it doesn’t happen that way.

Take this together with the generally theme of the New Testament of the blessings of poverty, and we can start to get a clearer picture that this is a metaphor for the blessing we will receive from God for our charity. This comes in the here and now, charity fills our hearts with joy and allows us to walk the path of Christ. Can you ask for a greater reward than that? To imitate Christ is the greatest thing to which a man can aspire.

What is meant when you say the blessings of poverty? How is that a general theme of the New Testament and what does it mean?

I see now that you are “very interested in Catholicism,” so please take my untrained opinion with a grain of salt. I do not have any formal training and you will want to talk with a priest for a more refined, official answer to your questions.

However, from what I know, I can tell you that poverty is central to the life of Christ, and many will take a vow of poverty in an attempt to emulate
Christ. There is a famous sermon given by Christ called the “beatitudes” which says very bluntly: “Blessed are the poor” and “blessed are the meek” for these types of people will be rewarded in heaven. It’s called the beatitudes from the Latin word for “blessing” because it is essentially a list of virtues in the form of “blessed are…”

I would humbly suggest reading this sermon, which is called the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew Chapters 5 through 7, and the Sermon on the Plain, in Luke 6:17-49. It is a great explanation from the mouth of Jesus Christ Himself about the central theme of the New Testament and what it means to be a Christian.

God bless you, and best of luck in your journey with Christ. If there is anything I can do to help just let me know.

I actually really don’t like money. I just like to have money for decent food and hopefully an OK living situation if I choose to live on my own. But honestly I don’t really like money. When I wanted to receive I just wanted it for essential things like food, shelter and internet.

Where else does it speak of taking a vow of poverty to emulate Christ? Can you please refer me to writings or content that the Church approves of that bluntly and plainly speak of poverty as a good thing to emulate Christ? Or where in the Bible it says that? More passages.

I would be pleased to do so! Here is a great passage from the writings of Saint Francis of Assisi:

The Lord says in the Gospel: he “that doth not renounce all that he possesseth cannot be” a "disciple " and “he that will save his life, shall lose it.” 4 That man leaves all he possesses and loses his body and his soul who abandons himself wholly to obedience in the hands of his superior, and whatever he does and says—provided he himself knows that what he does is good and not contrary to his will—is true obedience.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Many apply themselves to prayers and offices, and practise much abstinence and bodily mortification, but because of a single word which seems to be hurtful to their bodies or because of something being taken from them, they are forthwith scandalized and troubled. These are not poor in spirit: for he who is truly poor in spirit, hates himself and loves those who strike him on the cheek.

Well there seems I have a lot to learn! And there is so much offered by the Church. Looks like I will need to study much more.

Here is a great discussion by Monsignor Civardi:

Jesus practiced poverty first, then preached it. Here, too, He “began to do and to teach:” [Acts 1: 1]. Here, too, His words receive power and strength from His conduct. Jesus exalts the poor; commands that they be helped; He identifies Himself with them.

(a) He exalts the poor: In the Old Testament, Christ is heralded as the liberator of the poor: “He shall deliver the poor from the mighty.” [Ps. 71: 12]. He began His preaching by calling Himself He who is sent to “preach the gospel to the poor.” [Lk. 4: 18]. He sets forth His program in the Sermon on the Mount, and His first words are these: “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” [Matt. 5: 3].

If you’re interested in reading more on this subject, the book “Happy Are You Poor: The Simple Life and Spiritual Freedom” by Fr. Thomas DuBay thoroughly addresses it. It’s less than $9 at Amazon.

Oh, what a great attitude you have! I can see I have a lot to learn from you as well.

I am confident that if approach your journey with Christ with the attitude of humility and sincere desire to please God as you have done during this discussion, you will find great rewards in the kingdom of God indeed, and please God greatly. I’m very impressed.

I think you made a very common and perfectly natural mistake of reading some elements of the Bible a bit too literally, but your heart is definitely in the right place. The best thing to do now is continue as you have been doing, reading the Bible, reading commentary by the great Catholic thinkers like Augustine and Aquinas, and continue to discuss your ideas with fellow Catholics, and you will do just fine.

My therapist says that poverty should not be embraced and that a sign of success is making money. I disagree with him of course. But what do I say to him? He also used as an example that the Vatican makes so much money so if I understood his point he meant that poverty isn’t that important in Christianity because the Vatican has so much money. He certainly seemed to want to minimize the importance of poverty in Christianity by making reference to how the Vatican has so much money.

What do I say about his comment that because the Vatican makes so much money therefore Christianity isn’t largely about poverty?

Oh my, this is a common argument used by atheists and others who oppose the church. They point to the wealth possessed by the church and call it hypocrisy. But this is wrong because the wealth is owned by the church,not a person. The wealth of the Vatican is used to glorify God and aid the poor. It is not enjoyed by an individual for selfish reasons. So the wealth of the Vatican does not detract from the value of poverty in the Christian life.

It is True. You will be given your share of a good reward.

Well let’s not confuse the issue here. It is important to clarify that we are not talking about a financial reward, but a spiritual one.

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