“The poor person is the one who has been converted to God and puts all his faith in him, and the rich person is one who has not been converted to God and puts his confidence in idols: money, power, material things… Our work should be directed to converting ourselves and all people to this authentic means of poverty”
Archbishop Oscar Romero
Benedict XVI has spoken of how easily some communities today become caught in the snare of mediocrity, gentrification and a consumer mentality. Inculturation of the Gospel does not imply wholesale assimilation of the siren songs of the culture itself. Given the manner in which today’s global village is saturated with the voices of that culture through the modern media and technology, the challenge to resist such a lure is greater than ever.
The spiritual force of the charism of consecrated life is most likely to be felt when it acts from a base divested of authority and power. True to the words of Old Testament prophets such as Jeremiah, the more we, as religious, are aware of our own inner poverty, the more we come to rely upon the God who called us. Our trust and faith in him lead us to totally entrust our lives, our dreams, our hopes and our future to his loving care and providence. Those who possess God are never wanting of anything and can say with St. Teresa of Avila “God alone suffices”.
Attracted by the example of Jesus who, though rich, became poor for us:
- We own everything in common: in terms of salary, donation and pension.
- We take care of goods and property entrusted to us and accept joyfully what the Community provides us with regarding accommodation, work, food and dress.
- Following the example of the Holy Family at Nazareth, we embrace the common law of work in accordance with the spirit and aims of the COLW.
- As ‘anawim’ of the Lord, we choose to live in trustful surrender to Divine Providence, seeking above all the kingdom of God. Hence we choose a lifestyle which differs from the world’s by its simplicity and sobriety, avoiding luxuries and superfluities either as individuals or as an institute and willingly accepting the hardships implied by our vocation or circumstance.
- Prayer, fasting, hospitality and almsgiving will be means of sharing with others. We recognise that to live by Divine Providence, in poverty, calls for a responsible and sustainable approach to finances.
- As consumers, we try to make choices based on Gospel values (Fairtrade etc.).