|About the Book|
The whole Bible from Amos to St. James and from Deuteronomy to Jesus considers poverty (and the word has an extension greater than the simple privation of money) as an extreme state disturbing to our conscience. The correctives proposed in theMoreThe whole Bible from Amos to St. James and from Deuteronomy to Jesus considers poverty (and the word has an extension greater than the simple privation of money) as an extreme state disturbing to our conscience. The correctives proposed in the inspired pages are dated. No claim is made that their repetition and slavish imitation will suffice until the end of time. However, in these recommendations, there is more than realism. In spite of a certain tendency (fairly localized, in our opinion) to equate the poor man and the sinner, there is the observation that the poor become religious more easily than the rich, because they are less likely to be self-sufficient and consequently closer to God...the critique of riches, made from a religious point of view, never ceased from the prophets to Jesus. It is He who, having chosen poverty as a means of redemption, consecrated it as a value. Henceforth, each poor man, with his own special kind of poverty, is a reminder and, as it were, a sacrament of the great Poor Man proclaimed by the Second-Isaiah.With Zephaniah, the vocabulary of poverty underwent a spiritual transformation and served to denote man before God in the religious attitude of client. We have tried to give a concrete description of this mystical lineage of Israel, so anonymously eloquent in the psalter, but which also included famous names like Jeremiah, the author of the book of Job, and above all Mary, the lowly maid who at the threshold of the New Covenant recapitulates all the spiritual depths of the Old. Poverty thus understood is a modality of faith. It is abandoned, trusting and joyous, closely akin to humility. It shows itself in an attitude of religious waiting. The Beatitude of the poor in Matthews Gospel is focused on this fundamental disposition, and its various aspects are continued in the critique of pharisaism so central in the Gospel, as well as in the parable of the children, which is, as it were, the antithesis of this critique.These two poverties, effective poverty and spiritual poverty, are concretely connected. Historically, the second is rooted in the first. As a matter of fact, to enable spiritual poverty to flourish, the Essenians bound themselves by a vow of poverty. And Christ confirmed what tradition had discovered. None of these biblical lessons were nor should be lost. Without pretending to extract from the Bible an economic treatise, we have no right to forget the social results of its religious principles. Jesus did not claim to organize the world, but He was actually speaking to men of flesh and blood and we know where His preferences led.Evangelical poverty, as He practiced it, continues in the Church as an unmistakably clear sign of an understanding of His spirit. The saint who most closely resembled Him is, perhaps, the Poverello of Assisi. Franciscan poverty is at once liberation, joy, brotherhood and union with Jesus. Charles de Foucauld and Pere Chevrier have given it new dimensions and it is treasured as a heritage by their apostolic families.According to Régamey, evangelical poverty in its final profundity is a radical renunciation, a total humility and consequently a limitless trust in God. It is the basic disposition that the Bible has described in some of its best pages. It is this insight that is the greatness of the mystical descendants of Israel. Marys life shows us all its beauty, Jesus life all its value, for it was He, the anaw, who declared that the poor of heart are blessed. This theme was handed down from generation to generation as the very secret of sanctity.