Spiritual Poverty (Nov. 8, 2015)

In the Gospel, Jesus warns: “Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext recite lengthy prayers.” Basically, they were so self-righteous that their world didn’t extend beyond the surface of their skin.

Last week, at his concluding talk at the Synod on the Family, Pope Francis said: “[The Synod] was about making clear that the Church is a Church of the poor in spirit and of sinners seeking forgiveness, not simply of the righteous and the holy, but rather of those who are righteous and holy precisely when they feel themselves poor sinners.

Let’s face it, folks. Ultimately you and I are like the two widows in Sunday’s First Reading and Gospel. They have little or nothing. We may think we have a lot, that we’re safe and secure, but really: are we? I’ve often thought that exterior wealth, status and power are oftentimes accompanied by inner “riches” of a multitude of desires for more, fear of losing what I have, a wide variety of hostilities and judgments, a list of worries, tensions, and fears.

It’s good sometimes to stop and realize how poor we really are. Spiritual poverty takes us to a place where there is a tremendous amount of freedom. It helps us to know what we really need. It is the different between praying: “Help me to have more” and asking: “Help me to trust in you when I find myself having less.”

Admitting our dependence on God for everything in our lives calls for trust. It’s hard, no two ways about it. But in the end, we may actually discover that the jar doesn’t go empty and the jug doesn’t run dry. Maybe we’ll actually let our Lord convince us that our real happiness will be in letting go of more and more, and falling into the hands of a loving God who keeps faith forever and who sets captives free. [Responsorial Psalm]

Lovepraylaugh! You’re snug in God’s hands!

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