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Pope Francis: Christian poverty is giving your own, not what is left over

2015-06-16

During his Tuesday morning homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis said that charity is good, but Christian poverty requires people to give more than just leftovers.

POPE FRANCIS
"When we give help to the poor, we are not doing the work of aid agencies ‘in a Christian way.’ Those are good, it is a decent thing to do – aid work is good and quite human – but it is not Christian poverty, which St. Paul preaches to us. Christian poverty is that I give of my own, and not of that which is left over – I give even that, which I need for myself, to the poor person, because I know that he enriches me. Why does the poor person enrich me? Because Jesus Himself told us that He is in the poor person.”

The Pope also said that Christian poverty isn't a matter of ideology. Rather, it is the center of the Gospel.

SUMMARY OF THE POPE'S CATECHESIS
(Source: Vatican Radio)

"If you have so much richness in the heart, these great riches of zeal, charity, the Word of God, the knowledge of God - let this wealth reach your pockets – and this is a golden rule: when faith does not come with pockets, not a genuine faith. It is a golden rule here that Paul says, in essence: ‘You are rich in many things now, so be generous in this work of generosity.’ here is this contrast between wealth and poverty. The Church of Jerusalem is poor, is in economic difficulty, but it is rich, because it has the treasure of the Gospel message. This poor Church of Jerusalem, has enriched the Church of Corinth with the Gospel message; it has given the richness of the Gospel.”

"When we give help to the poor, we are not doing the work of aid agencies ‘in a Christian way’. Those are good, it is a decent thing to do – aid work is good and quite human – but it is not Christian poverty, which St. Paul desires of us and preaches to us. Christian poverty is that I give of my own, and not of that which is left over – I give even that, which I need for myself, to the poor person, because I know that he enriches me. Why does the poor person enrich me? Because Jesus Himself told us that He is in the poor person.”

"This is the theology of poverty: This is because poverty is at the heart of the Gospel; it is not an ideology. It is precisely this mystery, the mystery of Christ who humbled Himself, who let Himself be impoverished in order to enrich us. So it is understandable why the first of the Beatitudes is ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit.’ Being poor in spirit means going on this path of the Lord: the poverty of the Lord, who lowers Himself even so far as to become bread for us, in this sacrifice [of the Mass]. He continues to lower Himself into the history of the Church, into the memorial of His passion, and by the memorial of His humiliation, the memorial of His poverty, by this bread He enriches us.” 


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