Tuesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Ezekiel 28:1-10, Matthew 19:23-30

I am always surprised when, in the Spiritual Exercises, I read St. Ignatius indicating that spiritual poverty is more easily attained than material poverty: he seems to be saying that spiritual poverty is something we can more easily will, material poverty a specially privileged gift from God. I always smile when I think of these things for I think of what my dear old Dad would say at this point: “What have I done to deserve such a privilege?”

The figure of the “poverty fanatic” is well known in religion, and, in our day, such a figure often breathes a Marxist air as well, firebrands who are all justice, no mercy. But the woeful experience of the 20th Century should be ample warning against such an institutionalization of “concern for the poor.” Poverty in itself is no guarantee of anything. But poverty becomes glorious when it is all about freedom, when we find the freedom to have or to let go, depending on the will of the God “for whom all things are possible.”

And this freedom is indeed a privilege, whether it please God that we have or have not.  The point is to let God be Lord, and not to become a little god either through my possessions, or my pride in not having possessions.

August 19th, 2014