God hears the poor,
and all who are in bonds God spurns not.
Tomorrow is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Francis transitioned from a life of comfort to a life of poverty. He did so quite dramatically when he left his wealth behind and then stripped himself naked as he walked away. With that, Francis embraced the poorest of the poor who lacked even clothing enough to cover themselves. Though I don’t have room to detail all that happened next, know that Francis remained true to his commitment to the poor for the rest of his life.
When I consider the poor, my thoughts most often turn to those with dire material needs. As I reflect further, I remind myself that God’s definition of “the poor” is more inclusive. Some among us are materially rich, but also experience need deep within where it matters most. Just as the materially poor climb a slippery slope when it comes to establishing secure lives, those who live with plenty sometimes lose their grip on the things which truly bring them joy. Francis of Assisi inspired many in this situation to turn their attention away from their own riches and to focus upon God’s treasure.
You know, we’re all counted among God’s poor at one time or another. This much-loved group includes us whenever this life robs us of the things we need. Whether we’re lacking money enough for a loaf of bread or love enough to care for our families, we’re in need. Whether we’re besought by a stack of unpaid bills or by the demons within us, we’re in need. Francis of Assisi would respond by offering us whatever we lack at the given moment. At the same time, he would insist that, in spite of our other needs, we always have enough of God’s love to get by. I wholeheartedly agree.
Loving God, you recognize our poverty in all of its forms. Thank you for your generous response.
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