Poverty December 11
The vow of poverty is concretized in living soberly, asking permission to use common goods and doing manual and intellectual work assiduously (Congolese Regional Statutes, 1.16).
Confronted by the dangers of riches that Jesus spoke of and, particularly, of the ever-present weaknesses of the human heart, one has to watch over oneself always with a clear head. What kind of personal discipline is necessary in the use of community resources and what are the personal motivations? That the personal use of community goods requires community authorization is a help to an honest discernment in the practice of poverty. Requiring such permission, often obtained in dialogue with the superior or in other approved ways, is right on the mark. Nothing belongs to the individual; all belongs to the community. One doesn’t use other people’s property without asking. What’s more, the dynamics of discernment, of authorization and use, are related to the mission, both interior and exterior, of the community. Respecting the value of community goods in work and study is an act of concern for the efficaciousness of the apostolate of the community. Community discipline, then, regarding poverty has nothing to do with fostering infantilism. Quite the opposite, it demands an adult strength. The mature religious is clear in the commitment to poverty and empty of resentment.
Unity in the pride obliges the lion to go to bed hungry. (African proverb)