Our vow of evangelical poverty signifies a common commitment to keep our minds alert and our hearts open to every need of our fellow human beings, both in our community and outside of it (Const. 12.3).
We religious are poor “by choice.” Do the poor “by lot” find us to be brothers in real solidarity with them or simply brothers masquerading as poor? We should ask them. And if their spontaneous answer is to laugh at us, will we have the courage to let them disrobe us of our illusions about being in solidarity with them and so move forward toward a life more compassionate to them? Our General Chapters have asked us many times to live as brothers who are concerned about one another. Even more, these Chapters have encouraged us to stand beside the poor and to live in solidarity with them, particularly those in the Southern Hemisphere. The Chapters call us to a process of change and conversion that would lead us to an even greater sensitivity to the poor and their needs. They call us also to a clearer understanding of the reality and the structural causes of poverty and, in the end, to a change of social place and style of life. We must do it, among other reasons, so as not to risk the scorn of the world.
To bat one’s eyes doesn’t mean the eyelid can see. (Mongo)