Saturday, December 2, 2017

Parable and Conscience Meditation December 2

Poverty  December 2

Call nothing your own, but let everything be yours in common (Rule of St. Augustine, 4).

It is said that before each important homily he was to preach, St. Augustine asked a deacon to read this text from the Acts of the Apostles:  “There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need” (4:34-35).  But even more effectively, Augustine proclaimed these words by his personal, daily life-style and that of his community of Hippo.  For forty years, this Christian-become-bishop remained faithful to the ideal of evangelical poverty, symbolized by the primitive community of Jerusalem.  It was the cornerstone of his personal spirituality and of the Rule he wrote for his friends in the community.  It was his own path:  never any personal property, always everything in common.  He was content to live from the reserves of the community, to which he himself contributed.  Contrary to the custom of his time, he even refused to write a will before his death:  nothing possessed during his life, nothing to leave after his death.  He wanted to be a preacher transparent to the end.  He died as he lived.

A man with two families dies of hunger; the one wife thinks the other is preparing the meals.  (African proverb)

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