We accept this life of . . . poverty . . . in community as a public testimony to God’s Lordship and active presence in the world. Religious life is a witness to the transcendent that is present in the world of human existence (Const. 10.6).
One day, in the central plaza of Assisi, in full view of the clergy, shopkeepers, public officials, parents and friends, a rich young man took off his clothes and, turning around, walked away completely naked. What shame for his family! What embarrassment for his companions! What scandal for the clergy! He had every advantage for a life of ease. His businessman father lacked nothing. Coming from an influential family, his social position was already assured. What madness, this act of renunciation! Where did he get these antisocial and revolutionary ideas? In effect, it was the moment when Francis made his first profession of the vow of poverty. He took his direction without looking back and without ever going back. A while after this initial gesture of his evangelical commitment, to be consequent, he covered himself with the burlap that the insignificant people of his society wore. It was a sign of his changing his social position and his world view. I ask myself: what are the gestures and signs that witness to evangelical radicalism in me?
We are here, our head bent toward the earth to build houses and we forget that we are strangers on earth. (Luba)