Little Mandate He articulates specifically how we are to follow Him: going
to the poor, being poor, being one with them, one with Me. [1b]
the Staff of Madonna House Apostolate about poverty our Foundress, Catherine,
has written: …..poverty always goes hand in hand with utter trust in God.
trust in God is an overarching act of faith.
are both a richness, the high of loving and being loved by God and other, and a
frequent descent into the poverty of our powerlessness, particularly in this
mercurial in the poverty of being creatures, beloved human being creatures with
free will who assume, reactively, from God whom we love, depend on, that YES is
precisely what we are due, and NO is precisely mean-spirited rejection.
frequently do we pause after a YES and say thank-You?
St. Luke who recounts for us the healing of the ten lepers with only one
returning to thank Jesus: St. Luke 17:11-19.
first instruction in this passage from the Little Mandate is: going to the
the pandemic it was, by way of example, a simple thing to do: volunteer in a
soup kitchen, visiting the sick in hospital, shut-ins, helping at food banks,
much with the pandemic unless we use loves creativity – like volunteer to sit
outside the window of elderly in a care-home, using our cell phones to speak
with them; drop off food at the door of the food bank; by phone or using the
internet communicate with friends and family who are isolated.
prayer, being aware in our hearts of the homeless poor, prisoners, people in
refugee camps, when can go to them through prayer which is an act of love and
next word, may pose the question ‘how’?, particularly with the restrictions of
movement and person to person contact in this pandemic.
as human beings living in a materialistic world we often tend to think and
choose based on stuff. Stuff we convince ourselves are things we need, when in
fact we do not. Want them, yes, need them, no. Here is where we need to invoke
the help of the Holy Spirit with simple and humble hearts for the grace to
discern between need and want. Seeking His help is embracing our own poverty.
pandemic the entire human family shares the poverty of vulnerability.
matter how rich an induvial may be, no matter how powerful and rich a
particular country may be with scientists and technology, every human being
experiences this vulnerability, the physical, emotional, spiritual stress of a
poverty never before experienced on such a total scale, or personally. Famines
may strike a particular region, for example, but famines are understandable:
crops fail, food lacks, malnutrition sets in and the world community responds
with food aid and eventually the crisis of people suffering is overcome.
barren fields with winds visibly whipping away the topsoil, no drought
withering the crops before our eyes, this impoverishment’s agent is invisible
to the naked eye, strikes at whim, kills.
experiencing the poverty of vulnerability in extremis.
vital we remember in this, as in all things, we are not alone for He who is
with us embraced poverty and vulnerability to the ultimate of both and so Jesus
we may refer to rightly, as THE POOR
ONE, THE VULNERABLE ONE.
great Pauline hymn of Christ’s Kenosis and the First Beatitude are interwoven: Do
nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as
more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but
also everyone for those of others. In your minds you must be the same as Christ
Jesus. Who, though He was in the form of God, He did not cling to His equality
with God but He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human
likeness; and found human in appearance, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient
to death, even death on a cross. [Phil. 2:2-8]. Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [Mt. 5: 3].
everything Jesus does and teaches all is about love. Inviting us in the Little
Mandate to be about the poor – going to the poor, being poor, being one with
them, one with Me – also is all about love. The fullness and simplicity of
real poverty has less to do with the material aspects of life, everything to do
with love: ……You shall love your neighbour as yourself. [in Mat.22:35-40;
Mk.12:28-34; Lk. 10:25-27] and as we know we shall be judged on how we
loved everyone, in particular the poor, judged in light of the great “I was” identification of Jesus
with the materially and spiritually poor, which is each of us in our needs: Mathew
love Christ means is a live current that comes from God, is transmitted from
person to person and returns to God. It runs a sacred cycle reaching from God to an individual,
from the individual to his neighbour, and back through faith to God. He who
breaks the circuit at any point breaks the flow of love. He who transmits
purely, however small a part of the love, helps establish the circuit for the
DEARLY BELOVED Letters to the Children of My Spirit, Volume One, 1956-1963, p.
62; Catherine de Hueck Doherty; Madonna House Publications, 1989
LORD, by Romano Guardini; p.70; Henry Regnery Company 1954 [Italics are mine]
Fr. Arthur Joseph