Jesus teaches the way of poverty, and he lived it. He says clearly that we must renounce all of our possessions. But he goes further and says that we must even renounce our relationships and our very selves as well. Why? Probably because we have done these things so poorly in the past, and these unhealthy patterns have become so ingrained that only complete renunciation will allow us to break free. Jesus on the cross is the ultimate example of poverty. It was there that he gave up not only possessions and relationships but also his very life. He not only taught the way of the cross, the way of poverty, but he actually became that way.
[St.] Francis was enough of a realist to know that this view from the bottom would never become fashionable. Yet his commitment to littleness led him to name his brothers “minors” so that they would never fall back again in to the worldview of the “majors” (the great, the nobility). He knew that there was power in being a somebody, but that there was truth in being a nobody. He always opted for the truth, and from the example of Jesus crucified knew that the Lord would create power out of that.
Jesus chose a person [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Peter] who was sincere and generous, (who was) a believer and spontaneous, who knew how to welcome Him into his boat and with Him sail away from the shore, when it was required of him. Simon abandoned the assurances of having his boat secure on the shore, to acquire the safety of sailing with Jesus. (He) witnessed firsthand the love which by the lakeside encouraged those who had followed (Jesus) there, enflaming their hearts and hopes. Overwhelmed by the growing ties between the Lord and himself and by the awakening of his People, Peter believed Jesus’s word; he rowed out into the lake and let down the nets, while his purely human experience strongly advised him against it. God had chosen a modest fisherman, one who was able to be filled with wonder, time and again, by works, wisdom, personality and extreme love of Jesus.
Jesus, help me to be rooted in you when I respond to those around me.
Help me to detach myself from expectations, negative thoughts from myself and others, and attach myself to you.
Help me become an anomaly like you, someone entirely moved and influenced by the Father’s will, not my own or the will of others around me.
Francis had one dominant thought, one unquenchable desire, one constant intention: to become totally conformed to Christ. Discipleship in love has no other purpose except to “christify” the whole person. It is entirely geared towards transforming the lover into an image of the beloved (LM XIII, 2). Francis was “indeed always occupied with Jesus: Jesus he bore in his heart, Jesus in his mouth, Jesus in his ears, Jesus in his eyes, Jesus in his hands, Jesus in the rest of his members. How often, when he sat down to eat, hearing or speaking or thinking of Jesus, he forgot bodily food” (1Cel 115).
Note the shocking lack of qualifiers Jesus puts on that. Nothing about being deserving at all. Nothing about the hope and promise that the poor will take the charity, “make something of themselves” and then pay back. Indeed, he pronounces a special blessing on generosity and love to people who will not and cannot reciprocate.
I beg you, Lord, let the glowing and honey-sweet force of your love draw my mind away from all things that are under heaven, that I may die for love of the love of you who thought it a worthy thing to die for love of the love of me.
The world tells us that happiness, joy and entertainment are the best things in life. And it looks the other way when there are problems of disease or pain in the family. The world does not want to suffer, it prefers to ignore painful situations, to cover them up. Only the person who sees things as they are, and whose heart mourns, will be happy and will be comforted. Thanks to the consolation of Jesus, not to that of the world.
The message of Jesus is folly, in human terms. Anybody who spoke like Jesus today would be considered mad, only good for a psychiatrist. His message is not for the wise; those who think that they have the power, strength and knowledge to transform the world will not understand that the folly of His message is the gift of the Spirit and the transformation of their hearts. The message is for the wounded and the little ones, the poor ones, those who are awaiting the liberator and the good news. The deeply wounded person will always recognise the liberator, because the presence of Jesus will free him, bring him peace and strength and courage, and although he cannot understand the meaning of the little piece of bread and the wine, he knows that he needs them to be transformed.
~ Jean Vanier, Be Not Afraid via Heather King
Jesus takes the hatred of all those around him and responds with love and sacrifice. In doing so, he transforms the ugliness of the crucifixion into a beautiful act of love. The crucifixion and resurrection, which began as an act of betrayal, becomes the most powerful symbol of hope in our faith. Like Jesus, we are challenged to respond to bitterness with compassion. Jesus tells his followers quite plainly that the world will hate them. The life we are called to live is countercultural, and it is likely that we will experience some resistance. We are called to respond to this hate with love.