On Poor in Spirit by St. Leo the Great

September 7, 2012

In Today’s Office of Reading, the commentary is from St. Leo the Great on the “Poor in Spirit”. This is what he said:

Blessed are the poor in spirit

There is no doubt that the poor find it easier than the rich to receive the blessing of humility; for gentleness goes with poverty just as pride more commonly goes with riches. Nevertheless, very many rich people find that their wealth does not swell them up with pride: rather, they do good and benevolent things with it. For these people the greatest treasure is what they spend in relieving the distress and hardship of others.
  In the virtue of humility men of every kind and every standing meet together, because though they differ in their means they share a common purpose. Their inequality of wealth makes no difference if they are equal in spiritual blessings.
  What kind of poverty, then, is blessed? The kind that is not in love with earthly things and does not seek worldly riches: the kind that longs to be filled with the blessings of heaven.
  After our Lord himself, the Apostles have given us the best example of this greatness of heart in poverty. When their Master called, they instantly left behind all that they possessed, and from catching fish they turned swiftly to fishing for men. Their example inspired many to emulate their faith and so become like them: it was at this time that these first sons of the Church were of one heart and there was one spirit among believers. With all their possessions stripped away they received the riches of eternal blessings, and through the Apostles’ preaching they rejoiced at having nothing that the world could give and possessing all things with Christ.
  So it was that when the blessed apostle Peter was going up into the Temple and the cripple begged him for alms, he replied I have neither silver nor gold, but I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk! What could be higher than this lowliness? What could be richer than this poverty? He cannot give the support of money but he can give the gift of a restored nature. From the womb his mother brought him forth a cripple; by a word Peter raises him up to health. He did not give the image of Caesar stamped on a coin but he restored the image of Christ in the man himself.
  The man who was given the power to walk was not the only one to receive help from this rich treasure. From the same act of miraculous healing five thousand men received the gift of faith in the Apostle’s teaching. The poor man who could give nothing of what he was asked for restored one lame man to his feet but also healed the hearts of thousands: he found them lame and brought them to be lithe and agile in Christ.

Vatican economist suggest austerity

February 10, 2010

It is interesting to read the following article:

the economist analyze and said that the real problem in todays economic crisis is not the bankers, they only aggravate what already there. The real problem is 0% birth rate. Why is that so? you may want to read the article to find out.

And economist also mentioned an interesting statement. “the only way to rebuild economic-financial balance is austerity”.

Summary for Pope Benedict’s third Encyclical: Charity in Truth

July 19, 2009

You can find the summary written by Jeff Mirus at this page:
Benedict’s Third Encyclical: A Summary

The Solution to Poverty is Poverty

January 5, 2009

The Pope says that the solution to overcome the poverty that God does not want is Evangelical Poverty! The solution is not getting more wealth but sobriety and solidarity, the fruits of evangelical poverty.

read the complete article at: http://www.zenit.org/article-24692?l=english

Seek first the Kingdom of God

October 4, 2008

I wrote an email to my maillist about desiring to be rich. I wrote that we should first seek the Kingdom of God. It is not that I condemn the rich, of course not, the Lord does not do that. It is just that I have never heard the God’s message asking us to “desire” riches. I have never read in the Scripture, and I have never heard in the teaching of the Church.

It turns out that some people reply, and of course, some didn’t agree with it. I promised to the Lord that I will always listen to Him, instead of myself or my pride. So I listen to them. I love the truth more than I love my pride. Yet, I am still not convinced that the Lord wants us to “desire” riches.

Today we are having an intercessory for the Alpha programme. We invited some people to come, even from those who never come to our prayer meeting. What struck me was that during the prophecy time, there was this girl gave a prophecy through a song

seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness. And all of this thing shall be added unto you, alleluia!

Even when you are wealthy, you will still feel empty….[…]

I don’t think she is in our maillist. I don’t think she knows what is happening. And it’s not related to the Alpha programme that we are praying for either. haha

But It truly affirms me. I felt the Lord is affirming the message that I am telling to my members. I remember the last paragraph of my email i wrote:

Brothers and sisters, seek first the kingdom of God, and everything else will be added unto you. Come to Jesus, and you will find Life. Don’t live for riches or money. It’s not worth the Life we will obtain with Jesus Christ. If the Lord bless you with riches, thank Him, and give it to the poor. St. Ambrose said our money never belongs to us… It belongs to the poor.

Thank you Lord. Not for affirming my message, but your message. Thank you for helping me in my strugle to seek the truth. Thank you for speaking to me.

Associate with the lowly

October 4, 2008

Few days back, our muslim brothers and sisters celebrate their victory after one month fasting. I recall one time when I join their happiness with them. I was studyin my PhD in the University and there is always an aunt who usually cleans my lab and my cubicle. She was a muslim. We usually greet each other. Sometimes I talked in Bahasa (malay/indonesian), sometimes I talked in english.

But everytime I met, I usually talked to her and greet. I started to listen to her story. I start to know some of her friends who were cleaners in the university as well. I started to talked to some of them.

One day it was few days before the Hari Raya (idul fitri), and I talked to her, and she told me her difficulties, how much she got paid, and she didn’t get any extra money for the Hari Raya. But guess what?? After finished speaking she invited me to come to her place to celebrate with her. I said, yes!

So on the holiday, I went to her place, she has told me where it is. Trust me, it is not the luxurius place in Singapore. I found it difficult to find it. But I finally found it. It was a small room, but very warm.  I saw many people. I was a afraid to come in, but suddenly the aunty came and invited me to come in. She introduced me to her family, to her sons and to her grand sons and grand daughter. They served me with drinks, and I chatted, I told a bit of myself to them. Then, they invited me to the dining table which just a few meter away from the living room. I went there and saw delicious food! She was afraid I couldn’t eat it, since she saw I am a chinese. But I assure her, the food looks more like the one in my home, and I prefer than any chinese food I eat in singapore 🙂

So I talked with them, laugh, chatted, and thank them. When I went back, I realized that people who came gave an “angpao” to the aunty, and I didn’t bring anything to them. I apologized. But they said they were happy that I could come. That is what matters. So I thank them, and left the place.

How could she who were poor give so much? How could the house be so warm with love and laughter? How is it that in the midst of all her difficulties, she gave more than what I could give? And you know what, the following year, she invited me again to come to celebrate with her family. I realized that the best gift we can give is not our money, but ourselves.

I recall the bible passage from Paul

Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited. Rom 12:16

Associate with the lowly. These words ring a bell in my heart. Associate with the lowly. What a message! In the time when the world is asking you to associate yourself with the higher class, the Gospel says, Associate with the Lowly.

As our muslim brothers and sisters celebrate their Hari Raya this year, I recall this lesson that the Lord is teaching me: associate with the Lowly.

What God wants is not our abundance but our poverty

September 11, 2008

Last Tuesday I had a bible study on the book of Acts, and the Priest who was giving the lecture spoke the words of Mother Teresa that still lingers in my mind,

What God wants is not our abundance, but our poverty

I kept on thinkin on these words. I used to think that when we have plenty, the more we can give to God. But it seems that what the Lord wants is not our abundance, but rather our poverty. But do I want to be poor then? Last night the Gospel reading was from Luke 6 verse 20

And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
“Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh.
“Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man!
Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

When I reflect on this passage, I realize that Jesus used the word “now” only in hunger and weep, but not in poor. It is as if that one day we will no longer in hunger but be satisfied, we will no longer weep but rejoice. But for the case being poor,…, maybe we will always be poor.

In Matthew Gospel, Jesus said, blessed are the poor in spirit, as if to explain what it means. I open up my Harper’s Bible dictionary to find what it means to be poor in the Bible.

[…] The view of the poor is revealed in the chief Hebrew terms for the poor, which address them as needy, without power, and abused by those with greater power. […] They do not have the capacity to provide for themselves the essentials of life.

Maybe we will always become a needy, in need of God, maybe we will always be without power, because God is our only power, maybe we will always be abused by the world and its values, but God is our hope. Maybe we will always be in a situation that we do not have the capacity to provide the essentials of Life. Maybe… the Life we receive from God, is simply a gift. Maybe the Eternal Life that we receive, is not in “our” capacity. It is just a generous gift from the Lord.

Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Jesus associates himself with the Kingdom of God. How blessed are you poor, how blessed are you who is in need of God, who has no power on its own, who relies solely on the Lord, for yours is the Kingdom of God, blessed are you, for to you … God belongs.