Evangelical poverty. St. Francis of Assisi embodied this way of being "poor" in order to radically live out the Gospel. Father Steve Grunow explains what it means on this, St. Francis' Feast Day.
St. Francis of Assisi was born in the year 1182 and his early life was spent in an atmosphere of privilege and wealth. Francis was the son of a well-to-do family of merchants.
Yet a life of material comfort did not satisfy Francis, and through his acceptance of an extraordinary offer of grace he set about a mission of personal transformation that he believed would lead to the reform and renewal of the Church. The means by which this transformation would happen would be a commitment to a radical witness of evangelical poverty.
Francis would eschew material resources and make himself a poor man. However, the poverty he would embrace would not be the crushing burden of poverty that is imposed by human callousness and social inequities. Francis accepted as his way of life evangelical poverty....
Today, Father Steve offers his homily for the Feast of St. Clare of Assisi, a contemporary and friend of St. Francis who conformed herself to a life of voluntary poverty for the service of Christ.
Saint Clare, whose feast the Church celebrates today, was born into a wealthy family in the year 1193.
When she was eighteen years old, a charismatic wonderworker by the name of Francis came to preach a series of Lenten sermons at the church of St. Girogio in the town of Assisi. Clare was cut to the heart by Francis’ words and literally left behind everything to enact in her own life Francis’ call to embrace evangelical poverty.
Clare’s commitment to Francis’ spiritual vision would blossom into a community of sisters who would serve as a sisterly counterpart to Francis’ spiritual brotherhood. Clare and her sisters would accept nothing that would diminish her commitment to evangelical poverty. She and her sisters would share all things in common. They would sleep on the ground and would not even accept sandals for their feet...