Antidote to Destitution

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Dear POP Folks,

Something at church feels a little strange right now.  It’s not Lent!  We haven’t celebrated Ash Wednesday yet, the vestments are still green, there are no announcements of Penance services, fish frys and the Stations of the Cross.  All of that will arrive in March.

Even though it’s a ways off, Pope Francis has already started reflecting on our Lenten journey.  His chosen theme for this year’s 40 days is, “ He became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” (II Corinthians 8:9).  Note that this is about the poverty of Jesus who gave up everything in order to enrich us with his indescribable gift (Philippians 2:7; II Corinthians 9:15).

The Holy Father says: Destitution is not the same as poverty: destitution is poverty without faith, without support, without hope.  There are three types of destitution:  material, moral and spiritual. 

  • Material destitution is what is normally called poverty, and affects those living in conditions opposed to human dignity:  those who lack basic rights and needs such as food, water, hygiene, work, and the opportunity to develop and grow culturally.  No less of a concern is… 
  • Moral destitution, which consists in slavery to vice and sin.  How much pain is caused in families because one of their members – often a young person – is in thrall to alcohol, drugs, gambling or pornography!  How many people no longer see meaning in life or prospects for the future, how many have lost hope!  And, how many are plunged into this destitution by unjust social conditions, by unemployment, which takes away their dignity as breadwinners, and by lack of equal access to education and health care.  This type of destitution, which also causes financial ruin, is invariably linked to the… 
  • Spiritual destitution, which we experience when we turn away from God and reject his love.  If we think we don’t need God who reaches out to us though Christ, because we believe we can make do on our own, we are headed for a fall. God alone can truly save and free us.

The Gospel is the real antidote to spiritual destitution.

And so, People of God at Prince of Peace, we possess the antidote.  We are called each day…

  • to read the Gospel
  • to meditate on the Gospel
  • to act out the Gospel
  • to bring joy to those in destitution by living the Gospel

     Pope Francis says that The Gospel is the real antidote to spiritual destitution.
     And the Gospel, brothers and sisters, has been entrusted to us.