Wake Up World II
We are ready to begin Lent during the year of focus on Consecrated Life, launched last November by the Holy Father.
During this time, we remember the call of those vowed in God in a special way: Religious order sisters/nuns, brothers and priests. Their call and theme for this year is WAKE UP THE WORLD! By their lives of poverty, chastity and obedience, they declare that God is real. God is alive. God is worth it!
In the last blog, we recalled the three fundamental charisms of consecrated life: the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Each of these is a more in-depth expression of the call to follow Jesus which you and I received in Baptism. The consecrated, by living it more radically, call us all to wake up and pay attention by the way we live our lives.
It seems that to be a successful church in the United States in the twenty-first century, you must focus on people’s comforts, offer quality entertainment during/in place of worship, and talk poverty only in connection with the big annual drive for food and toys at Christmas.
Jesus would be appalled.
Scratch that. Jesus is appalled.
Christ did not empty himself and take on our human condition to proclaim the prosperity Gospel: Trust in God and you’ll be a winner! Rather, he embraced poverty and invited everyone who would follow him to be free of slavery to possessions, power, and greed.
He didn’t call us to starve and live under bridges. He did call us to live more simply and to care for a world which is, indeed, starving and sleeping in cardboard boxes.
Pope Francis is extremely fond of two things: preaching poverty and living it. Some ways we can join with him and the consecrated to live Gospel poverty:
- Love your pets and take good care of them. When you are selecting food for them, remember that there are starving human beings in the world. Is there a way your pets can eat more simply?
- Pay attention to waste. Prepare and eat only what you need to consume. Discarding food ignores the starving of the world and is bad stewardship of the environment.
- Stay aware of poverty by always including the purchase of items for the parish food pantry in your regular grocery shopping without increasing your food budget.
- Regardless of the price of fuel, be conservative in your driving and home heating/cooling. This is also a blessing to the earth.
- Always pray before you eat, individually and as a household. And always remember in your prayers those who are starving while you are being filled.