“Before God, we are all poor.”
– St. Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa was extremely countercultural in the way she chose to be poor. She left every comfort behind to serve Jesus.
Why did Mother Teresa think it was necessary to be poor? Why did she reject worldly comforts and possessions purposefully?
Poverty is something that hasn’t made a whole lot of sense to me. I used to think poverty is something that should be eliminated. However, I think this is a narrow view of poverty. Poverty can be a virtue. Poverty is a vow of the Missionaries of Charity. Why is this? Why should someone choose and vow to be poor?
I had the opportunity to go on a retreat this weekend, and Father talked a good deal about poverty. For once, it actually made sense! Father described poverty as a disposition where someone knows that nothing is their own, but rather views everything as gift from God.
The person in poverty is truly free from all worldly possessions, not because the worldly possessions are bad, but because their life is not about mere possession. The person living in poverty is totally focused on God, and views everything with a certain wonder and gratitude, because they realize that all of creation belongs to Him. Living in poverty eliminates distractions and allows us to see what truly matters.
In the Gospels, Jesus talks about selling everything, or leaving everything behind for the sake of the Kingdom. Perhaps the simplicity and gratitude that comes from poverty can help us as we journey to see God more clearly. Perhaps this was the secret to Mother Teresa’s holiness.
I would like to end with this quote by Mother Teresa:
“The Sisters are always smiling and happy. We are so free, we are so free. I think people are so preoccupied with material difficulties. In the industrial world where people are supposed to have so much, I find that many people, while dressed up, are really, really poor. By having nothing, we will be able to give everything – through the freedom of poverty.”
Challenge: What are the gifts God has blessed you with today?