In the past few years, we have seen Pope Francis make changes to the luxurious lifestyle associated with Popes, such as: keeping the same pectoral cross as when he was bishop instead of getting a new one, wearing simple shoes, living in an apartment, paying for his new spectacles etc. Fr David Cortis OSA who holds an accountant warrant suggests what every church should to about poverty.
8 Tips On How Local Churches Can Live In A Spirit Of Poverty
1. Check The Consumption Of Your Parish Or Convent
In addition to donating money, another way of curbing greed is to curb consumption.
2. Share What You Have With Others
An important principle in the Rule of St Augustine is to “Call nothing your own, but let everything be yours in common . This is similar to the community of Acts, in which we are called to be wise stewards of our time, treasure and talents , both material and spiritual goods.
At this point, it is worth emphasising that we ought to be wise stewards of all our material and spiritual goods. Freed from the burden of possessiveness, we are encouraged to abandon all self-seeking in order to find joy in sharing with others God’s manifold gifts. The community (Church) can gather and save goods from and for the common and use this storehouse to share whatever is necessary with those in need. This is a way of life that embraces stewardship, by returning a share of what we have and focusing our mission on the genuine concern for those who are in need.
3. Invest Your Money Ethically
Invest ethically and review the investments one has. Divest from coal, oil, and gas investments to respond to the moral imperative of the climate change crisis. Divest from other investments that are giving mixed messages in today’s situation.
4. Check What Message Is Your Convent/Parish Delivering
We need to be increasingly aware of our decisions and the messages that such decisions deliver in this respect. Our excessive focus on certain aspects leads to the alienation of other aspects which are equally important as a result.
5. Welcome A Family Of Refugees In Your Convent Or Parish
Helping just one family might be seen as a small, insignificant initiative. However, whilst our act of kindness surely did not solve all troubles, what truly matters is that we offered the best that we could offer under the circumstances and given the resources that we have available.
One would hope that by doing so, we will also inspire others to give their share in the world irrespective of how big or small their contribution is. We also hope that our symbolic initiative makes others realise that small acts of kindness from everyone could collectively bring about big changes in the world. It is through such small initiatives that one earns the chance to bring the change s/he wants to see in this world and tries to achieve it a little at a time. For those who are not in need, the initiative may seem futile but for the family that was welcomed, the initiative was a life-changing experience, because it brought them new hope. It will hopefully also make them realise how kind God is being to them through the help that is offered to them in response to God’s plea , that is to love thy neighbour as thy self.
6. Build Your Projects Wisely
We need to reflect more on the argument that is put forth quite often: “as long as people donate money, we will do the project . Is the project really necessary? Where are the money coming from? Are they coming from legal sources? What are the intentions?
7. Know When To Alleviate With Money and/or With Presence
Another aspect is to donate money to worthy causes and alleviate spiritual or material poverty on a regular basis. At the same time, it is necessary to exercise practical wisdom, with an awareness of the other responsibilities. However, monetary donations may not always be sufficient. There are times and situations in which those in need require our time, space and energy to alleviate their pain or discomfort and bring them out of their miserable situation. Such help can prove to be much more effective than giving money at times.
8. “Give To Caesar What Is Caesar’s”
As we live in a society we also pay our dues. Therefore, are we asking for VAT receipts?