Voluntary Poverty

From the Executive Director…

Francis of Assisi was raised in a prosperous Italian family. He lived like a typical wealthy young man, enjoying a carefree life of indulgence. Bored at the thought of working with his merchant father, he joined a military expedition against Perugia in 1202. The men of Assisi came under heavy attack in the battle, and Francis was taken prisoner. He spent a year in prison where he had a spiritual awakening. Francis returned a different person. It occurred to him that there is a connection between violence and the need to protect one’s possessions. So he chose to live a life of poverty.

“Francis knew that once you felt you owned anything, then you would have to protect it and increase it. That is the inherent nature of greed—there is never enough. … Today the need for simplifying goes beyond an avoidance of violence. Our planet is in grave peril largely due to greed, overconsumption, and reckless exploitation. While most of us are not like Francis, willing to dive into a life of voluntary poverty, we must all make choices and decisions to do our part to follow these wise words of an unknown speaker: ‘live simply so that others may simply live.’” (Voluntary Poverty by Fr. Richard Rohr, cac.org/voluntary-poverty-2017-06-07)

Generosity is much more than merely being kind and generous. Generosity helps to right the social injustice in which all of us find ourselves daily. Let’s be honest, some of us benefit in this world because others do not. For those of us living in Canada and who are employed there is a very good chance that we are among the “some of us” category. In addition to living simply so that others can simply live, I like: “When you have more than you need, build a longer table, not a higher fence” (Anonymous).

Darren Pries-Klassen, Executive Director

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