Happy Are You Poor.
Happy Are You Poor Written by Thomas Dubay Published by Ignatius Press Ignatius Press was founded in 1978 by Father Joseph Fessio SJ, a Jesuit priest and former pupil of Pope Benedict XVI . Ignatius Press, named for Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit Order, is a Catholic publishing house headquartered in San Francisco, California. , San Francisco San Francisco (săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden , 2003, ISBN ISBN
International Standard Book Number
ISBN International Standard Book Number
ISBN n abbr (= International Standard Book Number) → ISBN m : 0898709210, Softcover, pp. 177, $17.95 CAN
Years ago my spiritual director told me about a nun who asked him to direct her on a private retreat. She chose the Beatitudes Beatitudes (bē-ăt`ĭtdz') [Lat.,=blessing], in the Gospel of St. Matthew, eight blessings uttered by Jesus at the opening of the Sermon on the Mount. as her retreat text. She expected a peaceful time communing with the Lord, but the poor sister apparently became increasingly disturbed by the Gospel and ended the retreat squirming painfully. Author Fr. Thomas Dubay hopes that more Christians would be disturbed by the compelling, seemingly contradictory invocation, "Happy are you poor."
Fr. Thomas Dubay is a Marist priest, a retreat master and author frequently seen on EWTN EWTN Eternal Word Television Network . His thought is clear and concise, with phrase after phrase of compelling, crafted beauty of expression. The retreat master shines through. He is not seeking to engage our intellects in endless diatribes and analysis about the desperate state of the poor and the pitiful response of governments, corporations and "those rich out there." No, not a word. He wants to move us to action, not them.
Dubay begins with some ground rules. He indicates that the reader must be ready to think, and not simply react out of pre-programmed superficial suppositions. He stresses that he is advocating poverty, not destitution des·ti·tu·tion
1. Extreme want of resources or the means of subsistence; complete poverty.
2. A deprivation or lack; a deficiency.
Noun 1. . The frugal "sparing, sharing lifestyle" should aim at alleviating the destitution and misery of others, because love and brotherhood demand it. They should not see in our lifestyle things that make them anguished or jealous.
Fr. Dubay makes it clear that poverty, in the "undiluted message of Christ," is directed to all classes and states of life, both lay and consecrated con·se·crate
tr.v. con·se·crat·ed, con·se·crat·ing, con·se·crates
1. To declare or set apart as sacred: consecrate a church.
a. , as well as diocesan clergy, though there may be different expressions. In the chapter for married lay people we read that St. Paul instructs Christian women not to dress up for show. Dubay then asks, "How many closets are jammed with dozens of dresses and suits and coats because the world dictates that one must wear a different outfit each day? Does hygiene really dictate that outer clothing be changed every day? Or does 'I want to be neat and clean' really translate into 'I want to be admired, thought to be beautiful'? What people think of me is terribly important to me, for I am living in their midst?'"
Dubay convincingly points out that in the spiritual life it is only those who lived radical poverty who truly changed the world and left their mark, though we try to distance ourselves from this reality. St. Frances of Rome Saint Frances of Rome (or Francesca Romana) (Rome, 1384–Rome, March 9 1440), like many saints, was born of wealthy Italian parents.
When she was eleven years old, she decided to be a nun, but within two years her parents married her off to Lorenzo Ponziano (or , while concerned for her duties as wife and mother, lived for many years on bread and vegetables, wore plain dresses, and eventually sold all her jewelry. She regularly went begging for the needs of the poor. A visitor to Rome today will be moved by the influence of this woman almost 600 years later.
Fr. Dubay focuses the chapter on religious life on the question "Has the religious vow changed in its meaning?" In it, he asks, "Whereas in the past this vow referred to a dependent and sparing use of material goods, it now is said to refer to using creation responsibly and to being available to others in one's time, talent, and person." He points out, "No one can change the meaning of a vow once it is made. If ten years after I make a vow I change my mind as to what I wish it to mean, I am still bound to what, as a matter of fact, the vow meant ten years ago." Ultimately it lies in the arena of love alone. "The deeper the immersion in the beloved, the less is there concern about subpersonal reality".
Dubay notes in his chapter on "Clerical Poverty" that as soon as a speaker or writer's remarks threaten a comfortable way of life, he invites rejection. Our author challenges us, however, by saying that "an ecclesial Ec`cle´si`al
a. 1. Ecclesiastical. leader is by definition a radical man. He is so burningly athirst a·thirst
1. Strongly desirous; eager: athirst for freedom.
2. Archaic Thirsty.
Adj. 1. for the kingdom that he cannot be bothered with fine food and stylish clothing [or expensive travel]." This chapter is the closest Dubay comes to harshness, and he concludes it tersely with: "When people eat and drink well, whom do they usually invite? For another indicator of what Jesus thought about this dining-well question one may consult Luke 16:19-31".
One clergyman I know who recently read the book cancelled a pleasure trip to a U.S. conference. I immediately gave away some new clothes purchased recently. Compelling book. Caveat emptor [Latin, Let the buyer beware.] A warning that notifies a buyer that the goods he or she is buying are "as is," or subject to all defects.
When a sale is subject to this warning the purchaser assumes the risk that the product might be either defective or .
BOOK REVIEWED BY ANN WILSON