The Rule, Article 4

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blessed Angela of Foligno, sfo on Poverty

Blessed Angela of Foligno, sfo writes:

He raised us up and redeemed us through his poverty.

The first man fell because of poverty; the second man, the God-man, Jesus Christ, lifted us up through poverty. The inferior poverty is a lack of knowledge; through this lack of knowledge Adam came to his fall and all who fall thereafter do so because of this lack of knowledge. It was therefore necessary that the children of God should be raised up and recover from the fall through an opposite kind of poverty.

We have an example of this poverty in the God-man Jesus Christ. He raised us up and redeemed us through his poverty. It was certainly poverty beyond the power of words to describe when he hid his infinite poverty and majesty. He allowed himself to be blasphemed, despised, upbraided, captured, led away, scourged and crucified. He endured all this as a helpless man. This kind of poverty is exemplar of our life. We must learn from this poverty that is not necessary for us to hide a power we do not have; nay, rather we must clearly set the extent of our lack of power, our weakness.

We have yet another example of this poverty, the example of the glorious Virgin, the most holy Mother of God. She gave us a lesson when in her response to the stupendous mystery she openly declared that she was a member of our distressed race designating herself by a lowly name in saying: I am the servant of the Lord. This was indeed a very lowly name. This kind of poverty is most pleasing to God.

What a perfect example we have from our glorious Father Francis! He had an exceptional insight of this poverty and was so brim full of it that he instituted and showed us a unique way of life. I can look to no other saint who can show more specifically the way to the Book of Life, the example of the life of the God-man Jesus Christ. Neither do I see anyone who so uniquely embodied it in himself. So exceptionally did he reproduce it in himself that he never lost sight of it. It was visible even in his body. Because he steeped himself so fully in it he was filled with the highest wisdom which he imparted and keeps on imparting to the whole world.

Autobiografia e scritti della B. Angela da Foligno, M. Raloci Pulignai (Citta di Castello 1932) numbers 161-162 pgg. 266-268.

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