Monday, September 8, 2008

Experiencing Different Types of Poverty

When we see or hear the word “poverty,” we probably immediately think of economic or financial poverty. Matt Talbot knew such poverty, growing up in a family in which both parents worked and frequently moved because they did not have sufficient money to pay their rent. (In later life he chose voluntary poverty, sharing his meager income with others in need.)

Some recovering addicts today have not experienced financial poverty during their "drinking careers." But probably all addicts in recovery, and especially Matt, can identify with the description of poverty below that previously existed in their lives.

Breakdown to a Breakthrough?

Richard Rohr
Thought for the Day:
6th, September, 2008

There are four descriptions of poverty in the Scriptures. First, there's poverty as sin, emptiness, the poverty of people who are dead inside. That obviously is not the poverty that Scripture idealizes. And yet it does play a part in the whole pattern of salvation. Sin and grace are related. In a certain sense the only way we really understand salvation, grace, and freedom, is by understanding their opposites. That's why the great saints are, invariably, converted sinners. When you finally have to eat and taste your own hard-heartedness, your own emptiness, selfishness and all the rest, then you open up to grace. That is the pattern in all our lives.

I think all of us have to confront ourselves as poor people in that way. And that's why many of our greatest moments of grace follow upon, sometimes, our greatest sins. We are hard-hearted and closed-minded for years, then comes the moment of vulnerability and mercy. We break down and break through.

Richard Rohr
Letting Go: A Spirituality of Subtraction (CD)