Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Michael Terheyden

12/22/2009 (6 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

We are able to live a 'poverty of Spirit' because Jesus became poor for our sake and transformed our poverty into our greatest strength.

The poverty of Francis inspires us all to live the Poverty of Spirit which is a part of the vocation of every Baptized Christian.

The poverty of Francis inspires us all to live the Poverty of Spirit which is a part of the vocation of every Baptized Christian.

Highlights

By Michael Terheyden

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/22/2009 (6 years ago)

Published in Living Faith


KNOXVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - "Though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor" (2 Cor. 8:9). What does this mean? The theologian Johannes Metz provides an answer to this question in an excellent little book called Poverty of Spirit. This book is unique because it emphasizes the humanity of the Incarnation. As a result, Poverty of Spirit helps us discover the truth about our own humanity.

Metz begins by describing human existence. He explains that life is filled with pain, suffering, injustice, and death; and it is natural for us to feel repulsed by this reality. We want to escape from it and rise above it. Yet, despite all the joy and success we may experience in this life, we remain trapped between desire and inevitability. Due to this paradox, we begin to realize that we are not complete--that our humanity is not a given, but a potential.

Jesus showed us how to realize our potential and become fully human. He made our humanity His own. Through the Incarnation, Jesus freely exchanged all the rights He enjoyed in His Godhead for the very things we find repulsive. He suffered our humiliation and helplessness in the face of absolute evil, and it utterly crushed Him. During His passion, everything belonging to His humanity was taken from Him (cf. Metz, 13). Although Jesus could have easily stopped it, He did not stop it. Instead, by accepting our humanity and embracing it to the end, He used His passion to profess the abject poverty of the human spirit before the all-powerful, transcendent Creator.

Jesus' passion is the key that unlocks the door to the truth about our humanity. The passion shows us that we must do the very thing that we do not want to do. We must accept the spiritual poverty of our own humanity, and profess it as Jesus did. This does not mean that we must suffer and die as Jesus did. It means that we must learn to accept ourselves as beings who do not belong to ourselves (cf. Metz, 31), that we must allow our egotism (the root of sin and rejection of God) to be crushed, so we can move beyond ourselves and into the mystery of God. It is only in this mystery that we discover the truth about our humanity and reach our full potential.

Finally, Metz points out that this truth is not an abstract idea or belief; it is a reality that must be lived. We are able to live this reality because Jesus became poor for our sake and transformed our poverty into our greatest strength. We actually live it in the concrete details of daily life in relationship with the one true God through the sacraments, prayer, and love of neighbor.

Admittedly, Poverty of Spirit does not make the best bedtime story for little children, but it does make excellent adult reading during the Christmas season for at least two reasons. First, it can help us pray the third mystery of the Joyful Mysteries, which is the birth of Jesus, with greater understanding because poverty of spirit is the fruit of this mystery. Secondly, it reminds us that the greatest gift we could receive this Christmas is a God who loved us so much that He embraced our spiritual poverty and used it for our salvation.

Source: Metz, Johannes, Poverty of Spirit, Paulist Press, 1998

-----

Michael Terheyden is a Catholic because he believes that truth is real, that it is beautiful and good, and that the fullness of truth is in the Catholic Church. He is greatly blessed to share his Catholic faith with his beautiful wife, Dorothy. They have four grown children and three grandchildren.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Living Faith

MAKE YOURSELF COUNT! Complete this quick Ash Wednesday survey

Image of Take the Ash Wednesday survey so we can better serve your needs.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online is conducting a global survey on Ash Wednesday practices. Each reader is asked to participate once. The survey will take less than a minute to complete. The results of the survey will help Catholic Online determine how best to serve your needs in the ... continue reading


Pope Francis' message for Lent (FULL TEXT: ENGLISH) Watch

Image of

By Pope Franics, Vatican Radio

"I desire mercy, and not sacrifice" (Mt 9:13).The works of mercy on the road of the Jubilee 1. Mary, the image of a Church which evangelizes because she is evangelizedIn the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I asked that "the season of Lent in ... continue reading


'There is nowhere else for us to go': Nuns who feed homeless face eviction after rent nearly doubles Watch

Image of Nuns who feed homeless were told to pay or leave (AP).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The cost of living in San Francisco has skyrocketed to the point that and new reports indicate Bay Area housing has reached such heights that the area's average income can no longer support it. Unfortunately, this means everyone is downsizing or moving - including ... continue reading


The 'Martyred Country': Pope Francis' powerful words on Syria Watch

Image of Pope Francis led the crowds in praying the Hail Mary

By Ann Schneible, CNA/EWTN News

The plight of Syrian civilians involved in the nation's ongoing conflict was at the heart of Pope Francis' appeal to the international community on Sunday, in an address where he also called for a renewed commitment to the protection of life at all stages. ... continue reading


POPE FRANCIS ANGELUS: February 7, 2016 (FULL TEXT: ENGLISH) Watch

Image of

By Pope Francis

Dear brothers and sisters, Goodmorning!The Gospel of this Sunday says - in the drafting of St. Luke - the call of the first disciples of Jesus ( Lk 5,1-11). The fact takes place in a context of everyday life: there are some fishermen on the shore of Lake Galilee, who, ... continue reading


Is this where the Annunciation took place? Ancient artwork sheds light an old mystery about the Virgin Mary Watch

Image of The Annunciation, 1859 (oil on canvas), Pinchon, Auguste.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

One of the oldest depictions of the Virgin Mary is casting new light on the Annunciation. A new look at an ancient depiction in the Yale University Art Gallery is making some question what they believe about the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


How do presidents pray? The beginning of a beautiful tradition Watch

Image of John F. Kennedy praying during the 9th annual Presidential Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 9, 1961 (Prayers for America).

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

This morning marks the 64th annual National Prayer Breakfast and President Obama's last time attending the remarkable tradition while in office.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On the first Thursday in February, the members of Congress and evangelical ... continue reading


Pope Francis will travel to Mexico as a messenger for peace Watch

Image of Pope Francis has participated in a collective interview, in which he responded to four questions posed by 33 people from various states across Mexico (Catholic News Agency).

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Pope Francis will leave for Mexico in just over a week. In a new interview with a Mexican news agency, he told citizens of the crime-ridden country that while there, he hopes to be a messenger of peace, which must be fought for daily. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN ... continue reading


Sparks fly over Pope Francis' interview with Asia Times Watch

Image of Pope Francis did not speak of religion or freedom when praising China as a progressive country (Vatican).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis' exclusive interview on Tuesday afternoon has been met with harsh criticism. Though the pontiff spoke highly of the country, he steered clear of religion and freedom talks. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis spoke ... continue reading


Sis boom bah! American Circus cheerleaders perform for Pope Francis at the Vatican Watch

Image of Pope Francis enjoyed a cheer by the American Circus, which performed at the Vatican on Wednesday (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Following his general audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis enjoyed cheers, acrobatics and juggling performed by the Italian troupe "American Circus." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - During the Papal Audience, the American Circus performed before the pontiff and ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, February 10, 2016
  • St. Scholastica: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, February 10, 2016
  • Can you answer these four challenging questions about Lent?
  • Palm Sunday HD Video
  • Take this thought provoking Stations of the Cross survey
  • Stations of the Cross - Fourth Station: Jesus meets his mother HD Video
  • 10 important things to consider during Lent

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Joel 2:12-18
12 'But now -- declares Yahweh- come back to me with all your heart, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
3 For I am well aware of my offences, my sin is constantly in ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
1 'Be careful not to parade your uprightness in public to attract ... Read More

Reading 2, Second Corinthians 5:20--6:2
20 So we are ambassadors for Christ; it is as though God were urging you ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 10th, 2016 Image

St. Scholastica
February 10: St. Scholastica, sister of St. Benedict, ... Read More