Pastor’s Letter :: September 17, 2017
Fr. Pat’s Ponderings: The Transformation of Poverty
There can be different types of poverty in life.
Material poverty is when a person lacks the basic necessities of life. There can be great suffering for the poor. The Church has a preferential option for the poor.
There can be emotional poverty, when a person lacks love and support in life, such as those that live alone or have few family nearby. Emotional poverty can particularly be seen with children that lack both a father and mother in the home and the negative effects of not having the love and support of parents as children grow older.
There can be spiritual or moral poverty, which can have different aspects: God is not important, God seems distance, hardships of living the Christian life in today’s culture, or a sense of discouragement in persevering in the faith.
There can be physical poverty through sickness, disease and old age. Chronic aches and pains can make life difficult to bear.
o Material poverty
o Emotional poverty
o Spiritual or Moral poverty
o Physical poverty
The answer to suffering and hardships, these poverties, is Christ.
As there are many types of poverty, there are many types of sufferings in life that flow from poverty. Sufferings and hardships are part of life, a common experience. The answer to suffering and hardships, these poverties, is Christ. Jesus provides the example, through his passion and death and his willingness to die on the cross for the world.
As stated by Pope Saint John Paul II, “Human suffering has reached its culmination in the Passion of Christ.” (SD 17) Suffering has meaning when in relation to Christ.
“Suffering is, in itself, an experience of evil. But Christ has made suffering the firmest basis of the definitive good, namely the good of eternal salvation. By his suffering on the Cross, Christ reached the very roots of evil, of sin and death. He conquered the author of evil, Satan, and his permanent rebellion against the Creator.” (SD 26)
Suffering can be a means for good. Pope Saint John Paul II describes that Jesus calls us: “Come! Take part through your suffering in this work of saving the world, a salvation achieved through my suffering! Through my Cross.” (SD 26)
John Paul continues and explains, “Gradually, as the individual takes up his cross, spiritually uniting himself to the Cross of Christ, the salvific meaning of suffering is revealed before him. He does not discover this meaning at his own human level, but at the level of the suffering of Christ.” (SD 26)
Through baptism, we are part of the Body of Christ, when one member suffers all members suffer as one Body. “Those who share in the sufferings of Christ preserve in their own sufferings a very special particle of the infinite treasure of the world’s Redemption, and can share this treasure with others.” (SD 27)
May we persevere in faith, persevere in hardship, and offer such sufferings and hardships to the Lord to transform the experienced poverty as a means for eternal salvation.
SD = Salvifici Doloris (On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering),
Apostolic Letter of Pope Saint John Paul II