Week 6

We begin with a quote from Saint Peter Julian Eymard on the poverty of Jesus.

“Jesus is poor and the King, the God of poor disciples. Jesus united Himself to human nature under the semblance of poverty. He knew it, espoused it, and made it His favorite virtue, necessary for evangelical perfection. 

He demands that His disciples give up everything to be poor like Him. It is because of their poverty that He grants them all the privileges of His divine mission.

Το poverty, He gives a hundredfold reward in this world, the heritage of the kingdom of heaven. Consequently the poor of Jesus Christ are kings and shall judge the world.

Jesus was poor by birth. Bethlehem, the stable, the straw, a bare stone, these were the glory of His poverty. Jesus lived a life of poverty. He wore the garb of a poor workman and shared the latter’s food, his rebuffs, and his humiliations. Jesus lived on charity; He died upon the Cross deprived even of the clothes He had owned, and without anything for His burial. Is there anyone on earth poorer than Jesus?

Mary and Joseph shared the poverty of Jesus; He was their riches. Therefore: I must esteem the poverty sanctified in Jesus. I must love the poverty which enriches me with all the treasures of Jesus. I must practice the spirit of poverty out of love of Jesus.”

This week’s challenge is to make a donation to a Catholic charity or religious order that serves the poor or may be poor themselves. We rarely or never hear about our obligation under the Law of Love to live in rough equality with our neighbor. If our neighbor is lacking, while we live sumptuously in comparison, with our every need satisfied, then we violate the Law of Love and sin against our brother. We are all called to spiritual poverty which is summed up by detachment from the things of this world. But spiritual poverty is not enough. We must also share our material goods to the point of rough equality with those less fortunate than us, giving even out of what we perceive as our need. It is easy to give some scraps from our surplus. 

Let us take this challenge to prayer this week and face the demands of love head-on in our action.

Week 6 Challenge Summary

Make a generous donation to the poor. Consider making these donations regularly. Examine your conscience in regards to your duty in charity and justice to give alms and live in rough equality with your neighbor.

Primers For This Week

(suggested but optional)

  1. Mental Prayer and Spiritual Reading
  2. The Spiritual and Psychological Value of Frequent Confession
  3. Daily Examen and Predominant Passion
  4. Mortification and Fasting

Readings For This Week

  1. The Real Presence: Imitation of Christ
  2. Imitation of Christ in the Real Presence in His Humility
  3. Imitation of Christ in the Real Presence in His Poverty
  4. Imitating Christ’s Charity in the Real Presence

Discussion Questions

  1. How does Christian humility begin with Jesus in the Incarnation and continue with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist? 
  2. Do you accept your daily humiliations joyfully and make acts of abasement before our Eucharistic Lord frequently? Or do you grow frustrated and angry, playing the victim in the face of humiliation? 
  3. Are you intentional about asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the self-adoring and self-loving thoughts that you are naturally prone to? 
  4. How does humility of heart begin with humility of mind? 
  5. Was your conscience awakened by the meditation on the poverty of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist?
  6. What is a mortification that has been fruitful or might prove fruitful for you going forward as you work towards detachment and spiritual poverty? 
  7. In order to practice factual poverty, specifically how might you better commit to almsgiving, a sparing and sharing lifestyle, and reliance on God’s providence as opposed to your own labor?
  8. How is the practice of patient charity with others essential to our side of the New Covenant?
  9. Where do you find yourself in the three levels of Christian patience? How can you amend your life to reach the next level?
  10. Do you feel called to this week’s spiritual challenge, and do you have a plan to undertake it?