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Spiritual poverty as an attitude

Poverty, according to Pope Francis’ letter for the World Day of the Poor, is understood as humility, sharing of life and an ‘’interior attitude that avoids looking upon money, career and luxury as our goal in life and the condition for our happiness.”

This year, the World Day of the Poor will be celebrated for the first time on November 19, an initiative announced at the end of the Jubilee of Mercy by Pope Francis, to be observed every year. 

In the message with the title “Let us love, not with words but with deeds” the Pope explains that “this day is meant, above all, to encourage believers to react against a culture of discard and waste, and to embrace the culture of encounter.”  

The Church wishes, with a global day devoted to the poor, to summon people from all walks of life and regardless of their religious affiliations, to be open and share “with the poor through concrete signs of solidarity and fraternity.”

The early Christian communities understood that as followers of Jesus they had to imitate Him in His poverty and thus share their material goods so that nobody would lack basic needs. 

The New Testament writings attest to this common practice and how much community leaders urged their fellow Christians to practice acts of charity towards the needy because “faith without works is dead”, in the words of the apostle St. James. 

Throughout the centuries, men and women have dedicated themselves entirely to the welfare of the poor. St. Francis in the past and Mother Teresa of Calcutta more recently are the the most prominent models of service to their marginalized brothers and sisters. 

Mercy, reaching out and concern for the poor are some of the main pastoral priorities of the current pontificate that envisages a Church that bruises, hurts and dirties itself in the chaos of the world. In various occasions, Francis translated these concerns into innumerous gestures by mingling with the poor, being present to them, staying with them and offering them some relief. 

In an age of growing inequalities between rich and poor – eight billionaires own half of the world’s wealth – “there is a scandalous growth of poverty in broad sectors of society throughout our world” that cannot leave us indifferent. Actually, “to all these forms of poverty we must respond with a new vision of life and society’’, urges the message to mark the first catholic day dedicated to the poor.  

Poverty, according to Pope Francis’ letter for the World Day of the Poor, is understood as humility, sharing of life and an ‘’interior attitude that avoids looking upon money, career and luxury as our goal in life and the condition for our happiness.” 


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