In the spirit of this new pope’s sudden storming of the Vatican with St. Francis of Assisi’s radical spirit of simplicity and Gospel poverty, it seems to me (by logical deduction, not prophecy) that his personal witness will soon be translated into a clarion call to the universal Church: repent and live more simply, frugally, justly and charitably. In other words, the message Benedict XVI taught with stark clarity for eight years, Papa Franceso, Il Poverello, is about to translate into prophetic thunder: radical orthodoxy must be accompanied equally by radical orthopraxy, i.e. “faith without works is dead.”
And this voice of thunder will not simply be a call to live a personal lifestyle of Gospel poverty. It will also be a call to the Church everywhere to be a Church first and foremost “of and for” the poor.
Francis Cardinal George argued in his book, The Difference God Makes, that such a re-prioritizing of the Church’s mission on the ground can go a long way toward healing our fractious present state by privileging an orthodoxy that makes a difference for those Jesus came to identify himself with:
Being “simply Catholic” means starting with the poor. That’s the evangelical touchstone. You take a group that starts with the poor, and then you know that there’s evangelical motivation. There’s no power or anything else, because these people don’t have power. They identify with the poor, and then they say, things have to change for the poor. We have to see that the poor are better served in the name of Christ. The church will follow along, if they know that you’re changing the way that the world looks at the poor.
Here’s my recommendation: prepare for the Pope Francis’ imminent implementation of what Pope Benedict called “God’s revolution” and buy, prayerfully read and take seriously the late Fr. Thomas Dubay’s deeply challenging masterpiece on the call for all to Gospel Simplicity: Happy Are You Poor: The Simple Life and Spiritual Freedom
Use it to study for the coming Exam.