An article from the current issue of the “THE CORD A Franciscan Spiritual Review” Grabbed my attention this past week.
I quote from an article written by Michael Cusato, O.F.M. one of the foremost Scholars on medieval Franciscan History in the field today.
He starts out his article by writing a couple of questions directed towards the Friars.
Question 1. Why are you poor?
In his response he states – “ ……I would hazard to guess that a least a few (if not more) would answer my initial question – why are you poor why do you choose poverty – by claiming that you are poor because the Jesus whom you desire to follow was poor, and that we Franciscans are poor, because we follow the poor Christ. This was and is a truism in Franciscan formation and spirituality. Indeed, it was the primary reason given in the Middle Ages by many Franciscans themselves. But today, few Scripture scholars would describe the Jesus of the gospels as being a man who lived a life of voluntary poverty. The poor Christ, in other words was a particularly medieval understanding of Jesus. In fact, it was an image that had become prevalent only in the High Middle Ages – shortly before the time of Francis in the latter part of the twelfth century – and that this particular image would once again shift in succeeding centuries.”……..
YIKES! This article starting with this paragraph really caught me off guard. I must admit that I was unprepared to hear this message and, at first, was instantly repelled by its implications for me. This is something I really did not want to hear.
Why is that?