By Sr. Mary Stuart, DW, USA Province
Solidarity and simplicity of life is a call to all who care for humankind and our planet. Curbing consumerism, waste and greed - decrying disregard for our planet and the exploited poor of our world - is the intent of the vow of poverty in consecrated religious life.
Poverty is the state for the majority of the world’s people and nations. Some few may be lazy, some have made poor decisions. Governments, too, have pursued policies that harm successful development. Yet, there are deeper and more global causes of poverty.
"Behind the increasing interconnectedness promised by globalization, are global decisions, policies, and practices. These are typically influenced, driven, or formulated by the rich and powerful. These can be leaders of rich countries or other global actors such as multinational corporations, institutions, and influential people. In the face of such enormous external influence, the governments of poor nations and their people are often powerless. As a result, in the global context, a few get wealthy while the majority experience extreme poverty. (globalissues.com)
Pope Francis, coming as he does from his personal involvement with the poor speaks passionately about the plight of those who are rendered poor because of greed.
“The times talk to us of so much poverty in the world and this is a scandal. In a world where there is so much wealth, so many resources to feed everyone, it is unfathomable that there are so many hungry children, that there are so many children without an education, so many poor persons."
The poor cry out to us from all over the world. Who will hear their cries?
As consecrated religious, Daughters of Wisdom understand the vow of poverty as solidarity and simplicity. "We recognize that Creation is God's gift to humanity and so justice requires that all creation and all creatures be cared for as a sacred trust. As we appreciate and celebrate the beauty of creation, we stand in fundamental solidarity with our brothers and sisters, especially those rejected and deprived of their basic human rights. We desire to live simply, to shed what is superfluous, and to work toward sustainable development. We commit ourselves to complete availability, to share what we have by way of goods and talents, to identify the causes of poverty and to protect the planet." (The Way of Wisdom)
What emotions does the existence of poverty in the world stir up in your Heart?
What might need to change in your own heart in order to respond to the call to “give voice” to the cry of those in poverty?
Reflections drawn from:
1) APOSTOLIC LETTER of his holiness Pope Francis to all consecrated people on the occasion of the year of Consecrated Life
2) Pope Francis, Meeting with Students of Jesuit Schools—Q&A, 6/7/13)
4) The Way of Wisdom (Rule of Life of the Daughters of Wisdom)