Josemaría Escrivá Obras

Many different factors, among which must be included the teaching of the Church's Magisterium, have contributed to create and promote the deep social awareness that exists today. We hear a lot about the virtue of poverty as giving witness to Christianity. How can a housewife, whose duty it is to secure the well-being of her family, live this virtue?

'The poor will have the Gospel preached to them' (Matt 11:6), we read in Scripture, precisely as one of the signs which mark the arrival of the Kingdom of God. Those who do not love and practise the virtue of poverty do not have Christ's spirit. This holds true for everyone. For the hermit who retires to the desert; and for the ordinary Christian who lives among his fellow men, whether he enjoys the use of this world's resources or is short of many of them.

I would like to go into this topic at some length because when poverty is preached nowadays it is not always made clear how its message can be applied in daily life. There are some people, well-intentioned no doubt but they haven't quite managed to move with the times, who preach a poverty which is the result of 'armchair speculation'. This poverty has certain ostentatious outward signs while at the same time it betrays enormous interior — and also sometimes exterior — deficiencies.

Recalling an expression of the prophet Isaiah — discite benefacere (Is 1:17) — I like to say that we have to learn to live every virtue and perhaps this is especially true of poverty. We have to learn to live it, otherwise it will be reduced to an ideal about which much is written but which no one seriously puts into practice. We have to make people see that poverty is an invitation which our Lord issues to each Christian, and that it is therefore a definite call that should shape every human life.

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