April 6, 2012

The Divine Dynamism of the Poverty of Christ

Christ crucified reveals to the world the poverty of God.   On the Cross, God comes to us with arms stretch out and empty hands.  We see there a sacred emptiness, an abyss drawing us.  This divine humility opens up a place of encounter where everyone no matter their struggles can come to Him.  The poverty of God is God's love for man.

To accept this poverty is to open up one's heart to God's love and to be implicated by God in his love for others.   This is why some choose to live a more radical form of  poverty for the sake of a genuine love of God and one another.  Their radical poverty is really a radical fraternity, a fraternity with divine dynamism.

The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, started by Father Benedict Groeschel and some of his fellow Capuchins,  have devoted themselves is a rediscovery of genuine fellowship in the Lord. By placing their fraternity above material comforts, they are rediscovering how to live with one another as brothers in Christ. Their community is committed not only to how much more simply they might live but even more to how to simply build real fellowship with one another in the Lord. By eliminating material distractions, they discover new ways to be more patient with each other and trust God - and this builds up those who volunteer with them and all those whom they serve.   It brings hope to the communities in which they live.  The following is part of a note about the last Palm Sunday from the Bronx from Father Conrad Osterhout, c.f.r., a long time spiritual father and friend who runs a soup kitchen there:

This past Sunday, the friars and sisters and many friends of the friars, as with the Church around the world, processed with palms and sang Hosannas in praise of Christ our King.  Processing around our Bronx neighborhood on Palm Sunday is an incredible experience.   Passing along the avenues, 200 voices strong, we wave our palms and sing to the rhythm of drums and guitars.  It is a festive entrance to the Holy Week.  As we read in scripture, "with praise, let us awake the dawn," so our prayer and song resounds with incredible joy.  The greeting of our neighboring Baptist and Evangelical friends along the way adds to the hope we feel.  Some express their union with us with waves and smiles.  Others sing along or dance a bit.  Even those who look on quietly accept the palms that are offered by the brothers who greet them along the way.