“I say to the Lord, you are my Lord, you are my only good” (Ps 16:2).
Poverty proclaims that God is man’s only real treasure.
“In response to the call of Christ to seek first the Kingdom of God, we follow Him in evangelical poverty… and we seek God as our only treasure.” (CL,2,13)
Our model for living a life of evangelical poverty is Jesus. ”Who, though He was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God, something to be grasped at. Rather, he emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness” (Phil 2:6-7). Christ chose poverty for His coming to humankind. His birth in Bethlehem, life in Nazareth, public activity, and finally His entry into Jerusalem are marked by poverty. Christ experienced the culminating point of His poverty on the cross where He is devoid of any material good. He is stripped of dignity, of any human rights. Persecuted by the political and religious authorities, He accepted socio-political poverty. At the end He experienced abandonment by His Father. In His self-surrender to God and people, Christ is thoroughly free and liberated: He is free from the need for money (Mt 6:25-33), free in regard to others (Jn 6:15; 13:5,14), free in regard to the powerful of this world (Mt 27:13-14; Luke 13:32), free in regard to his family (Luke 2:49; Mk 3:33), free in regard to the political and religious groups (Mt 22:34; 23:13-32), free in regard to the Law (Mt 5:21; Mk 1:22) and, in the end, free in regard to death (Jn 10,17-18). As consecrated persons, imitating Jesus in His poverty, we become inwardly free and ready to fully devote ourselves and dedicate ourselves to the service of the Kingdom.
When poverty “is lived according to the example of Christ who, ‘though He was rich … became poor’ (2 Cor 8:9), it becomes an expression of that total gift of self which the three Divine Persons make to one another.” Jesus receives everything from the Father and returns all back to Him with love. Exactly here, in this deep exchange of mutual love, our consecrated poverty finds its deepest meaning and sense. We desire this love, which is the selfless giving of self, to inspire and enliven our life of poverty. As Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, we want to constantly grow in our unceasing self-giving to others as a gift: “As members of one family, we enrich others by sharing our material and spiritual gifts and personal talents.”
For us, as Nazareth sisters, the Holy Family of Nazareth is our model of poverty. Jesus totally hid His divinity in the Mystery of the Incarnation. He became man for us. Mary and Saint Joseph were not homeless, nor did they live in misery, but with their lives they testified to the spirituality of anawim Yahweh (in Hebrew: the Lord’s poor). They listened intently to God and were totally at His disposal. From them we learn evangelical poverty. We want to live this poverty by our kindness, detachment from worldly goods and by our readiness for any sacrifice, while expecting everything from God. ”The lesson of Nazareth is indeed very revealing! (…) Basing life … on these holy examples, a child of the Holy Family ought to love poverty and practice it, not out of compulsion but out of love of God.”
Way of Love, Ratio Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth