Hello, Brothers, Sisters, and Heartdwellers family. May we all receive the grace to walk in spiritual poverty.
The Lord has put it on my heart to do a series of teachings to help his brides renew their vows again—to give their lives, hearts, minds, bodies, attentions, and wills completely to him in abandonment and, of course, it starts with me. I have been struggling tremendously as I realized that two years ago I was much more fervent in spirit to really give myself over to Jesus—to really crucify self and climb this mountain of holiness. However, with all the battles, trials, contradictions, I have been injured in the process and realize that my love is now selfish again, fearful again, and unwilling again to subject itself to the Lord’s loving blows. I simply told Jesus; Lord I am tired of loving.
The Scripture says perfect love casts out all fear, but I realize that because of fear of suffering, failures, and humiliations my love has become guarded, and I am hesitant to give my heart fully again to Jesus. I am just being very honest with you, guys, in hopes that someone listening can relate and benefit from these teachings. As I am working on this series I realize that it is not just for you but for me too, to refresh my mind, to renew my heart, and to give me new courage to yet again go at this flesh that is continuously wanting to be understood, consoled, comfortable, have its way, selfish, self-seeking and so prone to self pity. Nope, that is not the way of the cross and not the way of a bride of Christ who has relinquished all control of their life to Jesus.
I got a Rhema while working on this message at Mother Clare’s and it said, “God doesn’t think it too much to give Himself entirely to you, so would you live entirely for him?”
Then I got another Rhema from Papa Pio, “I am suffering and suffering very much, but thanks to our good Jesus I still feel a little strength and when aided by Jesus, what is the creature not capable of doing?”
We really need Jesus’ aid to do anything especially to climb the mountain of holiness which is always first by putting self-love in its proper place, last. Just as the Lord said in the scripture to be least of all and servant to all. When we feel like we are dragging and have nothing left, when aided by Jesus we can still make acts of our will, even when we don’t feel like it. We just can’t give up and walk down the mountain and say I quit because that is what the enemy wants. And that’s what I thought about, many times [laugh]. Padre Pio once said, “To become a saint is difficult—not impossible”. If you don’t know by now that is what the Lord is working out in all of our souls. He wants us all to be saints, souls who have persevered faithfully in the will of God despite the difficulty, circumstance, and opposition that come against us.
One such way to give yourself to Jesus is through the practice of spiritual poverty. I received a reading from St. Therese to lead us into that.
Saint Therese of the Child Jesus constantly practiced poverty without ever complaining. From her beginning in Carmel, when she was only fifteen years old, she was treated without the slightest consideration. Once, said to the cook, “Nobody will eat that, give it to Sister Therese of the Child Jesus who never says no to anything”. So one would see reappear in her plate toward the end of the week, an omelet that had been cooked the previous Sunday (these were the days before refrigerator). A table she shared with another sister who sat next to her some cider contained in a bottle so small that it could hardly have held two glassfuls. She drank nothing, in order not to deprive this neighbor. She could have taken some water from the jug, but she held back in order that no one notice her mortifications and act of charity (in leaving the cider).
Out of a spirit of poverty, she didn’t reclaim what others took from her, saying nothing belonged to her; and the gifts of intelligence, which God had given her in such abundance, she let, in a manner of speaking, be stolen. At recreation, if another repeated something Therese had said as if it was the second person thought or clever phrase, Therese let the honor go to the other without making known what was the true source.
Matthew 5:3 says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
What does it mean to be poor in spirit? It means to be empty of self, empty of gifts, empty of knowledge, empty of attachments, preferences, desires. Simply not owning anything reverting all things back to God—as it should be. When you live like that, the Kingdom of Heaven will reign in you and through you. From St. Therese, we are given great examples of how we can practice spiritual poverty thereby becoming poor in spirit. You noticed St. Therese use the word practice because this is a virtue that must be exercised over and over and over again, and we can do this by small ordinary, everyday acts done in the love of neighbor and for the love of Jesus.
- It says she constantly practiced this WITHOUT COMPLAINING. So that is the first practice of spiritual poverty no complaints about your suffering, about trials, about others, about what you prefer or what you don’t like. When you belong to Christ we must kick the habit of complaining vocally and in our hearts. (Help us, Lord). We must see the hand of God in everything that is done to us, taken away or not given to us. If we are poor then we have nothing and when God gives us something we praise him and if he takes it away we praise him because we had nothing in the first place.
- She was treated without the slightest consideration. Now that can be hard. But we must not consider ourselves in anything. Moreover, wish to be treated without the slightest consideration. I have shared my struggles with you, the sin of respectability. Many times we want our opinions to be considered, our preferences, our desires, and even our limitations considered. And we get mad when people don’t consider our feeling our opinions and so forth. That is still self-seeking and self-love. But St. Therese practiced self forgetfulness. When we belong to Christ we must allow him to make us so small that in the eyes of others [that] our opinions don’t matter. We are not considered for anything and are okay with that. (Lord, help me–laugh)—not allowing rejection to take root, bitterness, or even resentment because we have forgotten self.
- Don’t say no to anything that is asked of you or given to you, (of course, unless it violates your conscience) meaning saying yes to all that is asked of you out of brotherly love. When we belong to Christ the Lord is wanting us to be selfless to the last drop. This was so hard to do for me. When I went back home the first time, Jesus told me to say yes to everything my mom and family asked me to do. I didn’t realize how self-willed, self righteous, and full of self-love I was. What they asked me to do wasn’t even bad it was just that I was so stuck on my preferences—my routine, my religious life—that many times I breached brotherly love by declining gifts, declining food, being frustrated by having to watch the worldly entertainment, etc. The Lord doesn’t like that and many of us are in situations where we have family members, friends or even a spouse who may not be as fully surrendered to the Lord as we, and we tend to tell them what to do or make it known what we don’t like to do because we are trying to serve God, be holy not realizing it so self-righteous and the Lord would prefer yielding to others in brotherly love to win them over. Or simply as St. Therese did, eating what is set before you and in poverty not being picky about what is given to you to eat without complaint. Living in a community you are exercised in that many times. And I fell, guys, many, many times. Lord, please help me to say yes to everything today.
- Always take less than you need and as St. Francis would add and don’t steal from the poor. We must always see our neighbors as more impoverished than we are. When we see it that way you will be more prone to sacrifice and give of yourselves for the sake of your neighbor. When you see the last of something you want or desire rather than taking it for yourself leave it for your neighbor. It could be that last soda you really want, the last portion of your favorite cereal, that last cup of coffee, anything really. When you belong to Christ don’t take it although you may it need it. You leave it for your most poor neighbor
- She didn’t reclaim what others took from her. It reminds me of the scripture in Luke 6:30 “Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.” How many times do we get resentful when someone borrows something and doesn’t give it back. Or we get protective over our possessions that we don’t want to share or have others even touch it. When you belong to Christ nothing is our own but what he gives us and when something is taken away we see that it was God who permitted it, so we are at peace. You really begin to trust in God’s providence.
- She even when as far as not to reclaim any credit for things she did or said, not just material things. How many times do we struggle if we do something and someone else gets the praise or we do something and want praise for it or the need to be affirmed, or feel appreciated deep in our hearts? You see she practiced spiritual poverty in such a way she realized nothing was hers in the first place. If the Lord took away her honor and gave it to another it was his honor in the first place to give to her. So we too must see that in all the Lord gives us, it is his in the first place and when we belong to Christ, and he decides to reclaim it and give it to another have peace that it’s the doing of the Lord rather than resenting that person.
God bless you, family.