Over and over again in the history of the Church, the saints have emphasized poverty. They ask us to meet the poor face-to-face, to share in their poverty, to lead a life of simplicity, to divest from our attachments that exploit the vulnerable and distract us from God and His creation.
To live a life of voluntary poverty is to accept precarity, the uncertain life of the poor. Uncertainty about how to pay the next heating bill or feed everyone who comes to the table. Yet, the very word “precarity” is based on the Latin precarius,which means to obtain by asking or praying. This trust in God’s loving providence is at the heart of the Catholic Worker movement. And voluntary poverty is the cornerstone.
The Catholic Worker life that Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin espoused, a truly abundant life in Christ, continues (some say miraculously) without reliance on endowments or investments, paid staff or government subsidies, sustained in Holy Poverty by God’s love and our response.
Servant of God Dorothy Day, intercede for us; pray that we grow in courage and faith to follow our own path to holiness.
Let us pray today for God’s grace and the special support of His Servant, Dorothy Day, whose holy life inspires us. Lift our hearts, challenge our complacency, help us to let go of our self-serving needs, and guide us toward a life of simplicity in loving solidarity with Christ’s poor.
“We must talk about poverty, because people insulated by their own comfort lose sight of it… We must keep on talking about voluntary poverty, and holy poverty, because it is only if we can consent to strip ourselves that we can put on Christ. It is only if we love poverty that we are going to have the means to help others.” —Dorothy Day, The Catholic Worker, 1945