Poverty in Rome
28. Reaching out to the poor
Ignatius and his companions in Rome began deliberations on whether to establish a new religious order. Although always pulled by the idea of withdrawing from the cares of the world as a Carthusian monk, Ignatius saw great needs in the world all around him. With his companions, he realised that the Catholic Church was losing ground to the Protestant Reformers, not principally on theological grounds, but rather because it appeared rich and corrupt.
They also noticed the great differences between rich and poor in society, and began to reach out to the poor with money they managed to beg from the rich. The Companions also recognised the need for education in the Church. Ignatius and the companions saw the need for Catholics to move from an all too frequent nominal Christian life, to one of integrity and commitment to Christ. They saw the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius as being a great tool to encourage an authentic Christian life.
In addition to the vows of poverty and chastity they had made in Montmartre in Paris, they decided to add a vow of obedience to one leader. Much against Ignatius’ better judgement the rest of the Companions chose him be their leader – the Superior General.
We’ll spread our wings to reach beyond the clouds to the sun,
Let him come!
We’ll hitch our hopes to heaven’s shining light: Jesus’s rays,
His warmth will reach our innermost hearts: Jesus’s light,
His eyes will pierce our darkest clouds: Jesus’s eyes
Fill our skies!
Warm our world . . . reaching out.
A thought to ponder
In the Bible when God is talked of as being a judge, he is never judging you, but always on your side against your accuser. God is the righteous judge who doesn’t favour the rich and famous, but favours the poor and needy. When we look at those who run our country or run our commercial enterprises, how far do they favour the poor, the less educated and needy?
How far do you think we need to change our priorities to be fair to those in need?
Scripture for the Day
As a way of praying today’s Scripture we suggest Lectio Divina
Psalm 72; 1-4, 12-15, 18-19 NRSVACE
Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to a king’s son.
May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice.
May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness.
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the needy,
and crush the oppressor.
For he delivers the needy when they call,
the poor and those who have no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life;
and precious is their blood in his sight.
Long may he live!
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.
Blessed be his glorious name for ever;
may his glory fill the whole earth.
Amen and Amen.
Music for Today
Sing of the Lord’s Goodness by Ernest Sands sung by Ruth and Joy Everingham
Purchase more versions of this song