Gospel Poverty

       Inspired by the example of countless Saints, we choose to live out the counsel of the Gospel and embrace poverty for the sake of the Kingdom of God.
"Everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple"
- Luke 14:33
       The words of the Gospel are radical, extreme, and disconcerting. Many Saints have attained great holiness by following this counsel to the utmost, literally renouncing every possession and living in utter destitution to better follow Christ. The Scriptures are filled with verses extolling poverty and speaking of wealth in the most negative terms possible, without actually condemning it outright. See for instance Matt 5:3, Matt 6:25-34, Mk 10:25, Lk 6:24, 1 Tim 6:10, Heb 13:5, etc. Why is this? How are we to understand poverty and what is its value?
       An important key to understanding poverty is to look at Matt 6:25-34 and Matt 18:1-4. We are meant to be like little children, trusting totally in God for what we need. When we trust like children, having faith in the God who rained manna on His people in the wilderness and turned five loaves into a feast of abundance, we follow Him with unshakeable faith, attempting anything for His kingdom without fear of the consequences, and loving without reservation. Factual poverty prepares our spirit to let nothing impede our journey to God. The more we slip into concern with what we have, the less we can be concerned with what is prepared for us: "For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be" - Matt 6:21.
       A second important aspect of embracing poverty is that it trains the spirit to live for God and not for man. When we eschew our natural human competitiveness and desire to impress others, we can grow more and more in the dignified humility that we are called to. Renouncing what this world values, its material delights, we are left with less and less to brag about or show off. Our adornment must become instead virtue and kindness, and our good works should show forth in such a way that we do not receive praise, but rather God receives all: "So let your good works shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" - Matt 5:16
       A third but very important part of our community's belief about poverty is the power it lends to our witness in the world. Too often people are turned away from the Church because they like the message they hear, but they do not see it at work in the lives of is followers. We must not let this be the case. Our life should directly pattern the life of obedience to the Gospel, in every facet. For us, this witness means especially the witness to the right of all people to be born. In our country, millions of tax dollars go every year to the slaughter of unborn children. We exempt ourselves from paying taxes by our poverty, so that we may not take part in this economy of death. We also call on all in the Church to consider this grave ethical situation and prayerfully consider how obedience to the Gospel demands they respond to this injustice.
       We believe that the Gospel message is radical to all, but must be understood according to one's station in life. The Church does not condemn private ownership of property and neither do we. In fact, we encourage private proprietorship as widely as possible, believing that true liberty can best be enjoyed by those who own and manage their own land or business. The Holy Scriptures tell us it is our sacred duty to provide for our families, and if we fail to do that by our own fault, we will lose our salvation: "But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for the members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" - 1st Timothy 5:8.
       Practically, our pursuit of Gospel poverty follows these guidelines:
  • 1Tax exemption - we limit our personal income to below the taxable level, which varies by family size. We as a community strive for the maximum level of self-sufficiency, thus limiting the need for financial income, and devoting surplus income to works of charity and support of the Church. As an organization, we plan to own our land in common, as a 501(d) tax exempt Apostolic Association. Although we believe in private ownership, this is the best way to secure property tax exemption without sacrificing a degree of freedom for political action (i.e. pro-life activism). We are not a commune; we respect every family's right and duty to provide for themselves and own whatever is salutary to their family's well-being and education.
  • 2Contentment with simplicity - "if we have food and clothing, we should be content with that" - 1 Tim 6:8. There's almost nothing left to say about this. We endeavor to simplify our lives as much as possible that we may maximize the time we have to pursue prayer, helpful labor, works of charity, and education. See the other parts of this website for more details about how we plan to build a community in utter simplicity and natural sustainability.
  • 3Sharing to equality - While we are not a commune, we believe in the Gospel that if anyone has not what they need and another does, the one who does should share with the one who does not (Luke 3:11). This goes beyond our own community; we strive to share what we have with those in need, always ready to offer hospitality, and working for a better distribution and use of the world's resources.
For a thorough treatment of this subject, we recommend the book Happy Are You Poor by Fr Thomas Dubay.