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Married to Lady Poverty
Diane M. Houdek
Source: Bringing Home the Word
Published: Thursday, November 14, 2013

Marriage has long been a metaphor for the believer’s relationship to God. Throughout the Hebrew and the Christian Scriptures, God’s love for us is expressed as a covenant.

St. Francis defined his vocation as a marriage to Lady Poverty. This image shaped his life and his vision for his followers. Franciscan Father Murray Bodo describes it this way in Francis: The Journey and the Dream: “Lady Poverty was the symbol of the paradoxes of the gospel: richness in poverty, life in death, strength in weakness, beauty in the sordid and shabby, peace in conflict and temptation, fullness in emptiness and, above all, love in detachment and deprivation. She made everything hard soft, and everything difficult easy.

“If Lady Poverty were true to herself, she would also turn loneliness into companionship and sharing, once Francis could muster enough courage to give them up for her. If he gave Lady Poverty his need for love and companionship, she would give them back to him. Of that he was certain. It only remained for him to act on that conviction.”

We might reflect on this image and then find something in our own lives that works to suggest our love for God—and God’s love for us.

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