By Kenneth Baxter Wolf
Saint Francis of Assisi is arguably the main appealing saint ever produced by means of the Catholic Church. The surprisingly excessive regard with which he's held has served to insulate him from any actual feedback of the type of sanctity that he embodied: sanctity established at the beginning on his planned pursuit of poverty. during this ebook, Kenneth Baxter Wolf takes a clean examine Francis and the assumption of voluntary poverty as a foundation for Christian perfection. Wolf's element of departure is a chain of easy yet hitherto unasked questions about the fitting nature of Francis's poverty: How did he pass approximately reworking himself from a wealthy guy to a terrible one? How profitable used to be this alteration? How did his self-imposed poverty evaluate to the involuntary poverty of these he met in and round Assisi? What did negative humans of this kind get out in their touch with Francis? What did Francis get out of his touch with them? Wolf reveals that whereas Francis's perception of poverty as a religious self-discipline can have opened the door to salvation for prosperous Christians like himself, it successfully precluded the concept the bad may possibly use their very own involuntary poverty as a route to heaven. in response to a radical reconsideration of the earliest biographies of the saint, in addition to Francis's personal writings, Wolf's paintings sheds vital new gentle at the inherent ironies of poverty as a religious self-discipline and its dating to poverty as a socio-economic ailment.
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Extra resources for The Poverty of Riches: St. Francis of Assisi Reconsidered (Oxford Studies in Historical Theology)
Who would not revere and honor you when he, whom all the powers of heaven adore, has adorned you 34 ST. 34 But once the empire decided to embrace the church, even seemingly conscientious Christians found themselves lured away from their courtship of Lady Poverty by the enticements of the world around them. 36 The author probably had in mind the challenges faced by the many different orders of monks, hermits, and canons that had emerged over the course of the nine hundred years since the Edict of Milan.
For my purposes, one of the most interesting—and surprising—of Greed's strategies for seducing devotees of poverty was to assume the guise of Charity. As Lady Poverty explained, religious orders have at times been tempted "to provide for the needy and to give something to the poor,"37 despite their resolve to leave behind the things of this world. While admitting that this was a noble enough goal, Lady Poverty was quick to point out that it simply could not be achieved without acquiring property—if only for the purpose of redistribution—thus inevitably opening the door to Greed.
5 The heroes of Francis's youth were not rich merchants but brave knights, especially the "knights of old" whose tales dominated the repertoire of the troubadours from one end of Europe to the other: Alexander, Arthur, and Charlemagne, not to mention the more recent heroes spawned by the Crusades, such as Godfrey of Bouillon and Richard the Lion-Hearted. Collective nostalgia for what was already becoming a bygone era did not keep the troubadours of Francis's day from sing30 ST. 6 According to the Legend of the Three Companions, Francis "yearned ...