More from Fr. Dubay Father


More from Fr. Dubay

Father Dubay certainly write persuasively. Chapter 7 of his book is particularly difficult:

from Blessed Are You Poor Fr. Thomas Dubay, S. M.

Biblical writers were not philosophers, but they knew well enough that material sharing is a consequence of any sincere love. If the goods of earth are extensions of my person and if I love my neighbor as myself, I naturally share my good things. It is idle for me to proclaim concern for the poor, the homeless, for example, and at the same time indulge in elegant dining and drinking, pleasure traveling, and an extensive wardrobe. My life belies my rhetoric.

The third New Testament premise is a corollary of the second. We share with the needy to the point of a rough equality. If I am to love my fellowman as myself, it must follow that I desire that his needs be cared for at least as well as I care for mine. To desire otherwise is not to love him as I love myself.

Our final premise: poverty of spirit is not enough. Availability to others is not enough. A respectful use of creation is not enough. All these are good, of course. They are also convenient and easy prey to rationalization. People who pamper themselves with luxuries can readily convince themselves that they are detached from all they so abundantly use, that they are indeed available to others, that they are dealing with creation respectfully.. . (p. 64-65)

[referring to four New Testament Traditions that "a genuine disciple must share his material possessions with the needy."]
The first is from Luke. When John the Baptist in no uncertain terms demands from the crowd conversion as a preparation for the coming Messiah, the listeners ask what they must do. From the hundreds of precepts in the Old Testament that John could have cited as proof of conversion, he picks the sharing precept: if a person has two tunics and his brother none, he must give one away---and the same with food (Lk 3:10-11). . . (p. 66)

[final excerpt]

Pope Paul VI cited Saint Ambrose when he said:

You are not making a gift of your possessions to the poor person. You are handing over to him what is his. For what has been given in common for the use of all you have arrogated to yourself. The world is given to all and not only to the rich. [Populorum progressio, no. 23)

Once again I am stunned almost to the point of silence by the examples and the argumentation. As much as I would like to resist the logic, and as easy as it might be, I don't see any legitimate way around it. Poverty, in the way defined by Thomas Dubay (and it is an intricate and nuanced definition) seems to be a calling for all true disciples. To quote the title of a Bonhoeffer work, it is "the cost of discipleship." And it is a cost that we often try hard to overlook. However, I truly believe that we would all do better to try to live simpler, more frugal, more sharing lives. Of course, I'm a big one to be making this argument--and I'll be the first to admit it. I need to be first into the pool on this one, but that water looks awfully dark and deep and cold. . .

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on October 9, 2002 5:49 PM.

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