Author: Johannes B. Metz
Title: Poverty of Spirit
Publication Info: Paulist Pr (1976)
This is a short, but profound book reflecting on the humanity of Christ incarnated and our own human condition. It’s one of those books that I really ought to reread and meditate upon to do it justice. Nevertheless I can say that it is a work that is deeply challenging and examines the many forms of poverty that exist in humanity and must be embraced to follow the way of Christ.
“The only image of God is the face of our brother, who is also the brother of God’s Son, of God’s own likeness (2 Cor. 4, 4; Col. 1, 15). Our human brother now becomes a “sacrament” of God’s hidden presence among us, a mediator between God and man. Every authentic religious act is directed toward the concreteness of God in our human brother and his world. There it finds it living fulfillment and its transcendent point of contact. Could man be taken more seriously than that? Is anything more anthropocentric than God’s creative love?” – p. 35
“Every genuine human encounter must be inspired by poverty of spirit. We must forget ourselves in order to let the other person approach us. We must be able to open up to him, to let his distinctive personality unfold — even though it often frightens or repels us. We often keep the other person down, and only see what we want to see; thus we never really encounter the mysterious secret of his being, only ourselves. Failing to risk the poverty of encounter, we indulge in a new form of self-assertion and pay a price for it: loneliness. Because we did not risk the poverty of openness (cf. Mt. 10, 39), our lives are not graced with the warm fullness of human existence. We are left with only a shadow of our real self.” – p. 45
Recommended books: The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Awakened from Within: Meditations on the Christian Life by Frere Roger, The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi by St. Francis Of Assisi and The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day.