Friday, May 24, 2013

The Begging Bowl



Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.   Matthew 5:3

NYC - Rockefeller Center: International Building - Saint Francis of Assisi with Birds
Photo credit: wallyg / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND
Have you ever heard of a begging bowl?  It is a bowl carried by a beggar to receive food or alms.  This practice is especially common with Franciscans as well as Buddhist monks.  For both Christians and Buddhists, the begging bowls is a symbol of nonattachment. In the 13th Century, Western monasticism rediscovered a truth more often remembered in the east, in Hinduism and Buddhism - that the holy man's only possession is his begging bowl.  (Read more:  http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/plaintexthistories.asp?historyid=aa90#ixzz2U21xoY2b)
To be poor in spirit does not mean that we are necessarily poor monetarily, although I think that living a lifestyle of poverty certainly does put into concrete practice these words of Jesus.  We are called, no matter what our economic standing, to be humble hearted.  When we understand that apart from God, we have nothing and we are nothing, it is then that we have everything.  St. Francis said to hold loosely to all that is not eternal.  Hang on tightly to God and His Word.  Having nothing, we possess everything. 

Today, these prayerful words written by St. Francis seem appropriate:
Let us desire nothing else
Let us wish for nothing else
Let nothing else please us and cause us delight
Except our Creator and Redeemer and Saviour.
The One True god, Who is the Fullness of Good.
All good, every good, the true and supreme Good.
Let nothing hinder us,
Nothing separate us or nothing come between us.
May the power of your love O Lord, fiery and sweet as honey, wean my heart from all that is under heaven, so that I may die for love of your love, You who were so good as to die for love of my love. Amen
“Lex orandi lex credenda”  - “As we pray so also we believe”