This idea of Gospel poverty seems to go against logic for most married couples and families. Surely God doesn’t mean He wants us to actually sell what we have and give it to the poor.
But He does.
He might not be asking us to sell everything we own, but He is asking us to embrace simplicity, live in solidarity with the poor, and to give from our need, not simply our excess.
So in the spirit of St. Francis, whose feast we celebrate today, here are some suggestions for how couples and families can embrace the spirit of Gospel poverty.
Living simply allows you to make more room in your life for your relationship with God and others.
You don’t have to sell your home for a smaller one in order to live simply. There are many small changes you can make to prioritize simplicity in your daily life.
Put down your phone. Cook good food, share meals, or read a book. Get outside, plant a garden, or take a deep breath. Invest in people and hobbies and find something to thank God for every day.
Do more of the things that make you human.
Foster detachment from material possessions
At the heart of Gospel poverty is a spirit of detachment from material goods and viewing our temporal possessions as belonging to God, not to us.
St. Basil the Great once said: “The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat unused in your closet belongs to the one who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the one who has no shoes…”
When we fill our closets with unused clothes, shoes, household items, and other things, we are essentially withholding them from those who need them more than we do.
Go through the things you own and donate them to local charities. Or literally sell what you can and give the money to the poor.
Then before making future purchases, ask yourselves if you really need the item you are buying. Take some time to investigate your motive for wanting that particular item. Is it to gain attention or popularity? If so, pray about going without it.
Be good stewards
Time and time again we see in Scripture the call to be good stewards of the spiritual and temporal gifts God has given us.
Stewardship looks differently for each couple, and husbands and wives should take time to pray about and discuss what it means for their particular family during this season of their life.
One of the most common ways to practice good stewardship is through tithing. While the Catholic Church does not mandate a particular percentage, she does make clear that we should return the first-fruits of our labor to the one who ultimately gave them to us to whatever extent we can.
Take time to talk to your spouse about your physical and spiritual gifts and how you can use them to serve the Church.