Week 6 – Lent with Jacinta: the “sins of covetousness”

“Run away from riches. Cherish silence and holy poverty.” St. Jacinta Marto –

These words by Jacinta to her caretaker, Mother Maria Godhino, reflect what Our Lady had told her, that seeking the treasures and luxuries of the world are a detriment to one’s soul. In fact we are told to “run away.” She calls it “holy” poverty because it is in detaching from our material possessions and comforts of earthly life that we set our sights on heaven.

This is not to say that those living in poverty are holier than those better off, or that they should not want to be raised out of poverty. Jesus upheld the giving of alms to the needy as a moral duty. The corporal acts of mercy include feeding the hungry and clothing the naked.

Jesus admonished the building up of treasure on earth while ignoring the building up of treasure in heaven – “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” … (Mt 6:21)

He called on the rich young man to go and sell all that he had and follow Him, to which the man went away sad. Yet, Jesus was very close to Lazarus and his sisters, Martha and Mary, who were among the wealthy families that supported His ministry.

The difference between these two examples is obvious. One was very attached to his wealth and unwilling to part with it. The others gave of their wealth for the sake of the kingdom.

Holy poverty means that our security is not based on a dollar figure in our bank account or investments, but our security is based on a daily relationship with God who gives us all these things and more.

Being rich is often a burden as lottery winners can attest and news headlines proclaim. It can lead to marriage and family breakdowns, depression and anxiety, or worse, murder and suicide.

We are not free when our security is based on something so fleeting. We cannot put our trust in God when we must worry about protecting our wealth. In fact, it is difficult to serve God at all – why would we need Him if everything we need or want is provided for us? Therefore, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle (a low, narrow opening in a gate) than for a rich man to get into the kingdom of heaven, impossible accept for God.

 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Mt 6: 24).

Cherish Silence and Holy Poverty

Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco came from homes that we might consider poor by today’s standards, but their families were considered well off in the village of Aljustrel. They had homes, land and sheep, food, including meat, and the means to provide for their own clothes. After the apparitions, the Marto family continued to live a very comfortable life in that they did not want for anything, yet they had lost four children to the Spanish flu. Lucia’s parents, on the other hand, lost their land and much of their income. While it was very difficult for them to go through this, they never gave up on their faith in God – that “pearl of great price.”  God gives and God takes away. Their focus was on their eternal home.  

It was within this mindset that Jacinta and Francisco were able to give up everything so easily, including their lives. It was within this mindset that Lucia was able to set forth from Fatima into an unknown future that was totally dependent on God’s will and good graces. This is freedom. This is holy poverty.

Holy poverty drives us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Being detached from the world allows one to live in freedom, able to see God in the light, able to live in His truth.

As we enter into Holy Week, what is God asking you to give up? How is He wanting you to detach? When are you feeling insecure? How can you trust Him with every part of your being?

St. Jacinta, pray for us. Help us to embrace the challenge of living in holy poverty and cherishing the silence of God in our hearts.

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  1. Very good article. It is not so much money or wealth in itself that is a problem, but rather our attitude towards it. In the movie “Brother Sun, Sister Moon”, Francis places a gold coin on top of a rocky boulder to make a point. Both items are metal and made of rock. It is society’s attitude towards them that makes gold valuable and the rock ordinary. In reality and in the final analysis, they are both rocks. Money should be viewed as nothing more than a means to attain a purpose or gain a goal. If that purpose is furthering the kingdom of God, winning the lottery can actually become a blessing for everyone.

  2. Very good article. It is not so much that wealth is the problem as it is our attitude towards it. In the movie “Brother Sun, Sister Moon”, Francis places a gold coin on top of a large rock. Both are metal, yet our society places more value on one than the other. Money should be used as a means to a goal or purpose, not an end in itself. If that goal is the building up of the Kingdom of God, then winning the lottery can be a blessing for all.

  3. IT was wonderful! I have read so much about Fatima on the 100th Anniversary and was close to MARY. I have read Sister Lucia’s book on Jacinta but this article contained so much more!

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