//The Best Practices of Poverty in the Society of Jesus

The Best Practices of Poverty in the Society of Jesus

The inimitable Jesuit practice of poverty has two entwined threads ‘spiritual’ and ‘actual’ (Sp. Ex. 98, 146), the attainment for which Grace every Jesuit intentionally and actively prays and deliberately chooses. Actual poverty is relinquishing proprietary rights over one’s own and spiritual goods, and is detached from them. Both actual and spiritual poverty are defenses against the fundamental flows of human nature. In the Formula of the Institute, the First Fathers construed themselves as soldiers of God (FI,1), and they purported poverty as a sort of counteragent for the contagion or infection of avarice (FI, 7). The Constitutions of the Society of Jesus [553] visualizes poverty as a ‘bulwark’, ‘defense’, ‘rampart’, or ‘sturdy bastion’. The practice of poverty is both a war strategy and a weapon against greed.  The trajectory of this distinct illustration of poverty surged from tears of St Ignatius and heroic living of Jesuits throughout the five centuries. The attitude towards poverty is a devotion – a filial love as to a mother.

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