The Bible is explicit that after I place my faith in Christ, I am no longer a bondservant to sin, but rather one to Christ.  I am no longer a slave.  Faith in Christ means freedom from the things that used to hold us captive and freedom to cling to the Person who was meant to truly captivate us.  Some versus that mention this included Matthew 6:24, Acts 16:17 and probably most powerfully Romans 6:16-22.  I had an enlightening day that revolved around this idea.

Caitie and myself got up a little earlier to try our hand at the local public transport, to much success.  We rarely take the bus for things as we choose to be as cheap with our money as possible, and rather we walk.  But today we  rode the bus triumphantly, transferred a few times, and managed not to get lost.  We made it to a nearby mall for some errand shopping, transferred again, and walked to a local thrift store.   We agreed during our walk that living in solidarity with the poor is deliberately freeing – in the way that you’re not in bondage to money.  We were compelled to bring very little cash with us for our trip – always cash and no check or credit card.  We were purposeful with our time and planned ahead as to what we needed, so there would be little temptation to buy impulsively or irresponsibly.   It was wonderfully refreshing to start my day with fifteen dollars and end it with just some odd change; something draws us these days to live simply and sustainably, in a habitual way.  I have to give the credit to God, who is motivating and shaping us in mighty ways during these short months.

Of course, in no way are we suffering along with the poor in deciding to spend less or bring less money when we run errands.  I’m not comparing this to the panhandler’s plight and I don’t mean to romanticize or compartmentalized poverty.  But living in solidarity with the poor, in this way and in others, has been an important first step in gaining perspective and empathy for those who are in desperate states.  They are the first necessary in making it a lifestyle to shun riches and indulgence, to begin living out the charism of Saint Francis, who saw living with and among the marginalized something to be cherished.

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