The Dignity of Jesus’ Poverty

“You are well aware of the generosity which our Lord Jesus Christ had, that, although he was rich, he became poor for your sake, so that you should become rich through his poverty.” (2Cor 8,9)

A poverty that makes others rich.

That’s how you could describe what happens at Christmas.

God is not afraid to make Himself small for the people and to place Himself in Jesus for a time among the angels to exalt the people! A small child in a manger, far from all representative wealth, a grotto that serves as a birthplace, the simple shepherds. All this speaks of a poverty, but one that is full of dignity, because it is a voluntary poverty. God wanted to come to us in this poverty and show us the true wealth, namely, His love!

It is one of these messages, often paradoxical for our human nature, which permeates the whole of Sacred Scripture. Poverty often makes us rich and wealth often makes us poor! The dignity of voluntarily renouncing external wealth lies precisely in drawing attention to the real wealth, which does not consist in the accumulation of earthly goods. It consists in the nobility of the person who puts the spiritual and mental gifts which she owes to God at the service of the Kingdom of God and of humanity.

It is precisely here that we meet Jesus. Everything he did was to glorify the Father and serve the people. Especially in the simple way of life that accompanied the Lord until death, the gaze is directed to the essential and does not stop at the outward appearance. If Jesus had been born in a palace with rich parents, we would have been less able to identify with him, because this is reserved for only a few people.

The Lord’s voluntary poverty, however, invites all people in the world to discover their true dignity and not to be deceived by the pursuit of deceptive wealth.

The poverty of the Lord in all his situations in life, thus makes us rich: be it his flight with his parents to Egypt to escape Herod’s persecutors, which can become a message to the refugees; be it the unjust persecutions and accusations, which can become a consolation for people in similar situations; be it his suffering and violent death. The Lord can always, through his voluntary acceptance of poverty, transform the human condition from within and give him his dignity, despite all external poverty and helplessness!

What a message from the Holy God. He descends to us human beings to draw us to Himself. He becomes poor to make us rich, He dies a voluntary death to save us from death, He takes sin upon Himself to redeem us, He returns to Heaven to prepare a home for us!

Thus, at Christmas, through his birth, he invites us to entrust ourselves completely to him, so that we may become rich in him with the true goods that remain forever!

Harpa Dei accompanies the daily scriptural interpretation or spiritual teaching of Br. Elija, their spiritual father. These meditations can be heard on the following website

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