"And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” (Matt 19:30)
Mother Teresa on the vow of poverty
Our poverty is our dowry.
With regard to God, our poverty is our humble recognition and acceptance of our sinfulness, helplessness and utter nothingness, and the acknowledgement of our neediness before Him, which expresses itself as hope in Him, as an openness to receive all things from Him as from our Father.
Our poverty should be true gospel poverty—--gentle, tender, glad and openhearted, always ready to give an expression of love. Poverty is love before it is renunciation. To love, it is necessary to give. To give, it is necessary to be free from selfishness.
Desirous to share Christ’s own poverty and that of our poor:
—We accept to have everything in common and to share with one another in the Society.
—We do not accept anything whatsoever from our parents, friends, or benefactors for our personal use. Whatever is given to us is handed over to our superiors for the common use of the community or for the work.
—We shall eat food of the people, of the country where we live using what is cheapest. It should be sufficient and wholesome so as to maintain good health which is essential for the work of our vocation.
—Our Houses should be simple and modest, places where the poor feel at home.
—We shall walk whenever opportunity offers, in order to take the cheapest means of transport available.
—We shall sleep in common dormitories without privacy like the poor.
—We and our poor will depend entirely on Divine Providence both for our material and spiritual needs. (70)