07 Jan Koinonia 2020 – 4 (N.108): Franciscan Economy for Seculars
Franciscan Economy for Seculars
Let us begin our discussion on Franciscan economy by looking at some details of the allegorical painting on Poverty in the Lower Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. The painting is attributed to Giotto or better known as the School of Giotto and is dated around 1334. The scene is the mystical marriage of Lady Poverty with St. Francis, blessed by Jesus. Francis is depicted here as giving the wedding ring to Lady Poverty. But if you observe clearly you can find that the Lady Poverty is not keeping even the wedding ring for herself, but donate it to the virtue of Hope (Spes). What she receives on her right hand, gives it away with her left hand. She does not reserve anything, even the most intimate thing, for herself.
This is again another particular scene from the allegory of Poverty, where a young man (the young Francis before his conversion) is giving his cloak to a poor man. He is responding positively to the invitation of the angel to participate in the marriage.
And in this image you will find that the dress that the young man gives to the poor is taken by an angel to the hands of God. You see also another angel carrying a house to the same hands. The house is depicted with some agricultural land and a tree, fruit of work. They signify that when the basic needs (food, shelter, work and clothing) are given to the poor, they go to God.
Keeping these three images in mind let us begin our discussion on “Franciscan Economy for Seculars”. The objective of our study is to pay attention to the relational dimension of our economic and social life in which the human person is respected in his/her dignity. Our attention is limited to view how a secular Franciscan can respond to the challenges of the present economic crisis, aggravated by the pandemic of Covid-19, which has paralyzed greater part of economic activities around the world.
- Koinonia 2020-4: “Franciscan Economy for Seculars”– Fr. Alfred Parambakathu OFMConv