This reflection is now available in Daniel P. Horan, OFM’s book Franciscan Spirituality for the 21st Century: Selected Reflections from the Dating God Blog and Other Essays, Volume One (Koinonia Press, 2013).



  1. Francis’ ministry to those the lepers permanently excluded he and his followers from the rest of society, because they were considered “unclean” from simply having physical contact with those who suffered from that illness. What a powerful witness!!!

  2. Great post on so many levels! I wonder if the tendency to talk about Francis and service rather than an incarnational solidarity is an attempt on the part of some to domesticate and neutralise the very great challenge such a life poses… I realise that might sound pessimistic…

    I thought the extract from Gutierrez was well chosen, a very clear explanation of evangelical poverty.

  3. Great article, Dan. I recently posted a piece called “Disciples, Not Volunteers” that wrestled with some of the same dynamics. In my book, this is also the approach I take with engaging the “blessed are the poor in spirit/blessed are the poor”. In the end, I believe that Francis was living, first and foremost, a solidarity with Christ.

  4. Thanks for the reflection. It’s a critical concern of us who live and minister in Latin America – solidarity is more central than merely serving.

    Are you aware that the distinction of the three understandings of poverty can also be found in the document on Poverty of the Church of the Latin American Bishops Conference in Medellin?

    1. Many thanks for your comment, John. Yes, I am aware of the distinction, something that Gutiérrez also highlights well in his “A Theology of Liberation” and something that I talk about in detail in the fuller article from which this blog post is in part excerpted. All the best in your very important ministry! I recall my time in Bolivia often while reflecting on issues such as that of Evangelical poverty as a sign of witness, protest and solidarity. Peace!

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