Jesus never seems to has famished, other than his fasting in the desert. He even had a treasurer. But St. Francis’ poverty is an extreme option. His followers took it to a level of anarchism and church had to intervene and suppress certain Franciscan movements. When St. Francis insisted that one shall not own anything, St. Thomas Aquinas proposed a moderate version. According to St. Thomas whatever you have is your own but when you see someone in need, give him what is yours. From where St. Francis got this extreme notion of poverty? It came from his biggest revelation that, ‘God alone is enough, rest can be abandoned’. Francis was afraid to miss God, what if He is hidden behid a piece of paper or a pin? Francis relingished everything that could hide God, however subtle it is. He was even ready to abandon heaven for the sake of God.
In St. Francis’ frugality, Paul Ricoeur sees the logic of Superabundance. Francis doesn’t advocate frugalness as a means of being virtuous, but Ricoeur thinks that Francis is performing a more radical act. According to Ricoeur he “overturns the underlying hypothesis of the modern world driven by exclusive possession, fear of scarcity, in short, the economic.” St. Francis’ frugality is a way of passing on to others what is not one’s own. Ricoeur thinks that Francis sunders the meaning of gift by a sort of metanoia, “because it has been given to you, you give in turn”. So St. Francis makes a rejoinder to superabundance with frugality, a gift should remain as a gift for another.
Camus wrote, “My poverty was full of sun rays.” He also said, “I will bow my head only before a man whose head is immersed in lofty ideals and before a man whose head is high even in his penury, in-between lies the society which I disdain.”
We all need a saint, a saint whose eyes are full of tears because he is not poor enough to deserve God.