Last week, I received the story of St. Peter of Alcantara, a spiritual director to St. Teresa of Avila. He was an amazing man, and his work was responsible in part of forming the Order of Friars Minor, the Franciscans as we know them today.
Of particular interest to me in the short email about this man were the two segments I've copied below on St. Peter and poverty.
"Poverty was a means and not an end for Peter. The goal was following Christ in ever greater purity of heart. Whatever obstructed that path could be eliminated with no real loss.
The philosophy of our consumer age—you are worth what you own—may find Peter of Alcantara's approach severe. Ultimately his approach is life-giving while consumerism is deadly."
"I do not praise poverty for poverty's sake; I praise only that poverty which we patiently endure for the love of our crucified Redeemer and I consider this far more desirable than the poverty we undertake for the sake of poverty itself; for if I thought or believed otherwise, I would not seem to be firmly grounded in faith" (Letter of Peter to Teresa of Avila).