Superfluous Goods

The Problem of Today

General Johnson says
that the problem of today
is not to increase
producing power,
but to increase
the consuming power.
Saving to invest
is considered
a bourgeois virtue.
while spending to consume
is considered
a bourgeois vice.
While the thrifty bourgeois
increases the producing power
the bourgeois spendthrift
increases the consuming power.

With Our Superfluous Goods

Bishop von Ketteler says
that we are bound
under pain of mortal sin
to relieve the extreme needs
of our needy brother
with our superfluous goods.
With our superfluous goods
we build white elephants
like the Empire State Building.
With our superfluous goods
we build power houses
which increase the producing power
and therefore
increase unemployment.
With our superfluous goods
we build colleges
which turn out students
into a changing world
without telling them
how to keep it from changing
or how to change it
to suit college graduates.

Ambassadors of God

What we give to the poor
for Christ’s sake
is what we carry with us
when we die.
We are afraid
to pauperize the poor
because we are afraid
to be poor.
Pagan Greeks used to say
that the poor
“are the ambassadors
of the gods.”
To become poor
is to become
an Ambassador of God.

We Seem to Think

St. Francis thought
that to choose to be poor
is just as good
as if one should marry
the most beautiful girl in the world.
We seem to think
that poor people
are social nuisances
and not the Ambassadors of God.
We seem to think
that Lady Poverty
is an ugly girl
and not the beautiful girl
that St. Francis of Assisi
says she is.
And because we think so,
we refuse to feed the poor
with our superfluous goods
and let the politicians
feed the poor
by going around
like pickpockets,
robbing Peter
to pay Paul,
and feeding the poor
by soaking the rich.