Wednesday, October 24, 2012

An 'Easy Essay' from Peter Maurin

I recently finished reading Dorothy Day's Loaves and Fishes, an account of the history of the Catholic Worker movement.  As many know, Peter Maurin, a French Catholic social activist, played a huge role in the formation of the Catholic Worker and in shaping the political theology and ecclesiology of Dorothy Day.  Day recounts in the book that Peter Maurin used to express his main arguments in the form of "Easy Essays", a number of which she quotes.  One of them particularly struck me as it gets to the heart of what I think the Christian understanding of the 'economy' should be.  And it particularly resonates, I think, during this election season.

Photo from
"The world would be better off
if people tried to become better,
and people would become better
if they stopped trying to become better off.
For when everyone tries to become
better off
nobody is better off.
But when everyone tries to become better
everyone is better off.
Everyone would be rich

if nobody tried to become richer,
and nobody would be poor
if everybody tried to be the poorest.
And everybody would be what he ought to be
if everyone tried to be
what he wants the other fellow to be."

1 comment:

  1. Hi Greg, I just stumbled upon your blog at the recommendation of a friend. My heart leapt for joy at the mention of peter maurin! I love his easy essays, and this is a particularly lovely one. I just wrote a piece about dorothy day that you might enjoy:

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts. Peace!~Stephanie