Thursday, January 03, 2008

"A Carthusian" Writes of Suffering of What the World Offers

Thoughts of the suffering of consumerism continue. Yesterday the elderly friend in the nursing home gave a figurine, a lovely one of a woman carrying two baskets of oranges. I was asked by the friend to name the woman, as I'd asked her what she had named this figurine. She hadn't. I named her after the woman who gave it to me. It is now here as a prayer reminder for this friend who is 97, whose memory is failing, and who is a delightful soul!

Last evening was spent with a holy Catholic family. I laughed about a brown coat purchased recently, with sleeves a bit short--but such a good deal! The fun of it was the interactions with the clearance store employees and other customers. It is a place of interaction. Yes, the consumerism in my life has to do with a phase and process yet, of not being able to totally settle into complete silence and solitude! The hostess mentioned that one can easily cross the line if one uses a purchase for interaction. True. This brown jacket is surplus, admittedly, but so warm; my elderly friend earlier in the day loved touching it, for it is shiny and fuzzy! Someday it will be given away, and yet the poor would benefit more, no doubt, by money now. So I will donate double or triple, now, to the poor! When the hostess went to get my coat as I was leaving, she said, "Oh, you need your coat!" I laughed and said, "I am so glad you said I 'need' it--but I know the truth: I have a black jacket, and I did not 'need' another, good deal and brown that it is!"

So I suffer with my faults. Though, as I confess instances in which I have been slow in figuring out how to glorify God in all things--and of how consumerism is a choice, and of the challenge to inner peace in the on-going dealings trying to get the wrongs righted in using the gift certificate for more Tanquerey books--there is a kind of joy and peace! I tell God and the confessor of my faults, and yet I am exuberant at the same time! He smiles, as there is a joy and peace in knowing that even in suffering of our own human selves, we can glorify God in love, for we have come to a joy in knowing how much He loves us and that He knows we are striving to glorify Him in all matters! And too, we can correct bit by bit or in great disciplinary curtailments, the flights into the world.

Today I figure out how to lengthen the sleeves on that bargain jacket. My soul delights in the people I met at the store, the prayers I offer for them, the rejoicing of the woman who told me about her new job and of the bargain outfits she was finding for her first week at work. The new jacket that the manager discounted even more because the belt is missing, is brown as the soil in which I place my soul, crushed in the reality of my sinfulness, yet joyful in the capacity God gives us to bring good out of all--especially our personal slips and falls, our worldly sufferings.

The Carthusian wrote:

We have suffered, as we always shall, at finding that what the world offers us is only too often an appearance, a counterfeit reality. Healthy anguish! Hearts too easily contented in this life will not perhaps be so hereafter. The world is bound to leave a great void in our hearts--a void that only God can fill. Ask Him to fill it more and more....

We should aim at the perfection itself of our heavenly Father, and endeavour to reflect, little by little, as far as possible those traces of the divine Beauty which we call His attributes. That is the real Christian view of detachment. It is not really detachment, but an attachment. We leave the passing in order to enter into Him Who is eternal. There you have the secret of our peace of soul.


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