Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Suffering of Consumerism

I wrote out the details in my detailed manner on the other blog, but it is true that we complicate our lives by stepping into the consumer world. I am working on figuring out how to glorify God in the complexities of purchases and in glorifying Him by not stepping into that world except when necessary. And how necessary is a consideration worthy of pondering and then scraping off....

Recently I scraped myself out of a vocations club, good as it sounds, due to complications from a person threatened by my essence. It wasn't worth it, the dues were $200 a year, and one had to be invited and voted into this club (yes, it is an international club within the Church!). My spiritual da remarked after I bowed out, when I said that Jesus would probably not belong to such a club: "Jesus would not even have been invited to join!" I think he has a point.

So I determined to use the money saved in dues, for purchasing and gifting our seminarians (anonymously mailing the books to them), hardbound copies of Tanquerey's great treatise. After the Word of God, this book seems to be next brilliance as a soul school text. But purchasing these books has caused problems with a major on-line company. And that has led to my pondering that perhaps I could have and should have spent the money on Mass stipends for each of the seminarians. After all, we should put our money where our mouths are, right? The Mass is a higher good than a book, regardless how good the book. So I will endeavor to do both, since I'm up to the Sacred Heart with the consumer world conflict in purchasing the books.

Yes, I'm up to the point where the lance point from the world is jabbing into the Wound, trying to poke me where I nest within His Heart. I don't like the hassles that come from the world, and some of them are necessary; and this current problem is now necessary to bring it to justice and conclusion, and to do so as peacefully and prayerfully as possible--yet with firmness and prudence. But I can learn from this, and make choices next time as to how much consumerism, what companies, or not.

Keeping life relatively simple is a choice, after all. And it is true that we bring on much of our own suffering, and that suffering often equates to suffering depending upon how we react to the problems--or even any involvement at all, to begin with!

If one is deeply nesting within the Sacred Heart, then one does not feel the pricks of the lance point as it jabs and pokes around trying to find the genderless soul within the Heart of Jesus. Maybe the genderless soul ought ponder a bit and desire, also, to nestle deeper in, deeper, deeper and deeper still.

With family obligations, one cannot be as removed from the world, for washing machines, refrigerators, and stoves have become necessities, as are furnaces and water faucets--in our culture. But for one person, the potential break-downs and consumer issues are lessened. If my dishwasher breaks, I won't fix it but will wash dishes by hand as I had prior to this place with its dishwasher built in. If a washer breaks, there is the laundromat; silly to fix a washing machine for one person's weekly load. The refrigerator could even be dispensed with by a vegetarian. Now food is kept it to keep them fresh longer; without a refrigerator, one would need to make more frequent grocery stops. So what?

But the issue with consumerism usually ends up with problems with greed, gluttony, and problems with products and services between people. Yes, it boils down again to relationships: solving product problems between buyers and sellers.

Here is a consideration I read this morning--from the Carthusians, once again:

Consider the impulses of the Heart of Jesus towards converted and penitent souls who came to Him; how He received St. Mary Magdalen, Zacheus, St. Matthew, and in general all those who had recourse to Him. What love, what respect, what trust does not this Sacred Heart deserve? It weeps and laments over the wretchedness of sinners. It embraces them, forgets the injuries committed against It, and takes pleasure in having brought back a sinful soul to God. After this, wouldst thou my heart, dare to appear before the Sacred heart of Jesus with resentful feelings towards thy neighbour or wilful dislike? Is it not due ot the Heart of Jesus that, for love of It, thou shouldst forgive thy neighbour everything?

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, with my whole soul I adore Thy impulses of goodness and mercy towards sinners, the effects of which I have most singularly experienced. They loving-kindness is so desirous of mercy, that it threatnes to show no mercy to him who is not merciful. And what mercy can I exercise towards my neighbour, that can be conpared to those I have received, and every day receive from Thee? O Heart of Jesus, living fountain of mercy, teach me to know and worthily imitate Thy mercy.

Consumerism to a degree is a suffering we cannot avoid--but it can be NOT a debilitating suffering, or maybe not a suffering at all but a joyful experience no matter, as an offering to Jesus. What we offer, again, is the love of others, the forgiveness of those who willingly or unwittingly commit a wrong in the goods they sell. We learn to be prudent, and we learn to do without more and more in order to bask in the glory of God--which does seem to occur more readily and smoothly when one distances from the goods of the world.

Yes, people earn their livings by selling goods, but are we doing good in purchasing goods not necessary, such as addictive type electronic devices and nasty DVD's? Is it as well to purchase a paperback when a used hardbound is the same price and can be passed on for years? And what about content of what we purchase? And food? And clothing and all else? Will our clothes last longer if we hang them to dry? Is not the exercise in hanging them good, and the quiet in the process and opportunity for being recollected in the Sacred Heart all the more deeply? These are considerations. Economics repeats: suppply is based on demand. Sellers would sell what the people want and what they only buy.

But it is not holy to have resentment in the course of consumer dealings! We must be loving and merciful; consumer rage does not belong in the Sacred Heart, and consumer glut doesn't fit, either. And consumer injustice does not find a place, and the consumer must learn how to deal with it all, from within the Heart of mercy and love.


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