Wednesday, July 11, 2012
On the journey to heaven...
The Hasidim tell the story of the visitor who went to see a very famous rabbi and was shocked at the sparsity, the bareness, the emptiness of his little one-room house. "Why don't you have any furniture," the visitor asked. "Why don't you?" the rabbi said. "Well, because I'm only passing through," the visitor said. "Well, so am I," the rabbi answered.
On the journey to heaven, things tie us to the earth. We can't move to another city because we have a huge mortgage on the house in this one. We can't take care of a sick neighbor because we are too busy taking care of our own hedges. We go poor giving big parties in the hope for big promotions. We get beholden to the people who give big parties back. We take things and hoard things and give things to control our little worlds and the things wind up controlling us. They clutter our space; they crimp our hearts; they sour our souls. Benedict says that the answer is that we not allow ourselves to have anything beyond life's simple staples in the first place and that we not use things--not even the simplest things--to restrict the life of another by giving gifts that tie another person down. Benedictine simplicity, then, is not a deprivation. It frees us for all of life's surprises.
Posted by Deacon Gerry at 10:18 AM