Sunday, March 6, 2011

An empty pocket here might possibly assure us a full pocket up in heaven

"We do not worry about paying bills because the majority of us never even see them. We can eat at our frugal tables without knowing the price of an egg. Our simple needs are provided by many kind souls who slip little white envelopes under our front door and then scurry back to the grind of getting a little something for themselves. No, we never realized how rich we could be until we took upon ourselves the life of poverty.


As Carmelites we have received poverty as our heritage, from a foundress who was herself pre-eminently poor. St Teresa loved poverty, and when food and clothing began coming through the turn with stern regularity, when she became deprived of deprivation, she felt as if she had lost 'a great many golden trinkets.' And when things were not quite so miserably poor as usual, the nuns would say anxiously to Teresa, 'Mother, we do not seem to be poor any more.' They were not crazy; only different.

No, we are not rich. We never shall be, for we live by alms. It is a rather haphazard way of life, especially when a Loan Company asks for security, but it was always worked. And many times it is the poor old widow who in saying good-by palms a crumpled dollar bill in our hand. We know she needs it; we know she will feel its loss. But we also know that she needs far more than any dollar bill the tremendous blessings of God that will be hers because of her generosity.

So we friars don't worry if there's a hole in our pocket. What is wrong with a hole as long as there are no pennies to slip through? A hole in a pocket means the pocket is empty. And an empty pocket here on earth might possibly assure us a full pocket up in heaven."

-- Men in Sandals by Richard Madden, ocd


In the cloister it is not unusual to receive many treats for Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving Day, etc. People are so generous that they overwhelm us with many goodies: cakes, pastries, ice cream, cookies, candies... I call them Diabetic Holidays. While so many people in the world suffer and struggle for a piece of bread, God, in His infinite generosity, allows many souls devoted to His serving to not feel a pinch. What is a hard straw bed, some cold or (heat), a bare floor, a lack of menu to choose from, when day after day we see God's generous bounty in the sacrifice of His people?

Thank you for your spiritual and financial support of cloistered (and active) religious communities. May God reward you abundantly for your generosity!

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