Because in the school of the Spirit,
man learns wisdom through humility,
knowledge by forgetting,
how to speak by silence,
how to live by dying.
-Johannes Tauler

Saturday, January 16, 2010

That's it!

Julie and I were cooking dinner in the kitchen last night and talking about household appliances, cookware, etc. Just generally chatting, you know, and I said, "Oh! You know what I was thinking we need that is unnecessary?" 

and we both stopped and laughed. 

because well, that's EXACTLY what this year is about! 
Discovering all the things we "need" that are unnecessary

It's only January 16, and I am already learning much. 

Even just last night, I sat down with half-a-crate full of prayer cards, rosaries, religious medals, song booklets from pilgrimages, conferences, trips, scapulars, books from retreats, novenas I've printed out, bookmarks....all of it spiritual clutter. 

I was telling Julie that I could tell you who I got most of the things from, and why or when they gave it to me, and I could even tell you how it had made me feel at the time - how some of those little pieces of paper had sat on a desk or taped on a wall and had slowly, for a time, changed my life. Prayers that had spoken the words of my heart. Novenas that had calmed my worst fears at the time and had replaced them with peace. Little cards that had marked places in book after book, reminding me with each page of God's love and care. 

I threw most of them away. 

If they were nice and didn't have my third grade penmanship all over them or looked like they might actually mean something to someone else, I put them in a pile to give to a priest, that maybe he can pass them along. 

They're beautiful symbols of the Catholic faith and beautiful words that have probably touched more hearts than my own, but do I need them? 

Not right now. 
At one time, I did. 
And that's when I received each one of them. 
In a time of need. 

Now it's just clutter. I even said to Julie about one of the bookmarks that had been made for me, "These are the words of a prayer I wrote. At the time they expressed one of the deepest desires of my heart. Well, I prayed it and it was answered and now I have moved on! My prayer has changed, and so...I have to let go of this card." 

This is one of the hardest areas for me because it's so close to my heart, but I can't keep all these things forever. They're just paper, after all. 

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." (Mt. 24:35)

God will again give me what I need, when I need it. All those prayer cards, like that book I bought, certainly might help at some point, but if I just trust in Him, turn to Him, and be well aware of the many ways He is speaking to me in the present moment...I don't need them. +

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