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

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

to humbly receive

I would like to share about my month of September: I tacked on another challenge to the experiment. I decided to avoid eating out, as a sacrifice and a more truer form of poverty, and well, it was both more and less difficult than it should have been.

The more difficult part was a result of a condition I have: I am a social butterfly to the core. I'm not really one to eat out unless it's on social terms, and that probably occurs more frequently than is healthy, for many reasons (see post on time). So because it is a normal thing for me to grab dinner or lunch or coffee with a friend or relative, my breaking that habit presented quite a moral dilemma at times. Do I eat out to be polite because someone has invited me, tell them I'm busy until October, or witness to them by sharing about what I'm doing and why I'm doing it (hmm...good question...) and perhaps actually make an impact with this experiment? 

It's hard to know what the right answer to that question is, and I think my conscience, in it's moments of rationalization, would like to think that depending on the circumstances there are different right answers. Maybe polite society would argue that this is true, but you don't win souls for Christ by being polite. 

There were two instances where I did eat out, both because they had been previously scheduled, but also because, to be honest, I didn't rise to the challenge of being a witness. I chose the polite route. Was this the result of a fear of humiliation?

People in poverty - financial poverty - do not have the money to go out to eat very often, if at all, and so I imagine that status comes with a lot of humiliation. It is extraordinarily humbling to admit to someone that you cannot afford something that they can, not only because it is a blow to one's sense of self-worth (which, for too many people, is defined by their income and material possessions), but also because there may come a time when betraying your financial status elicits charity. 

In our independent and self-sufficient society, it is difficult to accept generosity in whatever form it may present itself, and isn't that a crying shame? Of course our world is broken: in their selfishness, people forget to be charitable - to be loving - and so is it any wonder why there is a lack of trust and willingness to accept charity when it is offered? To accept God when He manifests Himself in the form of love, of generosity, of a gift that our pride does not allow us to receive? 

In a cut-throat culture that takes and does not give, it can be hard to believe that someone might actually be good enough to be capable of this charity. I cannot help but think this may be why so many people reject the greatest gift ever given to us: Life, found in the Most Holy Eucharist. 
God Himself comes down and allows us to consume Him in the simple form of bread and wine - the Creator of the entire universe allow us to take Him into our mouths! He willingly travels through our bodies, feeding our souls, filling us more than we could ever hope to be filled by anything else: and all this, humbly, only if we choose to receive Him. To receive His Gift. of Everything.  

More to come. +

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