Tuesday, March 15, 2011

When I Have Lost Everything

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?"  --Matthew 6:25
CNN did an interview this morning with a Japanese man who had been in his car when the tsunami swept him and his car away.  What struck me was they showed his hospital tray table where displayed was the sum total of everything the man had left in the world.  It did not look much different at all from the few credit cards, driver's license and business cards I have in my hip pocket all the time.  I had an identity moment with the man, a moment of shared hip pocket possessions.  I also thought what would I be feeling if the contents of my hip pocket were all I had left in the world?

A number of 10th, 11th and 12th century Christian mystics speak of the vice of material love: the attachment to things - our cars, our houses, our thousands of items that seem to bring security.  I like to think of myself as some simplistic person who doesn't need a whole lot, but I saw on that Japanese man's tray table the lie I tell myself.  I'm as attached to my stuff as anyone.  I wondered, from where would my security come if everything I had was swept out to sea?  I read these words from Julian of Norwich:
"Our Lord Jesus said to me repeatedly, 'It is I who am highest; it is I you love; it is I who delight you; it is I you serve; it is I you long for; it is I you desire; it is I who am your purpose; it is I who am everything; it is I that Holy Church preaches and teaches you; it is I who have shown myself to you."
 When all has passed away, Christ is all that may be left behind, and I trust He will be enough.  That's certainly my prayer.

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