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athgarvan

EXPERIENCING FREEDOM

I was reading in Facebook the other day about a restaurant owner in Kerala who has installed a 24-hour running refrigerator outside his property which is open to those in need of a meal but can't afford it. His fb page asks his friends to help stock the fridge with any leftovers they can spare. I don't know what insurance companies in the area think of his initiative! We all, I suppose, tend to hold on to what we have, whether we need it or not. We are very slow to let go of things even though they may be of use or service to others.

It's nothing new of course. Remember the story of Savonarola who in 1497 encouraged his friends and followers in Florence to throw their unwanted and un-needed stuff into his great Bonfire of Vanities? He was directing his words especially at the Church with all its "gold and silver." I'm sure he would be greatly scandalized at how we ourselves hold on to useless things when so many go hungry? If I myself were to put a cardboard box in my room, would it take long, I wonder, to fill it with things I really could do without?

When I'm at it, maybe I could, metaphorically speaking, also strip myself bare of all my spiritual "vanities" in a mighty demonstration of  new-found freedom. Into it I could throw each of my vanities, my pretences, my pseudo-religious attitudes, my collection of accumulated masks, my false images of god . . .  and become spiritually bare like Matisse's dancing nudes.

Comments

wow!!!!
i'm surprised that there are no other comments
when i first read your post i was so blown away by its honesty and challenge i had no other words

i was also taken by the images you chose
Handel's use of the refiner's fire comes to mind
images of the chapel of a small Benedictine monastery came to mind - lined in wood with only a cross - made into the room needed when office is said or the liturgy celebrated - but bare for meditation

and the chapel at Clairvaux simple and light filled

i am magpie - enamored of visual simplicity but surrounded by "things" all of which have meaning for me - i suppose artists are like that - even if we paint simple we are visual, collectors of images

more important is intellectual clarity - and harder -we can live without "things" - having only what is necessary
but our minds can be cluttered with what seems to be necessary

most of all, your words reminded me of Francis of Assisi - at the end stripped of all and lying on the earth -
how did he do it? - who was he? - why was he?
There was a time when we (my confreres) really lived and worked in the most simple way, humbly asking from our leaders for what we needed. I admit this was helped by the fact that we were living in a post-war era when "everybody" was living a very simple life. It is only since the 70s that we, like society in general, have become very much more greedy and reliant on frivolities.
lol i was in graduate school in the 60s
most of my fellow students were priests and religious
i am very aware of what went on in the houses where they lived - it wasn't poverty lol
I'm not sure I would lump feeding the poor in with the bonfire of vanities. We are indeed a wasteful society and far too much is spent on making, using and then throwing away useless items with frivolous purposes. But much valuable food is also wasted. Every day, millions upon millions of restaurants and local food stores and grocery chains throw out unsold food. France has passed a law against throwing away edible food. That is what needs to happen in every country.

Insurance companies be damned (pardon my french). Charity should never be a risk.

We all need to learn to make do with less. I have spent the last many years working on that. When I die, I hope to have nothing left but a handful of useful items for someone to help themselves to.
Fair dues to you. But people are becoming very "insurance" conscious and I could see a person eating free food from that fridge claiming that he/she had become sick as a result.
Most countries now have what is coined "The Good Samaritan's Act" which protects organizations which provide donated food from lawsuits. That said, I am unaware of anyone suing anyone over donated food. Typically, it is rich people suing restaurants over negligently prepared food. But I understand your point.