Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Go, Sell What You Have . . .

Yesterday's Gospel was about the rich young man. "Go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

I know when I entered the monastery, I certainly didn't have many possessions. All the furniture I owned came from yard sales. I had a really comfortable $10.00 couch that when you sat in it, you just about touched the floor. I had a $5.00 coffee table and a couple $5.00 chairs that were covered with sheets to make them more attractive.

I always had 1 or 2 roommates except one year when I had an internship in campus ministry. The church had given me a place to stay that consisted of a kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. Pretty small, but it also had air conditioning and cable, which meant my brother visited quite often. (His apartment lacked these 2 luxuries.) The TV I had won at a high school graduation party.

When it came time to enter the monastery, all my yard sale items once again became yard sale items or Goodwill donations. I was planning on selling my French horn since I hadn't played it in 6 years. However, someone told me to bring it, and it has been used at prayer and liturgies and also in my music classroom. (I never thought I'd be a music teacher. Community has a way of helping you discover hidden talents.)

I was a college student who was always looking for ways to get free t-shirts. If the sign said, "Come to this event and get a free t-shirt," I was there. Blood drives were great. You save lives, get some snacks, and walk away with a free t-shirt. What more could a poor college student ask for?

As far as material possessions, I didn't have much to begin with, so I had no trouble getting rid of things. Some women, however, enter and have a much harder time. Some give up a house, car, pets, and personal belongings worth more than my $10.00 couch.

Because it takes a few years to become a sister and it's hard to know from the beginning what you're getting into and whether or not religious life is truly your life's calling, getting rid of possessions is a gradual process that comes as stronger commitments to the community are made.

Before I entered the monastery, I thought of all the things I would have to give up. What I didn't realize until after I entered was how much I would gain.

Jesus says, "Come, follow me." By following Jesus, our needs are provided, and we discover inner happiness and peace.

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