Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Now we've had a quiet couple of days since our house is back to normal. This gives us time to reflect. We're not cloistered nuns who do nothing but reflect, meditate and pray. We're distracted by sewage and deadlines.
When I think about nuns in the cloister and how they spend their time, my mind turns automatically to St. Therese the Little Flower. She had enough time to add subcategories onto her own name. It got pretty long....there was more after the Little Flower. Jesus is in there somewhere.
St. Therese was not the sharpest knife in the drawer. She had wanted to become a missionary and die a martyr but things didn't go her way. She decided to use every aspect of her mundane life as an offering. She used every opportunity to suffer for the Poor Souls in Purgatory, sleeping with no blanket in the winter and a wool one in the summer....that type of thing.
She kept a careful record of all her sufferings, saving someone in heaven the task of tallying up her sufferings to bounce over to the suffering souls. I wonder who's job that is? In heaven, I mean. Who has to spend their eternal happiness figuring out who still has to suffer and how much and how much my suffering counts towards theirs?
We all suffer differently. One person's suffering is another person's delight. Just ask all those Germans running around in leiderhousen out in the desert. They love it there.
For example, I can sit in a room of kindergarteners banging on toy percussion instruments pretty much all day. It doesn't matter how many of them there are or what they are banging as long as it doesn't actually hurt my ears. They're busy and happy and out of trouble. (Unless I knew they all had dirty hands, then it would drive me crazy.)
Sister St. Aloysius would have to be carted off to an asylum after about six minutes of that. (If they had dirty hands on top of it, she'd need an IV.)
On the other hand, when we're watching basketball and someone we like makes a shot, Ben Wallace, say, or Sam Cassel, Sister St. Aloysius claps her hands. There is something about the sharp sound of her clapping that just kills my ears. It's everything I can do not to leap up and tie her hands behind her back with my giant wooden rosary.
So you can see how our suffering when we're in Purgatory could be quite different. For me, all they would have to do is play that "El Pollo Loco" jingle (where the guy sings "EL ! Po yo Lo-co!") really loudly over and over again. Or the Navy Marimba Band playing "Blowin' in the Wind".
If you ever have guests that over stay their welcome, just get yourself a copy of the Navy Marimba Band playing anything at all and they'll clear right out.
I would think that they had some sort of system in place in heaven to sort all of this out. By now they will have to have gone digital as our causes of suffering and our ability to tolerate it are ever-changing.
Truthfully, the modern world offers opportunities to suffer that self-flagelating saints never dreamed of. It would have been fun to sit in a traffic jam caused by looky-loos with St. Francis of Assisi. We could listen to books on tape together. How would St. Christopher have handled it when the person in front of him on the escalator got off at the top and just...stopped? That can cause death and mayhem. What would St. Catherine of Sienna who never ate anything but the host think watching people pound down a Whopper with fries and a Diet Coke?
I know what I think.
That's why I know I'll be in Purgatory.
Maybe I shouldn't let anyone know what bugs me.