Monday, September 08, 2008
The Quality of Mercy
Maybe I should have gone for the cloister. Oh, for the cell and the silence!
It's that time of year when we have to gear up to fund raise for the school, the church, the convent, the retired nuns, the poor, the homeless. I'm sure we'll be having some flood victims any second.
I don't mind telling you it's out of my 'comfort zone'. Not because I have to run around begging for money, but because somewhere in there, in order to hang onto the money we have or to wrangle more money out of people for worthy causes, sometimes I have to be cute.
I never go straight for cute. I really can't abide the whole 'cute nun' thing. Sometimes cuteness is thrust upon me.
I will confess to you, that being a nun has gotten me off the hook financially more than once. No one likes to take money from a nun. Once, as a nun, one realizes this, it becomes very difficult not to 'work' it. It's not like I'm batting my eyelashes and twirling my hair. I can't get to my hair to twirl it anyhow.
It's ever so slightly more subtle. The officer pulls the nun over for rolling through the stop sign rather than coming to a full stop. The nun is rattled. No one likes to be pulled over. The nun can't really afford to pay a moving violation ticket. The officer doesn't realize the perp is a nun until he is up to her car window. The nun can see he's suddenly rattled.
Rattled nun + rattled cop = off with a warning. If the nun says, "Bless you, officer" at the end, the officer leaves feeling aglow.
The nun wonders whether or not she 'worked it'.
Nuns and clergy solicit help in this way all the time. I'm sure you've been on the receiving end of it. Remember that movie "Lilies of the Field"? That nun quietly manipulates that poor man into building an entire church. If that nun didn't 'work' it, there would be no movie. Or church.
Is that a bad thing? I guess not. I'm not comfortable with it. The question remains how far do we go?
Hi, sister! I absolutely adore your blog and have to tell everyone about it (usually two or three times)! I have a question for you that I feel would be very apt considering your vows. How much is too much to have in the eyes of God? I mean, I'm a middle class American, with all the trimmings that go with; I cannot stand the thought of starving children, homeless people, and other worthy causes worldwide, and although I do give to solicitors in the mail and at church, I can't help but feel that God is still very upset with me, with all of us, for not doing more. Is it okay to be living a comfortable life while people are dying? And yet I don't feel there's much I can do, as those people aren't actually within my direct reach. What do you feel we should be doing? The spiritual and corporal words of mercy spell it out fairly well, but to what practical extent? My husband feels that with a family of 8, we can't do anything drastic and St. Francis-like, which I agree with; however I do feel that something's missing. No one obviously needs so many things as we have, and interestingly, usually all of our belongings only serve to clutter up our lives and take time to clean! Any thoughts? Thank you for your inspiring and hilarious blog- I look forward to it daily! God Bless you! -Martha Mary (seriously).
I can tell you one thing. If you collect something, stop. Once people know you collect something, that's what you'll get as gifts and that's a big help to people shopping for you.
It's not an easy question. No easy answer. Your children have to be fed and educated. You have to stay healthy.
Here's what you're missing, I think, a little. It isn't always about money. You're not talking about finances, really. You're talking about mercy.
Mercy is free. The Corporal Works of Mercy are called the Corporal WORKS of Mercy, not the Corporal Bucks of Mercy. Drag out that list and make it a check list of what you need to do this week. You can leave 'bury the dead' off, unless your cat killed a bird or something. Then again, you could see who is being buried in your parish this week and go help out with the luncheon or sing in the choir or usher or something.
People do need help within your reach.
I'm sure our reader will have lots to say about this.
Don't forget to send in those nun pictures! firstname.lastname@example.org
Meanwhile, the tree man has just finished fixing our window. I have to run out and pay him. Maybe if I bat my eyelashes he'll knock a couple of bucks off his price. Probably not. I'll just look like a blinking bloodhound.