Low Hanging Fruit

In his satire-laced article on Catholic Exchange this morning, Todd Lemieux does a nice job of illustrating the nacissistic, me-first attitude all too prevalent in America today. One line really lept off the page at me as earlier this year I had my own epiphany about how I was doing the same in my own life.

The price of fruit on a tree never looked so low.

The price of fruit on a tree never looked so good.

It is time that we got honest with ourselves in this era of financial decadence, especially at this season of materialism and consumerism – the celebration of a birth of the salvation of our souls at the price of our souls themselves.

Can we be just a little more responsible and take the consequences for our actions and repair the behavior so that we don’t fall into this mess again?

Maybe it is time we started to save, not to buy everything in the technology department attempting to make our lives easier by finding new ways to figure out how much debt we are in.

Maybe we need to invest in fruit that does not go bad, that does not lead to stress, ruin, and mishap. After all, sitting down to have a real conversation doesn’t require a payment plan.

Praying on fifty-four beads with your family isn’t nearly as cutting-edge as watching a fifty-four inch screen.

The bold emphasis in the quote above is my own. Indeed it’s not as “cutting-edge.” It’s not the shiny, latest, newest thing. There’s not enough bling or zing in those beads or in a personal prayer life for many of us. And therein lies the rub. It’s one of the reasons that led to the promise I made to my wife not to buy any more books for one calendar year starting last August. (I blew it when Richard Evan’s newest book Grace came out in October, but am holding steady since). I realized while looking around at my stacks and shelves and boxes of books that at 40, hoping to live another 40, I’ve enough books to last me at least that long. That was the start of my epiphany.

This has led me to reaching out to the men in my former men’s group that met every Tuesday night at our parish to pray the rosary together and to pray for each other and our families. We did this faithfully for five years plus and then just as suddently stopped a few years ago. Why did we stop, I asked? Is it because we did actually recieve so many of the blessings we prayed for all those years? If that’s the case than more than ever we need to continue to pray. If nothing else to pray in an attitude of gratitude for our blessings. And to pray that those blessings do not become curses. The men agreed and we begin anew on January 8, 2009.

I have also set a goal to immerse myself more fully in Scripture this year. To finally study the Bible as I’ve always meant to. Being a history major it is if nothing else a fascinating work to study. But of course it does hold a much higher value for me. So I’ve begun to take The Great Adventure with Jeff Cavins at home and hope to initiate a full-fledged study with others at our parish this fall. I’m three lessons in and learned more already than I thought I’d known all these years.

I hope more Americans are taking approaches of self-study and introspection this Advent, one in which our financial fortunes have changed so much. Take nothing for granted. Be less selfish and more selfless. Just the first of some strong resolutions and goals I’m setting for 2009 and beyond. I need them to be more aligned with the post-it note I have here at my desk and keep in my wallet:

Contemplation

Communion

Mission

You can’t have Communion without Contemplation, and you can’t have a Mission without Communion.

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