Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Real Decorating


God clothes the field

There's an online company of sorts that automatically sends pictures they think might be useful to this blog. The other day there was the photograph of a book titled: Decorating the Catholic Home. I thought at once, how odd, a whole book on decorating rooms the Catholic way; what a distraction from the inner spiritual work to be undertaken if I would know Jesus. The only decoration I need be concerned with is the "decorating" of myself. We might have a think on these verses:
For now that you have faith in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God. All of you who were baptized into Christ have put on the family likeness of Christ. Gone is the distinction between Jew and Greek, slave and free man, male and female - you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:23-28
What you learned was to fling off the dirty clothes of the old way of living, which were rotted through and through with lust's illusion, and, with yourselves mentally and spiritually re-made, to put on the clean fresh clothes of the new life which was made by God's design for righteousness and the holiness which is no illusion. Ephesians 4:22-24
But now you must put away all these things: evil temper, furious rage, malice, insults and shouted abuse! Don't deceive each other with lies anymore, for you have discarded the old nature and all that it did, and you have put on the new nature which, by constant renewal in the likeness of its Creator, leads to a fuller knowledge of God. Colossians 3:8-10
As, therefore, God's picked representatives, purified and beloved, put on that nature which is merciful in action, kindly in heart, and humble in mind. Accept life, and be most patient and tolerant with one another, always ready to forgive if you have a difference with anyone. Forgive as freely as the Lord has forgiven you. And, above everything else, put on love, for love binds all the virtues together in perfection. Colossians 3:12-14

This gives a whole new understanding to the idea of decorating, doesn't it? Christianity is an inner way, so let's not worry about how "Catholic" the house looks. I would add to Saint Paul's thoughts that there is the decorating of our personal evolution: the realization of the idea God had in mind the moment of our being called into existence. 

But someone might say: "If the outer environment is this way and that way, then it will lead us to our interior place." I'd disagree, but only because so often we land in the outer re-arranging of our lives which is so much more comfortable, while the inner work of real spiritual living receives scant attention. Keep the rule and the rule will keep you, the young novices were taught for too long.
What miserable frauds you are, you scribes and Pharisees! You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, while the inside is full of greed and self-indulgence. Can't you see, Pharisee? First wash the inside of the cup and then the outside will be clean. Matthew 23:25
Alas for you, you hypocritical scribes and Pharisees! You are like white-washed tombs, which look fine on the outside but inside are full of dead men's bones and all kinds of rottenness. Matthew 23:27

O Jesus, that I would never give you cause for so harsh an assessment of me!

And one last glad thought: ultimately the interior work to be undertaken is effected by God, who decorates the world. Jesus teaches us:
If God so clothes the grass, which flowers in the field today and is burnt in the stove tomorrow, is he not much more likely to clothe you of little faith..." Luke 12:28

8 comments:

  1. I like the thought that all who have been baptized in Christ are all equal without distinction. The bible has many quotes that need remembering. Even back when the verses were written, people suffered as they suffer today. Discrimination for perceived differences is not the way of Jesus.

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    1. Yes, and I had a seminary prof who took this even further, saying that this part about no distinctions isn't just true for the baptized but for ALL of humanity. The baptized are supposed to be the ones who KNOW it or GET IT and call everyone else to the realization.

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  2. What an energizer, this post is! Energizing my enthusiasm for Christ.

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    1. The Lord bring to completion the good begun in you!

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  3. Thank you for this Father. I have often felt like a decoration with my true interior hidden from view. I would not stand out as anything but a white, Catholic guy so I do not feel the outward prejudice of being different even though I don't bear any outward markings. However, people are unknowingly insensitive and remarks pass freely that fill my mind with sadness and frustration over being secretly different. Through constant reflection and an inner cleansing, I have slowly removed the outer wrappings to a selective few and it isn't an easy task. Sometimes people surprise you and are accepting, other times it is a struggle and you can't undo the things you have said. I can only forgive those who are hurtful and remind myself that I do not want to be a hypocrite and that I do want to live as God has made me, for I believe he made me as I am. I am not asking for advice or that you would even understand, but my hope is that someone who reads this will see that your words apply to many different situations and that we are all the same even in our differences and we should love and accept all kinds of people.

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  4. I personally believe that most people are trying very hard to live good and authentic lives. And that God is very pleased for that effort.

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    1. I'm living by example by continuing on with my career and having a full, rich life. A famous actor and activist once said "We should indeed keep calm in the face of difference, and live our lives in a state of inclusion and wonder at the diversity of humanity." I am pleased for his effort in leading the way for me and those that follow. I never thought of God being pleased also, but he must be.

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  5. When I was a boy God was always depicted as being disappointed. What we did, how we were - it was never enough. Sin was around every corner. But we had that "take" because we didn't know the Gospels where Jesus is so often delighted in people and their struggle to believe. Actually the only ones who Jesus is disappointed in are the Pharisees and scribes - who were the religious leaders.

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