Righteous activistism

“I really only love God as much as I love the person
I love the least.”

Dorothy Day

I know that God is really good at giving us a kick in the pants when it is most needed…
and maybe I’m at the place where I might need that kick….
For you see this little book in the above picture, arrived in the mail about a week ago,
right in the midst of when things were coming to a head with Dad.

We had his funeral Wednesday and it was truly lovely…
and I’ll talk about all of that at some point in the near future…
but for now, I just need decompress a bit…

I’ve told friends that I’ve yet to really mourn or grieve as I know I should and
really need to….
but because life is still demanding a great deal of me and my time…
that grieving and morning are simply on hold…

But soon that too will come.

I did however actually visit the grocery store today, stocking back up on real
food for our house.
Yet I almost fell apart walking past the candy section…
which was just up from the soups and broths…

As everyone knows I always had to buy Dad chocolate…
However, sadly in the end, even his desire for chocolate waned.
The last thing I was privileged to feed him was a requested bowl of chocolate ice cream
3 days before he died.

He couldn’t utter words but he could move his lips..
I could tell he wanted something and so I ran through a litany of what that could be,
when I said ice-cream, his eyes sparkled wide…

But as I say, more about all of that later…

It’s time now for a little diversion…

So back to the book…

My editor friend at Plough Publishing House is good to me…as she sends books that she
thinks I will enjoy pursuing…

So my interest was piqued when I opened the latest envelope and saw the little book
on Dorothy Day.
I confess… about all I knew about Dorothy Day was that she was an ardent Catholic
covert and what I’d call a Holy and Righteous activist.

This little book is not an autobiography but rather focuses on Dorothy’s thoughts…
on those almost mystical inner musings, worries, concerns and yearnings.
For as ardent as she was to be that living example of Christ…
she also suffered from those moments that St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross
so clearly share….that being of the Dark night of the Soul….

So I immediately felt as if there was a strong connection between both Dorothy Day
and Mother Teresa.
I don’t know if these two soldiers of Christ ever knew of one another during their lifetimes…
but they were certainly two souls cut from the same cloth.

I’ve not had much of an opportunity to wade very deeply into the book but one
of the first sentences by Dorothy that I read was
“if you have two coats, you must have stolen one from the poor”

That one sentence resonated deeply with me—for I have more than one coat.

So I will keep today’s post brief by leaving you with food for thought offered by
our friend Dorothy…

Faith came before understanding.
And Faith is a gift of God.
It cannot be imparted by any other person.
I cannot give it to you.
Only God.

You are certainly going through the sorrowful mysteries.
But if you don’t go through them to the glorious,
you will be a hollow man and considered an opportunist and a fraud…

Certainly good words to chew on during these final weeks of Lent……

28 comments on “Righteous activistism

  1. Sarah says:

    Hi Julie. 😀 I’ve been thinking about the “two coat” problem myself recently. There are still people alive here in the West of Ireland today who remember and talk about their much simpler and impoverished childhood. My mother-in-law is one. My husband remembers visiting his grandparents, and watching them cooking over an open fire. Most of their neighbours had no transport beyond, if they were lucky, a donkey or horse and cart. They all had their toilet facilities in outhouses, and went to wells or collected rainwater for drinking and washing. I remember the outhouse of my own grandparents in England. It was dark, cold and full of spiders. My nanna used to tell me how she only ever had one toy – a doll that her father made for her. She also would tell me how she and the other children would eat the leaves of hawthorn trees, which they called “bread and butter” trees. I’ve tasted hawthorn leaves -you’d have to be _really_ hungry to enjoy them. They also used to love to lick the rain or dew from rusty gates. I guess they were instinctively making up for an iron deficiency.
    I went out for a cuppa in a pub with a friend a few days ago and we sat in front of an open fire. It had the old iron bar across the top of it and the hooks that could be used for suspending kettles or cooking pots. A local woman stopped for a chat and started reminiscing about how her mother would make sheets from the cloth bags that their flour came in. All of this made me realise that, despite my lowly position in the eyes of modern society, I have an embarrassing over-abundance of material wealth. Well, I hope you don’t mind me rambling on like this. Suffice it to say that I’ve been sorting through my wardrobe, and parting with some excess items. 🙂

    • Oh so true Sarah—-being raised in the country, despite her embrace of city life, my grandmother never forgot her more rural roots nor the appreciation of living off the land…my husband being more of a country boy remembers quite vividly now his grandmother did not have running water…so the out house was very much a part of life as was her wood burning stove cranked up full blast in the dead heat of summer as she labored to can and put away food in a root cellar—as we are not all that far removed from a simpler yet harder time…yet these up and coming generations only know the mantra of more, more, more and bigger is always better….

      • Sarah says:

        All this material wealth must come at a price. It’s quite depressing because it’s hard to know what to do about it. The consumer juggernaut is hard to stop. I guess the only thing we can do is keep praying and reminding the younger generation of the truly important things in life.

  2. atimetoshare.me says:

    We began to realize our over abundance when we started downsizing a few years ago. Even moving to a smaller house, we saw we had still not given up enough. In fact we started to replenish. We really must begin to look Beyond ourselves. I have a friend who is giving some of her special things to younger friends as gifts so they can still be enjoyed. We hang too tightly to things of this world.

    Glad you’re back. Missed you❤️

  3. Julie,

    First, welcome back. You were missed, but understand why.

    Second, I share your pain. As an only child, when my Mom passed away, I had the responsibility of making all the arrangements for the funeral, clearing out her apartment, etc. I did not allow myself to grieve for about a week.

    Thirdly, just yesterday, I cleaned out my closet and filled a large garbage bag full of clothes I no longer wear to give to the needy. Go figure.

    Don

  4. Julie, this is such a beautiful post. My heart goes out to you. Years ago, I was with my mother at the end. I offer this small bit of wisdom: everyone has their own way of grieving. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Grieve in your own way, in your own time, for as long as it takes (and it may take many years). Praying for peace and comfort. ❤

  5. Citizen Tom says:

    Two coats? Most of my money just goes into the bank or savings of some sort. Over the years I have accumulated clothing, much from a military career now long past. It is not so much a matter of hording as indifference. I am low maintenance and so is my lady.

    Money that is properly invested serves a purpose. There is a parable to that effect, but clothing that just sets on a hanger is a waste. I guess I need to do something with some of those coats, shirts, and pants.

    • a few years back, after a trip to Assisi and having read a great deal about and by St Francis, I started really thinking about the whole idea of less is more….
      as an only child who has over the years acquired things from both grandmothers, two great aunts, my mom and now things that were still at dad’s… I am amazed by the connection to things that have been passed down through the generations and to what is considered “cherished”… as it, whatever it is, was once a part of one’s childhood and associated with past loved ones…all pieces of what made one’s family just that, a family—but there comes a time to sort and let go of those things that ground us to this earth.
      And whereas we tend to think about what we it is that we want verses what we truly need..perhaps that being a blue coat and maybe a black coat, then of course that red coat sure looks pretty…the consumerism culture we’ve been brainwashed into literally buying into has us focusing more on our wants then our fellow man’s needs….
      Time for a trip to the Goodwill and perhaps a yard sale! 😉

  6. Very thought provoking post. So glad to see that you are back and still putting up awesome posts. Do take care of yourself and you’ll know when it’s time to grieve. Before the grieving starts there’s period of letting go and accepting the reality of it that will ultimately lead you into a natural state of grieving. I see that you have lots of support and encouraging voices here and that will help a lot. Love and hugs, N 🙂 ❤

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