Friday, January 09, 2009

Big buts... More random thoughts on the economy.

"Give to everyone who asks, do not turn your back on the borrower."
"But people shouldn't ask strangers to help them pay off their debts, or help them pay for school, or ask others to shelter them when they go on a trip, or ask people to help them pay the exorbitant cost associated with giving birth or adopting children."
Big But...
I've actually criticized people who have done such things, believing people should be more responsible, and that they ought to work for what they get, and so on and so forth. While that may be true generally, who was I to determine anything about how others earned their living or asked for financial help? I was wrong... really wrong... and totally lacked charity. I was acting, thinking, talking-writing, very self-righteously... and I did not even realize it.
But - I was wrong.
Secret pride.
There is a story from the desert fathers how one of the abbas, on his way to a chapter to pass judgement on an errant brother, before leaving his hermitage, took a large basket and filled it with sand. The brothers met him on his way and asked the meaning of the display. The abba explained that he was coming to pass judgement on a brother, while his own sins poured out unknown behind him like sand.
The downturn in the economy has been a great lesson for me. Once upon a time, I had been so sure I had done everything right - paying off all my bills, never carrying credit card debt, saving a big chunk of my earnings, and so on. And then the market crashed. I soon understood I had placed my trust in the wrong place - money, not God. I was proud of my accomplishments, not realizing I too have been a borrower living on borrowed time. Without going into detail, I have realized the error of my ways, and apologize to those I criticized. Oh, and I'm okay financially - just not the "rich" man I thought I was.


"He then told them a parable addressed to those who believed in their own self-righteousness while holding everyone else in contempt..."


  1. I like big buts, and I cannot lie.

  2. Beautiful entry, Terry. Best meditation on the Gospel life I've seen in a while. (Oh, I like big buts, too:))

  3. Anonymous3:34 PM


    It is really a myth that children are expensive. Depends on how much you spoil the little scamps, I suppose, but giving birth is free with insurance or Medicaid or Moms and Babies Programs, and adoption is damn near free after the tax credit.
    I sold cakes to help finance our adoption, some people sell handmade sweaters or have spaghetti dinners, etc.
    Things like the homestudy cost were on a sliding scale, so we paid less than millionaires pay.
    And our attorney was an absolute godsend who allowed us to do a payment plan and didn't charge by the hour.
    We used cloth diapers and although I didn't breastfeed, formula didn't send us to the poorhouse for the 12 months you're supposed to use it instead of milk.
    We had SO MANY people send us hand-me-down clothing or new clothes (people love buying baby clothes), etc.
    I was surprised at how little our finances changed after the baby.

    So take heart, prospective parents.
    You won't spend $200,000 (or whatever crazy amount the media loves quoting) on Junior by the time he's in kindergarten unless you keep him in Armani onesies and hire Hannah Montana to sing at her birthday party.
    (Sir Mix-a-Lot maybe. Hannah Montana? Not in this lifetime.)


  4. When you depend upon yourself instead of God is that what Avarice means? Or is Avarice just greed? Is Avarice mostly an elderly sin, one where you at long last have to learn that everything including your breath comes from God. I don't know. My husband is always worried about our future, and I always ask him why ,and then he gets mad at me.(though I am terrified of Kate's future) I have learned from working at Catholic Charities that it could be anyone of us at anytime, and the receipiant could have been on top of the world. I met the sweetest lady picking up bread for herself today. I don't know why she needed it. Our Catholic charities are struggling. They can't keep up with the demand , and it's generally the children that will suffer the most.I don't understand or approve of having a bunch of kids or any really without benefit of marriage. I think they're stupid ,but they still deserve to be helped- just because. And because I am pro-life I will help with babies in any way that I can , but I too have little money.

    May I suggest that the emotional pain that you suffer be offered up for others. Your a great person, and I would expect no less of you. I know that you do this already. I am sorry for your pain.

    I was at Steve ,and Barrys today, they are closing the store, and I saw a dozen people trying desperatly to make the left over tennis shoes match so that they could buy them, but I knew that there were no more matches, but people wouldn't give up . They just kept searching. So very sad.


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