8 May 2009

Poverty and 'stuff'

Is it possible that in less than ten weeks I will be ordained a priest, please God? Indeed, it is more than possible, quite probable. Bishop David McGough was at Oscott to celebrate the Candidacy of some of our chaps, recently, and said it was planned that he would ordain me on 12th July. This is comforting to know. Full steam ahead! There is much to be done, and little time left to do it, but nonetheless we plough on regardless.

Allow me, for just a moment, to wallow in self pity. I have the ordination to plan, materially as well as spiritually; I have my STB examinations looming on 26th May, and a raft of tests before this, including the first, which was this afternoon; I have to pack up my worldly belongings and get out of here. Ah, much to be done.

I am vexed as to what to take and what to leave. Already this is impinging upon my prayer life. During our weekly holy hour, earlier this week, I was reflecting in the meaning of poverty in scripture. How do we, as ordained ministers of the Church, live out the radical call to poverty? Through prayer I have determined criteria on what to keep and what to leave behind. Will I need it in the immediate future? By this, I mean in the next twelve months and to have specific need, not a ‘just in case’ need. Does it give me pleasure or have significant meaning for me, such that it would be detrimental for me to leave behind. In other words, is it life giving?

This leads me to make a decision on very simple terms and is, most significantly for me, either yes or no. I have need of it, or accept that it gives me pleasure. There is no in between.

Not a perfect solution but, nonetheless, helpful. Do you have any better criteria for what I might do with my ‘stuff’?


  1. Aha...finally a problem I can actually help you with (maybe). Without knowing a full itemised list of what you own, contacting a local charity that supplies people on the breadline or, recently housed, with nearly new stuff - checkout whether what they can make most use of matches up with what you afford to give away, sometimes there are things you can give that you may not even realise people trying to cling on to the ladder actually need. I'm sorry, I forget the name of the site, but there's an eco friendly swapping site where you can advertise your unwanted but useable wares for people to take for free.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Sorry, I was trying to say www.ooffoo.com has recommendations of furniture redirection companies. Howw legit they are I don't know, but it's enough to get started.

  4. Speaking from my materialistic self,I would personally hang on to a few books that have significance,as books have saved my sanity over the years.I also see books that were given as gifts as almost like sacramentals of family and loved ones,(if that isn't a sin?)evoking precious memories and affirmations of truths perceived(if but dimly for now).
    Most other things are replaceable.
    I had much of my property destroyed in the nineties,but I firmly believe in my spirit that God sends enough for my need,but not for my greed.I still covet,it seems to be part of my condition,but hey ho,that's concupiscence for you.
    I am praying for you regularly,to Our Lady,for your protection and also that this time will be filled with anticipatory joy,as well as the other pressing duties.What an adventure you are beginning.



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