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Monday, 17 December 2012

Christmas All Year Round and Onions

I was conversing with a wealthy Irish woman here who told me she goes every year and works in a food distribution centre for the homeless on Christmas Day. I encouraged her and said it was a great work that she was doing.

She then proceeded to tell me of the six or seven extended vacations to various countries she takes yearly. She is a Catholic.

I was stunned. She could not see the minimalist approach to her Christianity.

That she spends Christmas Day with the homeless is fantastic. That she forgets about them for the entire rest of the year is sad. That is the difference between a real Christian and a some-time Christian.

Sadly, she is also a traditional Catholic who weekly attends the Latin Mass and is not a liberal in doctrine.

I wanted to share with her that she has a good heart, but that she is trapped in the whirlwind of her status and cannot see her own blindness.  She is also very depressed, which is why she goes on so many holidays. I did not want to add to her depression, but I did say that she may not understand poverty and penury. She asked me if I wanted to go to the health centre and work-out with her as she does regularly. She added that it was too bad that we could not be friends and do things together because I was poor.  I merely smiled, agreed with her, said that was the way it was, without an explanation.

Saving our souls doesn't work like that. She cannot see because she cannot step out of her world long enough to see. God bless her one day of good work. God gave her plenty to share. I hope she sees one day her own need for salvation. To her to whom much is given, much is expected.

Her story reminded me of the famous onion story of the Byzantine Catholics. The reason, they tell me, that their churches have onion-shaped domes is a vision of one of their saints.

A man died who had been selfish. He had done one charitable work in his life.  His guardian angel came down to visit him at his particular judgement. The angel was holding an onion.

"This onion represents the one good deed you did in your life. You gave an onion to a poor man. I , your angel, will hold this onion and you grab the end of it. I shall then fly to heaven and if you can hold on to the onion without falling, you will be taken into heaven. If you let go, you fall into hell."

Catholics, collect your onions. Do not end up with one small onion on the day of your judgement. You might let go....I might let go.