As soon as I fly into some countries, I sense a spiritual presence surrounding that country. I distinctly remember flying into Ireland for the first time, through churning black clouds in the twilight, over a landscape of lights and darkness.
The entire feeling was one of chaos and turbulence.
When I flew into France, the air was bitter cold and sharp, like a knife, the day ending in rain and gloom, on that day after the Je suis Charlie shootings.
Flying into the States, I had a sense of a huge dome covering the entire nation, a dome of self-sufficiency, arrogance, and most of all, consumerism.
The main demon of this country is gross consumerism. I call it a god, an idol, to which millions of people bow and scrape, desiring comfort and solace in this time of anxiety. One can almost feel this presence of consumerism, like a smothering blanket of constant buying and selling woven by fear, and the lack of trust in Divine Providence.
Consumerism is fed by narcissism, because the narcissist always has to have the best that money can buy. Consumerism destroys neighborhoods and communities as people are too busy working and shopping.
It is too easy to get caught up with this consumeristic philosophy, the main one of this once free and simple land. Or, was it always this way?
Looking back over the history of America, one sees the tension of dreams of peace and prosperity mixed with clever greed and anxious conformity. Because things, stuff, are relatively inexpensive, one is tempted to buy what one does not need and ignore the millions of people who need basics for life, daily.
Consumer goods have dulled the sense of personal responsibility for the other. The real other, the outsider, is not considered when one is discussing with one's significant other whether one needs to buy a new car, when the old one is running just fine, or whether one needs to redecorate, because one is bored, or whether one needs just one more pair of shoes.
For four years exactly, I lived out of two suitcases and a carry on. Now, I am facing taking my few things out of storage this week and doing the last cull. I have no furniture, except the chapel furnishings, and mostly books and personal papers, plus photos of you-know-who.
Still, STS said, "Mum, get rid of it all," like a true apostle, knowing that what one really needs is limited. Things get in the way of God. Things demand time and attention, time and attention taken away from God. Detachment forms the real backbone of the spiritual man or woman.
For years, when I was married, a long time ago now, in England, we had no car (we never did get one), no phone (we used the local red box), no refrigerator (I shopped daily-- butter and cheese were left out, while the milk was put on the window sill).
Honestly, we did not miss these things-car, phone, fridge. I never had a freezer, and only had a washer-dryer the last year of my marriage.
We managed. We did not miss modern conveniences. We ate well and entertained friends, including sems and priests, without all the mod-cons.
I never had a crock pot, or a microwave, cooking all things the "long way" as I had learned.
If someone wanted to get ahold of us, they had to stop by, or write a note. Imagine. No phone.
I realized today that our little house was rather monastic.
Even when I had the Montessori school, things were simple, like Montessori's original ideas.
I made much of the materials, as one learns when one is studying to be a directress.
Amazing how people lived before PCs and the Internet.
I am going back towards those times. Poverty limits what I own, what I have, what I use. Poverty determines if I even have the Net or a cell phone.
One learns to do without. And, it is refreshingly freeing.
I never want to go back to accumulation and consumerism. I pray to God not to ever get caught up in that again. Being poor and not having credit cards provides me with discipline. If I do not have the money, I cannot buy even, sometimes, necessities.
So be it.
I considered my passive purgation a stand against consumerism. May God wean me from every single venial sin and tendency towards sin, especially the sin of this nation of shopkeepers and shopdwellers.
I defy the covering of consumerism. However, I do need a place to live, to pray, to set up the chapel I shall have to take down in one month. Please pray for me to find this place, and help if you can.
Consumerism hates need, as needs are basic.....consumerism thrives on wants, not needs.