January 10, 2011

In our constitutions it states that we are to live lives that are poor, obscure and laborious. We are called to live our lives simply, not cluttered with things, or sounds or entertainment. This is all for the purpose of living a deep inner life, finding God within ourselves and acting throughout our day. It hit me the other day how countercultural this is. One of our sisters broke her wrist and being the infirmarian I went to her doctor’s appointment with her to get her cast on. This sister has been living the Cistercian life for almost 50 years. When the doctor asked her what color cast she wanted, she said white, somewhat baffled that there might be other choices. So then she added: white, so it’s not a distraction. The doctor went to the cabinet where the cast material was stored and announced: there is no white. There were at least 20 colors available, including patterns. They had bright pink, red, purple, green, even patterns. You could get army fatigue or bright splashes of color on white. She ended up with blue. I’m not saying there is anything terribly wrong with this but it does say something about our culture. Do we really need to be entertained by the color of our casts and do we really need so many choices when one will do? In a world with so many people lacking even the most basic medical care do we really want to fool around this way? There is so much to keeping it simple. There is a lot to see, to hear, to do that is so rich if we just keep it simple!

Sister Maggie