Archive for April 29th, 2014

Justice, Spring, Hell


* We live in a time of vast wealth on a planet of surpassing beauty and abundance. There is more than enough for everyone on the earth to live a decent life, in comfort. The problem is that a tiny percentage of humans have taken almost everything for themselves, even though they owe their riches to the labor of the many. This is not complicated: ‘the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof”, as the Scriptures say. Everything is destined for everyone, in God’s will. This is called the ‘universal destination of goods’ in Catholic social teaching, and property rights are subservient to this common good. In regard to corporate wealth paying workers low wages: it is a sin and a crime for a corporation which makes a huge profit, whose CEO makes millions a year, to pay its workers less than a living wage. A sin and a crime! Little children must learn to share, even if they are unwilling. Same thing for the ruling class.

* And for those who object that paying a living wage is just too hard for small businesses: 85% of small businesses pay more than minimum wage. 66% of minimum wage workers work for a large corporation. For the 15%  of small businesses who say they cannot afford to pay minimum wage, perhaps a wage subsidy? Or mandatory profit sharing to offset the low wage? We can work this out. Here is the very impressive Senator Elizabeth Warren:

* Yesterday was my first day back to work after a two week vacation. This vacation was to consist of attendance at all the Holy Week services, with a lot of day hikes in the Mohican State Forest and the Cuyahoga National Park. But on the last day of work, with only a few deliveries left, I was walking along, enjoying the spring day, when my right knee suddenly popped. An intense pain hit me as my knee buckled, and I grew dizzy. I got my bearing and  limped badly as I delivered the five remaining houses, every step excruciating. I got to the doctor a couple of days later. She told me to change my hiking plans, as I had a torn ligament. The vacation was anticlimactic, though I did finish an icon I had been working on for ages, and started another painting (the first non-icon I have done in years). I did not make it to any Holy Week liturgies, and ended up just going to the Easter Mass at one of the local Roman parishes. I was more than a little concerned that I would not be able to carry the route by the time my so-called vacation ended, as my knee is still tender. But while it hurts, I did fine. Which is better than ‘light duty’, the alternative, which consists in staying indoors all day and answering the phone. Might have been fine in February, but it is Spring and I want to be out with the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees.

* Speaking of Spring: never ever have I been so gratified by the sight of every new thing that shoots up from the earth or blossoms or buzzes by my ear. When I was a young pantheist my instinct was to worship such beauty. Now, I just cross myself whenever I am struck by the glory that is manifest in creation, and thank the great and mysterious Being we call ‘God” for sharing this Being with us.

* Emmylou Harris’ (and Daniel Lanois’)  Wrecking Ball has replaced Nick Drake’s Five Leaves Left as my all time favorite album. Mr Lanois’ densely textured aural landscape and evocative rhythms are the perfect accompaniment to Emmylou’s voice, which has only improved as she has grown older. She can express so much in a breathy sigh or a pining wail that it is almost terrifying.

* We have been talking about hell and mercy and holiness here lately. The one thing to remember when pondering these things:

In the End, God will give everyone exactly what they want.

(Painting by Cassandra Tondro)

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