Skip to main content

Extravagence

What constitutes "extravagence"?

I was re-reading a few sections of The Value-Driven Life by Fr. Benedict Groeschel.  He takes an "old school" approach and looks at the cardinal and theological virtues and how they can and should be lived out in the Christian life. 
At one point, Fr. Groeschel strongly speaks against living extravagently, and says that this lifestyle should "never" be a part of life for a follower of Christ
However, he isn't very clear what "extravagence" means. 

I was showering the other morning, and it struck me:  I get to choose what I smell like every day.  I can choose vanilla, orange, lime, plain ole' soap.  Not only do I get to shower daily, I can choose my aroma.  With millions of people around the world with NO access to clean water for drinking or sanitation, is my daily shower extravagance?

Any one of us can point out instances like this:  our daily stop for coffee, eating out several times a week, a closet full of clothes that we may or may not wear.  We can also point out where we pinch pennies, I'm sure, but clearly, the life of the average American is one that begs the question:  what IS extravagence?  Even more importantly, we need to ask ourselves if our "little" extravagences come at the price of someone truly in need.  If I skip my shower scents, and saved that money, could I donate it?  Of course. 

Not only do I have to ask myself,  "What is extravagence", I need to ask myself,  "When I find myself being extravagent, am I willing to change?"  As a follower of Christ, we need to be willing to search our souls -- extravagently.

Comments

  1. This is very thought provoking. I have mused over this topic before but haven't come to any wise conclusions! Here's a few comments. I hope I'm on the right track! We could all live more simple lives and reduce extravagance, as you say, in order to have more money to share with those less fortunate. I used to think that buying things to make a beautiful and comfortable home was extravagant. Then someone pointed out that a beautiful Catholic home is a place of refuge from the world and many people need such a place. We should just be willing to share our home with others. Despite living simply we will always have a more extravagant life than most. That daily shower you mentioned is an example. Should we give it up, together with all those other things which are a natural part of life such as our computers, our cars...? Or should we be grateful and use them in the service of God? I guess more is expected of those who have more. Yes, I shall be searching my soul this Advent and perhaps we will have the means for greater almsgiving because of denying ourselves those exra extravagances. Thank you for this post. God bless

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

I love comments, even if you don't agree, but please don't leave anonymous posts. A well-mannered reader leaves a name!

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Secret Santa!!

Too old for Santa? I think not.

Yes, there are discussions as to whether we should "lie" to kids and tell them that Santa brings them gifts vs. We can't lie to the kids; it's wrong.

There is also the "Christmas is about Jesus" vs. "But Santa is magical!"

You know, we have so few magical and joyful moments, and less and less as we get older. Santa is fun. And the kids usually figure it out, and no one I know was ever scarred for life for believing that Santa brought them and every child everywhere a toy for Christmas.

It's the magic of looking up at the sky on a clear December night, thinking "I'll wait up to see Santa" and later, as you fell asleep at the window, being in your daddy's arms as he carries you to bed.

It's the magic of putting out cookies and milk (or beer, because Santa does like beer) and maybe some carrots for the reindeer, and then checking in the morning to make sure the food was all consumed.

It's…

Advent Brokenness

It was a lovely May evening, the kind we in Michigan savor like honey. After the brutal cold of winter, flowers blossomed, grass greened, mosquitoes flocked. School was almost done for the year - just the formalities of 8th grade graduation were ahead.

Why not saddle up the horse and go for a ride? Why not, indeed. So my sister and I did. I took Prince out across the road from our house, to romp through the weeds on a path my father mowed for us. The view from horseback on a spring night - well, nearly Heaven.

Until Prince bolted. He spooked. I fell. And my arm broke. Compound fracture.

My dog, a collie, had followed us out. He was not particularly trusting of Prince, as Prince would never allow himself to be herded, and this vexed my collie. My dog, channeling his inner Lassie, ran home without me.

My sister had been in the yard with her boyfriend at the time, Gary, waiting for me to come back. Instead, it was just the dog loping across the road. That didn't seem right, so my si…