The truth is, I like nice things. I like pretty things. I like good quality things. And I'm willing to spend extra money for items with any (and preferably all) of those attributes.
|Manuel Barthold (1874-1947) Saying Her Prayers|
And yet I struggle to reconcile this with detachment preached by the saints. I've been reading a lot of the Carmelite saints, lately, and without exception the message is: detachment from worldly goods and goals is necessary for advancement in the spiritual life.
I am detached, I think, insofar as my world wouldn't come crashing down with the china cabinet; they're just things. But I'm attached insofar as I'd probably immediately set about replacing them because I like entertaining on pretty dishes. I like people (including myself and my husband) to experience beauty and family comfort when they visit my home.
I know it's not necessarily sinful, but is it intrinsically contrary to the spiritual life to work towards buying nice and pretty things, to owning a home that's not just a roof over our heads but a little haven of beauty as well? Should I be happy to buy a used mobile home and 70's Goodwill furniture and spend my energies and money on loftier goals?
How do I know when I own possessions and when they own me? How do I know if I put my hope in Christ or in a new comforter that I'm hoping to buy? How do I reconcile detachment with worldly desires?
If you know the answer, let me know.