That Sparingness

First, let me sheepishly recall all the times I’ve thought, “Water is so boring,” as I reach for a more ‘interesting’ beverage.

Good.  Now:

Pope Benedict XVI’s February intention is, “That all people may have access to water and other resources needed for daily life.”  This is the world we live in.  While some fret over the choice between Fiji and Dasani, others scrape for any access to (non-potent) potable water.

How do I react to the reality that, as I live in abundance, others do not have access to basic necessities?  As a young, single person who is attempting to manage money and cultivate a lifestyle that reflects my faith, the answer to this question is important.

Today I came across a quote that sheds some light on Christian consumption.

“Our faith demands of us a certain sparingness in use…In societies enjoying a higher level of consumer spending, it must be asked whether our lifestyle exemplifies that sparingness with regard to consumption which we preach to others as necessary in order that so many millions of hungry people throughout the world may be fed” (Justice in the World, 1971).

So, today I’m thinking: Does my consumer spending reflect a consciousness of the Gospel and of the poor?  What does ‘that sparingness’ look like?

Jane Sloan

By

B. Jane Sloan is a writer and high school theology teacher from Atlanta, GA. In addition to blogging for Catholic Exchange, she has been published in Our Sunday Visitor, Notre Dame Magazine and the literary journal Omnibus. Jane graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2007 with a B.A. in theology and philosophy. In 2009, she graduated with an M. Ed. from Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education. In 2009 Jane made a 500-mile pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain. She spent summer 2010 as an intern planting vegetables and baking bread at the Abbey of Regina Laudis OSB in Bethlehem, CT. In 2011 she was present among the millions at the beatification of Blessed John Paul II. She is currently working toward her M.A. in Theology. Follow her on Twitter @CE_SundayBrunch. Follow her other blog on all-natural eating at www.thesavagepalate.blogspot.com

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  • Michelle

    This is such a tough and humbling question to consider. My short answer would be “no.” You bring up great topics, Jane. Thank you! 

  • http://www.clan-donaldson.com/ Cari

    What a great reflection for Lent, when we’re wandering through our own spiritual desert.  

  • Jane

    Cari, I didn’t even think about that connection!  Thanks for bringing it up.

  • Jane

    I’m right there with you!  Sometimes I think the most important questions are the toughest and most humbling…and great to talk about in community.  This might make a good Lenten conversation with girlfriends.

  • Jo

    Most of our consumer goods come from third world countries. Are we helping or hindering by our purchases?

  • http://twitter.com/HouseUnseen Dwija Borobia

    Only out of absolute necessity have we been forced to live in a matter that reflects a “sparingness with regard to consumption”, and surprisingly it has been more enjoyable than I could have imagined.  But for those of us living “simply” in America, there’s still a lot to learn about real simplicity!

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