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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Cluttered House

By Caryll Houselander

"To be rich is to live in an overcrowded house, a house of life overcrowded with false values; they encumber like useless heirlooms. They ought to be thrown out of the windows but the courage and the virility to do this are lacking . . .

"Poverty is like one room. The windows are open, the sun comes in, the walls are whitewashed, there are one or two books chosen for our delight, they are read and re-read; if there is a picture it is one bought at the cost of sacrifice because it is a real joy, we see it because there is no bric-a-brac to distract from it. There is one earthenware pot that holds water, and the wild flowers know in it their affinity to earth and rain. This room is a workroom, in it we learn the joy of good work, done well, and of the real charity, the fellow-feeling, of working with others. We share the dreams, the ardors and the endurances of other people; we have the key to love.

" ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,’ says Christ. ‘For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ This is true, all the other Beatitudes promise future blessedness, but this one gives the loveliest of all, here and now, the kingdom of heaven, which in this life, is known in the wonder and realization of life and beauty, in the keenness of the mind and of the senses, in the power of selection and in the response of the unspoilt spirit to God and man. "

Caryll Houselander (+ 1954) was a British mystic, poet and spiritual teacher.
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