Friday, January 5, 2018

Is it a stretch to suggest St. Irenaeus would approve of vintage Tupperware?

Well, why not?

I read this quite long ago in the Office of Readings (emphasis added):

From the treatise Against Heresies 
by Saint Irenaeus, bishop

From the beginning God created man out of his own generosity. [Here follows a section wherein St. Irenaeus lists some material goods that God gave to his chosen people...] In so many ways he was training the human race to take part in the harmonious song of salvation.
He himself needs none of these things. He is always filled with all that is good. Even before Moses existed he had within himself every fragrance of all that is pleasing. Yet he sought to teach his people, always ready though they were to return to their idols. Through many acts of indulgence he tried to prepare them for perseverance in his service. He kept calling them to what was primary by means of what was secondary, that is, through foreshadowings to the reality, through things of time to the things of eternity, through things of the flesh to the things of the spirit, through earthly things to the heavenly things. As he said to Moses: You will fashion all things according to the pattern that you saw on the mountain.
For forty days Moses was engaged in remembering the words of God, the heavenly patterns, the spiritual images, the foreshadowings of what was to come. Saint Paul says: They drank from the rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. After speaking of the things that are in the law he continues: All these things happened to them as symbols: they were written to instruct us, on whom the end of the ages has come.
Through foreshadowings of the future they were learning reverence for God and perseverance in his service. The law was therefore a school of instruction for them, and a prophecy of what was to come.
So the moral of the story is: enjoy beauty, and make your homes and your lives beautiful, and if vintage Tupperware does that for you, then go for it! But remember where true beauty truly (in our souls and our relationships), and cultivate it first and foremost there. Our wonderful and beautiful stuff should ultimately point to God, not become gods themselves. 

Here is a sad consequence of worshipping false idols (h/t Peter Rosengren, FB)
Let us end with Psalm 84:

How lovely is your dwelling place,
Lord, God of hosts.

My soul is longing and yearning,
is yearning for the courts of the Lord.
My heart and my soul ring out their joy
to God, the living God.

The sparrow herself finds a home
and the swallow a nest for her brood;
she lays her young by your altars,
Lord of hosts, my king and my God.

Happy fifth day of 2018. 

No comments:

Post a Comment