August 20, 2010

A Note to Religious Superiors

Just a friendly note to superiors of religious houses, and to myself should I ever become one (may God forbid it.)

Sometimes you get ideas that must be rejected and temptations that must be resisted. One of these is the thought that wouldn't it be nice to have more than one set of flatware. There could be one just a little nicer than the other--but still in keeping with our state--for special occasions, you think. Something for a day of 'greater solemnity,' to borrow a liturgical term. You must reject this idea, as sweet and devout as it may appear.

The average brother, though his life is based on the appreciation of many subtle distinctions of theology and of the spiritual life, cannot fathom, much less see, the distinction between a soup spoon and a tea spoon, or between a dinner fork and a dessert fork. A fortiori, he will be unable to distinguish your slightly more solemn flatware from the set meant for everyday use.

Since the whole plan will only lead to tedium and annoyance for the kind brother who decides, as a study break on a quiet day, to clean out the crumbs from the kitchen drawers and straighten up their contents, leading him unawares into the terrible task of not only separating the tea spoons from the soup spoons and the dinner forks from the dessert forks, but having to do so multiplied by two different sets of both, you better just forget about the whole idea.

(I don't know if the situation is any better for women religious.)


Thom, sfo said...

Sounds like you've had a fun afternoon. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Ha! I was thinking the same thing when I was last at our province house! All the "good" flatware had become so mixed with the odds and ends flatware as to become virtually useless to be used for a special occasion, what with the amount of time it would take to separate it all. You're a good man to take on THAT task! May God bless your efforts in behalf of your community's "solemn occasions".

Tina aka Snupnjake said...

Maybe it was a donation ;)

Anonymous said...

Am I reading this correctly? Is this really a rant on flatware?

Brother Charles said...

Well, yes. But that doesn't mean there aren't larger questions embedded in it. Perhaps the flatware is a parable of sorts. ;)

Anonymous said...

There are worse things to rant about than flatware. Besides, I didn't even know the term 'flatware' before I read this post and so it has been vastly useful for me.

Anonymous said...

As I continue to think about this post, some of my conclusions are:

If St. Francis was told to put out the good flatware for guests; he would probably do away with the silverware and instruct his guests to use what God has given them:their fingers.

Franciscan poverty is a right that has to be vigorously protected,all the way down to the silverware.

This is a favorite post as it contains keen observation, subtle humor, and a moral question. Good Job!