Sr Guna CMC
“Your heart will always be where your riches are.” (Mt 6:21)
Family is the foundation of communities and cultures. So to sustain the family life safe and holy St Chavara wrote his forty-point ‘Magna Carta,’ precepts for a family or Testament of a Loving Father (Chavarul).
In the first Part of the Chavarul, 11th point states: “Endeavour to repair old things rather than buy new ones… He returned home as an honourable man.”
We are living in a world of utilitarian and technocratic culture with consumerism and materialism at its pinnacle which is inclined to assess the importance of things and even people in their relation to their immediate usefulness. The tendency to amass as much wealth and money and to accumulate as much goods and materials as one can, is increasing at an alarming rate in all lands and nations ‘Simple living is disappearing fast from the people who are even below the poverty line. In this context, St Chavara’s words are quite relevant.
Two centuries ago he could foresee and foretell the dangers of a reckless, luxurious life and he lovingly admonished, “Endeavour to repair old things and a home is rich not by its numerous possessions, but in the excellence of few things owned.” In other words this is an exhortation to the people of present times, to follow a simple, ordinary life style trusting always in the providence of God.
The problem of pollution air, water and land has emerged actually from man’s unnecessary purchase of things and undue consumption of materials. Like the prodigal son in the Holy Bible, we spend money to satisfy our greed not need. In short we can say we have forgotten the art of simple living. Almost all have fallen to this devilish tendency and St Chavara advises us to ban it completely from our families and communities.
Repairing old things and using it, is a good means to identify with the millions of poor people who cannot afford to purchase new things with their little earnings. Moreover, it can put a curb on our uncontrolled desires to possess more.
The increase in riches and wealth has, in fact, decreased man’s faith and dependence on God causing lot of unrest and unhappiness among the modern man. So, this saying of St Chavara offers a good panacea and fitting solution to the wrong trendsand tendencies of the modern man.
St Chavara mentions that land is a hidden treasure and the need and necessity to work on land. As man is abstaining more and more from land and cultivation and exploiting the land, the saying sounds so true and relevant to the modern man as our Pope Francis advised us to care for our common home – the earth – through his encyclical “Laudato Si” developing eco spirituality.
“Your gold and silver are covered with rust and this rust will be a witness against you and will eat up your flesh like fire. You have piled up riches in these last days” (James 5:3).