1.13.2009

A different kind of balancing

This evening - while I've been waiting for my laundry to dry - I've been balancing my checkbook. Yes, even nuns have to spend time on these daily tasks.

I've written before about how interesting it is to me that, having taken a vow of poverty, I'm actually living a bit of a life of luxury, especially in these uncertain financial times. No, I don't mean that I'm spending frivolously on luxury items. I'm actually being quite frugal these days, and finding it easier as times goes by. The luxury comes more in terms of financial security. I know that, in the end, I have the support - prayerful and financial - of my religious community. If a big unexpected medical bill or car repair bill comes up that it outside of my budget, the money will be there.

Now, this doesn't mean that I don't need to be a good financial steward. In fact, I now have a deadline each month to submit my personal financial statements to our finance office. Now, we're not talking about a lot of money here - it's my personal budget for my allowance, gas, phone, spiritual direction, etc... But still, it's a new experience for me to have to account for every penny to someone else every month!

Every religious community handles their finances somewhat differently. Even my own community varies when it comes to the different provinces! But in each situation there is the common value of sharing. For example, the salary that I earn through my ministry goes into the common pot. In return, I receive my personal budget. I'm definitely taking out less than I'm putting in, even with my modest nonprofit salary. But that's the beauty of it! Some sisters might be working in a ministry that doesn't pay at all, while others make enough money to share. It's like a religious version of communism - to each according to their needs, from each according to their abilities. Or, as the Acts of Apostles puts it ...
All who believed were together and had all things in common;
they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one's need. (Acts 2: 44-45)
I like to think that we're trying to live that out. But, in this day and age, it means spreadsheets and monthly reports to be good stewards of the common pot!

Those are my rambling thoughts for this evening. Now, time to go check the laundry!

1 comment:

Dr. Tim Mooney said...

I remember when I was a seminarian for the Holy Cross Fathers at Sacred Heart Church (now abandoned since Katrina) in the 1970s, I would get my "allowance" each week handed to me by my superior...from the poor box! I always felt very funny about that. My wardrobe was enhanced sometimes from donations to Vincent DePaul Society collections!