Thursday, January 10, 2013

What's in a Needle?

In any given glance around our shop, one can find representations of spirituality: a Sacred Heart embroidery on the wall, a sample scapular in progress for a Carmelite order, or a missal cover sporting a Grille Cross design on the counter, ready for assembly. 

But it's in smaller things -- and alas! those which are most often overlooked -- that better link the work in our shop with spirituality. These lessons lie between the hinted analogies of simple tools at our disposal and the path to Heaven. Simple things that are in our office and perhaps your home. They're so easy to forget - and yet so important! 

Let's start with the needle...

"And again I say to you: it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 24:19

"Hereafter they know that all labor in this life is small, on 
account of the shortness of time. Time is as the point of a needle 
and no more; and, when time has passed labor is ended, therefore 
you see that the labor is small. They endure with patience, and the 
thorns they pass through do not touch their heart, because their 
heart is drawn out of them and united to Me by the affection of 
love. It is a good truth then that these do taste eternal life, receiving
the earnest money of it in this life, and that, though they walk on 
thorns, they are not pricked, because as I told you, they have 
known My Supreme Goodness, and sought for it where it was to be 
found, that is in the Word, My only-begotten son." 

~ Saint Catherine of Siena

Although, however, the lady we spoke of will not leave her needle in her work after it is finished, yet as long as there remains anything to be done in it, if any other occurrence make her stop, she will leave the needle sticking in the pink, the rose, or the pansy which she is embroidering, so as to have it more ready when she returns to her work. In like manner, Theotimus, while the Divine Providence is about the embroidery of virtues and the work of divine love in our souls, there is always a mercenary or servile fear left in them, till charity, being come to perfection, takes out this pricking needle and puts it back, as it were, in its cushion. In this life, therefore, wherein our charity will never come to such perfection that it shall be exempt from peril, fear is always necessary, and even while we thrill with joy by love, we must tremble with apprehension by fear. Serve ye the Lord with fear, and rejoice unto him with trembling. ~ from The Treatise on the Love of God by St. Francis de Sales

Working out our salvation - one needle at a time!