Religious Begging

I do not understand religious begging.  I am not talking about Church taking up a collection for the poor or to support the clergy so that they can work full time with the community.  I am also not talking about  some organization trying to help a cause or something like that.  I am talking about the almost universal idea of religious begging.

Buddhist monks walk around with a begging bowl so that people will provide for them while they spend time in meditation and prayer to reach enlightenment.  Saint Francis sold all that he had and gave it to the poor and then spent his time praying and begging so that others would help him with food so that he had time to spend with God and become more holy.  Many other religions have this same idea.

Why? Why is this holy?  I understand that we are all one body in Christ and what is good for one benefits us all.  However, it looks like you are working hard so that others don’t have to and can become holy.  Yeah, sucks to be you!  It is even trotted out as a virtue, and if that was true the homeless are very virtuous.

I do not understand!  The monks of the Middle Ages received donations but they also had to work for a living.  It was called “Work of the Hands”.  Many of them worked as farmers so that they could provide for themselves.  Many more worked at skills like, honey making, weaving, making brandy, making copies of the Bible, and whatever – making stuff to sell so that they could get what they needed and couldn’t make themselves.

It is easy to be a holy person on a mountain top, days spent in quite communion with God.  It is far harder to be a holy person down here with the rest of us working for a living.  We all need to reach enlightenment, or being one with God, or whatever you want to call it.  We need to work together and we need to work for ourselves.  Creating more poor people that need to be taken care of is not a virtue.  It is adding to the problem.

Peace be with you.


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