The Subversiveness Of Apple Sauce


Apples litter the ground and need to be picked up daily by the 5 gallon bucket.  Some day we will get around to actually picking the fruit itself.  But for now we are canning the windfalls into apple sauce…and canning…and canning…

Someone asked whether we had a plan for all of this when we planted these trees (and which the mice are doing their best to girdle each winter)?  What a foolish question!  Of course we did…well, sort of…in a vague way.  We wanted to have the resources to become a community.  How can you invite people to the personalism of actually cooperating with others in implementing the actions that Christ said come hand-in-hand with being a child of God if you don’t have the resources to make it work?  Orchards take years and years to build.  And there is a good argument against doing this since it in a very real way negates the call to poverty which is so crucial to both accepting your full dependence on God as well as to working with the poor with honest integrity.  As for the poverty thing, we are simply doing our best to set aside a safe place where that can happen.  It is no longer the third century where we can wander off into the hinterlands and not be bothered.  Even the most remote places are now lain claim to.  So people gave us the money for this place and it is what it has become…a safe haven.  And on this piece of ground reality has hit that we now produce a heck of a lot of food and have been giving it away like mad.  But finding the right avenues with which to share is the next step.  After all, you can’t share what you don’t have!

People stopped by this past week and picked.  And they wanted to pay.  They typically asked what most people are used to asking, How much for a bucket of haskap…how much for the apples?  We told them what we tell everyone, It’s free.  I attended union organizer training a couple of years ago when we were discerning what the farm really was.  We liked did and do and stand for.  But in the end we take a different tack.  For us as Catholic Workers we do not distinguish between those who can pay and those who cannot…the bosses and the workers.   Here everyone is invited to the same table; everything is free for both.  Why?  Because in doing so we do not dismiss the inequality that may be fact if anything it brings out these differences…but Christ did not distinguish between the deserving and undeserving.  No.  If any distinction was made in terms of the people who received his attention it came through the people themselves who came under condemnation by their own words, and actions, and attitudes.

Radical hospitality cuts off our unexamined assumptions about the correctness of individualized living, including faith, right at the knees.  And we have no delusions about whether this type of hospitality is welcome or not in Canadian society…it’s not.  People insist on supporting this pay-as-you-go servitude that they were indoctrinated into since birth…school…industry…churches…government.  And in reality if you are closed off to the direct experience of the love of God then why would see our Catholic Worker-ness as anything other than folly…foolishness…subversive?  But it’s like we tell people any more, if you want to find out if there is a God, then why not set your nationalisms, and inculcations, and indoctrinations, and rationalizations aside and find someone of integrity who can walk with you as you start to act as if God were real?  ‘Cause accepting fully open hospitality without paying is the only way we know of that circumvents all the rational-yet-untrue argumentation and dependence and locates a sacrament in the simple, loving grinding up of apples…