The Way of Love for the Lord
Chapter 17. I offered up the cost of a bath and my life to God. (On May 13, 1981)
There was a public bath in the building right next to my hair salon. At that time the cost of a bath was 250 won and I could afford it but in order to save the cost so I could use the money to help the poor, I gave up going there as if I had already taken a bath there.* Therefore I took baths in my kitchen.** It was so cold that I had to cover the entrance where the cold wind comes in easily. I used briquette and a portable cooking stove to heat the water.
Each time I took a bath, I deducted 50 won for the price of briquette and oil from the saved money and put the remaining 200 won in my charity box. I was so happy to use the savings for the poor.
Whenever I took a bath in the kitchen where the freezing wind comes in easily from the entrance door during winter, I had to endure the cold but I felt warm and happy in my heart because I could offer up my smallest sacrifices to the Lord and the Blessed Mother for the conversion of sinners.
As I was known as a top-notch hairstylist, I received as much as 1,500 to 2,000 won for a haircut and 7,000 to 13,000 won for a perm. I could easily use that money for the poor without any trouble but how could it be compared to the joy of helping others with the money saved by offering up sacrifices?
It was not confined to just taking a bath. I took buses instead of taxis, and bought pork instead of beef to save money so that I could use it for the poor.
In regards to some poor old women living in rural areas, I gave up charging them as if I had already received payment from them.* On the contrary, I secretly gave them some pocket money so that they could have some delicious food. Sometimes Mr. Paul Lee, a leader of a charismatic movement called me and mentioned that there was someone in need of help. I was always willing to empty my charity box.
However, I kept my life of “Sem-chi-go”* a secret. He might have thought that I helped the poor with the money earned easily as a top-notch hairstylist.
Although I bought each employee a 40,000-won tailored-to-order blouse, I would only buy myself a 1,000-won blouse from a conventional market on the first day of each month. Nevertheless, those who had seen my clothes asked me, “Oh gosh! You have pretty clothes! How much is it?” I replied with a joke, “It costs 30,000 won.” Then they would say, “Oh, it is cheap. What about selling it to me for 30,000 won?”
One day I bought a coat that was priced at only 10,000 won, and told those around me as a joke that it was made-to-order. They believed me, saying, “I knew it. It looks great on you.”
Although I could afford to buy expensive clothes or shoes, I bought cheap ones instead, of which I had never been ashamed. I put the money saved through this way in the charity box and helped the poor, which made me happier.
The charity box was always full. My life went further away from worldly things such as luxury or delicious food. Meanwhile my heart and soul became richer, filled with love for the Lord. What else could this be other than killing two birds with one stone?
Since there were many customers in my hair salon to the extent that they had to wait for 3 to 4 hours for their turns, I could have helped the poor easily. Instead of helping them easily, I decided to help them by offering up my sacrifices. If anyone is unwilling to do sacrifice, he (or she) could not possibly know the joy that sacrifices bring.
“Oh, Lord! Let the small sacrifices from this unworthy sinner become strength and help to many souls.”
“Yes, My little child! Through all your sacrifices and offerings you were able to find and taste the sweetness of My Love, which is as if you have already gained everything. Do not forget that I am always with you.”
* “Sem-chi-go” (Self-denial for the love of others)
This spirituality is the most fundamental of all the five ways of spiritual exercises and may be regarded as the mother of the other four ways. “Sem-chi-go” refers to the practice of self-denial, graciously offering up our inconveniences as little sacrifices to the Lord, praying for the benefit and peace of others. For example, when we desire something for ourselves, we give it up for the sake of others as if we had already received it; when we see some delicious food and feel like eating it, we give it up for the sake of others as if we had already eaten it; and when there is some work that is disliked by everyone, we do it willingly as if we really like it.
** The kitchen at that time was usually built in a separate place unlike these days.
Early days in Julia's marrige life