‘Tis a Gift to Be Simple
[SAINT] FRANCIS discovered that simplicity of life is the key to God’s realm. Downwardly mobile, he chose to focus on serving God in every encounter and responding to the deep needs of everyone he met. His focus changed from self-interest to world loyalty....
Eight hundred years after Francis, most of us question how to live simply and yet be part of the economies in which we live. While I don’t live extravagantly, this morning I checked my bank account; paid my mortgage, utility bills, and life insurance; and inquired about refinancing my home. I regularly check my retirement statements, and I live in a comfortable Cape Cod home. While my wife and I limit our use of fossil fuels, use sustainable bags at the market, and turn off the lights whenever we leave a room, we still consume more resources than most of our planet’s citizens.
Simplicity is a spiritual and ethical issue. The wisdom of the hedgehog in daily life is to know one thing and have one focus in the many tasks of each day. My sense of simplicity involves following Mother Teresa’s counsel to “do something beautiful for God.” Still, I need to follow Mahatma Gandhi’s advice to “live simply so that others may simply live.” I need to see my possessions and personal economics in light of the well-being of others. This economy of grace will enable others to live more fully as well as to be a first step toward an ecologically affirming and economically just civilization.
—Bruce G. Epperly, The Mystic in You: Discovering a God-Filled World (Upper Room Books, 2018)
In what ways can you live more simply?
“If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.”
—1 Timothy 6:8-10 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
Peace Prayer of Saint Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
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(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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