Simplicity, detachment, restraint, clarity…how many of us have thought of making our lives less chaotic by de-cluttering or “spring cleaning”? I’ve been working at this for many years. After our leap of faith, which you can read about here, I have begun to see more clearly the path God has laid out for me.
St. Therese the Little Flower teaches us to love. Simply love. Why is this so hard to do?
If it is hard to give to whoever asks, it is still harder to let what belongs to us to be taken, without asking it back, or rather, I ought to say it seems hard; for the yoke of the Lord is sweet and light (Cf. Matthew 11:30): when we accept it we feel its sweetness immediately. Story of A Soul, Chapter IX
After all the recent tragedies that have taken place in our nation, I’ve been reflecting more on how I could deepen my simplicity.
Simple living is not just about clearing out your closets. Living simply is not only regarding de-cluttering your home. YOU are a vessel for Our Heavenly Father. You must de-clutter spiritually as well as physically. We are His tabernacles while we live and breathe. We need to be open to be used by Christ in whatever way He calls us to. This all boils down to doing little ways of loving others and ourselves.
One of the finest quotes, in my opinion, is from Martin Luther King, Jr. It is so simple, yet eloquent.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
I’ve always fancied this quote, but lately, I appreciate it all the more. These two very powerful sentences remind me of St. Therese’s vocation in love and how we all should strive to love our neighbors as simply as these two very inspiring people did.
This summer I have been reading a wonderful book on turning your de-cluttering and organizing projects into a spiritual journey. Instead of simply de-cluttering, make a conscious effort to detach from worldly things.
What if we take it a step further and detach from hate? How about we focus on loving our neighbor, who may just happen to be the complete opposite in all we stand for in morals, values, and beliefs. Does it still seem so simple?
Why is loving so difficult for so many of us? How can we as a society spread compassion for our neighbor?
Simply love and love simply.
To the stranger in the grocery store who drops her coupon, pick it up for her with a smile. To the elderly man sitting alone in Wendy’s, spark up a conversation and get to know something about him…you may be surprised at what you can learn from him. To the disheveled mother with three sick children at the doctor office, smile at her and, with sincerity, tell her she’s beautiful. To the man with the tattoos and piercings, accept him and do not look at him with fear or judgement. For every single person, no matter what race, color, or creed, you need to place yourself in their shoes, love unconditionally, and be Jesus for them.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:39
What does de-cluttering and detaching have to do with loving your neighbor you ask? It is very simple. We are all on this journey through life together. If we can learn to love one another in spite of differences, we may be able to see Christ in each other. We, as Catholics, need to remember the mission that Jesus appointed to the twelve:
Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. Luke 9:1-2
WE are the twelve. Jesus appoints US now, in this day in age, to fulfill His mission. WE must be those who take nothing for our journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money – not even an extra tunic. (Luke 9:3). This is the act of detachment.
How on earth can we do this though?!
Every day, every moment, make a conscious effort to live intentionally. Live selflessly. Cherish those who walk into your life, no matter if it is family, or if it’s the cashier at the grocery store. Love even the person who sped past you and cut you off on your drive to work. Love the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly; and speak up for them. Purposefully love those whom you encounter every day. The Holy Spirit guides each of us together, in subtle ways, for a greater purpose. Sometimes we may never know the reason to have an encounter with another person. It is up to us to be as mindful as we can to be aware of every single human being we come into contact with.
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13.