Friday, May 21, 2010

Living Simply

The Holy Family knew how to keep it simple! 


I've been thinking a lot lately about living simply and how this is a trait that many holy people have, and many saints have done.  But in all the examples I can think of, these holy people and saints who have so few possessions, are people without families to take care of. So how does this concept apply to someone whose needs extend way beyond their own?

But first, how does a simplified life help one achieve holiness? After watching a movie about St. Vincent De Paul, I started to see the appeal for a life of poverty- which is one way of simplifying things! St. Vincent was helping the poor, but found himself drifting from God ever so slightly because of the possessions he still had.  When he gave up everything, he could truly focus on God and the poor.

I recently read a quote about housekeeping that drove this 'living simply' idea home for me. It said, "Everything we own- from the tiniest button to the every piece of furniture- takes a little bit of our time."  How true is that? Yesterday I scrubbed every inch of my hardwood floors, which is my entire first floor.   It didn't take me as long as it sounds because my house is very small!  I often dream of having a nice big house, a minivan, a new wardrobe, or new toys for our kids, but if I had these things not only would it take more time to clean, it would keep my focus even farther from the Master of Simplicity, Jesus himself.

It brings me back to the question I have been trying to answer for myself.   How can I, who have so many responsibilities, keep it simple?  Having a tight budget has helped us to cut the excess.  We don't have cable, fancy cell phone plans, video games, or even an mp3 player.  But our kids have too many toys and I find our house filled with too much stuff in general.  The temptation to buy the newest, best thing out there is so great sometimes, we give in and get something that takes our focus a little farther from a poor and simple life that Jesus taught. 

Living simply is something everyone is called to in a different way, but I would love to hear how you do it in your home.  Please leave a comment and share your thoughts!

4 comments:

James said...

Good Morning Sarah,
you know i have belonged to the Fr. Tony Kroll "Simple Club", besides a quarterly newsletter, there is only one request for membership an Our Father each evening. it was in keeping with the simple theme, no meeting. last year i found a quote called Resolutions. it now hangs on my desk to read often. Want less, cherish more. Eat less, savor more. talk less, listen more. Toil less, praise more. Worry less, pray more. Sarah keep up the good work. love eternal, MOM

Julie Cragon said...

I too would like to know a good recipe for the simple life. For the longest time, each time we bought or received something we tried to give something away but as time passed this too got backed up. I know we put too much into "things". I'm contemplating...

G said...

Late to this thread but I wanted to say that, after being married for forty years, I can say you are right on track with these thoughts! As your family grows, strive for simplicity, soon it will be a habit and your kids will just assume this is the way to live. I know its hard because, in the culture we live in, if you're consuming something, you're unAmerican! Rather than try to appease my kids with more stuff, I just told them that this is the way live...we not like the culture & this is why...
Just stick to your instincts & it'll pay off. Assume that about every 3 months, you'll have to re-commit to simplicity. The main benefit is that this way of life allows more room for our spirits to rest in God & the simple things he has created for us & not stuff that comes to us from China!

Sarah Harkins said...

@G- all I can say is, WOW, and thank you for your words of wisdom. It is so helpful to hear from someone who has gone through this already. God Bless You!