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Simplicity: Weekly Summary

Simplicity

Summary: Sunday, October 2-Friday, October 7, 2016

I believe that a kind of second simplicity is the very goal of mature adulthood and mature religion. (Sunday)

“This amazing simplification comes when we ‘center down,’ when life is lived with singleness of eye, from a holy Center where the breath and stillness of Eternity are heavy upon us and we are wholly yielded to [God].” —Thomas Kelly (Monday)

When you live in pure consciousness, letting the naked being of all of reality touch your own naked being, then you experience foundational participation. (Tuesday)

Franciscan prophecy is at its core “soft prophecy”—which is often the hardest of all! Rather than criticize and shame the evils of his time, St. Francis simply lived differently and let his lifestyle be his sermon. (Wednesday)

Francis and Clare’s agenda for justice was the most foundational and undercutting of all others: a very simple lifestyle outside the system of production and consumption (the real meaning of the vow of poverty), plus a conscious identification with the marginalized of society (the communion of saints pushed to its outer edge). (Thursday)

When Francis said, after kissing the leper, “I left the world,” he was saying that he was giving up on the usual payoffs, constraints, and rewards of business-as-usual and was choosing to live in the largest Kingdom of all. (Friday)

 

Practice: Living Simply

We discover simplicity in the silence of contemplative prayer. As we let go of thought and sensation, we reconnect with our Center, our source of abundance and enoughness. I invite you to consider ways beyond your contemplative practice in which you can live more simply. Quaker teacher Richard Foster suggests ten principles for expressing simplicity outwardly. [1] Here’s his list in my words:

  1. Buy things for their usefulness rather than their status or prestige.
  2. Learn the difference between a real need and an addiction. Then find support and accountability to regain “sobriety,” freedom from addiction.
  3. Develop a habit of giving things away.
  4. Avoid unnecessary and short-lived technological gadgets that promise to “save time.”
  5. Enjoy things without owning them. For example, take advantage of public libraries and parks.
  6. Nurture awe and appreciation for nature. Spend more time outdoors!
  7. Get out—and stay out—of debt.
  8. Use plain, honest speech. Say what you mean and keep your commitments.
  9. Reject anything that oppresses others. For example, buy Fair Trade products.
  10. Seek God’s kingdom of love and justice foremost. If anything distracts you from that purpose, let it go.

Gateway to Silence:
Live simply so that others may simply live.

Reference:
[1] Inspired by Richard J. Foster, “The Discipline of Simplicity,” The Celebration of Discipline (Harper & Row: 1978), 78-83.

For Further Study:
Richard Rohr, Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi
Richard Rohr, The Great Chain of Being: Simplifying Our Lives (MP3 download)
Richard Rohr, Simplicity: The Freedom of Letting Go

 

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