Living simply allows us to be closer to God as material possessions and lavish lifestyles often prevent this, inhibiting us to help others. By practising a life of simplicity encourages people to act in selflessness, justice and charity.
The importance of simplicity
‘Make your own the mind of Christ Jesus:
Who being in the form of God,
did not count equality with God
something to be grasped.
But he emptied himself
taking the form of a slave.’
Simplicity is very important for those wishing to follow Christ
• Too many possessions keep us from God: the parable of the rich fool teaches us that a life of too much ease, comfort, luxury and accumulation distracts us from God and tempts us to feel that true happiness can come from what we possess materially. Simplicity of lifestyle encourages us to trust more in God that in our personal capabilities.
• Simplicity of life undergirds mission: when we live simply, we are not attached to our own plans, designs or ambitions. Simplicity also allows for pastoral mobility because change is not feared.
• Simplicity of life aids pastoral charity: if our lives are choked by possessions, eating, drinking, shopping, expensive travel and vacations we will soon discover we have little time or energy to pour out ourselves in generous service to others.
• Simplicity of life is a witness to the world: simplicity of life offers a good example, encouraging people to practise selflessness, justice and charity. It is also a constant reminder to people that this world is not our permanent abode.
• Simplicity of life fosters solidarity with the poor: when we live simply, we are often closer to people who are poor because we understand their plight and they feel able to approach us.
Ignatius A. Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos, Nigeria
livesimply Anthology, a CAFOD resource, edited by Annabel Shilson-Thomas.
The articles, reflections and prayers in the book come from writers around the globe and they invite us to examine our lifestyles and transform both ourselves and the world. Available from CAFOD resources, email email@example.com for a copy.
Back to: Catholic Social Teaching
Back to: Life & Work