September Reflection: An Environmentally Sustainable Lifestyle
What complicates your life? Every day we make choices about how we use our time, energy, and resources. Looking to Jesus’ life as a simple carpenter, we know that complexity is not what God desires for us. In our hearts we know that God calls us to a simple, liberating relationship with created things, but living this requires a perspective shift.
Consider the rich young man (Lk 18:18-23), who yearns to follow God and asks Jesus how he might do so. When the young man learns that he must part with all of his possessions, he walks away sad. In contrast, St. Francis of Assisi, a rich young man himself, underwent a radical conversion and walked away from his wealth with immense joy and freedom. This conversion to a life of simplicity requires a new perspective. As G.K. Chesterton remarks, “[Francis] looked at the world as differently from other men as if he had come out of that dark hole walking on his hands” (St. Francis of Assisi, 70).
I rejoice in today’s young people who have invited me to see differently. Many question how we relate to Creation. They seek freedom from habits of consumption and make sacrifices that open them to the “cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (LS, 49). They exemplify Pope Francis’ description of the Christian life “marked by moderation and the capacity to be happy with little. It is a return to that simplicity which allows us to stop and appreciate the small things, to be grateful for the opportunities which life affords us, to be spiritually detached from what we possess, and not to succumb to sadness for what we lack” (LS, #222). Let us ask for the grace to see differently!
Prayer of the Month: Pope Francis
God of All Creation, we thank you for all of your good gifts, especially the many resources that are available to us to live happy and healthy lives. Because of our attachments, our greed, and our tendency to complicate things, we pray that you might give us the grace to see things differently. Clear away the obstruction of our attachments so that we might be attentive to loving people more than possessions. Liberate us from greed and overconsumption so that we can care for our Common Home and all of your creatures. Free us from unnecessary busyness and worry so that we might use our time well, for your glory and not for ourselves. We know that this will not be easy. We need your grace. Give us the courage to resolutely commit to living together in a simpler, more sustainable way. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.