In our busy world of multitasking, the age-old wisdom of the saints is needed more than ever. Now sure, St. Thomas Aquinas didn’t have to battle rush hour traffic and hundreds of emails a day. St. Thérèse didn’t have the challenges of social media or the demands of a full-time job and a family. Yet, the saints found ways to keep life beautifully simple and focused. That’s why many people are finding refuge in St. Thérèse’s little way of doing small things with great love and in St. Thomas Aquinas’ pledge that peace is the tranquility of order.
In his book, The Human Person, Fr. Brian Bransfield outlines how the sudden availability of modern conveniences have led people to believe that the purpose of life is to acquire things and pleasure quickly. Yet, all around us, there is a longing for simplicity. While we are made for infinite love, we can only cherish a limited number of things at any given time. In fact, possessions have a way inhibiting our freedom and of creating caverns of emptiness in hearts. Fr. Bransfield says that the real purpose of life is not to acquire, see, or do more. The purpose of life is to give and receive love and beauty tenderly, slowly, and with intention.
Are we missing the Divine Guest?
St. Martha had Jesus Christ Himself at her dinner table, yet she managed to get caught up in the responsibilities of her work, missing the Divine Guest for the details of the meal. Bringing order to our lives and our hearts helps us to receive and give the infinite beauty and love that He is offering at every moment.
So, how do we return to the simplicity that our hearts crave and our bodies need?
Try these tips:
- Do little things with great love
Gather the scattered pieces of your mind and heart and focus on one small task. Put love into it, and make it an offering to God. Perhaps you might slow down and make eye contact with the cashier at the checkout line, take the time to write a hand-written note, or make your bed neatly. Little things done with great love have the power to change the world, and perhaps more importantly, our own hearts.
2. Find rest in order
Life is messy … but your desk, your house, and your purse do not have to be. Your hope to declutter and organize your life might seem overwhelming. For practical strategies, many have turned to the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. She instructs her readers to keep only the things that “spark joy” – everything else should be sent on its way. St. Ignatius of Loyola similarly instructed his followers, saying, “God created human beings to praise, reverence, and serve God, and by doing this, to save their souls. God created all other things on the face of the earth to help fulfill this purpose. From this it follows that we are to use the things of this world only to the extent that they help us to this end, and we ought to rid ourselves of the things of this world to the extent that they get in the way of this end.”
- Enjoy the power of a miracle minute
If you find yourself frenzied, pushed and pulled from one thing to the next, take a miracle minute. Stop, close your eyes, and pray, “Jesus I welcome You into this moment. I am going to simply be still for the next minute. I ask You to be with me. I won’t do anything. I will just be with You.” Take a deep breath and focus on Jesus present with you. This creates an opportunity for grace to enter, because Jesus always comes when invited.
By Sr. Maris Stella, S.V.
Originally printed in IMPRINT Magazine Spring 2018.