Sometimes in life we can make life tougher for ourselves… we rush things, cram in too much to every day and also fail to live in the present. It is easy to recognise these things when we take a step back and take the “long view” but perhaps more challenging in the here and now.
We also fill our lives with possessions and things we believe we can’t do without. My ten year old daughter once asked me to name the worst week of her life… I was suddenly worried that she had faced some unknown trauma or difficultly that I had missed and that I had failed her in some way as her Dad. I was relieved when she revealed to me the worst week of her life was when we went on holiday to France and she had no internet access! But also there was a sense of sadness that she felt that she couldn’t cope without the joys of YouTube or going online.
I joined in with a Year 7 class discussion on surviving the internet and social media detox they had just had for 24 hours. I was shocked by how isolated they felt by this but there is something we can learn from it.
I think our deepest satisfactions come from the simplest things – time with people we love, time to rest, times when we learn or are inspired. So I hope this week we can find some opportunity to do this.
A few thoughts;
- What can we do to declutter our lives?
- How can we find the time for the things that matter most in our lives?
- How by having less possessions or “disconnecting” in some way can we be happier?
So to model this we can pray simply… I will share a prayer written by a Year 9 this week after I challenged him to think about how to be a positive part of our community…
Please bless this school with your greatness as St Paul’s is a great school that loves you.
Please bless everyone and everything that they do everyday.
Please help students make good choices as they go throughout their everyday lives.
Thank you. AMEN
The theme of this week for us in school is temptation…. it builds on the Gospel of Jesus in the desert and wilderness. We of course are all tempted to live in the moment or act in a way that is in our self-interest and feed our “basic instinct” in some way.
Do we hold back and appreciate what we really have? The clip below may put you off your favourite Italian dish for a while…
Ultimately we, as humans, have the ability to make decisions informed by our conscience. We can aspire to look to act in a less selfish way. For me sin is really a distance from God or making a choice that is selfish rather than selfless.
This Lent we can challenge ourselves to “go into the desert” and look to reconnect with our faith. We can take the journey back to God by taking the time to think about how we can feed and nurture our faith.
We are called to do three things;
- Find time for prayer
- Look to focus on almsgiving where we commit to charity and care of others
- Being able to “fast” and deny our own needs to care for others
Tomorrow is CAFOD Fast Day so let us pray for a world of justice, hope and solidarity with those in need. Let’s keep the faith…
So what’s your approach when you are about to set off on the journey? Are you someone who plans and packs meticulously weeks before the event or someone who throws everything in the bag as the car is running outside the house?
I know that in our family life we seem to struggle to “travel light” always falling into the trap of thinking we couldn’t do without the one key thing on any holiday or journey. On the school ski trip to New Hampshire in February I had to convince one of the students to line up at check-in and charm our way into sharing their baggage allowance even on the way back following 24 hours in NYC (thank you Olivia!).
This week we were challenged in the Gospel to listen to God’s call for us and respond without delay and there seems to be a natural fit this week to look to challenge ourselves to live simply in some way. It asks us to think about what we place at the centre of our lives. Have a look at how CAFOD has led this campaign.
I did some research on this to look at the best selling products of all time… they were;
- Coca Cola – which is drunk by 1.8 billion people every day (20% of the world’s population!)
- Sony Playstation – 344 million units sold
- Lipitor – a drug for high cholesterol $141 billion. Maybe a link there to our in-activity..
- Toyota Corolla – 40.7 million sold
- iPhone – 516 million sold which is more than the total population of the EU
I believe that it’s not about beating ourselves up in life for enjoying the good things or working hard to get a few things we enjoy. I think it asks us to ensure that these things don’t become the centre of our lives and what we actually live for.
We are called in our faith to centre our lives on God. We need to rediscover the gift of silence, simplicity and perhaps disconnect from our interactive world (perhaps ironically as I write this on WordPress to share on twitter!)
So what can we do to help get the balance right…
- Is there anything you feel you can do without? Perhaps this is an opportunity to give away anything you feel you don’t use or need or donate it to a charity shop. Decluttering our lives can be very liberating!
- Are there times when we can obsess about getting the latest and greatest new thing? Think of ways to catch ourselves before pressing that buy button online or in a shop.
- How can we reconnect with what matters most? A challenge to invest most in our family, friendships and faith.
If we can strip all of this away I believe it allows us to have time to listen to Jesus’ call for us all as His followers. The burden of carrying a heavy load can hold us back so let’s take the time to think about what matters most – have a great journey on the road ahead.