2013-04-15       John W                               John W's previous articles

(Comments welcome here)

                  Imitating Pope Francis' simple lifestyle


In an article of April 1, Following Francis' example, I mentioned four ways we can imitate the example of Pope Francis: A simple lifestyle, concern for the poor, liturgical simplicity, the common touch

On April 8, the article Imitating Pope Francis' love for the poor outlined some ways we can show and increase our concern for the poor

Today let's think about a simple lifestyle. How can we imitate Francis who has declined the papal residence, has a history of using public transport, wears a cheap watch, declines fancy dress, and eats in the common dining hall?

The key word is "downsizing"

One thing I've done for many years is to have an ongoing tidy-up program, whereby I check one shelf, or one drawer, or one wall each week ...and see what I don't need (that can be given away or thrown out).  I even have a little read paper badge to remind me what part of my room is next in line for tidying up.

In between advertisements, How to downsize your house has 12 useful ideas

Tidying up is one basic step. But bigger questions need to be asked:

Do I need such a large house, such a large car, such an expensive watch, such a large TV, the latest mobile, so many clothes and shoes, so many visits to  restaurants and movies and other entertainment?

I suppose the psychologists would say we first need to downsize our image, our "keeping up with or surpassing the Joneses" ego

From a Gospel point of view we have Jesus' advice in the story about the sower: 
People who hear God's word with one ear, but with the other listen to the call of greed and pleasure, are like the seeds among thorns. Greed kills the word

Mother Teresa's co-founder of the Brothers of Charity, Brother Andrew, had an apt question: "Do I really need it?"  May these words be automatically activated whenever modern advertisements bombard us with "you must get it...you need it...you deserve it...buy it now"

May the continuing and inspiring example of Pope Francis give us the motivation to value and practice a simple life style