In paragraphs 222 and 223 of Laudato Si (https://cafod.org.uk/Pray/Laudato-Si-encyclical), Pope Francis says:
“Christian spirituality proposes an alternative understanding of the quality of life ……It is the conviction that “less is more”. A constant flood of new consumer goods can baffle the heart and prevent us from cherishing each thing and each moment. To be serenely present to each reality, however small it may be, opens us to much greater horizons of understanding and personal fulfilment………. Happiness means knowing how to limit some needs which only diminish us, and being open to the many different possibilities which life can offer.
Pope Francis observes that we must be at peace with ourselves to cultivate a sober and satisfying life. This means being integrated with nature:
“taking time to recover a serene harmony with creation, reflecting on our lifestyle and our ideals, and contemplating the Creator who lives among us and surrounds us……”. (Laudato Si paragraph 225} ……..”We are speaking of an attitude of the heart, one which approaches life with serene attentiveness, which is capable of being fully present to someone without thinking of what comes next, which accepts each moment as a gift from God to be lived to the full. Jesus taught us this attitude when he invited us to contemplate the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, or when seeing the rich young man and knowing his restlessness, “he looked at him with love” (Mk 10:21).” (Laudato Si paragraph 226}
THE LIVESIMPLY AWARD
This is the essence of living simply and leads us towards our parish taking on the Livesimply challenge. The livesimply award is an opportunity for Catholic communities – parishes, schools, religious orders and chaplaincies – to respond to Pope Francis’ invitation in Laudato Si’ to “work with generosity and tenderness in protecting this world which God has entrusted to us”.
CAFOD’s web site explains about becoming a livesimply community at https://cafod.org.uk/Campaign/Livesimply-award
It involves your community living simply, in solidarity with people in poverty and sustainably with creation, explaining how to apply, how to get started, plus a talk for your community and many other resources. May your community be one which “accepts each moment as a gift from God to be lived to the full.” Pope Francis – Laudato Si, paragraph 226.
Here are some comments by parishioners who have participated in taking the livesimply challenge:
- I was very impressed that I had arrived in a parish that took social justice seriously.
- The live simply award made more parish members aware of the damage being done to the planet by climate change.
- It also brought the parish together e.g. 2nd hand clothes sales; distribution of baubles for our Christmas tree containing messages; our monthly Fairtrade stall after mass.
- Displays in the church at prominent times through the year, such as green hearts, to “Show the Love” for our planet, and promoting a plastic free Christmas, have made parishioners think about our chosen lifestyles and whether anything can be changed in the way that we carry on our day to day lives.
- The shop in Wareham, where you use your own storage containers to collect food, has not only made us think about reusing but it has also helped the local community.
- Parishioners chose the challenges we undertook for the award which enabled everyone to think about and contribute to the process.
- A good proportion of parishioners joined in the challenges which demonstrated our willingness to come together and enabled us to experience the feelings of togetherness.
- When we looked at our average water consumption and the various ways we consumed water, compared with many people in the Global South, it made us realise how we should take more care.
Many thanks to Bernard White, our campaign volunteer coordinator for writing this blog.