“Jesus, help me to simplify my life by learning what you want me to be — and becoming that person.” ~ St. Therese of Lisieux
Simplicity. That is something that so many people yearn to experience and possess. We often use the concept of simplicity in advertising campaigns. “Simple pleasures are the best” was a popular phrase used to sell canned pork and beans. Idyllic strolls along beaches, drives in the country, and other images touted the magnificence of simple pleasures — and of pork and beans.
We chuckle about the image; but, at the same time, we long for simplicity. How many times in our lives do we lament the fact that everything seems to have gotten so very complicated in our world. Relationships, jobs, careers, finances: they are all elaborate when they should be simple.
St. Therese of Lisieux really hits the nail on the head when she speaks of simplicity. We can simplify our lives radically by learning what God wants us to be and then by becoming the person that God wants us to be. Of course, this can go against a number of things. Parents often tell their children what they expect their children to become. Teachers try to shape their students to become a certain person. Coaches do the same. Relatives do the same. As a matter of fact, so many people tell an individual the kind of person he or she is expected to become that confusion reigns because all of their expectations are many times contradictory.
I remember my grandmother. She asked me how long it was going to take me to become a priest. I told her that the process would take eight years: four years of college and four years of graduate school/theology. Her eyes widened and she said, “Eight years?! In eight years you can become a doctor and makes lots of money. You can treat me for free.” I chuckled and said, “How’s about after eight years I get ordained and when you pass away I can bury you for free?” She paused and said, “Okay!” Hey, as long as she got something out of the deal, she was fine.
That might be a funny example; however, too many times people are looking to “get something out of the deal”. They ask, “What’s in it for me?” That should not be the primary question when it comes to determining the course of our lives. Our question should be, “What do you want of me, Lord?” If we do the Lord’s will, we will have incredible peace here on earth and eternal bliss in the Kingdom. If, on the other hand, we insist on doing our will, we will have frustration, struggle, and unrest.
Peace or frustration? The choice is yours.
FAITH ACTION: Ask God to reveal to you the person that He wants you to be and then ask Him for the grace and courage to become that person.
(Today, by the way, would have been my grandmother’s birthday. Perhaps we can all say a prayer for our grandparents, living and deceased.)