What complicates your life? Every day we make choices about how we use our time, energy, and resources. Looking to Jesus’ life as a simple carpenter, we know that complexity is not what God desires for us. In our hearts we know that God calls us to a simple, liberating relationship with created things, but living this requires a perspective shift.
Consider the rich young man (Lk 18:18-23), who yearns to follow God and asks Jesus how he might do so. When the young man learns that he must part with all of his possessions, he walks away sad. In contrast, St. Francis of Assisi, a rich young man himself, underwent a radical conversion and walked away from his wealth with immense joy and freedom. This conversion to a life of simplicity requires a new perspective. As G.K. Chesterton remarks, “[Francis] looked at the world as differently from other men as if he had come out of that dark hole walking on his hands” (St. Francis of Assisi, 70).
I rejoice in today’s young people who have invited me to see differently. Many question how we relate to Creation. They seek freedom from habits of consumption and make sacrifices that open them to the “cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (LS, 49). They exemplify Pope Francis’ description of the Christian life “marked by moderation and the capacity to be happy with little. It is a return to that simplicity which allows us to stop and appreciate the small things, to be grateful for the opportunities which life affords us, to be spiritually detached from what we possess, and not to succumb to sadness for what we lack” (LS, #222). Let us ask for the grace to see differently!
Kevin Kuehl is a theology teacher at Cor Jesu Academy in St. Louis. He holds an MA in Ministry from Creighton University and a Certificate in Philosophy for Ministry from Saint Louis University.