Let Nothing Distract

Let Nothing Distract

This past week, one of my classes watched a movie about the life of Mother Teresa. At one point, right after Mother Teresa had left the Loreto convent, she was shown clearing out her room at a host family’s house. The owner told her they had a lot of spare furniture she was welcomed to use during her time with them. She responded by saying that she needed simplicity so that nothing would distract her from her work with the poor.

I don’t know if that scene happened exactly like that in real life, but her words struck me. Even if she didn’t say that, her life showed that she lived that reality. Perhaps even more impressive, though, was the idea that simplicity gives freedom. It wasn’t a new concept to me, but it was a new concept when I considered it in light of the saint of the slums. Mother Teresa needed poverty in order to be committed to caring for the poor. That may not seem profound to you, but hearing those words evoked a question within me: what makes me think I have more discipline than Mother Teresa?

If Mother Teresa needed simplicity to pursue God’s mission, what makes me think I can follow God without simplifying my life, too?

Her God-given mission was to help the poor. Knowing her own humanity, she knew she had to give up creature comforts in order to remain focused on her mission. Her life of poverty provided the freedom to be generous and sacrificial with her life and time. Material items distract. Compelled by the love and thirst of God, Mother Teresa knew she could not afford to be distracted by lesser things. She created space in her life that could be filled by the presence of God. Fewer possessions crowding her heart yielded greater room to the concerns of the Lord.

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Simple Beauties

I like simplicity.  And I like beauty.  I am continually amazed by things that would be so easy to pass by or discount as being of little importance.  A simple cup of coffee from home on the way to work with the sun shining on the plains filled my heart with joy.  The Sacred Host exposed in vulnerable love as voices rise like incense to fragrance Our Lord’s throne.  A glorious sunset that mixes the palette of colors into a never before seen array of splendor.  The simplicity of a humble priest who, with eyes closed in a concentration that must have been often etched upon Our Lord’s face, raises his hand to absolve me from my sins.  The moment in the confessional when you say the Act of Contrition and you are struck for the first time by the words “but most of all because I have offended Thee, O God, who art all good…”  My heart desiring the simplicity of a human love that will rival all fiction and will lead me steadfastly to Heaven’s embrace.  The conversations with dear sisters placed hundreds of miles away from me.  This song.  A beautiful red tomato freshly picked from the garden and an apple harvested from the nearby tree.  This picture:

A moment to stop, look around at the countryside, and breathe in a deep breath of crisp autumn air.  The silence, the peace, the luxury of looking across the land and seeing no human person in sight.  The knowledge that I am because He always is.