1st Tuesday of Advent: We Need to Simplify Our Lives

Sometimes we over-complicate our lives with things that are not leading us closer to where we want to get to.  Parents want the best for their families, and so off we go to work and give full attention to our careers, only to realize that in the desire to be able to give more to our families & our kids, we give them much less of what they actually need – time and attention!  This is not a criticism, it is a reality for so many men and women today, who simply get caught up in the ways of the world we live in.

We live in a society today where this has happened so often, for so long and to so many people; that dedicated husbands and wives can’t compete with others for good jobs, the average work day becomes longer and longer and anyone entering the workforce today is placed in a situation where they are required to work longer hours and weekends in a way far different than people did even two decades ago.  I know it well.  It may not be my experience today as a Catholic priest, but I was a part of it and witnessed it in my career days.  I was blessed to be a single man then, and the choices I could make [not to take overtime, not to work weekends] were not the choices that other people working with me were able to make.  I also started as a bus driver when a person could tell his employer that he wasn’t going to work Sunday because of his religious beliefs, and in the 9 years I spent as a bus driver, I only worked a handful of Sundays and usually for my fellow drivers who wanted time with the family.

It’s important that we recognize that the “we” who brought this about is also the “we” who can change it; but first our attitude and thus bring about change to a simpler way.

It may seem idealistic to suggest this, and hopeless to believe things could ever center around the family again – but we have to believe that governments govern according to the desires of the people – plain and simple.  If days of worship and family are important to us, we have to take a stand and others with us – and we have to be determined to “stick to our guns” for what matters most and encourage others to do the same.  That is inherently Christian and it is what we are called to do.

I worked with men and women that made sacrifices at work for the sake of their family; lived in smaller homes, stretched money better than many of us do – and these were people, some of whom were Christian, but almost all of them people making sacrifices for the sake of the family.   I shine a lens on this particular reality because it is one that most of us have some experience or at least some understanding of.  How many out there can say that there’s been one Sunday they haven’t attended or have considered not attending Mass because we were too busy? Or have missed talking to our Lord because we were busy?  We may be the cause of the busyness, but more likely we are caught up in the reality of living in the world and society acts upon us to complicate our lives.  We can work at making them uncomplicated, though.

As we uncomplicated our lives, we also need to work at simplifying our relationship with God.  We will have a deeper relationship with Him and hence others if we work at it.  Obstacles and barriers to our growth as Christians will begin to diminish.  the solution itself may seem complicated to bring this about, and that may seem true for a while, because it’s like untangling a knot in a shoe lace.  Once we unknot the lace, we know that the shoe ties up again more easily or we can take our foot out of the shoe; so too is this.  The effort now will bring about an easier and less complicated way of life for us all.

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