About 15 years ago, before I was living (or attempting) to live as a disciple of Jesus I had a Patagonia hat with a patch that said “Live Simply”. I’ve always liked the idea of living simply, having less “stuff” in order to have less distraction and stress in life. Back then I had no idea that this call to simplicity was not only lived by many Saints, but also that living simply didn’t just apply to “stuff”.
In Mark 3 Jesus calls his followers “to be with Him”. It seems the first order of business in living a life of Christian simplicity is to just “be with Him”. We have an opportunity to intentionally be with Jesus each day in prayer, the scriptures, adoration, or even daily mass. Let us set aside time each day, preferably in the morning to just be with Him.
After being with Jesus for a while, in Mark 6 Jesus sends the disciples out, that they would go into the world under His commissioning, His authority, empowered by His Spirit, to do His work. I believe this to be the next step simplicity of Christian life. After we wake up and “be with Him” we go out, filled with His Spirit, to accomplish His will, under His authority. We go out with our mind fixed on Christ, attentive to the Holy Spirit, ready and eager to be obedient to His promptings. We go out with an attentiveness to the Spirit as He wants to use us as we drop the kids off at school, drive to work, on our sales call, cooking dinner, etc. Maybe this day we’re called to pray for the sick, to cast out a demon, or to even raise the dead! But most likely the Lord will work in us as we fulfill our daily duties, as we do it with Him and yielding to all He wants to do through us in our “mundane” daily life.
After the disciples are sent out to live on mission, they return to Jesus and reported to Him all that happened. This is our nightly examine. Saint Ignatius of Loyola has given the Church a beautiful examine prayer that can be done each night, as we review our day with the Holy Trinity and allow Him to correct us, console us, teach us, and encourage us to resolve to be more virtuous the following day.
This is the simplicity of the Christian life, the life of a modern day disciple of Jesus. That we would wake up and be with Him, we would go out in His name, empowered by His Spirit, to do His will, then we would return for an intentional quiet prayer time to review our day with Him, then go to sleep and do it all again tomorrow. My prayer lately has been “Lord Jesus, help me to live in the present moment, with you, grateful for all that you allow.” So let us go forth as His disciples, full of confidence in our Lord, that He is with us, He wills our good always, nothing happens apart from His love and providence, and He’s working all things together for good. He’s for us and in control of all things, and therefore we can live in the freedom He’s won for us on the cross, full of trust and simplicity, without fear, worry, or anxiety about the past or future. Just living simply with our Lord in the present moment, shining the light of Christ for the world to see.