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A challenge to live more simply

8 May 2013  

hands holding rice  

When I was first asked to write this reflection I thought it was great that I had until well after Easter to do it. 'I've got loads of time to write it,' I thought.

But as I began to think about it over the last few days, I read a lot of the other great reflections, and it dawned on me that they've already used a lot of the good ideas!

I didn't know what to write that wouldn't just be repetition, and I couldn't think of any relevant little bits of theology to share that hadn't already been shared.

It then struck me that I should simply think of 'my daily bread'. What has been my daily bread today?

Well, I haven't actually had any bread today, but I have had a stir-fry, crisps, some salami and some Spam (don't ask).

The stir-fry I ate today was a free sample given to me in a train station by a big Oriental food brand. As I was making and eating it I started thinking, 'This is great! I should do it more often!'

  • There's something about Jesus' phrase that speaks of simplicity.'

What I didn't realise at first was that I'd fallen for their marketing ploy - they were giving them out in the hope I'd do exactly that.

If I hadn't caught myself I could well have done this more often, spending more money on a very complicated branded meal, completely unnecessarily.

The more I thought about this, the more I realised that this same thing had happened in other areas of my life.

My clothes were getting more expensive and the shops I was buying them from were more 'upmarket', and my phone was getting more expensive, bigger - and becoming cleverer than I am!

There's something about Jesus' phrase, my 'daily bread', that speaks of simplicity.

We can choose to do without the fuss, without the complexity - because when we do, we stand closer to those in the global south who have no choice but to live on bread alone; we stand in solidarity with those among us who struggle to get hold of enough food for their family.

When we read the Lord's prayer now I think we can do so, in part, as a challenge - a challenge to live more simply.

For me, this will be a great thing to take from the IF campaign - as for it to have the most impact possible, it shouldn't only move the G8 leaders, but move our own hearts and maybe even our stomachs, too.

Chris Knowles is the young adult representative on CAFOD's board of trustees, and lay chaplain at Loreto Sixth Form College.


Dear Lord,
Help me to grow less

Less concerned by my wants
Less worried by my future
Less blind to others’ suffering
So that you may grow more

More present in my life
Making me
More aware of my dignity
More trusting in your providence
More filled with love for all people

God of frugality and abundance
Give me less and more


Prayer from Caritas Australia


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