Saturday, August 20, 2016
SFL Series--Sewing the Seeds of Contentment
Our society does not encourage the practice of contentment. The impulse is ingrained within us from a very early age to always want more. We are not taught to have a spirit of gratitude and humility. The consumer culture flashes images in front of us for the purpose of instilling insecurity, greed, and idolatry. No exaggeration.
The antidote is simplicity. It's that "much not more" principle I wrote about in the previous post. It's about focusing on what's truly important in life, putting first things first. The classical Christian model for living embraces a continuous encounter with Truth, Goodness, & Beauty. Though material wealth is not in and of itself bad, spiritual wealth must take precedence. It isn't enough to see the proverbial glass as half full rather than half empty. The Good Life is exemplified in the words of the Psalmist, my cup runneth over. Happiness is measured by the degree of contentment.
Joy can only be found in the fear of the Lord. A path to contentment, which is rooted in wisdom and humility, begins with the bookmarking of our days in prayer and devotion. Start small. This morning I read from a Catholic prayer book and prayed a decade of the Rosary. I am currently reading the book of Mark, so I read a portion of a chapter. Sometimes I will follow up with journaling. Before bed, you can wind down your day with another decade of the Rosary, write 5 things for which you are grateful that day in a gratitude journal, and do some spiritual reading that inspires you.
It can be tempting to do too much, to embark on a complete overhaul with an hour of prayer and contemplation twice a day. You may need to simply begin each day with a Hail Mary, before you do anything else, and end each day with a short prayer with your children. And of course remember to say grace together as a family before meals. Perhaps you could carry your Rosary in your pocket and pray one decade at a time throughout the day.
With prayer and devotion anchoring your days, you will have the peace and serenity, the repose of the soul, to go about your daily round in an organized and purposeful fashion, not wasting precious time; making every activity, large or small (and our days are mostly small, aren't they?), an offering to the Lord. Contentment comes of resting in Him.
Today contemplate contentment. Practice a detachment from worldly distractions and pull focus on what is in front of you. Do the next right thing, one thing at a time. No multitasking! We will continue to ponder this principle of contentment, starting with the tiny acorn. Soon we will have grown a mighty oak with deep roots and will shelter under its branches.