A number of years ago, I decided to have a big declutter of my house. Previously I’d moved around a lot and relied on house moves to make me clear the clutter. When I look back, I was shocked at the amount of stuff I’d accumulated, largely unnecessarily, probably because it made me feel better at the time. It was around this time I discovered ‘minimalism’: living simply, not relying on ‘stuff’ to make us feel good, this coincided with the ordination discernment process.
Through a friend, I was introduced to the Third Order of the Society of St Francis – a dispersed order of lay and ordained people, following the life of St Francis. Once a month, we metfor prayer, discussion and encouragement, as each of us tried, in our own setting to live Francis’ life of prayer, humility, and simplicity, all joyfully of course! And there began my journey as postulant, novice, and now, on 3rd October this year, my life profession with the Third Order.
My commitment to the Third Order has been immensely enriching both to my daily life and to my faith. There is much talk in society about ‘living our best life’; what I have learned is that our best life is not to be found at the bottom of a shop receipt. At St Chrysostom’s we are often encouraged to articulate blessings: nature, family, friendships, faith, church community to name a few. These are at the heart of living our best life, as God intended. The Third Order has provided a gentle structure and supportive accountability that helps me to be more myself and more fully human.
I am also a member of the Society of Catholic Priests (SCP), which also contributes hugely to my spiritual life, and I am delighted that SCP are launching the Chi Rho movement for lay people. I would strongly encourage people to join groups such as Chi Rho, for the opportunity to meet and support each other in faith, and the enrichment we gain from a simple rule of life. In these strange times, a rule of life can help to keep us anchored through the storms and to maintain our sense of deep joy.