Choosing to Live Simply to Change Our World


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Pope Francis never ceases to make me think, to challenge me deeply.

In today’s Wednesday audience, he continued his catechesis on family but pivoted to a matter which seems to be at the heart of his papacy: caring for the poor. He taught:

Dear Brothers and Sisters: Today we consider one of the conditions which afflict too many families, namely, poverty.  And yet, in the worst of circumstances, even in war torn areas, how often these families persevere with dignity, entrusting themselves to the goodness of God.  It is a miracle that even in extreme situations families continue to be formed and sustained.  Sadly, our modern economies often promote individual wellbeing at the expense of the family.  As Christians, however, we must always look for ways to strengthen and support families, especially poorer ones.  The Church, as a mother, can never be blind to the sufferings of her children.  For each of us, this means choosing simplicity both individually and in our institutions, so as to break down walls of division and overcome all difficulties, especially poverty.  A poorer Church will bear fruit for so many of her needy children.  Let us pray for the grace of conversion so that Christian families everywhere will be truly committed to helping their poorer brothers and sisters.

There is a single sentence in this that gets to the heart of the matter for me:

For each of us, this means choosing simplicity both individually and in our institutions, so as to break down walls of division and overcome all difficulties, especially poverty.


I’ve had a sort of unusual past two months that has left me feeling disconnected from what is happening in the outside world around me. My heart and head have been focused on family matters and a book that I’m writing. When I’ve occasionally popped my head out of the gopher hole I’m living in, the noise of the world feels deafening and often filled with hate.

I ask myself ten times a day what I can do to make a difference. And too often I’m left answering, “I have no idea.”

Today, Pope Francis has handed me a love letter with his teaching. There IS something I can easily do:

I can choose simplicity.

And I can do so intentionally. I don’t have to make a big deal out of it. I don’t need to announce it or overthink it. I don’t need a system or a way to document it.

I just need to choose to be “simple” – to consume less, to spew less venom, to take the path of least complication toward the goal of helping the most I can.

It doesn’t have to be fancy.

My choice for simplicity just needs to be intentional, oriented towards a goal of being generous, and acted in love.

A question for you: How can you choose simplicity today?

Copyright 2015 Lisa M. Hendey

Image credit: Pixabay, ArmyAmber, public domain


About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa's articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.

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