Today's first reading is from Proverbs 30:5-9:
Every word of God is tested;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Add nothing to his words,
lest he reprove you, and you will be exposed as a deceiver.
Two things I ask of you,
deny them not to me before I die:
Put falsehood and lying far from me,
give me neither poverty nor riches;
provide me only with the food I need;
Lest, being full, I deny you,
saying, "Who is the LORD?"
Or, being in want, I steal,
and profane the name of my God.
I take this to be a reading about simple living, though other things come into it too. The wisdom here seems to say that if we live simply and have just what we need without extra, it will be easier to recognize the presence of God in our lives. Having just moved, I know my world is not as simple as I would like it to be--I have more things, more books, more food, more than I need. Americans in general live less simply than others, and I am undoubtedly American. Maybe I need to move every year or two in order to remind myself that I don't need so much stuff!
Simplicity is more than possessions, though. Life can be so complicated. Work schedules, play times, exercise routines, obligations that we take on ourselves: all these things add up to a lifestyle that requires me to move from one thing to the next without really taking time to consider who I am and why I'm doing all these things.
My life in the last three (or more) weeks has felt very complicated and hectic. Finally, this week, it's beginning to feel more regular and less like I have to run from one activity to the next.
I was told that the years of novitiate are about spending time with God, and that many of the things that have become an ordinary part of my daily life will be set aside for a time. That made me nervous. Now, I am grateful, and I hope that I can take full advantage of this year of prayer and discernment.