Minimalism… The Catholic Vocation?
(This post is part 2 of a 3 part series.
Part 3 : Catholic Decluttering)
Ahh… Minimalism. Such a trendy word. With good reason.
Blogs, magazines, tv shows, youtube channels, podcasts, books. The idea of paring down our stuff and getting rid of clutter is everywhere! Mainly because, yep, we all have way too much junk!
The gospel is saturated with the idea of voluntary poverty, of giving our things away to follow Christ.
And let’s not forget about monasteries. What beauty! It stands in a stark contrast to the clutter and noise of our everyday lives. The simplicity, the vows of poverty, the clean and humble little cells where the monks or nuns sleep, read and pray.
Hey! That sounds a lot like… Minimalism!
In our desire to both please God and stop tripping over clutter (honestly mostly the tripping over things) we get gung-ho and hop on Google to learn about how to do this minimalism thing.
Then we find ourselves counting objects, trying to live by certain “rules” or setting arbitrary limits on our things. We might even get rid of several things we have, and buy one new multipurpose item to replace them! Minimal, right?
The problem with so many blogs, podcasts and youtube channels on minimalism is that the focus is still on the STUFF.
Know what that’s called? Materialism.
So yep, most versions of “minimalism” lurking on the interwebs are just gussied up materialism.
(I never say ‘gussied up’ out loud. Not sure why it spilled off my keyboard…)
Materialism is a no-no.
But does that mean minimalism is bad? Well, the problem with trying to discuss something like minimalism, is that it is a movement. A philosophy. Which means instead of being the brain child of a single brain, it is coming from lots and lots of brains. And each one has their own slightly different version! Which makes it easy for a Catholic to get derailed.
So let’s keep it simple:
Minimalism is not a virtue.
Know what is? Detachment.
Detachment from all created things is what we are called to. We can and should use material things as needed for our vocation, to serve God. But we have to be careful to avoid attachments to things. The entire goal of life is to reach a point where the only thing we love is God. Anything else we love is purely for His sake. Are we going to get there in this life? Probably not. But that’s the goal!
So instead of Catholics practicing some vague and yet trendy idea of “Minimalism…” Let’s focus on practicing the VIRTUE of Detachment.
Through the Heart of Mary,