Fenelon in his 21st letter wrote:
It is a long while since I renewed the assurance of my attachment to you in our Lord. It is, nevertheless, greater than ever. I desire with all my heart that you may always find in your household the peace and consolation which you enjoyed in the beginning. To be content with even the best of people, we must be contented with little and bear a great deal. Those who are most perfect, have many imperfections, and we have great faults, so that between the two, mutual toleration becomes very difficult. We must bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ, (Gal. vi. 2,) thus setting off one against the other in love. Peace and unanimity will be much aided by frequent silence, habitual recollection, prayer, self-abandonment, renunciation of all vain criticisms, and a faithful departure from the vain reflections of a jealous and difficult self-love. To how much trouble would this simplicity put an end! Happy he who neither listens to self nor to the tales of others!
Be content with leading a simple life, according to your condition. Be obedient, and bear your daily cross; you need it, and it is bestowed by the pure mercy of God. The grand point is to despise self from the heart, and to be willing to be despised, if God permits it. Feed upon Him alone; St. Augustine says that his mother lived upon prayer; do you do so likewise, and die to everything else. We can only live to God by the continual death of self.
A people is no less a member of the human race, which is society as a whole, than a family is a member of a particular nation. Each individual owes incomparably more to the human race, which is the great fatherland, than to the particular country in which he was born. As a family is to the nation, so is the nation to the universal commonweal; wherefore it is infinitely more harmful for nation to wrong nation, than for family to wrong family. To abandon the sentiment of humanity is not merely to renounce civilization and to relapse into barbarism, it is to share in the blindness of the most brutish brigands and savages; it is not be a man no longer, but a cannibal.Would that the cannibals among us be brought to the Light of the King of Peace.
‘To how much trouble would this simplicity put an end!’ and ‘Be content with leading a simple life...’. How many of us truly do this?
We’ve had a wild couple of months in our household attempting to drastically change the way we live. I have been purging our house of almost everything I can get my hands on. I’m tired of being a manager of stuff and long to live more simply. Simple home, simple food, lots of prayer and lots of work. It has been so liberating!!