Minimalists Today: Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio)

Pope_Francis_in_March_2013_b (1)

presidencia.gov.ar [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

“Francis’ simple lifestyle and humility have endeared him to the masses….”

– CBS News

Pope Francis is the current Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He chooses to live in a small apartment in the Vatican’s guesthouse, behind a gas station, instead of in the Apostolic Palace overlooking St Peter’s Square.

Rarely riding in the Popemobile made from a Mercedes SUV, Pope Francis is happy traveling in an old Ford Focus. He enjoys simple meals and often carries his own luggage.

Pope Francis has called upon all clergy to live humble lives marked by service and simplicity. Just this month, a Brazilian archbishop resigned on request after spending $600,000 on renovations to his home, offices and seminary.

Last year, a German bishop resigned on request after revelations that he’d spent $40 million on renovations to his home and offices.

“If one can apply the term to a 78-year-old prelate who has turned lack of ostentation into an art form, then Pope Francis is a rock star.”

– The Economist

Pope Francis often talks and writes about simple living. Below are some of the many statements Pope Francis has made on this topic.

Together with a culture of work, there must be a culture of leisure as gratification. To put it another way: people who work must take the time to relax, to be with their families, to enjoy themselves, read, listen to music, play a sport.

Even living on little, they can live a lot, above all when they cultivate other pleasures and find satisfaction in fraternal encounters, in service, in developing their gifts, in music and art, in contact with nature, in prayer. Happiness means knowing how to limit some needs which only diminish us, and being open to the many different possibilities which life can offer.

Men and women are sacrificed to the idols of profit and consumption: it is the ‘culture of waste.’

True joy does not come from things or from possessing, no! It is born from the encounter, from the relationship with others, it is born from feeling accepted, understood and loved, and from accepting, from understanding and from loving….

The throwaway culture of today calls for a new lifestyle.

But a sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey, even as technological advances and consumer goods continue to abound limitlessly.

May we learn to be generous in giving, free from the love of material possessions.

It is true that nowadays, to some extent, everyone, including our young people, feels attracted by the many idols which take the place of God and appear to offer hope: money, success, power, pleasure. Often a growing sense of loneliness and emptiness in the hearts of many people leads them to seek satisfaction in these ephemeral idols.

Gratitude is a flower that blooms in noble souls.

Do not fall into the terrible trap of thinking that life depends on money and that, in comparison with money, anything else is devoid of value or dignity. This is nothing but an illusion! We cannot take money with us into the life beyond. Money does not bring us happiness.

The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly human goal.

A simple lifestyle is good for us, helping us to better share with those in need.

Consumerism has brought us anxiety.

Since the market tends to promote extreme consumerism in an effort to sell its products, people can easily get caught up in a whirlwind of needless buying and spending. Compulsive consumerism is one example of how the techno-economic paradigm affects individuals…. This paradigm leads people to believe that they are free as long as they have the supposed freedom to consume. But those really free are the minority who wield economic and financial power.

If we are too attached to riches, we are not free. We are slaves.

The emptier a person’s heart is, the more he or she needs things to buy, own and consume…. Obsession with a consumerist lifestyle, above all when few people are capable of maintaining it, can only lead to violence and mutual destruction.

The world tells us to seek success, power and money; God tells us to seek humility, service and love.

Have you heard Pope Francis speak or read any of his books? Please share any Pope Francis quotes you know pertaining to simple living in the comment section below.