Now, as a Quaker (a sect that eschews Advent, Lent -- where every day is both ordinary time and extra-ordinary time), I am not normally drawn to materials that are liturgical seasonally based. But, since Paula wrote this, I knew I wanted to read it and would find it helpful. And I did.
The following excerpt from the first chapter illustrates just how lovely and wise this little book is:
Ash Wednesday: Clear Out a Junk Drawer or Closet Abbot Pastor said: If you have a chest full of clothing, and leave it for a long time, the clothing will rot inside it. It is the same with the thoughts in our heart. If we do not carry them out by physical action, after awhile, they will spoil and turn bad.1
Practice On this first day of Lent, spend some time going through a favorite stash, asking yourself what these items represent. Many of them will no doubt qualify as genuine junk, things that were simply stuck away instead of being carried out to the trash. Others might be useful, except for the fact that they are never used; these are easily bequeathed to someone else. If you come across something you cannot yet bear to part with, don’t struggle with yourself too long. Instead, pack it in a box, label it, and seal it up; then store it in an attic or the garage rafters for a few years, remembering that, if you leave it there too long, someone else will have to deal with it. Meanwhile, pray for liberation from these ultimately ephemeral reminders of the past. Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. (Mt 7:24)
Filled with lovely meditations and practical exercises such as the one above, I know I'll return to Simplifying the Soul again and again -- in Lent and other times.
Lent is quickly approaching. So if you're a liturgical type, pick it up soon. And if you're un-liturgical (like me) get it anyhow!
Paula's publisher graciously provided two copies for me to give away. So, if you're one of the first two people to comment on this blog, a free copy will be headed your way!