In the afternoon between 2-4 p.m. you can find me in a rocking chair, holding my daughter, and reading a book.
I know… I’m supposed to be on a tight napping regime where she sleeps in her own crib with a white noise machine and black-out curtains. For the sake of enjoying my newborn and perhaps a bit of procrastination, I haven’t taken to sleep training. So I hold the most precious gift God’s given us—Gemma—and surrender my to-do lists.
Habits for Wholeness
One of my latest reads is Habits for Holiness by Fr Mark-Mary Ames, CFR. His radical devotion to the Lord pours out in thoughtful prose that spoke to my soul and intellect and tugged on my heartstrings. I suddenly found myself taking pictures of his words and sending them to friends. Whether it is Fr. Mark-Mary’s clear outline of the sanctity of family life, or his recounting of opportunities that changed the posture of his heart as a novitiate, Habits for Holiness is a book for our time.
Habits for the Human Person
I had been flirting with minimalism when I picked up Habits for Holiness, but I couldn’t grasp onto the “Marie Condo” spirit. I didn’t want to aimlessly hug my slippers and wait for a “spark.” If I step two feet into an Anthropologie, everything gives me a spark!
Rest assured, I can easily buy spark-giving things. But of all the wisdom imparted by Fr. Mark-Mary, our Catholic call to “live simply so others can simply live” was the most provocative phrase to express my desire to eliminate capitalist overconsumption and to centre others instead of things.
I started to think of the conditions of the factory workers making the clothing I so easily cycle through each season. I thought of the Amazon drivers piling packages at our front door after a long day and some consolation shopping. I pictured the hundreds of under-housed people that seek refuge in our local parks turned into tent cities.
Filled with humility, I recognized that my desire to live simply wasn’t just a countercultural inkling but movement of the Holy Spirit confirmed for me by Fr. Mark-Mary and his encouragement to slow down, step back and to tell myself “that’s enough.”
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I started lending out my copy of Habits for Holiness because it spoke so directly to my heart and to the pain and confusion felt in the modern world of “never-enough-ness.” The truth plainly put forth by Fr. Mark Mary is that a life filled with things is not a life fulfilled. Our fulfillment as Catholics is looking towards Jesus, centering our lives on Him and answering His call to love others with a deep and radical commitment.
Have you read this book yet?! What did you think?
Olivia DiGiammarino is a wife, mother, artist, and educator in Toronto, Canada. She loves God and her family, and she never says “no” to tiramisu.
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