11 Yeh Dil Maange Less - Fr Austin Norris

posted Feb 28, 2019, 10:31 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 28, 2019, 10:31 AM ]
Yeh Dil maange more…" We grew up on this slogan, and we were taught to seek more, and become more. Surprisingly, even as Christians, we swallowed this—hook, line and sinker. And we hardly batted an eyelid, when we were confronted with the Gospel value of "If any one wants to come with me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me" (Mt 16:24).

Lent helps to refocus our attention on "Less is More." The whole "green movement" is a step in the right direction, and the concept of the smaller carbon-footprint is a truth worth thinking about and actively practising. I was quite struck by the sharing of an OLCM team member at one of our Parish Council Training sessions, when he confessed that "he was happy with five sets of clothing, and no more." The matter-of-factness with which he said that impressed me, that simple living is indeed possible.

This possibility is achievable, when one is converted to, and convinced of, the adage that "less is more". The subliminal message of the Gospels, that runs through the ministry and personal lifestyle of Jesus Christ, stands out as a benchmark of this revolution. From being born in a stable to being a refugee in Egypt; from being an itinerant rabbi to "having no place to lay his head"; from fasting and praying for forty days and nights to going without food; from accepting help on his way of the Cross to being buried in a borrowed grave – all points to the freedom that one can be and become, with the barest minimum in life.

The fundamental choice, based on Jesus' faith and trust in the Father God, is what makes the difference. There are examples galore of those who lived by the "less is more" principle. Mahatma Gandhi comes to mind immediately. His dhoti as a preferred form of clothing stands as a testament of his inner freedom and commitment to the 'harijan' – the poor of God.

St Mother Teresa of Kolkata conjures up an image of the blue-bordered white saree as a symbol of poverty and commitment to the poorest of the poor. An MC nun's possessions include: three saris (one to wear, one to wash, one to mend), a pair of sandals, flour sack underclothes (used to be), a crucifix and rosary… They never wear anything but sandals on their feet.