Making Room for God Decluttering and the Spiritual Life by Mary Elizabeth Sperry

G.K. Chesterton once wrote: 'There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.'  These are extremely wise words for pack rats, and Mary Elizabeth Sperry's book will not only help you to declutter. It will also help you to desire less. 

Some early Church Fathers, such as Saint Anthony, escaped from the Roman Empire, to live ascetic lives and become closer to God.  They owned nothing and ate very little. This was partly because they wanted to separate themselves from attachment to material possessions so that they could become closer to God.  As Sperry writes, they were the true forerunners of today's minimalists.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines sin as 'failure in genuine love for God and neighbour caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods'. (CCC, 1849) (Buddhism states that misery is caused by attachment). Possessions can separate us from God and from other people. Sperry explains how and why this is so, and combines the spiritual advantages and reasons for decluttering and gives practical tips in this well-written book. She writes about spiritual discipline, gratitude and generosity as well as how sins, such as envy, can lead to accumulating more 'stuff'. There are exercises at the end of each chapter to help.

I also found Sperry's struggles with her own clutter similar to mine, and rather endearing. For example, she sometimes has to look through several cabinets and drawers to find a utensil. She also almost lost a job opportunity because the offer got mixed up with the spam! It was good to read this, and know that I am not alone!

This is highly recommended for Catholics, or indeed, any Christians who feel that they need a more spiritual approach to getting rid of clutter.



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