And what detachment does he not have from the things given him for his use! Whether they are rich or poor, whether they are lent to him, or are given him for a long time or a short time, whether they are taken from him, he remains equally content, perfectly detached from everything.


There is a remarkable meditation on ‘detachment’ hidden within this text. What are we to do about ‘the things’ we have been given for our use in this life? Does it matter in our mind and heart whether they are simple or elaborate things? Are we discontent unless we ‘have and own’ certain things? What is our freedom and detachment around all things of matter? How attached are we when we experience a loss of something that belongs to us – be it taken from us violently or mismanaged, or borrowed and not returned?


We share now a consciousness that the universe belongs to us all. We are each responsible for co-operating with the global effort to be contributive and accountable for our share of giving and our share of receiving what is needed for the good of the whole.


And so, we choose a lifestyle that calls us to mindfulness of ‘enough’ – when it is enough work, enough prayer, enough leisure, enough study, enough food, enough furnishings, etc. We attempt to maintain our lifestyle in a harmonious balance. We respect each other’s age and gifts and recognize the inter-dependence of others to contribute their share to the common venture.


Little Design communities will have no common bank account and there are no financial obligations to each other. Everyone who belongs to a ‘Little Design’ community will act as a mature, responsible and accountable adult person.  If two or three persons should decide to share a common living together arrangement and/or a common ministry, then each person will contribute to the ministry and/or living costs according to his/her means and what is age-appropriate.


This co-operative exploration of The Little Design vision for today will be enriched by the inter-dependent interactions among as many as possible men and women from many walks of life. It is an inclusive, global vision. Once again, we voluntarily put our ‘abundance’ into the circle of Love. It is all lavish gift received and lavish gift shared!


Can you experience the ‘no sting’ in this poverty of the Little Design?




#6 stmarys 2013-01-03 15:34
What a reflection - especially since I am doing this after Christmas! There is a different perspective for me today...and the reason for the change is a Christmas tree. In the past six months I have moved and have had to sort through my things...keep, give away, throw away. One of the items was our tree. It had seen many years of service and would be too big for the new living space. My new house-mate had a smaller tree. As we prepared for Christmas and put up the smaller tree (with much less space for my many ornaments), I was filled with a sadness - not to be named at that time. As the holiday progressed I was able to identify the source - CHANGE - LOSS - I had lived in the same place with the same person for over 20 years. I was comfortable with the routine, with what we had. There is nothing like a move to make one aware of just how attached you are - and to such little things! My prayer: "To let go, let God, embrace the new!"
#5 virginia 2012-11-30 21:19
I have read that detachment is a secret of true joy. I know that when I have practiced it in my life, I have found more of Jesus and yes, the joy of knowing HIm as He is. It is a work of a life-time, I see, as I note every day the struggle with attachment to my own will and desires. I hope I am progressing. Reflection and contemplation before the tabernacle teaches me so much of what Medaille was proclaiming about our Eucharistic Jesus, our supreme model of detachment and us ...as disciples!
#4 slees 2012-11-30 15:29
The other theme regarding the mindfulness of enough is something that I have struggled with throughout my life. As a single, consecrated lay woman desiring to serve in communities of marginalized and/or oppressed persons, it has been a very painful struggle. This is because I have felt that there is never enough that I can give of myself, my resources, etc. because of all that God has given me in my life. It has been very difficult for me to make "wise" decisions and I have finally concluded that I am incapable of deciding this, and that I would just need to allow God to guide me moment to moment, choice to choice. The one thing I am certain of is that I do not have the wisdom and capability of living as Jesus has showed us; I simply have to accept the fact that I will never be successful in doing that, but it is ok.

I recently read a meditation ending with the question, "What have you left behind to follow Jesus?" I think that now I would have to answer; my idea that I know what that is! Only moment to moment, I can try, knowing that I will certainly not follow in the way I wish that I could.
#3 slees 2012-11-30 15:20
This them of detachment and the mindfulness of enough are the work of a lifetime, and so important if we wish to accept the gifts of joy and peace that Jesus has promised to us. A Zen story comes to mind...One day, a lady brought a her newly born baby to the monk because she could not care for her baby. The monk responded, "Ah, so!" The monk spent several happy months and years playing with the child, and enjoyed watching the child grow. Some time later, the lady arrived with the police to accuse the monk of being the child's father and taking the child from her. The monk responded, "Ah, so!" The lady took the child away, and the monk did not deny being the father to save the woman's pride. Years later, an older lady arrived with an adolescent son, and once more asked the monk to take her son because he was rebellious. The monk responded, "Ah, so!" Soon, the young man entered the monastery as the old monk prepared for his death. The monk responded, "Ah, so!"
#2 arletteh 2012-11-25 11:27
What a beautiful image of freedom:a bird!And yes. one can even become attached to freedom.My freedom has been externally severely restrained,as I am learning to live into my new role-vocation of caregiver.And yet, being able to be detached from these riches of coming and going at will,has brought me an even greater freedom,a deeper sense of the Spirit's Presence.New freedoms to love are offered me.I have always loved the birds,and enjoy the many around us, as my neighbour feeds them. So many reminders of the gift of true freedom!
#1 rosemaryo 2012-11-24 15:17
As I understand it now,'the sting' comes when we become attached to having something or someone and have invested in these externals as the source of our happiness.(e.g. my opinions, my ego, my wants) Attachments are actually based on fear and insecurity and cause us considerable emotional grief!

Hence, to co-operate with the action of the Holy Spirit, the first requirement is the painstaking effort to detach ourselves from everything, especially from ourselves. Detachment will free us from numerous bonds which, like cords, tie us to creatures, making our docility and submissiveness to the Holy Spirit an impossibility. I am remembering now a story from John of the Cross:

"It comes to the same thing whether a bird be held by a slender cord or a stout one; since, even if it be slender, the bird will be as well held as though it were stout, for so long as it breaks it not it cannot fly away." (St John of the Cross, Ascent of Mt Carmel)

I am grateful to Pere Medaille for pointing us in the WAY OF LOVE that brings the freedom and joy and grateful use of all the things God has given us to use and share and enjoy on this earth.

Removing 'the sting of attachments'and we are free to LIVE and BREATHE and MOVE in God and in God's delightful play throughout all creation. With John, I proclaim ... another bird has come to play in this abundant Spirit life!

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