Reflections, Prayers, Scripture, and Quotes about Simplicity
Simple Living, or Simplicity, is one of the Four Pillars of Faith-Based Service. Typically, Simplicity means abandoning the material goods that we do not need. Many volunteer communities emphasize this aspect, whether it be choosing to travel by bicycle, eliminate Wi-Fi from the house, or repairing household items instead of replacing them. Of course, Simplicity can also mean reorienting the heart, mind and soul towards God and neighbor by making intentional time for prayer and reflection, among other things.
Whether you are just beginning your volunteer journey, or reflecting after some distance from your experience, here are some resources we hope will enable you to conserve energy, grow closer to God, and strive for the essential.
Simple Living Leads to Spiritual Growth
Click to view or print our Simplicity Reflection Guide – perfect for volunteer orientations, the start of Lent, or re-centering oneself post-volunteering.
Simplicity Quotes Graphic
Click to view or print some of our favorite quotes from holy writers about Simplicity and Spirituality.
Simplicity Exercise: Gather a few friends and family for an exercise in reduction, sacrifice, and essentiality. Makes a good large-scale retreat activity as well. Click here to download.
Simplicity in Scripture: Reflect and reorient yourself with these Scripture passages concerning Simplicity.
- Mark 10:17–31: “Go, sell what you have, and give to [the] poor and you will have treasure in heaven”
- Matthew 6:25–34: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?”
- 1 Thessalonians 5:12–28: “Test everything; retain what is good.”
- Luke 9:18–27: “She said to herself, ‘If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.'”
- 3 John: “John answered and said, “No one can receive anything except what has been given him from heaven.”
- Matthew 18:1–4: “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
- Luke 12:22–34: “”Do not worry about your life and what you will eat, or about your body and what you will wear.”
- Genesis 1:31: “God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good.”
- Amos 5:24: “Rather let justice surge like waters, and righteousness like an unfailing stream.”
- Psalm 24:1: “The earth is the LORD’s and all it holds, the world and those who dwell in it.”
- Mark 12:30: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”
- 1 John 3:17: “If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him?”
- James 1:22: “Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.”
- Romans 12:5: “So we, though many, are one body in Christ* and individually parts of one another.”
- John 6: 8–11: “Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted.”
- James 2:15–16: “If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?”
“God asks little, but He gives much.” – Saint John Chrysostom
“You know well enough that Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them.” – Saint Therese of Lisieux
“Our Lord needs from us neither great deeds nor profound thoughts. Neither intelligence nor talents. He cherishes simplicity.” – Saint Therese of Lisieux
“Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?” – Saint Gerard Majella
“Nothing seems tiresome or painful when you are working for a Master who pays well; who rewards even a cup of cold water given for love of Him.” – Saint Dominic Savio
“Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them.” – Saint Francis de Sales
“Consider all the past as nothing, and say, like David: Now I begin to love my God.” – Saint Francis de Sales
“Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.” – Saint Francis of Assisi
“The first end I propose in our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly, to do it in the manner he wills it; and thirdly to do it because it is his will.” – Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
“There is more value in a little study of humility and in a single act of it than in all the knowledge in the world.” – Saint Teresa of Avila
“This very moment I may, if I desire, become the friend of God.” – Saint Augustine
“Let nothing disturb you, nothing frighten you, all things are passing, God is unchanging. Patience gains all.”- Teresa of Ávila
“For the things that are seen are temporal, but things that are unseen are eternal.” – Madeleine L’Engle
“Live simply and justly in solidarity with the poor and marginalized and be a good neighbor. Make no war on them, rather, be one with them in spirit, truth, and love.” – Oscar Romero
“It is our best work that God wants, not the dregs of our exhaustion. I think he must prefer quality to quantity.” – George MacDonald
“All He [God] asks of us is the Heart.” – Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”- Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums
“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.” – Henry David Thoreau