Even a clean and unoccupied room gathers dust; return after a week and you will see that it needs dusting again!
Padre Pio on Confession
KonMari has become a phenomenon worldwide, thanks to the kind wisdom of Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant. Normally, her method of organizing is applied to material things in the home, but I can see it being applied to cleaning up our souls as well. Here’s how to apply it spiritually:
Step 1: Tidy Through Examination of Conscience
Set aside some time for solitary prayer. Perhaps have a candle and a journal with you. Open yourself to God’s voice and ask for clarity to see His presence in your life and to see where you have been shutting Him out in sin. The goal is to unburden yourself onto the page. Here is a good list of questions to guide your thinking. Take note of anything that is making you unclean that you need to bring to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Step 2: Imagine Yourself Clean
While in prayer, meditate with a vision of yourself standing with Mary at the foot of the cross, where Jesus is looking down at you with love. Let Him show you how dearly He loves you and wishes to wash your soul clean with His blood. Imagine what this would feel like to be freed from everything that keeps you depressed, discouraged, and apart from Him. Imagine what it would be like to be holier, to be the self God created you to be.
Step 3: Decide What Truly “Sparks Joy”
Take an inventory of your life on a sheet of paper. Take stock of your relationships, your routines, your possessions, your habits. Examine them courageously with Jesus, asking Him to show you what is guiding you to Him and what is guiding you away. The things that bring you spiritual health are the things that will truly “spark joy.” Get rid of anything that takes you away from the person you want to be.
Step 4: Confession
Take your list from the examination of conscience and anything you noticed in your “Spark Joy” exercise and go to Confession. I know it can sound scary, but trust me, do NOT delay in receiving this Sacrament. It cleanses you in a way that makes your steps lighter, your choices smarter, your heart more receptive, your mind more still, and your soul freed indeed. It is incredibly worth it. I recommend going weekly!
Step 5: Eucharist
Once you have done a little spring cleaning in your soul with God, receive Holy Communion. Ask Jesus to dwell within you, literally, and keep you clean. Savor it!
Do This Often!
Once isn’t enough! We acquire so much “junk” and “dust” builds up faster than you realize. Doing this regularly will change your life and bring you true joy.
Please enjoy this post from guest blogger Anne Glenn of Pollyannie.
(C) 2019, Anne Glenn. Used with permission.
Konmari Your Soul
I’m sure you have heard about Marie Kondo by now and her Konmari method. Well, I’m here to talk about applying her methods to tidying your soul. Chances are, if you think your soul is in a pristine state, you probably have just become used to all of the clutter.
Matthew Kelly talks about our souls being like a car that we need to clean out, as this post mentions:
“We lose our sensitivity to sin in exactly the same way because after a while, a big self-destructive behavior doesn’t look that bad amongst all those little ones, does it? That’s how it works. You go to Confession and when you come out you are sensitive about the things that have stopped you from becoming the best version of yourself, just like when you wash your car and you are sensitive about the things that make your car dirty. “
So why should we Konmari our soul? Do we even need to? What would be the benefit of doing this? And how can we do it in an honest way?
Provide a Dwelling Place
We need to examine our souls the same way we would examine our belongings. We must ask ourselves, does this behavior spark joy in my life? If not, I need to let it go. As a Catholic, I have found there is power in going to a priest who is representing Christ and confessing your sins. When you discard all that doesn’t spark joy, you make room for the things that do like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, forgiveness, understanding, gentleness, and self-control – the fruits of the Holy Spirit. When we hold on to our junk, we grieve the Holy Spirit. We have to tidy things up on a regular basis to give the Holy Spirit a home that sparks joy.
A Long Way to Go
More and more I am realizing that the closer I get to God, the further I have to go in my spiritual life. I feel very good about myself when I am not examining my conscience. It’s very humbling when I take the time to reflect on where I have strayed. . I need God. I need His grace. One way I realize how much I need God’s grace and forgiveness is when I haven’t been to confession in a long time and the difference it makes afterward. All of the sudden my reserves of patience have been restored – whereas before I would be ready to snap with the next spill, or scream, or whatever accident life throws at me.
No Stone to Throw
We are all very good at recognizing the sins of others, amen? I think we would all benefit from examining our own shortcomings and making amends. I am reminded of these Bible verses and a quote from Leo Buscaglia:
“You hypocrite! First, remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of yourbrother’s eye. “
“He who is without sin can cast the first stone.”
“Individuals are incensed when it is suggested that they could, under certain situations and circumstances, be a part of any behavior harmful toward their fellow human beings. Yet, innocently, they do so every day. They ignore antipollution laws, refuse to accept responsibility for inferior education, world hunger, the loneliness of their neighbors, the ill-treatment of children and the elderly. They are only too ready to condemn the politicians, the activists, the Communists, or anyone else rather than accept their own thoughtlessness. They are too caught up in the self to evaluate their own prejudicial, hurtful, negative attitudes. If we are perceptive we will find that either by choice or unconsciously each of us engage, almost daily, in some wrongdoing. But this does not mean that we are evil, that we lose our worth as loving human beings. One act is not sufficient reason to devalue a person.”
Powerful, right? Indeed we are all hypocrites because we are all human. None of us are in a position to cast any stones. This is why we need to continually tidy up our souls. Not to make us feel guilty and worthless, but for us to practice empathy and keep us humble.
We can all agree how beautiful a tidy home looks…but what about a tidy soul? And how will you know if something is a sin or not? Does a specific behavior spark joy? Or does it bring about more anger, despair, grief, or destruction? It’s so easy to justify and rationalize our behavior in a way that suits us best. But how can we konmari our soul in an honest way? The good news is the Catholic Church has already done the work in regard to which behaviors do and do not spark joy and it’s called an examination of conscience, and it is not intended as a set of rules to control you, but to help you. The only way to test if abiding by these guidelines sparks joy is by trying to live them. Until you truly try, you cannot give a testimony one way or the other. That is the way spiritual truth is discovered. As G.K. Chesterton said,
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried. “
Have you tried living a life of Christian virtue? I mean, really tried. Not just follow the morality that suits you, but tried living according to all of the moral teachings of the Church. Did you find that it brought more order, peace and joy in your life?
“When I started living my life according to Catholic teaching the proof was, as they say, in the pudding. It worked. It worked better than I could have ever guessed it would. And since I’ve been able to receive what they say is really the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, my soul, my entire life, has changed profoundly. “