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It was by faith, by faith. It was by faith and nothing else, just simply faith!

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II When Peter followed Jesus and gave glorious testimony while nailed to a cross, it was by faith. When John saw the glorious image of the Son of man and visions of the last days, it was by his faith. When the Gentiles discover God has returned in the flesh to do His work, it's also by faith. Many are smitten by God's word, consoled and saved, judged and cursed, because of faith.

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Judgment reveals the destination of God's creation, the loveliness of the Creator, and gives you true faith, and what is most precious to you. God's conquering work reveals His mighty arm, an understanding of human life, the right path and the meaning of "man. God's conquering work reveals man's origins and "immortal history," his ancestors, and the root of his corruption. His conquering work imparts joy and comfort, endless chastening, discipline, and words of reprimand.

God's conquering work gives blessings and calamities. And all of this is by your faith. You have heard God's word, and seen God's wisdom. You have experienced His work, and benefited tremendously.

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You may believe that without faith, you would be free of chastisement and of judgment. IV But without faith you would lose the Almighty's chastening and care, and be forever bereft of Him. You would never know the origin of mankind, nor the significance of life even after death.

Nor would you understand the Creator's deeds or know of His work on earth after He made mankind.

As a created human being, are you willing to blindly fall into darkness and suffer eternal punishment? But, the solution to poverty is not an emphasis on wealth.


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We need only look at the Parables of the Pearl Matt and the Rich Man Luke to see clearly the Gospel message that riches, or more importantly a worry about riches, will turn your attention from the things that are most important in life. If the rich man was prepared to sell all he had for the pearl of great value then he saw something beyond just the money. But living simply is more than that.

It is asking all of us to find the space for the more valuable things in life. Recently the theologian Tina Beattie interpreted living simply as a life of grace.

A life of grace is about seeking fulfilment within both ourselves and in our relationships with others. Excessive poverty and excessive wealth both mitigate against simpler lives. So the message is as relevant to Nigeria as it is to Knightsbridge.

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Living simply is not asking people to struggle to feed their family, but challenges us as a global community to recognise that a rich-poor divide, such as the one present in our world, should not exist. Living life with grace means going beyond transactions, into full relationships, into recognising our inter-dependence upon one another. Righting the wrong relationships is central to living in solidarity. Development workers are skilled people who work in solidarity with local organisations and communities to help them respond better to the challenges they face.

We see so many people in our rich societies who do not seem to engage with the concept of solidarity at all. At times, like the present, when there is an economic downturn, it can be easy to slip into self-protectionist mode. But the downturn is also an opportunity to discover ways to live more simply and sustainably, and thus find ways to live in solidarity with those who are poor in the world.

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Finding ways to live according to a longer-term agenda can bring hope to more people than just yourself. For example, buying fair-trade produce can seem like a luxury in an economic downturn, but it provides much needed income for people far worse off than ourselves, and is a simple measure to take to show your solidarity.

Solidarity is about going beyond oneself, to experience and engage with the other, and also to bring the other into your thinking and life. The message of solidarity and justice is strong throughout church teaching, from the emphasis on solidarity and justice in the workplace of Rerum Novarum through to the call to love our neighbour in Deus Caritas Est by Pope Benedict in We can also turn to scripture: in the Old Testament, and the prophets especially, we hear how much God detests injustice and the inequality of those that accumulate and do nothing whilst others have nothing.

The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25 reminds us that the final judgement will not be concerned with the things that usually enter our heads when we think of our religion — for example, how many times we attended Mass — but rather with how we behaved to Jesus when we encountered him in our brothers and sisters in need. Our prayer life and religious devotions are things that have to help and sustain us in our desire for the common good.

CAFOD, Progressio and Roehampton University recently organised a joint conference to look at the theological underpinnings of live simply and to reflect more fully on the three concepts. At the conference, Maria Clara Bingemer, a theologian from Brazil, reflected on the project from the perspective of the poor. Her message was that, without wanting to romanticise the poor, we have a lot to learn from their experience and the way in which base Christian communities in slums and shanty towns interpret the hope inherent in our faith.

Those living in poverty recognise their interdependence upon one another. This is largely because their security comes not from having things, but from their relationships with one another. For them cooperation will yield better results than competition. For them, the Gospel really is full of good news and hope — they read a story of liberation from the poverty, slavery and injustice that are often the reality of their daily lives.

For Maria Clara, the message of live simply is a challenge to the rich. All of us need to change our lives and lifestyles if we seek to have an authentic change. It was hearing the experiences of Archbishop Kaigama from Jos in Nigeria, that made me reflect on living simply in a very different light. But the Archbishop spoke about the danger of people being focused on material things being very relevant in Nigeria.

Even there, with poverty all around and always nearby, people, even those in the church, were tempted to focus just on themselves and lose sense of their community, and the needs of that community and beyond. To some extent, live simply might offer the possibility of creating basic Christian communities. Reflecting on the teaching and the Gospel in the light of social problems offers a hope by which the preferential option for the poor can become real. At the beginning of Advent this year, the live simply message moves into a new phase when we will be asked, collectively, to respond to 'Community Challenges'.

Any parish, organisation, or group in the Church can decide on something that will help us all live more simply, more respectfully of the gift of creation and more in touch with the poorest people in our world. The quickest way to find out what is going on is to visit the live simply website at www. The live simply project has given Progressio an opportunity to engage the Catholic community. Our campaign on terminator technology was one of the action opportunities in the first phase of the project, in which people were asked to sign up online and promise to support a particular challenge.

Now our East Timor campaign and other work will offer opportunities for people to respond to the Community Challenges and act in solidarity in a variety of ways. Ten years on the people in one of the poorest nations in the world still yearn for justice.