Simplicity: Session Six


I wrote this retreat on simplicity in 2001. These ten sessions are the beginning of a new series here on living a simple life. I hope these sessions open you to the foundations of living a life of simplicity, learning what is essential from the inside out, a process of faith and prayer. The essence of simplicity rests in our deep faith experience of the Paschal Mystery. All things die. New life emerges. This pattern is the element of God’s creating plan. Jesus’ dying and rising reveals the brevity of life. We cannot ultimately possess or control life. Life is a great gift given from our loving Creator. I hope you enjoy this sixth session. You may download the entire series here:

 Simplicity:  Loving, Living, Serving by Ronald Patrick Raab, C.S.C. (Fatima Retreat Center, 2001)


Session Six: Let go of the past


  • To love, live and serve God, we recognize the treasures and the turmoils of the past. We open our eyes and emotions to what has been and truly recognize all as gift from the Holy Creator.
  • The treasures and turmoils cannot always be divided into separate and neat categories. Loss has its way of opening us to receive. Pain can give way to acceptance. Separation often can prepare us for relationships and love.
  • Living simply is clearly seeing and believing what we cling to; what holds us back from receiving life as it is. Living life as it is can open us to make changes and accept our selves as recipients of God’s grace.


  • What have you done is put aside your old self with its past deeds and put on a new person. Colossians: 3
  • Jesus said, “Get up, pick up your sleeping mat and walk.” The man was cured at once, and he picked up his mat and walked away. John: 5
  • And he said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of people.” And they left their nets at once and followed him.  Matthew: 4
  • Yahweh, you remain forever; each generation in turn remembers you!  Psalm: 102
  • What we have heard for ourselves, and what our ancestors have told us, must not be withheld from their descendants, but be handed on by us to the next generation. Psalm: 78


O God of my ancestors, in your care I have walked the path of life until today. With me I bring turmoils and treasures. The turmoils, that hinder my heart from receiving new life now, of regret and un-lived opportunities, of anger from wondering if I have chosen the right path, of rage for the love I thought I should have received from those who loved me, of a path cluttered with broken dreams and “what-ifs.” And then there is today, you have stopped me in my tracks. I cannot continue holding on. Lord, receive all that is within me! And now I have come to see all as treasure. Walk with me to newness of life, where burdens burst into gratitude, where turmoil gives way to the treasure of your presence.  Amen


  • Today, the hardest thing for me to let go of is______________________.
  • Concerning relationships, I need to let go of ___________________________.
  • The greatest treasure from the past has been __________________________.
  • Through the grace of living today, I can let go of ________________________.
  • My closets, drawers and cabinets are so full of the past, I know I need _____________.
  • God, help me, today, to receive _______________________.

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