Franciscan Challenge for the Week: Live without electricity for 24 hours. Why would we want to live without electricity for a day, you ask? There are a few things to consider, here.
- Living without electricity is a way to live in solidarity with those in poverty around the world. According to the U.N., 1.4 billion to 1.6 billion people around the world live without electricity.
- Living without electricity may give you some peace and quiet that you didn’t even realize you were missing. When we eliminate some of the noise, we’re left with ourselves and God. “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature — trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls.”-Saint Mother Theresa of Calcutta. “Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10
- Living without electricity may show you how dependent you are on “the system” and help you depend more on God. “What consolation! The Book of Exodus is our story as we will see! This ancient text is a metaphor for modern men; whether we are enslaved by lust, or technology, or food or drink, or to any other thing, we find ourselves helplessly enslaved all the same.” – Fr Brian Doerr
- Living without electricity can help you care for creation a bit more by not consuming energy created by fossil fuels. In fact, many aspects of simple living are aligned with care for creation.
So how would you go about living without electricity for 24 hours? You can accomplish this simply by turning off the circuit breakers in your house, all except for the one or two controlling your refrigerator and freezer; I don’t recommend turning them off since wasting food is not part of this exercise! You may also want to only do this during warm weather so you don’t risk freezing water pipes in your home. To prepare a bit for this exercise, make sure you have a way to cook food that doesn’t require electricity (wood stove or campfire), have a few gallons of clean water handy if you are on an electric well, and a few candles or oil lamps with matches to see with in the early morning or late night.