You have heard and maybe even seen television shows about hoarding. It is a compulsion not to throw away anything because of a perceived or unconscious need you will need later on. If left unchecked, the house becomes cluttered sometimes to the point of dysfunction (you can’t live in it anymore).

I subscribe to the three universes of reality hypothesis, the physical one, the mental one where only humans live, and the spiritual one, where you, the Church Universal, and God exist according to their nature. To compare it to cluttering your closet, hoarding in the spiritual universe means you don’t give away those imperfections and effects of original sin that keep you tied to the false self and not the freedom to be an adopted son or daughter of the Father. What happens when you don’t cut the grass for two months or clean the dishes in the sink for one week? It is like spiritual hoarding that builds up those false habits and thinking that encourages the effects of original sin to corrode Faith. You can lose Faith if you are not careful. You can become seduced by the seeming normalcy of daily living to the point that you don’t try to clean out that closet at all. After all, they are only venial sins and don’t mean that much. Do you see the fallacy in this thinking? Contrast that with the contemplative approach (Cistercian) that uses the Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 4. Read the following excerpt from what St. Benedict offers his monks and nuns to center themselves on Christ and clean out their closets of debris and false and unkept promises from Satan.


  • Cleaning your spiritual closet means the same thing as cleaning your closet at home.
  • It takes work to throw away all those closes you haven’t touched in three or four years.
  • It takes mental energy to throw away all those clothes that don’t fit anymore. To make all things new again takes resolve and effort. To do otherwise results in the clutter of your spiritual life. You don’t throw it away and it just keeps building up.
  • Aristotle writing in his Politics states: trifles are not trifling.
  • To think that you don’t need to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation in your parish, even if you have not committed any whopper (mortal sins), fails to take into account the need to clean your spiritual closet. The Sacrament, which means you are joined with the Faith of the whole Church Universal, helps you sustain your resolve to move from your false self (a closet full of broken promises and bad dreams) to your true self (having in you the mind of Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5). This Sacrament is instituted by Christ and provided to the Church Universal to forgive sins but also to give you the grace you need to sweep your false self away (at least until the next day.)
  • Individually, seeking God daily in whatever comes your way is a way of keeping your house clean of dust and the rugs refreshed. You can ask for forgiveness for all your sins, but it is only your petition for mercy to the Father. When you also add the Sacrament of Reconciliation to that mix, where two or three are gathered in His name, He is there. You add the intercession of the whole, living Body of Christ to your individual petition of mercy to the Father and ask for the strength to become what you read in Chapter 4 of St. Benedict’s Rule (above).  I recommend you read Chapter 4 every day. Every day!
  • It is important to have the mindset to make all things new each day in your Morning Offering of the day to seek God wherever you go and to provide you with the energy to listen with the “ear of the heart” to what God says during your prayers of Eucharist, Rosary, Lectio Divina, Liturgy of the Hours, Reading Scripture, Meditation on the Life and Suffering of Christ, and prayers of intercession to Mary and the Saints so that you can keep your closet swept as they tried to keep theirs clean.
  • You can clean your closet of imperfections and the rust of Original Sin with, through, and in Jesus Christ alone, in union with the Holy Spirit, to the glory of the Father.
  • Return to your roots and keep your closet clean of all sin, as best you can. The Cistercian Way, as I know it in my journey of Faith, allows me to focus on humility and obedience to God’s will as directed by The Church Univeral, in union with my local Bishop in Pensacola-Tallahassee in union with those of Good Shepherd in Tallahassee, Florida who are gathered in praise and thanksgiving to the Father for the gifts of Faith, Hope, and Love.

So, having survived all these ideas, what does your closet look like? If Christ came over to your house for a visit and asked to see your closet, what would it look like?


Praise be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who is to come at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen. –Cistercian doxology

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