I now own a cell phone.

People who have been reading my stuff for a few years know how I love the simple lifestyle, ala St. Francis of Assisi. I've always wanted an uncluttered and free life. I didn't want ringing, beeping, and vibrating things disturbing my prayer time. And for the sake of humility (or so I thought), I didn't want the status symbol of a cell phone hanging from my belt.

So except for my computer where I write my books, for many years I've avoided all sorts of personal gadgetry, equipment, and other luxuries: no car, no cellular, no beeper, no wristwatch, no walkman, no girlfriend, etc.

But slowly, I had to face harsh reality.

My once friendly, gentle, and otherwise mentally balanced staff of seventy-five people -either working forSHEPHERD'S VOICE (publisher of this book), or my Catholic community, or ANAWIM (our work for the poor) - have become more and more violent these past few months.

I hear screams like, "Where were you? Planet Mars?! We've been looking all over the world for you these past three days!" Suicide attempts have been reported to me. A few have been acting weird every time the moon is full. And I have received a few death threats from otherwise very loving people, if I don't get a cell phone.

I've realized that there is one law above every other law. Yup, even above my desire for simplicity. Or prayer. Or humility. It's called the demand of love.

If I love these people, I'm going to get a cell phone. Whether it'll interfere with my simple lifestyle, my prayer life, and my great humility. (You see, I'm the most humble person in the world. I get awards for my profound humility. You know, I'm so humble that blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...)

What does love demand in your life?

Disturbing your prayer time because your little son wants you to carry him? Not attending your prayer meeting this week because its Mom's birthday? Saying "yes" to a leadership position even if you really want something low-key? Saying "no" to an abusive friend even if everything about you wants to say yes?

For me, it was the simple act of getting a cell phone.

I also got myself a girlfriend who later became my wife, but that's another chapter in this book.

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