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Simplicity - Spiritual Discipline

Three key atti­tudes of heart help to sum­ma­rize this inter­nal focus. If what we have we can receive as a gift from God; and if what we have we know is to be cared for by God; and if what we have can be avail­able to oth­ers when it is clear­ly right and good, then we are liv­ing in the inward real­i­ty of sim­plic­i­ty. But if what we have we feel that we alone have got­ten; and if what we have we believe is up to us to hold on to; and if what we have we can­not make avail­able to oth­ers when it is clear­ly right and good, then we are liv­ing in duplicity.

Always remem­ber that sim­plic­i­ty is both a dis­ci­pline and a grace.

It is a dis­ci­pline because we are called to do some­thing. Sim­plic­i­ty does not just fall on our heads. We are to take up a con­scious­ly cho­sen course of action that involves both group and indi­vid­ual life. It is also a grace: a grace because the life that comes from our efforts is giv­en to us by God. We know this by expe­ri­ence, for the results are always far in excess of the effort we put in. The life which sim­plic­i­ty brings is a super­nat­ur­al gift to be gra­cious­ly received.


In the midst of the Nazi ter­ror, Diet­rich Bon­ho­ef­fer said, ​“To be sim­ple is to fix one’s eye sole­ly on the sim­ple truth of God at a time when all con­cepts are being con­fused, dis­tort­ed, and turned upside-down.”2 Such a focus will set us free from dou­ble-mind­ed­ness and enable us to cut through the Gor­dian knots of life.

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