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Radical Simplicity

Simplicity

Radical Simplicity
Monday, June 29, 2020

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them [a scholar of the law] tested him by asking, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” —Matthew 22:34-40

The greatest commandment is to love God and the best way I know to love God is to love what God loves—which is everything! Surely this is the way that Jesus loves. To love as Jesus loves, we too must be connected to the Source of love.

My spiritual father Francis of Assisi (1182–1226) was definitely connected to the Source. He truly experienced radical participation in God’s very life. Such practical knowing of his value and true identity allowed Francis to let go of status, privilege, and wealth. Francis knew he was part of God’s plan, connected to creation and other beings, inherently in communion and in love. Francis taught his followers to own nothing so they would not be owned by their possessions. Francis said:

My brothers! My brothers! God has called me by the way of [humility] and showed me the way of simplicity. . . . And the Lord told me what He wanted: He wanted me to be a new fool in the world. God did not wish to lead us by any way other than this knowledge. . . .  [1]

If you don’t live from within your own center of connection and communion with God, you’ll go spinning around many other things. The true goal of all religion is to lead you back to the place where everything is one, to the experience of radical unity with all of humanity and all of creation, and hence to the experience of unity with God, who is the Great Includer of all else.

When you live in pure consciousness, letting the naked being of all reality touch your own naked being, you experience foundational participation. Out of that plentitude—a sense of satisfaction and inner enoughness, a worldview of abundance—you find it much easier to live simply. You realize you don’t “need” as much. You’ve found your satisfaction at an inner place, at a deeper level inside you. You’re able to draw from this abundance and share it freely with others. And you stop trying to decide who is worthy of it, because you now know that you are not “worthy” either. It is one hundred percent pure gift!

References:
[1] The Assisi Compilation, chap. 18. See Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, The Founder (New City Press: 2000), 132–133.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Simplicity: The Freedom of Letting Go (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 1991, 2003), 89

The Great Chain of Being: Simplifying Our Lives (CAC: 2007), MP3 download; and

Richard Rohr: Essential Teachings on Love, eds. Joelle Chase and Judy Traeger (Orbis Books: 2018), 42.

Image credit: Gleaners (detail), Jean-François Millet, 1857, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: The simple soul who each day makes a morning offering of “all the prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day”—and who then acts upon it by accepting unquestioningly and responding lovingly to all the situations of the day as truly sent by God—has perceived with an almost childlike faith the profound truth about the will of God. God’s will for us is clearly revealed in every situation of every day, if only we could learn to view all things as [God] sees them. —Father Walter Ciszek, S. J.
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