The Gift of Simplicity

February 4, 2008


I read this on the website of St Rita in Arizona a Benedictine community of women. I thought it was good to hear some reflections on “simplicity” this is a principle that I have been inhabiting and is inhabiting me. Last night I spoke at our evening gathering at Harehills Lane about the need to de-clutter and find simpler ways of living and relating as the people of God. There are some re-occurring themes, that travel along with simplicity. Time, Space. Listening, Attentiveness, Thankfulness, Slowing down, retreat in the heart and so on………….I enjoyed reading from the website of these dear sisters. That are seeking to work out the “rule of Benedict”

“We have less of many things than is customary in our culture. No TV beyond an occasional feast-day film. We don’t call our best friend at the end of a trying day to complain about the boss. We don’t plough through acres of email or go to the mall for a new outfit to enhance the new me. No career ladder to climb. We left behind the cell phone, check-book, credit cards, frequent flyer miles, book clubs, students or colleagues or buddies in the carpool, wardrobe, boyfriends, and a few other items of interest. We left behind a culture that offers dozens of ways of making us feel important. When this issue arose, the disciples asked Jesus, “What then shall we have?” Leaving aside for the moment the ultimate recompense of the Kingdom of God, we are offered the gift of simplicity.”

SIMPLICITY of form and space.
Our chapel is serenely plain, our monastic spaces are well-designed and free of clutter. We revel in an environment suited to an uncluttered life.

SIMPLICITY of heart.
We surrender affectation of manner and the need to impress.

SIMPLICITY of desire.
We seek to set our longings toward God in the face of his Christ. Simplicity can translate into listening, into attentiveness.We listen to the Word of God in liturgy, and in quiet prayer. We absorb the times and seasons of the days and years, letting ourselves be taught by the wisdom of the natural world. We hear the clamour in our own hearts, asking the primordial questions pressing for new and personal answers. We search for the needs of Christ in the needs of our sisters and those of the world.