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Spiritual Direction #16



Life in our modern world seems to have become overly complex. Our faith, relationships, politics, pastimes, and values have become complicated by agendas, opinions, social media, materialism, globalization, and the advances in science and technology.

But if you ask an older person the secret of their life or longevity, their answer is often wonderfully simple: Keep short accounts; be thankful; smile. Perhaps the spiritual discipline of simplicity needs to be revived.

There is a famous story told by Jerome, about John the evangelist. At the end of his life, too infirm to walk and too weak to preach, he would simply repeat the phrase, “Little children, love one another”. When asked why he was so persistent, he simply replied “Because it is the Lord’s command, and if this only is done, it is enough”.

John, it seems, was emulating his Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who simplified the 613 commandments in the Old Testament to just two: Love God and love your neighbour (Matthew 22:37-40).

Recently, a friend of mine asked a seasoned minister for his advice concerning a complicated season in church life. I suspect he was expecting a ten-point plan. Instead, he received a one-word answer: Forgive. The wise among us keep it simple.

Do you find yourself overwhelmed by the complexities of life?

Have you simplified your life goal to one short statement?

What is the ‘one thing’ that you really desire?


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