As noted Catholic author and speaker Matthew Kelly has emphasized, “Simplicity is the key to perfection.” I tend to focus on God and only notice his bigness. I pay attention to his power, his glory, his majesty. But the paradox is that God is as simple as he is complex, as small as he is big. God cares about saints and sinners at all times and places, and he calls us all to be humble.
Prayer often leads me to consider how much I really need in life. What are “needs” and what are mere “wants”? Am I called to a radical poverty or can I be poor in spirit while also a millionaire? These questions can be real stumbling blocks for us. How do I know the answer? How do I live each day knowing that there are so many people around the world who can’t even find food or shelter? How do I just go along my merry way and ignore their suffering, desiring so many things for myself?
I think there’s a balance here. Simplicity seems to be the key. In the Beatitudes, Christ calls us to be “poor in spirit” and he assures us that heavenly riches await us if we become so. But a poverty stricken man without a penny to his name may not necessarily be poor in spirit. Poor he may be, but what if he’s wealthy in the currency of envy, greed, lust, pride, etc.? By the same token, suppose a CEO of a Fortune 500 company with billions in the bank is a person of deep generosity, humility, compassion, and loving service to others.
God knows our hearts. He knows us through and through, and no mask, no excuse can keep him from touching down in the very core of who you really are. The only way for him to lose is for us to say no and to bury ourselves so deeply in distractions and our “stuff” that we can no longer hear his voice.
But in that silence, in the simplicity of genuine love, we commonly stumble upon truth, goodness, and beauty, even when we try to hide. Simplicity is the antidote to the spiritual poison we drink every time we settle for something less than glory.