‘Simple’ theology

Several years ago we received a mailshot from CAFOD (the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) urging us to ‘live simply.’ The more I thought about it – attracted as I am by the notion – I couldn’t help but come to the conclusion that I had no idea what they were on about.

Simplicity, might be one of those notions we toss about on the sea of ideas without really understanding what on earth it really means. Furthermore my straightforward, and initial analysis, led me to suspect that the modern western world is rigged against the whole idea of simplicity; we ‘simply’ have too many choices and, our products and services are frequently characterised by complexity. It is complexity, not simplicity, that draws us in. 

Simplicity was put on the back burner, relegated to a category called ‘nice word, vague concept.’ Until last month:

Reading the Rule of Taize I stumbled across a slice of Brother Roger’s characteristic wisdom:

Simplicity is found in the free joy of a brother who gives up being obsessed by his own progress and failures, in order to keep his eyes fixed on the light of Christ.

So what can we deduce?

Simplicity is a grace given to us when we gaze at Christ. Simplicity is a joy. Simplicity has absolutely nothing at all to do with the modern preoccupation with notions of success and failure. Simplicity is a spiritual and inward grace leading to outward manifestations. 

Thank you Brother Roger, for your simple wisdom!



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