Brian’s Reflection: Monday, February 27, 2012
In character, in manner, in style, in all things,
the supreme excellence is simplicity.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, poet; he was
born on this date, 1807.
God bless the Benedictines. A “simple” understanding of the Gospel. A ”simple” understanding of Christian/Human community. A “simple” and clear understanding of Simplicity. I can’t tell you how ….. though I have usually not succeeded … my life has been empowered by trying to emulate Simplicity. Oh, I’ve had far too much stuff … I’m always delighted by the creativity and imagination of human beings!
But there is another aspect of Simplicity. I call it simply “Live Free”. Things come; Let them go … when that is appropriate or called for. I’ve surrounded myself all my Life with lovely, beautiful things … lovely and beautiful to me. But I learned not to depend on them, or to idolize them. None of those things was a foundation for Happiness or Joy or Contentment. Things of this World are always transitory … that is the nature of this dubious gift of Mortality. But the transitory realities of being Human always have their exhilarating blessings if we can but “see” them. I have learned that Life is enormously enhanced by “sitting loosely” with Earthly Things.
I remember the first time I went to Gethsemane Abbey, where Thomas Merton lived. I sat in the balcony for Compline, in a darkened chapel. But I could see the Simplicity … little “decoration”. It it’s own way, such it is with St. Augustine’s Chapel at Holy Cross Monastery (where I was ordained both Deacon and Priest). And the chapel at Vail’s Gate of the Sisters of St. Helena.
Every chapel or place of worship is a metaphor for the human soul. If it so designed that the eyes and heart and mind don’t fly directly to the core … to that which sucks us into the Love of God … then it fails.
Longfellow points us to the path of Ecstasy … a simple Life. Which is to day: Never become encumbered. As Jesus did, always be ready to let go of Life … there is always a rising to a rich new one. That is the message of Death and Resurrection.