Honest simplicity

Daily Reading for March 27 • The Third Sunday in Lent

Simplicity means not being complicated, not being double in any way, not deluding oneself or anyone else. The first exercise in simplicity is to accept oneself as one is. There are two tremendous results of this: one is humility; the other is that it enables other people to accept us as we are, and in this there is real charity. People whose demand on others is simple and uncomplicated add to the life of the world. One of the main reasons for devitalization, depression and psychological tiredness is that we make complicated demands on one another. Some people exhaust us. Others make only the slightest demands, and others actually give. . . .

The individual who is simple, who accepts himself as he is, makes only a minimum demand on others in their relations with him. His simplicity not only endows his own personality with unique beauty; it is also an act of real love. This is an example of the truth that whatever sanctifies our own soul at the same time benefits everyone who comes into our life. . . . We cease to want to be rich, successful or popular, and want instead the things that satisfy our deeper instincts: to be at home, to make things with our hands, to have time to see and wonder at the beauty of the earth, to love and to be loved. . . .

To accept oneself as one is; to accept life as it is: these are the two basic elements of childhood’s simplicity and humility. . . we have not the least idea of the miracle of life-giving love that we are. There is no pretence that can approach the wonder of the truth about us, no unreality that comes anywhere near the reality. . . . The acceptance of life as it is must teach us trust and humility.

From “Giving Ourselves Unreservedly to Life” in The Passion of the Infant Christ by Caryll Houselander (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1949).

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