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Simplicity

“To undertake this reverse orientation and remain ever true to Christ, our hearts must be committed to Christ first and foremost. In the original Greek text of verse 5, the word aplóteti (“sincerity”) connotes “singleness, simplicity, being uncompounded, pure, or even sound.” The Lord requires this of us, for “no one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Mt 6:24).” (Dynamis 10/21/2021)


“Learning to live as the servant of Christ, rather than the master of humanity, is the beginning of integrity. To gain our souls we must lose the whole world. Strangely, in the mystery of the Kingdom of God, when we gain our souls, we also gain the whole world as well – in simplicity and truth. Then things will be revealed to be what they are and God will be “all in all.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“We like to overcomplicate things as human beings. Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 11:3 not to complicate the simplicity of Christ. The simple truth is our faith is a binary faith, meaning that we are either with Christ or not with Christ at any given moment in our lives. There is no in-between, though we delude ourselves with nuance that does not exist. Christ does not want us to end up like the goats He describes in Matthew 25: 31-46. Therefore, He permits us to be broken due to our sins, because it is in our brokenness that we have the opportunity to turn to Him. No one typically seeks God when life is good. But many turn to God when they suffer.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)


“Isaac Newton once said “Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.” How I resonate with that. Simplicity is the enemy of confusion and chaos…we do live in a complex world, a nuanced world, and a very confusing world. That is our reality and there is no good to come from some escape or pretending this isn’t reality. At the same time, we…are called away from chaos, confusion, and a divided life. We are called to peace, simplicity, and joy. Our current chaos, civil strife, and fear of death makes this wisdom all the more important today!” (Fr. Barnabas Powell)


“Jesus taught humankind the truth of God, being Himself the Incarnate Truth, the Way and Life. Christ's teaching is characterized by clarity and lucidity, simplicity and completeness. Christ is the teacher who backs His teaching with His life….We are called to a humble simplicity of life based in our worship of the greatness and the virtue of our Lord Jesus Christ, not a display of our own virtue. We are called to be immoderate, to follow after Christ with our whole being, and to shed away all of the things in this world, all other pursuits, that might lead us away from Him, or hold us back from this calling, including first and foremost ourselves.” (His Eminence Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh, Fr. Stephen De Young)


“Simplicity is an enduring habit within a soul that has grown impervious to evil thoughts…“The acquisition of virtue in the spiritual life is the fruit of spiritual labor, nurtured by the Spirit. Fasting, prayer, generosity, simplicity, honesty, patience and thanksgiving in all things are not the stuff of happiness machines. They are the stuff of the Kingdom of God, where virtue is revealed in its true glory…Let us live more simply and God will have mercy on us.” (St. John Climacus, Father Stephen Freeman, St. Ambrose of Optina)


“The wisdom of this world and the wisdom of God are not the same thing. God’s wisdom is the true one, without any additives to corrupt it. The world’s wisdom is foolish, even though the simplicity of God’s wisdom makes those who have it appear foolish in the eyes of the world. Believers have received this divine wisdom and thus in this world appear to be fools.” (Origen)


“The law had prescribed a penalty for false swearing, so that the ritual of an oath might hold false testimony in check. . . . But faith removes the need for using an oath. It establishes in truth the dealings of our life. Once the inclination to deceive has been checked, it enjoins simplicity in speaking and hearing. . . . Therefore those who are living in the simplicity of faith have no need for the ritual of an oath. With such people, what is, always is, and what is not, is not. For this reason, their every word and deed are always truthful.” (St. Hilary of Poitiers)


“Simplicity is the antidote to the turmoil of our times. When we surround ourselves with complexity, we subject ourselves to sources of confusion. As we become involved in complications, we no longer see the straight and narrow path of righteousness ahead of us. We view different and divergent roads of enticing possibilities and potentials. But these highways of the world lead us away from following in the footsteps of Christ. They take us off the trail of the cross that He cleared the way for us.” (Fr. Basil)


“I recall once...walking into the church alone…on the ceiling of the church was the icon of the Miracle on the Sea. The icon depicts Jesus providing the disciples with an abundance of fish when, despite their best efforts, they could not catch any. It is an icon of God’s providence. I then reflected on another miracle…The icon of this second miracle on the sea depicts Jesus rebuking the storm that had descended upon the disciples…In both…Jesus is seen bringing calm and peace to a situation in which the disciples were frightened, overwhelmed, or discouraged. I recall unexpectedly getting a bit emotional at that moment when I first beheld that icon in the quietness of the church. Clearly, under the layers of daily business and tasks that typically occupied my mind, there was something else that was tapped into at that moment. There was a peace, simplicity, and hope that filled that space at that moment. At that moment it was a reminder of the simplicity of Christ, of our own weakness, and that I was trying to do too much. It cut through all of the superficial matters that had been occupying my mind. It was a reminder of a truth that so easily gets buried under the layers of our earthly life, responsibilities, fears, and worries.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)


“The primary reason to pursue simplicity in our spirituality is to maintain “the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” (Donald Whitney)

“One of the rewards of following Christ is the simplicity and wonder it brings to life.” (Joseph Stowell) “

We ought to act with God in the greatest simplicity, speaking to Him frankly and plainly, and imploring His assistance in our affairs, just as they happen.” (Brother Lawrence)

"We must be confident in our faith in God; we must believe that He will not abandon us. As long as we seek first the Kingdom of God and trust in His goodness we will be beginning to purify our hearts. It is the inner direction that Christ calls us to; it is a simplicity of values and desires." (Father Spyridon Baily)

“Paul warns us how easy it is for us to overcomplicate our faith to the point where corrupt our thinking when he says in 2 Corinthians 11:3, “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (Sacramental Living Blog)

“…simplicity is a need in human life: It is the human art of finding meaning and joy in the small, natural, and less dramatic things. At its highest, it is a consciousness that sees through the confusions we invent to the essential, uncomplicated reality of life.” (Robert A. Johnson)

“This is your main rule: be simple in all your thoughts, feelings, words, behavior, and your relations with people. Being simple means not in any way allowing artificiality and behaving before people as before God.” (Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) of Bogucharsk)

“Those who have achieved inner simplicity and purity can see even supernatural things, as very simple things — just like natural things. For all things are simple in God, as He Himself is simple. This is what has been revealed to us on earth by His Son, with His own holy simplicity…” (Papa Demetri)

“The meaning of awe is to realize that life takes place under wide horizons, horizons that range beyond the span of an individual life or even the life of a nation, a generation, or an era. Awe enables us to perceive in the world intimations of the divine, to sense in small things the beginning of infinite significance, to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple; to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal.” (Abraham Joshua Heschel)

“Simplicity sets us free to receive the provision of God as a gift that is not ours to keep and can be freely shared with others.” (Richard Foster)

"The virtue of simplicity is not measured by one’s IQ, education, or intellectual potential. Simplicity is guilelessness, honesty, integrity. Often simple- minded people are more advanced in this virtue than others because they have the gift of single- mindedness: instead of sitting there thinking things over, they simply focus all their attention on one simple thing and go for it. Perhaps this is why our Lord said,"I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes” (Matt. 11:25)." (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

“He [Christ] connected"simplicity" with being"childlike." The world of a happy and healthy child is pretty straightforward: full of trust (in God and his/her parents) and wonder (at all the beauty and mysteries of creation). A child like this is rarely torn by competing allegiances, or tormented by anxiety and stress. The child's world is simple: obey those whom it is your duty and joy to obey, for you can trust them, and in that context, be free to explore this wondrous and magical world we live in! Grown-ups tend to be much more complicated people. We have conflicting priorities. We agonize over what to do. We are anxious about the future. We try to serve God and"mammon" at the same time and put our trust in both at once (see Mt 7:24). We let ourselves be pulled apart in many directions.” (Dr. Robert Stackpole)

"As C. S. Lewis put it,"God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers . ” It is true that clever people are usually more prone to self- conceit than are simple folk, but there are many saints who were highly educated but, notwithstanding their remarkable intellect, acquired the virtue of simplicity. Furthermore, simple people can be just as proud as clever people..." (C.S. Lewis, Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

“…a very intelligent and highly educated person can possess, at the same time, by God's grace, a simplicity of heart.” (Dr. Robert Stackpole)

"Simplicity is the opposite of duplicity and hypocrisy…Honesty has a beautiful and refreshing simplicity about it. No ulterior motives. No hidden meanings. An absence of hypocrisy, duplicity, political games, and verbal superficiality. As honesty and real integrity characterize our lives, there will be no need to manipulate others.” (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou, Chuck Swindoll)

“ ‘It’s complicated.’ This statement sums up much of the modern experience. I don’t think the world we encounter is actually complicated – but our experience is. Simplicity is the reflection of an inner world free of conflicts and undercurrents. The truth of the modern inner-world is that it is generally pulled in many directions…The journey of faith thus becomes a movement away from complication.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“From this we now are witnessing the development of two parallel complications in the spiritual condition of mankind. Among the privileged societies there is an increase in secularization, which is the denial of all transcendent values and a reduction of every human concern to genetics or psychology…In a parallel development, less affluent nations experience the total disrespect of human dignity in a different way, namely through the rise of fundamentalist religions. The fundamentalist, feeling insufficiently in control of his life, adopts a form of religiosity that claims power to control God, in hope of controlling the entirety of the society that oppresses him.” (Archbishop Demetrios)

“…with more complicated life styles come more complicated challenges and temptations. In our highly technological age, with internet temptations and easier access to sinful things, we need to fortify ourselves and each other to fight the good fight and avoid such things. We should expect to do hard work in exercising self-control in a world that preaches self-pleasure and claims that hedonism is a human right. In the Garden of Eden, we learned that we could have everything if we submit to our loving, and by the way, healthy God. If we submit to God we can have everything that is good and wonderful, but without God and worshiping ourselves instead we will have only illusions and distortions. The world calls this delusion wisdom, but we know it to be foolishness.” (The Word)

“The call to unceasing prayer is not an invitation to divided consciousness; it does not imply that we pay any less attention to daily realities or retreat from life’s responsibilities…. [It] means being consciously constantly conscious of the presence of God amidst the changing complexion of everyday life." (Debra Farrington)

“The timeless truths we find in the Scriptures apply to today’s complex world." (Hans Finzel)

“While Jesus taught the same message to all, it is the simple and innocent who are open to its message...Simple...does not mean unintelligent, but rather innocent, trusting, and truthful.”(Orthodox Study Bible, Matthew 13:11, Romans 16:17-19)

“Christ's teaching is characterized by clarity and lucidity, simplicity and completeness.” (Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh)

"When we come to accept the providential care of God with childlike simplicity we soon discover that the barriers we encounter in our lives, can in retrospect, come to be numbered among our greatest blessings.” (Rev. Andrew Demotses)

“Simplicity is the nature of great souls” (Papa Ramadas)

“The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.” (Thomas Moore)


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