- Psalm 131:1
This week I witnessed ordinary dirt becoming fancified and sculpted into five star worm hotels. "Go on," I thought, watching them throw themselves into the uncomplicated work at hand, "get good and filthy."
I guess if you cornered me on it, that's how I'd define simplicity at this stage of my life - being mentally and physically present for the task in front of me. Wandering thoughts and ruminations do me no darn good, and that is the simple truth. I really believe, in fact, that one of my greatest present day challenges is to keep from overcomplicating my existence.
Having immediate access to an overwhelming barrage of news and entertainment, being accessible 24/7 via my phone or e-mail and all the expectations to keep up with that accessibility, to respond in a timely manner, is a continuous threat to my peace and well being. At any given moment my mental dam is quite vulnerable to collapse, allowing more information than I can or should process to flood my head and spirit.
Vigilance and restraint are imperative: Don't go there. Don't click on that. You are washing the dishes. You are helping your son with his paper on Uzbekistan. Finish that task to the best of your ability. Don't get sidetracked. Don't think ahead. Just Be.
And vigilance and restraint, for me anyway, are impossible without the Jesus Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Some quotes from our Holy Fathers
on the Prayer "Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me"
In the First Epistle to the Thessalonians the Apostle Paul says: "Pray without ceasing."
Saint John Chrysostom in his speech about sobriety and prayer, says the following: "Brothers, be always occupied with the intellectual prayer and do not move far away from God until you receive God's mercy and pity. Never ask for anything but for His infinite mercy and this is enough for your salvation. When asking for His mercy, cry aloud in entreaty with humble and contrite heart from morning to night and, if possible, during the whole night, saying unceasingly: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us."
Saint John Climacus says the following: "Win the enemies in your mind with the name of God. You will not find any other weapon more effective than this! Similarly you will manage both to appease your passions inside yourself and to efface them with the aid of the prayer."
Saint Seraphim of Sarov says: "When mind and heart are united in prayer and the soul is wholly concentrated in a single desire for God, then the heart grows warm and the light of Christ begins to shine and fills the inward man with peace and joy. We should thank the Lord for everything and give ourselves up to His will; we should also offer Him all our thoughts and words, and strive to make everything serve only His good pleasure."
Saint Isichios writes about the prayer: "Through the constant remembrance and invocation to Jesus Christ, a holy condition is created in our mind. This happens, if we appeal to Jesus Christ with fervor, crying aloud towards Him in entreaty day and night, so that repetition leads to habit and habit becomes second nature!."
What will save me from fear, envy, pride, despair, from drowning in my own insecurities, impulses and anxieties?
Simplicity, gratitude (a constant awareness of one's blessings), and submission to the perfect will of God.
I should tatoo that to my forehead.
Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Do you have a photo or reflection on simplicity to share? Please link to your site in the comment section below! Next week's "The Way I See It" theme will be: Wisdom.