The Catholic Church has a rich heritage, and deep foundations in theology, philosophy, history, and social thought. This is a true blessing, but it can sometimes make the Catholic faith seem complicated. However, the truth is that holiness doesn’t require a degree in theology. It’s important to remember that simplicity is important as well.
Fr. Brian Geary, a priest of the Diocese of Rockford, stopped by The Inner Life® to discuss simplicity in the life of faith, and how we can embrace simplicity in order to grow in holiness.
“God is simple,” he said. “So simplicity imitates God. And I think the goal for all of us who desire greater simplicity is greater imitation of God.”
Fr. Geary pointed out that life gets complicated because of sin. And the answer to the complications of sin is not spinning in circles with justifications or shame, but moving ever more toward the simplicity of God.
“I mean, when sin entered the world, it got very complicated,” he acknowledged. “We have so many of them that it makes things very complicated, when God really wants simplicity. John, in his letter in the New Testament, said that God is love, and he who lives in love lives in God, and God listens to him. And it sounds very simple, and something we all would love to emulate.”
So how can we live in that love of the Lord? Fr. Geary shared that he has found that he is more focused on the Lord when he spends time in front of the Eucharist.
“It’s about single-mindedness on God,” he emphasized. “We can talk about simplicity as just a human virtue, almost this like life coaching ‘how to simplify your life.’ But when it comes to our Catholic faith, I know from experience when we pray before the Blessed Sacrament, either exposed on the altar in adoration or in the tabernacle, we have very simple thoughts.”
“We leave the church or the chapel and everything makes sense. And then we hit the church door and it all breaks loose. The complications come back. But when we’re in God’s presence, things make perfect sense. And simplicity is something we wish we could bottle in those times before the Blessed Sacrament.”
Since you can’t bottle that simplicity when you leave the adoration chapel, Fr. Geary suggested a place to begin is starting your mornings with prayer. He explained that starting your day focused on the Lord helps you carry that focus into the rest of your day.
Speaking of the impact that starting the day with prayer had in his life, Fr. Geary said, “Once I ordered my life to God, and once I gave him the first fruits of the day, then he filled me with all that I needed.”
“It leaves room for God to act and to speak, when we give him our time, when we give him our silence, when we open ourselves to his action and acknowledge our need for him. And that’s essential for us to live a simple life.”