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Gift to be simple

by davesandel on January 3rd, 2012

1 John 3:1-3

See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.  Yet so we are … What we shall be has not yet been revealed … Everyone who has this hope based on Jesus makes himself pure, as Jesus is pure.

Another word for purity might be simplicity.  In Everything Belongs, Richard Rohr writes:

Salvation often feels like a kind of universal amnesty, a total forgiveness of ourselves and all other things.  True contemplation, true religious experience, dissolves the fortress of “I” by abandoning its defenses.  It looks out from a place of perfect simplicity.  You can’t stay there, I know, but if you know this simplicity once, it is enough for a whole lifetime.  If the veil parts once and you know life is radically okay, then you are – to use the normal Christian language – a child of God.  You are in union.  There is nothing to prove.  Nothing to attain.  Everything is already there. (p. 88)

As Paul writes, sin loses its power over me and death loses its sting.  And as John says out of his own experience, when God’s love replaces that power and that sting, we will “make ourselves pure.”

Suddenly yesterday there was a coat of pure white snow on the ground.  It came in a moment.  Today the sun is shining bright and warm, and melting the driven snow.  God is in them both.

“Making myself” pure means giving myself over to the hot purifying salve of God’s love.  God is patient with me, because He loves me. Simplicity of mind and will move me toward God rather than away.  Rohr reminds me that I can’t stay there, but what I discover there of being loved – by God’s simple, pure love – is enough for a lifetime.

We give thanks to you, Lord, for you are good.  We are grateful for all the good things you give us.  Enlarge our gratitude, expand the territory we find to give over to you.  You increase as we decrease, as we find the home you’ve made for us, resting in the palm of your hand.

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