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Can we Be Too Simple?

Martha distracted, Mary focused, a busy house.

From the Canvas discussion for my Mimetic Teaching intensive:

We were discussing Pascal’s statement, “Forgetfulness of the world and of everything, except GOD. He is only found by the ways taught in the Gospel.” You asked, “Am I making it too simple?” I contend that it is impossible to do so because Christ is simple and He is the one thing needful.

I think of it in light of Mary and Martha as presented in Luke 10: Mary’s mind has descended into her heart and she sits simply at the feet of the one thing needful. Martha’s mind has been pulled out of her heart and into her head or maybe even into the world by all her cares and anxieties.

Bringing the mind into the heart

Our minds chase distractions like dogs chase squirrels. We need to focus them by attending to our prayers, slowing them down, and concentrating them on the One Needful thing: Christ. Then and only then can we discover and live in the light of the truth that “In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Our minds are not in our hearts when they jump from one thing to the next, we become anxious or greedy (irascible or concupiscent, angry or lustful), or otherwise lose the orderly simplicity that is the peace of God within us.

When we teach, we are prone to create this very problem for our students. We don’t think they will perform if they are not anxious about grades or approval or if they are not greedy for success and worldly goods.  So we deliberately call their minds out of or away from their hearts.

Earthly beauty can draw us to Christ when we realize that it is a shadow of a feature of His radiance.

Earthly trials can draw us to Christ when we cry out to God to unite us to Himself and carry us through them.

But if beauty distracts us to itself, it becomes an idol and pulls our minds out of our hearts. If trials distract us to themselves they become demonic and chase our minds out of our hearts.

Let us learn and teach our students to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds!

Let me conclude with what I mean as an encouragement but what could be a distraction. Mimetic or incarnational teaching presents endless types of pursuing the one thing needful. It is teaching in the form of Christ the incarnate Logos.

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