The gospel message is the fundamental guideline for Christianity and for the spiritual life. It is very simple. Its simplicity precludes our proclivity for complicating it. We take various aspects of it and then explain them, and then explain our explanations, and then explain that, etc., etc. Thus we become mired in all the explanations. We become hypnotized by them. Instead of trying to expand our comprehension of the spiritual life the gospels try to contract, narrow, and simplify it all.
Paul was the first expander and explainer and he did a wonderful job. But the message of the gospels is the message of Your words, Your teachings, Your actions. They are Christianity in a nutshell. They are guides to the spiritual life in the simplest most uncomplicated form. In its gospel expression what could be simpler than Your summation of the law and all the prophets: “Love God with all your heart, soul, and strength; and your neighbor as yourself.” Through the ages the expansions upon this sentence have filled volumes, but its statement remains clear and simple.
The poor, the meek, the lowly, the suffering, the peacemakers – all of them You called blessed. The message is simple: “Go, and do likewise.” The message is simple: “Forgive 70 times seven.” The message is simple: “Fear not;” “Believe in Me;” “Do this in memory of Me” – all simple! It is we who add commentaries, explanations, and analyses to the simple – and we always will! It is, in reality, what I do in these letters all the time.
It is as if it’s necessary for me to explain my own understanding of the gospel message and all its nooks and crannies to myself and (get this) to You. I poke, prod, and pinch myself to see what happens and I expand upon it, analyze it, and explain it to You. It is a compulsion I’m sure that was felt by other individuals who expanded upon the gospel message. But it’s good to step back and meditate on the simplicity of where it all came from.