“Another thing that recommends simplicity to us in a wonderful way are those words of Our Lord, I confess to you, Father, because you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to little ones (Mt 11:25). I acknowledge this, Father, and thank You that the teaching I learned from Your Divine Majesty, which I am spreading among the people, is enjoyed only by the simple, and that You don’t allow the prudent of this world to understand it; You’ve hidden it from them, if not the words, at least the spirit.” (CCD, volume XII, conference 201).

Vincent de Paul

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Reflection:

  1. Let’s read this text two or three times. It is really important, from my point of view! “The teaching … is enjoyed only by the simple, and that You don’t allow the prudent of this world to understand it.” It could be somewhat difficult to understand the opposition “simplicity-prudence.” Perhaps, as the first reference says, we have to unite “wise and prudent.”
  2. There is in the prayer a triple level that should not be forgotten (nothing strange in other evangelical passages): the Father (from whom the knowledge, the doctrine, the mission), the Son (who, from the Father, spreads the doctrine in Humanity) and the disciples (who must carry out the task undertaken by Jesus Christ). A triple level that focused in the “what” (spread the doctrine), the “how” (in a simple way) and the “with whom” (with the community of followers of Jesus Christ). A quality program, as we would say nowadays.
  3. As “words of encouragement” in the path of simplicity is quite good in this reflection of Mr. Vincent. It may come from the difficulty (theoretical and practical) to be virtuous and, therefore, this reflection is necessary. “I praise you” … “I thank you” … because you allow me to learn this way of being and you push me to act clothed with this virtue … Let’s cheer up!

Questions for dialogue:

  1. What do you think of the dialectic prudence-simplicity?
  2. Should we be simple as doves and/or crafty as snakes?
  3. Where do we find the greatest difficulty in practicing this virtue?
  4. Are our Community Projects simple?
  5. Are our Economic Plans prudent?

Mitxel Olabuenaga, C.M.
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