My high-school math teacher introduced me to the concept of K.I.S.S., or “Keep it Simple Silly.” It was his way of helping us boil down numeric equations to a manageable level.
I’ve found the K.I.S.S. method helpful in other areas, too, including the spiritual life. Recently, a friend reached out following the tragic death of basketball star Kobe Bryant. She’d read a Facebook post I’d written saying I’d be praying for his soul. Why, she’d asked? I wanted to respond keeping K.I.S.S in mind.
Inevitably, I shared an article explaining the Catholic view in depth, including Scripture passages she’d appreciate. However, her response showed me that, despite my intentions, I’d betrayed the K.I.S.S. rule. “I struggled to understand some of this article,” she said. “I’ve always thought the Gospel was so simple.”
The Gospel IS a simple message at its base, but now I felt stuck. I thought of the Adoration chapel I visit weekly, and how simple everything becomes for me there. But how could I begin to communicate the simplicity of walking into chapel each week and gazing upon our Lord? To transmit the warmth of receiving his uncomplicated, pure love? To translate the reality of being in the midst of Jesus’ body, blood, soul and divinity, in the real presence of that very simple but profoundly mysterious, consecrated host?
When another friend had questioned me about praying for the dead earlier, she’d concluded that while she still didn’t understand the practice, “Prayer is always a good thing, so, keep praying!” We can always find something common to embrace.
Our Catholic faith is simple, but simultaneously, simply profound. Our only recourse to complication might be in turning to the One who alone can move a muddled heart.
In the “Magnificat” meditation for Feb. 12, Fr. Jacques Philippe suggests how to keep our hearts pure and undefiled. “The most powerful guard of a pure heart is the spirit of faith by which we see God’s hand in everything that comes to us … this is what the saints did, and (it) made them free.”
Oh, that we might become more aware of how each moment of our day comes from God’s hand, including those in which we feel unable to explain ourselves. In these moments, we can focus our attention back on Jesus, who alone can solve all maladies and misfires.
I think of another brilliant rumination of KISS, from Mother Teresa. “Pain and suffering have come into your life,” she once said, “but remember pain, sorrow, suffering are but the kiss of Jesus – a sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you.”
Above the monstrance at our church’s small Adoration chapel, a crucifix hangs. In that simple image, the complications of life disappear, returning me to our Lord’s beautiful essence. There, I come as close as possible, this side of heaven, to feeling true peace.
Thank you, Jesus, for your KISS of life. May it penetrate my being as I leave the Adoration chapel each week, better equipped to bring your simple, pure love into the world.
Q4U: How did you try to simplify something that has become complicated through focusing on Jesus?