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May 26

Christian Simplicity and Integrity

In a continuing effort to expose Catholics and mainline Protestants to Quaker wisdom, here’s another sampling from Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s 1972 edition of Faith and Practice.

"A life centered on God will be characterized by integrity, sincerity and simplicity. It need not be cloistered and may even be a busy life, but its activities and expressions should be correlated and directed toward the simple, direct purpose of keeping one’s communication with God open and unencumbered by that which is unessential. Simplicity is best approached through a right ordering of priorities."

"Simplicity consists not in use of particular forms but in avoiding self-indulgence, in maintaining humility of spirit and in keeping the material surroundings of our lives directly serviceable to necessary ends. This does not mean that life need be poor and bare or destitute of joy and beauty. All forms of art may aid in the attainment of the spiritual life, and often the most simple lines, themese or moments, when characterized by grace and directness, are the most beautiful."

Integrity, essential to all communication between man and man between man and God, has always been a basic goal of Friends. Great care should be observed in speech. Factual statements should be as accurate as possible, without exaggeration or omission."

"Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the ‘virtue of religion.’ Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor. ‘You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.’ ‘Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.’"

"Temperance is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will’s mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable. The temperate person directs the sensitive appetites toward what is good and maintains a healthy discretion: ‘Do not follow your inclination and strength, walking according to the desires of your heart.’ Temperance is often praised in the Old Testament: ‘Do not follow your base desires, but restrain your appetites.’ In the New Testament it is called ‘moderation’ or ‘sobriety.’ We ought ‘to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world.’"

– Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1807 and 1809

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