Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Some random thoughts about the spiritual life

So...I've been thinking a lot about the spiritual life recently and I've come to three conclusions:

1. God wants us to be great saints.
2. Being a great saint means the cross.
3. Being a great saint is possible.

That said, I've been thinking a lot about my own spiritual life. I pray, go to Mass often, try to live a moral life, but am I really pursuing sanctity with the zeal that motivated the saints? How many times do I rush through my prayers? How often do I allow myself to become distracted? Why will I compromise my morality in certain situations or fail to express my faith for fear of ridicule? How can I be so slow to really love my neighbor with the love I should have? Looking at how much I have grown in the spiritual life from when I began caring about the faith gives me hope for the future, but I am far from the heroic virtue of the saints...I think that this summer I've been beginning to realize just how far we're called to go.

Becoming a saint isn't easy...Christianity cannot be separate from the cross. There can be no love without sacrifice. I feel like God is calling me to another level, but I'm afraid of what that might entail. Totally trusting my life to God might mean more discipline, more sacrifice, more prayer, more effort. The saints tell us that it is possible to reach the heights of holiness...no matter how sinful we may have been. God calls us back...He calls us to a radical conversion.

In his writings at the beginning of the third millenium, John Paul II wrote about not being afraid to "put out into deep waters." We are called to become the saints of the third millenium in a very real way. I think there's a very real temptation (for me at least) to leave heroic virtue for others and try to make it to heaven taking a route of mediocrity. Leukwarmness is a real danger. If not us, then who will be the saints?

On the cross, our Lord said, "I thirst." Many saints have written that He is thirsting for love...thirsting for souls. Let us work to slake this great thirst our God has for love.



My suscipe:

Take O Lord and receive my entire mind, heart, understanding and will. Help me to hold nothing back for myself. I make my entire life an offering to you, almighty God. Set my life on fire with your love. May the fire of your love consume my very being that I might make my life every day a sacrificial offering. If I am called to carry the cross help me to run toward it and lovingly embrace it. Lord, you said that no servant is greater than his master so who am I to flee from suffering when you embraced it so lovingly? Help me never to glory in my own accomplishments, but only in the cross of my redeemer. In all things O Lord, behold your humble servant. Let it be done to me according to your will. Amen

And this is just a great quote:

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.
-St. Augustine

3 Comments:

Blogger JonP said...

If you're looking for someone to challenge you, I hear Fr. Thomas Dubay's "Happy Are You Poor: The Simple Life and Spiritual Freedom" might be for you. I have not read it, and not everyone may agree with his rigorous interpretation of Gospel poverty. Even still, I've read many positive comments about it.

I've read his "Authenticity: A Biblical Theology of Discernment", and I recommend it. The topic is discerning spirits. Very insightful.

Also, I have a few tips. Take them for what they're worth. In striving more ardently to become a saint, remember to keep your focus on Jesus. When one's eyes are constantly on himself, problems can happen. Remember, Jesus is the center of the universe and of history. With that as our operating principle (and if we really believe it), our good deeds will naturally follow.

Again, just my opinions. God bless.

10:57 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

Brad,

How beautiful. What a blessing God has given all of us in the gift of each other. He knows that we can't become saints by our own will or our own strength so He touches down near us in the words and actions of each other. What a thought that we, just by accepting and living His will, can become escetalogical(spelling -5)signs to the world so that others think of Him alone when we speak or when we act. Desire Him alone. No more me, Christ alone:O) !!!!

9:46 AM  
Blogger Brad said...

Good call Jon...

8:17 PM  

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