It has taken me a bit to catch up on the hot topics of St. Blog’s parish. Seems the Episcopalians created quite a stir with their recent gathering. Dave Hartline has an interesting report covering the issues.
In my own backyard, Washington D.C. has a new bishop. Amy Welborn has a good summary of the news about Bishop Wuerl.
However, the blog that has my attention this morning is Fr. Jim Tucker of Dappled Things. He offers six steps to jumpstart your spiritual life. So often we approach our spiritual life in the passive mode. We are spiritual couch potatoes. We expect to go to Mass on Sundays and have the Church “fill’er up”. We are then disappointed when we don’t feel spiritually fulfilled. That is a very “me-centered” spirituality. The point is not to find all those warm fuzzy feelings. The point is to love and serve God with all our heart, all our mind, and all our soul because he is our God. Fr. Jim states:
We find that some of the most "spiritual" saints went through long periods of time in which they "felt" nothing spiritual -- times of dryness, lack of consolations, periods during which their steady prayer and good works weren't "rewarded" in this life with lovely "spiritual feelings." Paradoxically, they came to see these times as moments of great intimacy with God, because their religious acts, their prayer, and their obedience to the Commandments were done purely out of love for God, not for hope of "feeling good" after doing them. In other words, it can happen that we are in very good spiritual shape, and not feel it... and vice versa we can feel very "spiritual" and in fact be spiritually dead. Grace and charity are not physical phenomena, and so you can't necessarily "feel" them
That said, Fr. Jim goes on to offer six steps to make our spiritual life more active. He recommends daily Mass, confession, private prayer, Eucharistic adoration, mini-pilgrimages to a local holy place, and reading Scripture. None of these are monumental tasks. Yet they require us to put God on our daily calendar of activities.
The kids are out of school now. I know both they and I need time to unwind and enjoy the lazy days of summer. Yet I also know how easy it is to slip into a habit of slothfulness. I expect each of us to daily engage in activities that nourish the mind, the body, and the soul. Fr. Jim’s plan will certainly point us in the right direction for taking care of our souls.