Skip to main content

Spiritual Push Ups

"No pain, no gain." 

I have heard this statement a million times before.  But what does it really mean when it comes to the spiritual
life? After all in the spiritual life the results aren't as clear cut as in the sports or business world.  In the spiritual life the benefits can sometimes be harder to identify, especially in this fast paced world where one is constantly distracted.  How does one push forward in the spiritual life despite this inertia?

For starters the spiritual life is not a series of approved techniques and methods that enhance feelings of tranquility. Many Eastern spiritualities deal with emptying the mind of all distractions. As a Catholic Christian even though I respect these traditions I am not too concerned with this. For me spirituality is not just a state of mind, it is much more than that.  True, authentic spirituality has to do, as the word "spirit" implies with the spirit of a person; that intangible but very real part of every human being, that part which is hidden, that part which will live on forever.

Lately I feel that I have been on a slump in my spiritual life. I feel like I am batting under 200; my prayer times don't seem to give me consolations, I don't enjoy going to mass, and worst of all I loathe saying the daily rosary. It is this last point which I will focus on briefly in this post.

Ever since I came back to my faith the rosary has been a staple of my prayer life. I have made it a habit of saying it daily.  But in the last couple of months I have felt no tangible benefits.  I feel like I am just muttering words.  These times are very arid.  I don't derive much enjoyment or peace from these moments. I find myself looking at the clock or window and wishing that it was all over.  But I keep pressing on. How? God's grace.  God's grace gives me the will to grow; to grow along spiritual lines.  I know that I am doing a good thing and I am growing spiritually.  It is like an athlete who keeps doing their daily regiment of push ups.  They might not see the benefits, but in the long term they are getting stronger despite their feelings.  It is sort of like looking at a mountain close up. From this vantage point the mountain looks like a disorganized heap of stones, but from a distance the mountain reveals its awe inspiring beauty.

Like an athlete, the trick is to "keep on keepin' on especially when the going gets tough. Keep doing those "spiritual push ups" It doesn't always have to feel good to do a good thing.  We live in a "feelings saturated" culture. The general attitude out there right now is contrary to almost everything you just read.



Popular posts from this blog

10 Great Quotes from The Book of Sirach

The book of Sirach is a book that is often overlooked in the bible. This is unfortunate since this book contains many wise, practical saying on how to live a virtous life. The book was believed to have been written between 200-175 B.C.E.

Here are ten quotes that I feel best reflect this timeless work.

1."Do not become a beggar by feasting with\borrowed money, when you have nothing in your purse." Sirach 18:33

2."In all you do remember the end of your life, and then you will never sin." 7:36

3.."Glory and dishonor come from speaking; a man's tongue is his downfall." 5:13"

4."A wise man is cautious in everything." 18:27

5."One who trusts others is light minded." 19:4

6."If you pursue justice, you will obtain it and wear it as a glorious robe." 27:8

7."Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but no many as have fallen because of the tongue." 28:18

8." In all of your work be industrious and no sickness will…

George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and The Afterlife

I was stunned, as was most of the world was when I heard about the passing of George Michael on Christmas day.  Michael possessed enormous talent was and one of the most successful acts in the 1980's and early 90's

Shortly after Carrie Fisher died.  Fisher was famous for her legendary role as princess Leia from the Star Wars movies.  Strangely her mother also died the day after.

2016 was a notable year for celebrity deaths.

Some names include Prince, Glenn Frey, David Bowie,  Doris Roberts, Alan Rickman, and Muhammad Ali.

As a Catholic these deaths got me thinking about the transient nature of life and the inevitability of death.

Marcus Aurelius, the stoic, emperor, philosopher king wrote about the passing nature of life as he reflected, "Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away."

Even though I agree mostly with Aurelius&…

Me vs. The Almighty

There is a famous scene in the Bible where Jacob wrestles with God.  Jacob fights with God until God takes out a bone from Jacob's thigh. Interestingly, God eventually relents and stops fighting with Jacob. After this dramatic incident, Jacob is renamed Israel which literally means, "he who struggles with God."

I can relate to this story.  Many times in my life I have argued with God. I still do. (my wife can attest to that.) Many times I have criticized his tactics, his ways, and his wisdom. In my worst moments, I have even used choice language. I have a complicated relationship with God. Like Jacob, I have wrestled with God. (thigh bone still intact)

Recently I approached a priest friend of mine and told him of my struggles with God.  I expected that he would chide me for my lack of respect and informality. What this priest said was illuminating and encouraging. He told me that it was OK at times to be angry with God, God understood. He, in fact, encouraged this honest…