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.



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