Enjoying And Exercising Our Faith
While those times of enjoyment are wonderful, just like in the physical life, most of us need a bit more exercise spiritually. I know I certainly do, and just like in the physical realm, the "no pain~ no gain" theory also applies to the spiritual realm. Our souls need a workout if they are going to live.
I happen to be in one of those workout modes right now. What I find amazing sometimes is what God will use to whip us into shape. For me right now, He is using teenagers (and some of their parents). I work in the world of what is known as supplemental education, and in these parts it is final exam time. Every teenager within a 20 mile radius of this learning center wants help with studying for exams! Well the schedule is what the schedule is and the times they want are not always the times we have available. But teens being who they are~ most of them not being able to see past their own little worlds, have some difficulty with this. What is this doing to me? Well my knee jerk reaction is to get a little whiny and cranky myself (and I am sorry to say, I have). After I have my tantrum when no one is around, I realize what it is that God is trying to do for my good. So I tell Him I am sorry and ask if we can start again.
In thinking, praying and meditating on all this, I realize how very important my faith and spiritual life are in terms of living life in general. Now that sounds like a "no kidding" kind of statement, but I also realize in these times of spiritual workout, how easy it is to begin to let my spiritual life slide.
When I completed my Rachel's Vineyard retreat, the team and facilitator talked about how important it is to have a formula for your spiritual life. That formula is different for everyone. For me, it consists of daily Mass and at least weekly adoration before the Blessed Sacrament (although I do try to get there more often when possible). Morning and Evening prayer with Magnificat is also a staple for me. That's my formula; it works for me. Yours may be different. The important thing is to stick with it. In Rachel's Vineyard, they used the analogy of a baby and what happens if you don't feed the baby~ it gets sick and could die. Our spiritual life is no different; we need to feed our faith as well or it will get sick and eventually die.
The Evil One knows all of this as well, and he can be very slick in the ways he attacks. For me, and I imagine for many, it starts with little things chipping away at that formula; "I don't need to go to Mass today, I'm too tired to pray evening prayer, and then it begins to snowball. In my own life, I find that when I stay away from the sacrament of Reconciliation for too long, those little things become a huge boulder that flattens me before I have time to get out of the way!
I guess my point is that we all need to remain spiritually fit so that we can fight the enemy in our own personal lives as well as fight the good fight in the grand scheme for God's kingdom here on earth.
Those darling teenagers I talked about earlier... well I guess I should thank them for being the saint~makers that they are.
So let us enjoy our faith when God allows, and rise up to the challenge of exercising it when He calls us to do that too. Like any good task master, He is right there with us every step of the way.
Remember: No Pain~No Gain! So go ahead~ drop and give Our Lady 10! (Hail Mary's)
Abbot Joseph of Word Incarnate has an excellent post related to what I talked of here. In his post Surround Sound, he has used an excerpt from a book on writing books and shows how the author's analogies can be related to our spiritual lives.