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What it really means to be “Spiritual”

man wearing jacket standing on wooden docks leading to body of water

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Devotional Thought of the Day:

My friends, you are spiritual. So if someone is trapped in sin, you should gently lead that person back to the right path. But watch out, and don’t be tempted yourself. 2 You obey the law of Christ when you offer each other a helping hand. 3 If you think you are better than others, when you really aren’t, you are wrong.  Galatians 6:1-3

Finally, there is a mind-boggling mystery about agape which we must look into. Somehow when we love we really give ourselves away. We do not just give of our time or our work or our possessions. No, we give ourselves. How can this be? How can I put myself in my own hands and hand it over to you?

430    Jesus, may I be the last in everything … and the first in love.

There are people who claim to be spiritual, not religious.  I get it, organized religion is a challenging thing to be part of, and I am a pastor. (Not to mention having a role in the bureaucracy!)

I often wonder what it means to be spiritual because when I ask, the answers are more nebulous, very loosely defined. Some might even say to be like Jesus, loving everyone.

The passage above in red, from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the people of Galatia, puts some meat to the skeleton of “being spiritual.” Spirituality doesn’t turn a blind eye to sin, it gently restores the sinner. It walks with them, working to bring about their healing, revealing to them that God will forgive them.

This is spirituality, this is the point of holiness, and why it makes a dramatic impact in not just your life, but in lives. This is the greatest gift you can give someone, a gift you can give to family, neighbors, co-workers, and even your enemies.

This, of course, is easier said and done, which is where the other two readings from this morning come into play. In order to see this spirituality grow in our lives, we have to put the other person’s good before our own. We have to think of their eternal welfare as being more important than our comfort.

If this is what it means to be spiritual, then I am all for it, but we need to pray more, and spend more time in scripture, and receive the sacrament as often as possible. We need to know the comfort of the Holy Spirit, we need to find the strength of God in our lives, to set aside all of our own self-centeredness. But it is there, in the confidence of knowing God’s presence, that this all occurs, that this all happens.

This is spirituality, to love them as Paul loved the Jewish people who would give up his life and soul to save.

It is time for this kind of spirituality to infect the world again… starting with you and me…

Lord have mercy on us all! AMEN!

 

Peter Kreeft, The God Who Loves You (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004), 67.

Escriva, Josemaria. The Way . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

In the Midst of Trauma…You cling to Christ!

Devotional & Discussion THought fo the Day:Dawn at Concordia
7  Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8  He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 9  God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:7-9 (NLT)

855         Everything may collapse and fail. Events may turn out contrary to what was expected and great adversity may come. But nothing is to be gained by being perturbed. Furthermore, remember the confident prayer of the prophet: “The Lord is our judge, the Lord gives us our laws, the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us.” Say it devoutly every day, so that your behaviour may agree with the designs of Providence, which governs us for our own good.  (1)

Twelve years ago, this Sunday, I walked into Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Yucca Valley, and began another transition in my life.  I had been the pastor of a great -non-denomination church in the same town, and served as a hospice chaplain there as well.  It is in the latter experiences that I came to appreciate what I had dismissed for years.  The role of liturgy, especially in regards to repetition done with meaning and emphasis.  All repetition is not vain, itcan easily become so, but it can also become that which drives the message deeply into our heart, past the mind’s memory which can fail, and often does.

I learned this as I would visit people with dementia, or alzheimers, or who were on pain meds to deal with their broken, dying bodies.  They wouldn’t remember my name, or often those around them, but when it came time to pray, something miraculous happened.  Voces that only mumbled would strengthen, their tongues loosen when we read the 23rd psalm.  They would have a sense of calm strength as we recited the Apostles Creed, and oh would their bodies and voices resonate the Lord’s Prayer, or when we would sing “Amazing Grace”, or “It is well!”  Oh and the peace with which they would savor the Lord’s Body and Blood!

In those moments, they found their connection to God, they remembered, deep in their heart and soul, His love.  It for a second or two – or for an magnificent moment, broke through the haze……and they found themselves in the presence of God.

This is exactly what each of us needs, every moment, every day.  To find ours in communion with God, to be Christ’s partner’s. To know His presence to the depth of our souls, to see it shatter the darkness.  This is the glory of Christ, shared with us!

I love what St. Josemaria advises us to memorize.  Oddly, it is a very Lutheran passage.

It notes that God is our judge, that His laws are the ones which govern us, by which we will be judge.  (this is the “Lsw” of “Law and Gospel”)

It then notes that He is our Lord, our King, the One who takes responsibility for us, and will rescue us from the penalty of that law.  (the “Gospel” part”)

We need to know this – we need to have it ingrained on our hearts, our minds, our soul.

We need the fear of being judged, and the calmness that knowing He has saved us brings. We need to cling to Christ in those times where our bodies, our minds, and yes our souls fail us.  To cling to him like someone who thought they were drowning clings to the life guard.  Or perhaps more approariately put – we relax when He clings to us..

May you this day, as you cry out for his mercy, realize that He will keep you strong… that He is faithful to His promises, that He has bound you to Jesus, and therefore you cling to Him.  In that place – there is a peace that cuts through any darkness.

AMEN.

Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 3503-3507). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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