Thursday, March 3, 2011

Confounding Spiritual Confusion

My son and I were on our way to a late night swim practice.  We didn't have time to say our prayers at home so we were reciting them in the truck.  Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the direction of my wife we began the spiritual practice of praying the 15 prayers of St. Bridget of Sweden and we started them on January 1.  Just as an aside follow the link and learn a little about these prayers--they are a neat approach to meditating on the Passion of Our Lord.

I passed the Methodist church and noticed the sign "Spiritual ADD"

I agree 'Spiritual ADD'  exists.   It exists because there is very little Spiritual discipline.  Spiritual discipline is lacking because, in the end---people do not want to sacrifice. 
Funny isn't it? Jesus' sacrifice is fundamental to my soul--and yet I don't want to sacrifice.  I don't want to remover any external stimuli that are causal or, (at the very least), contributing to my spritual ADD.  I don't want to do the work of sacrifice and exercise patience.  I want a quick, drive thru result to my overnight pursuit of God. 

Know why money is often an issue in congregations?  Because people don't come to church in order to enter deeper into the sacrificial offering.  They want to 'get' something, not give.  Unfortunately many clergy fall into this trap of thinking they are the ones who have to give the people something.  And, before you know it--another Sunday went gliding by--the sermon was empty but at least the raffle tickets were sold!

When I was a young priest I was into all the new approaches to parish life and formation and leadership.  Workshops and mission statements were where it was at.  Looking back it was nothing more than unfocused spiritual ADD.  I am reminded of one diocesan event where hundreds of people were gathered in a hotel banquet room waiting patiently for the speaker to arrive.  He was going to tell us all--clergy and laity and religious--how to re-do or super imagine,(or something really neat) to the church.  He had a book and everything!  It was the latest and greatest way to re-energize everyone.

He never showed up so some priest from the diocese attempted to lead a group discussion.

Satan loves that crap.  That's his approach--confuse and confound and make you think there is 'another way'
There is no other way--Jesus is the Way (remember He even told us!).

Looking back--we should have just celebrated Mass or, at the very least--prayed a Rosary.

So this evening, as my son read the prayers I thought of all the times I failed to do the work of staying focused and disciplined in the spiritual quest. 
I need to go to confession.