When I reach a point in my spiritual life where everything seems to flow together, I relax and enjoy it. I also give Glory to God and thank Him. I have been in that space for awhile now, and recently I wondered if I am being complacent, when actually, I realized it is not only that I have not stretched myself beyond my long-time practices of the Catholic Faith, but I have let things lapse.
I took an inventory:
Daily Mass - I used to go three times a week, then two times, and now only occasionally.
Sunday Mass - I do make that obligation.
Confession - I used to go every other week, and now I go once every month to month and a half. I know the obligation is much less often than that, but I also know, I need it much more to maintain a healthy spiritual life for myself.
Eucharistic Adoration - I used to go once a week and now it is once a month.
ProLife Involvement - I founded and ran a walkathon for girls/women facing crisis pregnancies and ran it five times. Since that has ended, I have not substituted anything active for it.
Now, granted, I have taken on more work, so I have some justification for all of this, but not enough for my comfort level. When I look at that list above, I panic. How could I let so much lapse? How could I let my Faith erode out from under me, without realizing it until now?
Busy-ness, sloth, and distraction, among others. Busy-ness and distraction are obvious - Do do do; keep up on everything going on with friends, the community, the world, etc. Sloth, on the other hand comes from not doing, i.e., it comes from becoming less intentional with my spiritual growth/life. The process was so subtle, but so is the Devil. How much more will result in my selling my soul to him? I don't want to find out, so I started giving myself a spiritual boost. I went to Adoration more; I still have not gone to Confession; I have gone to Daily Mass, and I have attended a study group on Pope Francis' first encyclical. I have also made friends with a Religious Education teacher, and our conversations are edifying. They help to re-enforce what I hold dear about our Faith. I also contacted the woman in charge of the local Women's Bible Study group.
The Bible study is one that involves several other people, and where there are two or three gathered in Jesus Christ's name, there is Jesus as well. Or, as the old adage goes, there is strength in numbers, so some type of activity with a group is a good idea. I have found it to be helpful in pushing myself along the spiritual path. Examples of groups include:
- Explore and study an encyclical
- Hand out socks and clothing and bath supplies to the homeless once a month
- Explore and study the upcoming Sunday readings each week... and then go out to eat afterward
- Pray together at the local Planned Parenthood
- Take trips together to local churches and/or shrines... Read about them beforehand
- Read and discuss spiritual books
If a group does not exist in your area, consider starting one. Be sure to find one other person to do it with... Strength in numbers again.
Why do I write this?
"..so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who, through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises." ~ Hebrews 6:12 [NABRE]
In other words, I share in the hopes that others who have become less intentional with their spiritual discipline, will receive a wake up call and come back closer to Christ - before it is too late. I also write this to make it more real and compelling for myself.
Here are some other thought provoking quotes about this topic:
There is no place for complacency in a soul confronted with the temptation to turn a blind eye to the plight of the poor and unemployed or the hungry who need to be fed just because you have what they don’t. No excuse for not bothering, not paying attention because you have more important things to think about, more urgent business to attend to, more congenial friends to entertain, more noble causes to pursue, so that, as the writer says, you make “the needy eyes to wait long” for compassion, for the ready hand, for justice you could help obtain. Complacency is contentment with views that are sexist, sexually superior, or with color-prejudice, with social exclusion, with pleasure registered over failure and un-success. All this because as the rich young man in the Gospels we are in the habit of seeking to justify ourselves when we smoothly murmur “And who, just who, is my neighbor?”
To the Psalms we just sang: “Not unto us O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name do we give the praise —.” When we remember in the nick of time that “It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves: we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalm 10 v. 2)
Let the Apostle Paul have the last word, It is a zinger: “Who makes you, my friend, so important? What do you possess that was not given me?” (I Cor. 4 v. 7)
Jesus said the church of the last days would battle a cancer just as insidious as the one Doug’s brother had. It is the cancer of complacency. Jesus describes it using the word “lukewarm.” When you are lukewarm, you’re not close enough to Christ to be sold out, and you are not far enough from Christ to be totally indifferent. Instead, you are somewhere in the middle.
Principle: If you settle for lukewarm Christianity, you need to know that it will cost you your fellowship and intimacy with Jesus Christ.
12 At that time,
I will search Jerusalem with lamps,
I will punish the people
who settle like dregs in wine,
Who say in their hearts,
“The Lord will not do good,
nor will he do harm.” ~ Zephaniah 1:12
Rise up, you women who are at ease, And hear my voice; Give ear to my word, You complacent daughters. ~Isaiah 32:9
1. pleased, especially with oneself or one's merits, advantages, situation, etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect; self-satisfied. ~ dictionary.comComplacent: adjective
1. Contented to a fault; self-satisfied and unconcerned. ~ thefreedictionary.com
images - http://vimeo.com/67770479