Wednesday, October 28, 2015

What is it that matters in the spiritual life?

There are different aspects of spirituality. Perhaps the most obvious, especially to Catholics, is the outward. There are statues and rosaries, incense and bells, religious jewelry and heirloom Christmas decorations.

There is also a sort of secondary tangebility in modern day Catholicism that is, in a way, re-borrowed from the Amish. This includes things like wearing modest clothing, mainly or only skirts and dresses, head coverings in church, home schooling and generally sticking to very traditional gender roles.

While there is certainly freedom within Catholicism to practice the faith in a variety of ways, these things are not required, although they do provide a sense of security in an increasingly troubled world.

If you are one to try out this sort of spiritual expression, only to have found it wanting, or have practiced it for a while and dropped the practice, you can feel a bit like a fish out of water.  Why am I not as good as those pious home schooling families? What is wrong with me? Am I losing my faith?

No. I don't think so. Sometimes, God strips us of our outward consolations in order for us to realize that the outward things are not what lasts. First Corinthians tells us that nothing lasts except faith, hope and love. If we do not have these, nothing else matters.

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Dymphna's favorite quotes

"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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