Why Is the Spiritual Life So Difficult?
Do you struggle with prayer? Are you so overwhelmed with the distractions of your daily life that you barely even think about God during your day? Do you find yourself committing the same sins over and over, wondering when your heart will finally experience true conversion? Do you feel like you're not growing closer to God? Then you need to know a couple things:
- You're not alone.
- It's not your fault.
In the video to the left, I explain how I discovered how lacking my own spirituality was - in a master's degree program for pastoral theology! I also discovered why Catholic laity struggle so much.
We Need to Learn the Basics First
You see, most of the spiritual teaching in the Church is based on the works of the spiritual masters like St. John of the Cross and St. Ignatius of Loyola. But most of these spiritual masters wrote their teachings for their religious orders. And religious orders already have a rule of life that lays the foundation for spiritual growth. In other words, the main audience of the spiritual masters have the basics covered. The masters felt no need to teach them.
The laity - you and I - don't have the structure of a rule of life to lay our spiritual foundation. That's why we fall to distraction so much easier. That's why we find it so much more difficult to focus ourselves on God.
So you and I need to learn the spiritual basics. We need to learn two things before we can make any real spiritual progress and deepen our relationship with God:
- What grace does in our life to make a deeper relationship with God possible.
- What spiritual virtues we need to create the spiritual discipline we need to develop so we can cooperate with grace.
Spirituality From the Ground Up
From the Abbey's programs use the metaphor of "Rebuilding Your Inner Abbey"to describe the process of building your spirituality from the ground up. Your "Inner Abbey" is the place in your heart where you can shut out the distractions of the world for a time and focus on your relationship with God.
The first step of rebuilding your "Inner Abbey" is to find the keys that unlock all of the rooms. These keys represent the basic spiritual virtues that lay the foundation for a healthy spiritual life. Once the rooms are open, you can then fix each room up and learn how to use it. The rooms of your inner abbey represent 5 areas of spirituality taught by the spiritual masters.
The video to the right gives you a tour of your "Inner Abbey" so you can learn what these keys are and what it means to use each of the rooms.
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