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.
Read More About Growing In Your Faith
Officially, and by officially I mean if you look through the catechism, if you look through Church documents, the Church doesn’t really talk much about a personal mission. It talks a lot about a vocation, but even there, “officially” the Church usually talks about vocation in terms of priestly vocation or the call to religious…Read More
We’re in the Chapel this month, exploring how we can live out the Seven Sacraments in our daily spiritual lives. In this spot check we’ll take a closer look at the Sacrament of Confirmation. But before we launch into that, remember that the Sacraments are always first and foremost actions of the Holy Trinity to…Read More
We’re in the Chapel this month, exploring how we can live out the Seven Sacraments in our daily lives. Our spiritual project in the Chapel is to explore how we can respond to the grace each Sacrament gives us through the Sacramental signs, and how we can respond to God’s call to deepen our relationship…Read More
The seven Sacraments form the backdrop of Catholic life. Most Catholics can name all seven Sacraments. Most have basic knowledge of what the Sacraments are. But as with other parts of our faith, the Sacraments are an unfathomable mystery. That means that there is always more to understand. It also means there is always more…Read More
Read the Full Scripture Verses Here Jeremiah 14:17-22 is a confession of sin and an appeal for mercy. Jeremiah calls out for mercy on behalf of the Hebrew people, who are suffering in exile due to their sin. He confesses that the People of God have been unfaithful, and deserve their punishment. But he also…Read More
Today’s Readings for the Holy Mass Today’s readings in the Holy Mass may make us uncomfortable if we take them to heart. The Old Testament and the New Testament both make use of parables. In the first reading, the loin cloth that God tells Jeremiah to wear and then to bury represents the chosen People…Read More
Today’s Readings for the Holy Mass It’s interesting that Jesus’ “multiplication of the loaves” miracle was first performed by the prophet Elijah. Interesting, but not surprising. In fact, much of what Jesus does in his earthly ministry is a fulfillment of the Old Testament signs. For Elijah, the miracle was a sign of God’s love…Read More
Today’s Readings for the Holy Mass Today’s readings at Holy Mass are about dwelling with God. The prophet Jeremiah tells us in the first reading what is required to remain in God’s presence. 1. Following the truth 2. Faithfulness to God 3. Conversion of heart – to love our neighbor. The psalm tells us that…Read More
Today’s Readings for the Holy Mass In today’s first reading for the Holy Mass, God speaks through the prophet Jeremiah to accuse the Hebrew people of violating the Covenant. God had brought them into the “Garden land” – notice how God’s description of the Promised Land echoes the Garden of Eden. But the Hebrew people…Read More
Today’s Readings for the Holy Mass Today is the feast day of Saint John the Greater, believed to be the first Apostle to face martyrdom. Today’s readings in the Holy Mass begin with a New Testament reading from 2Corinthians. Saint Paul talks about being powerful witnesses to Jesus by evangelizing even the face of persecution.…Read More