What do we owe our maker? And even if we were in the position to pay – how would we pay God who needs nothing and is everything? We simply cannot begin to make any repatriation that has any impactful influence on an infinite being.
Still, must of us strive to live a principled life informed by spiritual, religious, and social mores that intrinsically have, in my opinion, an urgency to reflect the imprint of God that exists within our souls. The more distorted the projection we receive – the more difficulties we encounter living a holy life – the more susceptible we are to the most significant human suffering of the existential phenomenon – the alienation of the true self from one’s creator.
How do we keep the projection of our purpose clear? Where do we find the balance between personal prayer, religiosity (the standard-bearer of scripture and the sacramental life), and action in daily life?
There is no balance that we can dictate by our own desire or self-directed vision of how best our time is to be spent on doing God’s work. Monastic life, reading scripture, dissecting the lives of the Saints, and other holiness seekers provide us some reference points.
My absence from posting is not indicative of the lack of meaningful spiritual substance being a reality in my life or (hopefully) sloth on my part. Admittedly it takes time to let ideas into form, test form against spiritual discernment, and then unleash a post capturing the theological and the spiritual experience that has consumed my heart and mind.
This entry was started some time ago and was swallowed up into the abyss of personal business with my assigned vocations in life – family, fellowship, work, and the sometimes arduous task of just managing my own routines. Are our actions not the vehicle of our spiritual intentions? Spirituality and the presence of God are not absent in these activities, and is I pray the core driver of my decisions.
Yet, the absence of significant time with contemplative reading and thought drains me and eventually distorts my actions and activities into stressful chores and burdens rather than gifts of my calling and existence. Failures, anxieties, regrets, and even successes become my Albatros around my neck – stalking me from a distance in the foggy clouds of uncertainty.
As I become immersed in temporal human priorities, I become engulfed in “deep sadness and despair.” There is too much misery and despair for my feeble hands to help, for my limited words to reach, for my voice to soothe or reassure. Alas, that is not even addressing my own selfish desires for comfort, prestige, power, security, pride, laughter, peace, and spiritual consolation – to keep these graces I now believe I have or secretly think I am owed them shortly.
I could read, pray, and write the rest of my days in solitude and total devotion, and I would still be seriously inadequate with the mission of seeking to live a sanctified and holy life. I could throw away my books, my papers, my pens, and my prayer life and turn purely to helping others without regard for myself day in and day out, and again, I would be found wanting against the highest measure to truly live a sanctified life.
The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner attempts to express a harrowing voyage and provides us with the symbol of the Albatross around our necks. Some define it as original sin -others as our shortcomings today. Are they any different or just a continuity of the culmination of human evolution being present and codified in where we are now – with all the good and evil saddled on our shared collective consciousness?
I can go awhile doing man’s work, but without prayer and contemplation, I can feel the ship veering into uncharted waters and the fog rolling in no matter how hard I try to manage the seas and the winds, the sailors and the ship.
Where is the balance of my cooperation with God’s intentions and my human endeavors that require my attention? Yes, they are one and the same in real unity of the whole – but how many of us can live that unity in every thought, every action, every moment of our lives? No one can achieve this ideal.
With this type of discipline and courage, we would have no fears or regrets. We also might find our lives short-lived or at the very least, very lonely in this secular world. Martyrs of this world, both past and present, where did you find your wisdom and courage? Was it by accident, coincidence, foolishness, or divine inspiration? Are we the masters of our own fate, captain of our souls?
Finding the time to still our lives and be present with God may show us our shortcomings and our courageousness. It may also require sitting with pain and sorrow greater than we can imagine. Without this time, I will find the pain and sorrow through other means on my own through influences provided by other less worthy guides.
I am tired. Pray for me. I have no “ask” or specific prayer to request – only that God’s will find us and provide us the strength, wisdom, and will to play our part.