Saturday, October 17, 2009

Spirituality of the Everyday

The "spirituality of the everyday" is not a new notion. Many writers have commented on this among them were St. Francis de Sales, Fr. Jean de Caussade (author of the famous "Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence), St. Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer (founder of Opus Dei) and many more. But it was St. Therese of the Child Jesus who brought it back into focus and gave it a new name, the "little way." Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, another saint of Carmel, also made it part of her spiritual teaching as she wrote about the Divine Indwelling and Presence of God. So we see, it is not a novel subject at all. So what is it? How does one live it?

Saint Therese alludes to it in these famous words:
"If I did not suffer minute by minute, it would be impossible for me to be patient, but I see only the present moment, I forget the past and take good care not to anticipate the future. If we grow disheartened, if we sometimes despair, it is because we have been dwelling on the past or the future."
Blessed Elizabeth describes it in these words:

"It seems to me that I have found my heaven on earth for heaven is God, and God is in my soul... I live in the heaven of faith in the center of my soul. Faith alone can give us genuine light on Him whom we love. It is faith which floods our inner being with all spiritual blessings.. faith gives us God even in this life, veiled it is true, but nonetheless God Himself. When we have learned to believe in God's excessive love for us, it may be said that we are made strong by the very sight of Him who is "invisible." We no longer stops at tastes or feelings. We care little whether we feel God present or not, whether He gives us joy or pain; the more we are tried the stronger grows our faith, because we over-leap, so to speak, all obstacles to find our rest in the bosom of Infinite love..
I find these words by St. Jose Maria Escriva comforting "Let us not look for lions in hallways!"
And if you have read Fr. de Caussade's book on Divine Providence you will remember his words "the sacrament of the present moment." All of these holy men and women spoke from their own experiences and brought to their witness the authenticity of living out what they preached.
The spirituality of the everyday is our lot. It is the constant attempt to see the hand of God in everything that happens to us. There are no secondary causes, no accidents. It is having this "single-eye" of faith in everything that happens to us, even the bad, that sanctifies it. It is not just having a "positive attitude," of forcing ourselves to be "upbeat" amidst trial. But it is an inner conviction, motivated by faith, to understand the fact and accept the truth that God is INDEED present even in the darkness. In the mundane tasks of our lives, the nitty- gritty of everyday, demands on our time and resources, we can aspire to live this spirituality. Only then will our lives be meaningful. We all need a boost, a spiritual boost, every now and then and if you're like me you will probably agree: God hides in disguises. It requires humility and faith to see Him in the monotony of everyday. Going through the same routine and seemingly solving the same problems that do not seem to go away. It is a stretch in patience and perseverance but it is the only way to real spiritual growth. Our Lady is a wonderful reminder to us all that we do not have to do BIG things to please God. But if we are honest with ourselves, we can own up to the fact that even the little things can be difficult to do, day in and day out, if we don't fix our eyes on what really matters in life. It is a constant struggle but even the very attempt to be faithful is part and parcel of the spirituality of the everyday.

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