Letters to Jesus (Unhelpful Mindsets and Attitudes) -13
True spirituality and love are not just found in the pursuit of a daily religious routine of prayer and devotions. My own bias is that it is impossible without it, but we must not stop at mastering the means with the end still not grasped.
Since, then, the end will not be fully grasped in this life, we inevitably cease movement in its direction if we epitomize the means by which we move rather than the end toward which it takes us. We do not find You in such pursuits but through them. They are the channels of Your grace which, with practice, we can widen.
It is not difficult to become infatuated and fall in love with certain forms of prayer, spiritual reading, and writing. But there is a risk. The risk is that of idolizing the means. It becomes even greater when we rationalize the promulgation of our means, however subtle, as that of a good example for others. This is spiritual disorientation and we lose our way.
In Frank Bianco’s book, Voices of Silence an abbot talks about trying to see the “balance” of all things great and small. There is a balance in the way we let God be in our privacy and in our common life. There is a balance between different personalities in any community, a balance between cares and concerns in one direction and a lack of them in another. Our devotional practices should not, first of all, blindside us as to their place in the balance of things and, secondly, they should not become a deterrent from seeking this balance by becoming private ends in themselves. To read, write and pray in different ways should be a part of the balance by which all men seek You.
There is an ongoing global as well as an historical balance to consider in the ways man seeks You. These must be recognized as part of the balance of life. My part is in there too. The context of my part is what is real to me. You always speak to me within the reality of my own life. So, it is You at the fulcrum of all
balance regardless of anyone’s push or pull. To explore and widen the channels You give us individually is to participate in maintaining this balance. We do this in the ways by which You call us. These ways are Your gifts of grace – not ends. They are the special means given to our individuality, in our contexts, to keep the balance. You call us in many different ways, but with one spirit. So, the routines of prayer, devotions, reading, writing and contemplation spill over into all the other times in our lives when we are not doing them and they lend a balance to the reality of our being which we take to every encounter.