At any given point along my spiritual journey I am liable to come up with the astounding discovery of the “ultimate meaning of life” only to be revised or superceded later on. And that’s O.K. That’s what growth’s all about. Therefore it is with temporarily solid certainty that I share with You today my discovery of the “ultimate” meaning of the spiritual life.
Life is a time of learning to dispose ourselves to Your gifts. Our weaknesses and strengths become apparent in this endeavor. Our weakness lies in the fact that we are powerless in ourselves to do anything to merit union with You. But this very weakness is itself our strength if we use it to dispose ourselves to Your gifts. Indeed, the whole of the spiritual life is learning and practicing how to lay our weakness and vulnerability openly before You.
Faith, hope, and love are gifts which we, by our own efforts, could never obtain. But the practices of fortitude, humility and patience, which all stem from our weakness, can be perfected by our efforts and it is these that dispose us to receive the greater gifts.
The spiritual life is all about maintaining this open, receptive posture. You are the Great Giver. There is nothing I can give You that You have not given me first. I am the receiver. If anything, all activity should be directed toward becoming a better receiver.
A commentator on Aquinas I’ve been reading called You the “infinite enticement.” I like that not only because it’s so descriptive of the “hound of heaven” but also because it well characterizes another aspect of You as giver and me as receiver. Waking up to the inevitability of this relationship should underline the importance of disposing ourselves to the dynamics of a giver/receiver relationship. We wander when, even in small ways, we try to reverse that dynamism. Often, despite ourselves, this is what we do: we authoritatively try to fashion our own spirituality instead of receiving it. The key word is “dispose,” as in posture, position, or assent. This is what matters. This is the spiritual life.