Something I find intriguing is the correlation, or lack thereof, between religion and spirituality. What is religion anyhow?
Without the help of a dictionary, I perceive religion describing the acceptance on the part of an individual of a codified and titled system of beliefs and practices which are meant to guide the body, mind, and spirit toward union with God in association with others of a like persuasion. Being a baptized or circumcised practicing member of a particular denomination can correlate with the development of a spiritual life, but it can also work against it.
It seems to me that often on our journeys there is a fork in the road; one path is marked “religion” and the other “spirituality.” My subjective observations suggest that the path marked “religion” may get us to where we’re going but that it is congested with distractions of our own making. On this road we choose to travel with Martha. But to travel with Mary, to choose the better part, is to take the path of spirituality on which there may also be distractions but where they do not so easily become ends in themselves. Religion has a strong proclivity for becoming an end in itself, and when it does we miss the point entirely. Religion is like the primer to spirituality. Religion is meant to ultimately be transcended by “the better part.”
If we truly look at Your life and/or the lives of many saints we observe this transcendence. You showed us the importance of the spirit of the law rather than the letter of it. The new law of love transcends the rubrics of a legalistic conformity to doctrine. Spirituality is an exploration beyond doctrine or dogma. It is the active seeking of something more. It involves the passive acceptance of much less. The paradoxes of religion and spirituality go to the heart of the idea that less is more, and this transcends the entanglements of “self” with religion.