Sunday, February 26, 2012

Boredom and the Spiritual Life

I relish writers and speakers who are honest about the spiritual life. In his book, Crossing, Mark Barrett writes, "Boredom is one of the many inevitable obstacles we meet on the spiritual path." (page 2.) Thank you! I'm often bored with my prayers, worship, Bible reading, Eucharist, etc. Sometimes it feels like I go through my spiritual disciplines with one eye of the clock so I can "get my spiritual ticket punched." When I confess this boredom, I have a fear that others will interpret this as my not having a strong faith or a proper relationship with God or lack of personal discipline or whatever. I think otherwise. It is because of my faith and relationship with God that I can be honest with God. I trust God and believe God already knows that I'm bored. So who am I trying to fool when I refuse to recognize my boredom? Even as I confess to a time of boredom, I don't have a three step prescription for remedy. The only thing I know to do is to keep showing up and being honest. I suspect my relationship with God has more to do with my being honest in this spiritual journey than anything else.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

"Of Gods and Men"

At our Lay Cistercian meeting this Saturday, we watched the video, "Of Gods and Men." This is a moving video of the seven French monks who choose to remain in Algeria during that country's violent time in the 1990s. The monks were ultimately taken captive and martyred in 1996. The movie focuses primarily on their individual and collective process of discernment. Discernment is never an easy spiritual discipline because the ego will always work overtime in order to protect the self. Self-protection is one of the primary functions of an ego. The movie does an excellent task of revealing the difficult struggle with which the monks make the decision to stay even after the Algerian authorities asked them to leave. The monks knew with great clarity that the chances of things going well for them was not very good. This is a powerful video and one that I recommend. Our major decisions involve the process of discernment. This movie helps us to understand what that involves.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Poor and Politics

There has been a lot of press about the poor and those unemployed who live at, near or below the poverty rate. Some of our national leaders seem to think that the poor are lazy, satisfied with being poor, have a "safety net," pleased to be on welfare, and on and on. Dorothy Day, a Christian social activist of the past generation, said "The true atheist is the one who denies God's image in the 'least of these'." Truth is often clear and simple yet neither recognized nor well received.