Nothing motivates us like having a goal. The motivation gained from having goals comes specifically from the fact that we now have good reasons to do something. Isn’t it fair to say that following Christ is our goal? Allowing for our assent to this question, what can we say then are some good reasons for being spiritual? I am going to try to respond to this question from the perspective of a family person.
The first reason is the one people most commonly share with me. “I want to ensure that I and my family go to heaven.” I cannot be anymore simple in discussing this one. I want to be saved. I want to be with them when we die. The very thought of one of my loved ones being lost to God is repulsive. So, on this basis I and my family attend Mass and go to Confession. I insure the Sacrament of Baptism for my newborn child, and immediately if there are any health risks.
These are some feelings that people have shared in explaining this reason to me. Seeing that these reasons are so important for so many people, I believe that I can interchange the word “reasons” with values. So, if I were to rephrase this reason from the perspective of a family person, I could say that I value the goal of my family and I’m going to heaven, and I act on this value by frequent participation in church sacramental life.
Another reason that is shared with me could be worded as “I want to nurture a virtuous life.” I want my children to live virtuous lives. To live a virtuous life is to live a stable, balanced life. I want my children to know right from wrong. It will be evident to anyone who knows us that I and my family are “good people.” As a result of holding strongly to this reason, and living from it, we will all be major contributors to our neighborhood and for that matter to our overall society. We will be there for each other; we will be faithful to each other. We will be law abiding citizens. So, we can see that living a virtuous life is what it means for many people to walk with Christ.
A third reason to live a spiritual life is to be able to perceive God in my daily walk. This reason is a bit more abstract than the first two reasons. To draw closer to God here is to draw closer to the Light. What can we expect from Light? Light makes things visible. Mystics would say that it makes Reality a bit clearer. Without Light, I cannot see very well. It becomes more likely that in my darkness I will stumble and fall. With Light, I can see where I am going. In other words, I get clarity; I am capable of getting clarity. With Spiritual Light, I learn, perhaps to my own astonishment, that I am growing in Wisdom, simply because I am developing insights which naturally surface when the path ahead of me is now more clearly seen.
Other people might be helped by my insights. After all, we are all walking up the mountain of God together and here my insights will act as a flashlight for them. Being helped in this way, they are not risking anymore the possibility of stumbling and falling. Perhaps, as other people walk with clearer, firmer steps, they may hold out the flashlight of their own insights for me. And so, in this way we help each other. With spiritual growth, I can see even more the importance of living the virtuous life I mentioned earlier in this letter. As a result of that foundation I am more than capable of being forgiving and helpful. I am more capable of demonstrating patience. A virtuous life is the beginning of Wisdom. It’s wise, after all, to choose a virtuous life.
It’s good to remember that all of the reasons mentioned in this letter overlap each other. Such remembering and understanding as to how they overlap can bring further light to the path upon which we all walk. Who knows what more I’ll see and understand? With God’s Light, so much Truth becomes visible and available now to all of us as we progress.
It’s wise to be spiritual just as it is wise to be virtuous. We can see some obvious overlapping here, too. On my part, I am just honored that we are all walking this path together.
Peace, Fr. Walter