As Christians, we are blessed that God has given us so many sources to draw from to help us strengthen and grow in our faith. Imagine a tree, which starts as a seed in the ground and begins to sprout roots, breaking through the soil as a helpless sapling. The roots grow in various directions, pulling in nutrients from different areas of the ground. It also takes CO2 and sunlight through its leaves for energy as the tree’s branches spread out through the air. Because of these sources, that sapling begins to blossom into a beautiful, mature tree. In return, the tree provides more than just esthetic beauty: it feeds, shelters, shades, and gives off oxygen.
Where can we spread our “roots” in search of spiritual nutrients? Look what God has given us: the Mass; Eucharist; sacraments; Scripture and Church teachings; prayers; his own Son, Jesus Christ; the angels and saints; a number of religious orders…the list goes on. My point is simple:
When the tree’s roots stop growing, the tree stops growing; when our “roots” stop reaching out, we stop growing and settle to do “just enough.” When the tree’s roots stop taking in the ground source of nutrients, it begins to die; so do we as we stop “feeding” from the nutrients of God-given sources around us. We need to remember that our spirituality is a personal journey among the countless journeys of others. Just as we are unique creatures ourselves, our journey is unique to each of us. We are all on converging paths, with one common, God-given goal: to live eternally as one family in the Kingdom of God.
God has a plan for each of us and like a caring, loving father, only wants the best for each of us. Through His love for us, God gives us free will to live our own lives in freedom and He hopes, like any good parent, we accept the help and guidance available along the way as we go down the path of our own journey through life on Earth. It’s up to us to steer the course.
There are three vows that many religious take: Obedience, Chastity, and Poverty. The Benedictine order includes two more: Stability and “Conversatio,” and all together they become the moral fibers of Benedictine spirituality. In my following blogs, I will take a brief look at each “vow” to understand spirituality from their perspective and how I have interpreted them with respect to my spiritual journey. With open minds and hearts let’s spread our roots and begin to look into this God-given source.
[My next blog post: Benedictine Spirituality from a Lay Person: Obedience (part 2 of 7) ]
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