St. Augustine had it so right, didn’t he?
Our hearts truly are restless until they rest in God. And our lives are a perpetual search for God and for the peace that comes with knowing God.
Earlier this year, I heard a talk with Father Ron Rolheiser, who addressed that restlessness as he spoke about spirituality. The crux of Father Rolheiser’s presentation was that all human beings have a spirituality, whether they realize it or not. So the question isn’t if you’re a spiritual creature; the issue is in what way your spirituality manifests itself.
As Father Rolheiser put it, a healthy spirituality is about fire and glue. If you have too much fire, you burn out. If you have too much glue, your spiritual life stagnates. Either way, the lack of balance leads to a sort of death.
Our restlessness, Father Rolheiser said, is our very spirituality. It’s a sign of our constant striving to come closer to the divine by knowing all things, doing all things. It’s not, he emphasized, a negative—it’s simply what it means to be human.
We are made in God’s image, and so we are hard-wired to want to be like God. To us, that means we want all the knowledge and experience we can attain. And whether or not it’s the right response to our holy intuition, it is the best response we flawed humans can muster.
Father Rolheiser’s message provided me with endless food for thought and immeasurable comfort. To know my wandering, searching, and stumbling are all a natural symptom of being a spiritual creature…what a relief!
The important thing is to be sure our spiritual lives, imperfect though they might be, maintain sustainable proportions of fire and glue. We need the fire to keep us warm and energized, moving toward God. And we need the glue to keep us rooted in what we know is true and right, so we may cling to God even as we seek God.
Image: freedigitalphotos.net/Danilo Rizzuti