Joel wrote… “You talk about everything being seen as spiritual, what about ordinary things like my walk at lunch break, or my habits I really enjoy, like my morning coffee?”
Joel, when we can look at the world with “spiritual eyes” our existence will awaken as we view the whole world like Brother Lawrence described as, “God’s book with messages for us.” In this way, many things become beautiful that may have been ordinary or common before. A walk can be a time of gratitude for health, nature’s beauties, or God’s goodness. In fact, monks are notorious for thoroughly enjoying coffee, and being spiritually present in the moment of doing so. Some monastic traditions have purposefully crafted coffee mugs with no handles, and made vessels too large to be gripped with one hand.
That way one can cradle the mug, sip the warm aromatic brew slowly, and relish the whole experience. God may be welcomed into even the morning coffee experience, Joel. Fill it to the rim, and enjoy! I’ll drink to that. Mmm.
Now-on to another big question! Any coffee brand suggestions out there?
Dreams: A Way to Listen to God, Morton Kelsey, Paulist Press, New York, 1978, ISBN: o-8091-2046-1
(As with every book, one might not agree with everything or find everything helpful, but I found this read quite interesting, especially because not too much is written on the topic from this point of view.)
Have you ever listened to God using your dreams, if so, how?
• c. 1614-1691
• Lowly monk duties as a kitchen worker, and shoe cobbler (no standing or education to be a leader, priest, or cleric)
• Lived in a barefooted monastic order
• Said he did not enjoy religious routines (bit odd to admit for a monk, b/c this is their lifestyle)
• He sought continual communion and delight in the awareness of the presence of God
• Believed in the grace of God more than anything else
• His piety and devotion was so transforming and noticeable, religious leaders, young monks, and outsiders sought out his secrets and counsel
• At his funeral his sweetness and character were so exceptional that his letters of correspondence and remembrances of his conversations were gathered, read, and preserved for posterity–otherwise his life would have been forever lost in obscurity
Unlike many people (including Christians) realize, spiritual practices do not make us closer to God. They don’t give us points of any kind either. We start to strive and use them as such, perhaps, but then they just become works for righteousness. Useless. (We recall the term used by St. Paul “filthy rags”)
Spiritual practices (ways we are spiritual) serve us only in that they prepare the heart for God’s work, and his grace. We can think of it like a carburetor that is primed by drawing up fuel through the fuel line, so combustion can take place when a spark joins it with the oxygen there. It’s preparatory.
These practices are not ends onto themselves. They don’t even help us move anywhere. God does all the work. (This is grace.) But, we may be willing in the process. The whole idea of this can cause us to relax. Why? Because all the trying doesn’t help. Only a passionate devotion, and willing, open heart to the Loving Divine.
Prayer may be a spiritual practice, but it mustn’t be thought of as a means to gain God’s pleasure, or even to grow holy through doing it. But, prayer may prepare us for God to make us more like himself.
What has prepared your heart? (what practices or attitudes?)
Or do you feel like you are in a dry spell?
Send in your spiritual queries or comments. I’d love to hear from you.