Photo by Katie Moretta
One of the greatest issues I combat in the spiritual life is the drawing in of myself in a bland sentiment of being content.
I realize that often, a major stumbling block we face in our pursuit of sainthood is numbness.
In this earthly pilgrimage, I would find myself moving, but I would lose vision as to Who I am moving towards. It’s as though there is this fog, a haze in my mind and heart. There is a numbness that comes when we draw into ourselves, when we grow too comfortable in the spiritual life. When we fail to be vigilant in our shortcomings, they fester and turn the roaring fire of love for God into a small flame. We bring our life with God down to a simmer, and can put it on the backburner.
We become numb to the reality of God. We become numb to the reality of how He called us out of nothingness, how He made us to know Him, love Him, and serve Him. We become numb to the reality of how we sever this relationship, how it is a personal relationship in need of mutual effort. We become numb in why our transgressions are something to fight against and be repentant for. We become numb to the power of the sacraments, to the mass, and to confession. I can go on and on, but lastly, we become numb to the reality of how alive Christ truly is. We dismiss the glory that is attributed to Him. I found myself singing hymns of praise in speech, without my heart joining in chorus.
“For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and their ears are heavy of hearing,
and their eyes they have closed…” (Matthew 13:15)
When we draw into ourselves, and become numb to the realities of Christianity, we become unmotivated. We begin dragging our feet, and develop an attitude of being simply ‘fine’ with our slowed pace. I would simply be ‘comfortable’ with where I was. We know however that we are not called to comfort, not of the world, and certainly not in our spiritual lives. We are called to greatness, and to become saints in our own right, to be inspiring, and radiant with the love, joy, and audacity of Jesus. We must break out of the numbness and recognize the reality of our faith, and act according to this reality.
So, what can I recommend to help work out of the numbness and recognize reality?
Don’t beat around the bush and make excuses in your pursuit of holiness. Dive into the heart of issues that you face. Wrestle with what you struggle with, do not let it fester. Be vigilant to where you fall short, and be uncompromising with yourself.
“Genuine love is demanding, but its beauty lies precisely in the demands it makes.”-Pope Francis
Get an accountability brother/sister. Give them permission to sharpen you, not in some petty complaining or nagging, but out of fraternal love (love meaning to will the good of the other).
This is a faith that requires us to be active, not passive. Take steps to grow in holiness. Partake in the sacraments, don’t just “go through the motions” in the mass but be attentive and listen. Embrace Christ in the sacrament of reconciliation, accusing yourself, and allowing yourself to be immersed in Christ’s love and mercy.
My point is this: we must be uncompromising in our pursuit of Christ, because Christ was and is uncompromising in His pursuit of us. Know what is good, love what is good, and now, uniting both knowledge and desire, WILL that good. Take concrete steps to shatter the numbness in your life.
“But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” (Matthew 13:16-17)
Open your eyes and see the reality that is truly before you. We were made for more than a rudimentary faith life. Be audacious, because Christ was and is audacious. Be audacious in challenging one another to come to know, love and serve God in the way the saints have. Take your spiritual life off the backburner and ask God to turn up the heat, bring it to a rolling boil.
Don’t give into a lukewarm disparity, catch yourself and demand much of yourself. Strive for virtue and discipline. Ask God for these things and I can promise that God will seek your cooperation to put a proper order into your life, one where you can clearly see the reality outside yourself. Shatter any numbness of heart and any haze over the mind, push yourself to will the salvation of souls and take the actions to ensure your own.
Be vigilant against the scourge of numbness. Recognize the reality of your relationship with God, how you break it, how Jesus restores it, and where you are called to cooperate with our Blessed Lord to get to Heaven. Let your heart surge with the desire for holiness and mission. Be uncompromising in authentic love, and take the steps to inspire others in this regard.
Embody holy audacity, towards yourself, and towards others.
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If you desire to grow more in the spiritual life, I challenge you to:
Ask God to inspire your faith life, and to give you a greater devotion to Him.
Put your spiritual life under a microscope. See where you can grow, pay attention to the details and see what you can work on to bring yourself to deeper conversion. Journal your findings.
Find an accountability brother/sister to help you in your prayer life, and more widely in your pursuit of Christ.
Go to confession, and really bring yourself to examine your conscience in where you fail to love perfectly. Overcome fear and doubt, and with a contrite heart, lay down your failings before God. He will give you the grace to get back up, and to become the saint you were made to be.