The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Renewing Your Spiritual Life

Despite the ever-lengthening Christmas shopping season and all the hubbub surrounding it, this holy day always seems to arrive suddenly. Advent, the liturgical time of preparation for the Lord's coming, just flies by and I'm usually left with a sense of spiritual incompletion, of things left undone. Here we are, just three days from the celebration of Our Lord's birth, and I find myself wishing I had done a better job tuning out all the commercial noise that tries to overwhelm any expression of the true Christmas message. Pushing aside these distractions, I have decided to look ahead to the New Year and the opportunity to change things, to grow spiritually. 

When it comes to the spiritual life, I've always believed it best to keep things simple, and so I was particularly pleased to stumble across an interesting piece written by Fr. Thomas Bolin, OSB, a Benedictine monk of the Monastery of San Benedetto in Italy. His article offers us seven simple principles of the spiritual life. Three principles address our relationship with God and four focus on how we should live our lives. Here they are in brief:

  1. To keep God in mind at all times.
  2. To trust in God as much as possible.
  3. To do all things for the love of God.
  4. Not to trust in oneself.
  5. Not to seek oneself.
  6. To do all things with joy.
  7. To be as energetic as possible.

Fr. Thomas
If, like me, you want to deepen and renew your spiritual life, following these principles is certainly a wonderful way to do so. To understand better how to incorporate them into your life, read Fr. Bolin's article. It's not long and well worth a few minutes of your time. Here's the link: Seven Principles of the Spiritual Life. By the way, for those who are interested in topics related to Holy Scripture, Fr. Bolin's book, On the Inerrancy of Scripture, is available in an online version.

Father Bolin, an American who graduated from Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California (from which our eldest daughter, Erin, also graduated), earned a Licentiate of Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) from the International Theological Institute in Trumau, Austria, and is now working on his doctorate from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. 

Best wishes for a holy and happy Christmas.

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