Monday, June 29, 2009

Finding direction.

In terms of spiritual direction, I've spent the last ten years or so finding it in books. My education was largely classical (thanks to dearest mum), so those books have Deo gratias been classics: Therese, Teresa, John of the Cross, Dubay, de Sales, and other various names that pop up on this blog regularly.

Finding a regular spiritual director, however, has not been a successful venture. Jen over at Conversion Diary had a beautiful post last January that kicked me in that direction again. For about two weeks. Then, as per usual, I resumed my leisurely and most rational excuses, "Well, this just isn't the right time of life for me to be doing this. It would take too much time away from home. You know." I'm already so obsessed with this religion thing--family members think I'm like that obnoxious Jewish aunt who keeps every darnned tenet of the Law to the T.

But the nagging thought remains: "Can I really do this on my own?" It's simply not Scriptural to forge ahead into the vast stretches of my Interior Castle's endless rooms and mansions. I committed myself to more spiritual reading, and that was wonderful. Casual conversations with friends advanced in the spiritual life have also provided great insight and held me accountable to various commitments. Questions still pop up, though: How does this apply to my life? Is this dry period from God or a result of selfishness? What attachments are holding me back?

Then two days ago my mother handed me Thomas Dubay's Seeking Spiritual Direction. Talk about another kick in the pants. Perhaps most helpful so far (I'm only about half-way through) is simply hearing that the thirst for intimacy with God should be the driving thirst of my life. No matter what anyone in your life says, however they perceive your passion, the overpowering desire for Him and for holiness is our common vocation.

Dubay quotes John Henry Newman extensively. Here, Newman describes the life of mediocrity: "They have a certain definite and clear view of their duties; they think that the summit of perfection is to be decent and respectable in their calling, to enjoy moderately the pleasures of life, to eat and drink, marry and give in marriage, and buy and sell, and plant and build, and to take care that religion does not engross them." This worldview, however, makes no eternal sense. The bottom line is that we all have a final destination, so our progress to that final destination ought to take precedence over and inform our other various goals and pleasures (many of which are perfectly legitimate and even helpful toward teh final resting place).

In other words, I think it's time to get more serious: "With all my heart I seek your face." (Psalm 119:10) That means exhausting every avenue, every resource, in pursuit of the divine lover.

But more on this later.

2 comments:

Jennifer @ Conversion Diary said...

Oooh, I can't wait to read part II!

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