Spiritual Formation

One of the requirements of deacon candidates in our diocese is to have a spiritual director.  This is someone you meet with to give you guidance on your spiritual path.  It's something I've never actually done before (have a spiritual adviser, that is) and I asked our pastor if he would be mine.  We met for the first time this past week.

We discussed many things, including what I'm looking for from an adviser.  I honestly didn't know as I'd never done it before and said so.  One of my classes this semester is Spiritual Formation so I was hoping between that classes and meeting with our pastor I'd get a clearer sense of what I wanted out of it.  When we discussed my prayer life, he'd asked if I'd done any spiritual journaling and I admitted I really hadn't.  I've used this blog to perhaps take some tentative steps in that direction, but as you can see, I haven't done so regularly.  He said I should give it a try and to make the time at whatever periodicity I thought best, daily, weekly, etc.  So, for now, I thought I would give it a try here weekly and see where it goes.  I don't know if a spiritual journal should be public or not and at some point if I continue I may go offline with it if I feel it's getting to personal.  But, who knows, perhaps by chronicling my journey, someone else may be inspired to do so as well.  You never know what God will grow out of the seeds we plant.

So, this week, there seemed to be a theme that hit me that I think I need to explore more deeply.  When I was discussing what it meant to be a deacon with my pastor, he reminded me that beyond the ministerial role of a deacon (serving at mass, weddings, baptisms, funerals, etc), there is an evangelical side to being a deacon.  St. Stephen, one of the first deacons, was stoned to death for proclaiming the Gospel and enraging the religious leaders of his time with his "blasphemy".  Later in the week, I was listening to a Catholic podcast that talked about the "new evangelization" and proclaiming the Gospel in our modern world.

It seemed to me that God was trying to tell me something about that.  I've always believed in living the Gospel as best I can and being an example to others.  I've said before the best way to preach the faith is to live it genuinely.  But should I be doing more?  I know there was at least one occasion that I saw a Facebook post that was critical of Christians in general and I thought I should say something but didn't. I don't recall the exact post but it was along the lines of mocking Christian belief as being for the simple or uneducated.

I also read an interesting piece by Bishop Fulton Sheen from his weekly television program for the 60's called "A Life Worth Living".  It was about tolerance.  I'm sure I'll get it wrong, but the essence is that we tolerate what is evil, or at least not good.  We would never say we tolerate something good, we celebrate good things.  But if we tolerate something, that means we in some way to not agree with what we are tolerating.  At it's heart, it gets to the definition of Truth.  There can only be one Truth, and Catholics believe that Truth is found in the teachings of the Church.

So where am I going with this?  There's so much discussion in our world today about tolerance.  We need to be tolerant of other opinions, lifestyles, etc.  And yet, by definition, being tolerant means that we don't agree in some way.  We don't tolerate the Truth because the Truth is our yardstick for measuring our lives and how we should live it.  There's so much division in our society these days.  Is it because we tolerate too much?  Much has been said and written about relative morality in our society.  I'm firmly convinced that our times are much like the times that Jesus walked the earth.  I think we need to turn back to God and focus on what Jesus taught us to make this world a better place.

I'll finish by stating some things I'm thankful for this week.  I'm definitely thankful for my friends.  I had a chance to be with my group of high school friends when one of them got married this weekend.  It was wonderful to see the joy in her face.  And it was great catching up with and seeing people I've know since I was 14.  I'm also thankful for my family.  Nick's graduation party was this weekend and from the little to the big the were a blessing in making the day just right.  I'm also thankful for the gifts God has given my and was reminded today to make sure I nurture and use my gifts in the service of others, not just for myself.


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