I will be starting a series soon at St. Mary’s with the simple title, “Spiritual Practices”. My premise? Just like the Brewers, Badgers or Packers would not be where they are today without practice, so it is with our spiritual lives. It is foolhardy on our parts to expect to be spiritually ‘fit’ or spiritually developed if we don’t work at it. One of the ways I have been blessed with spiritual growth in my own life is through the working of a program of recovery. I try to follow the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and have found them to be life-giving and completely supportive of the life I try to lead as a disciple of Jesus Christ. I’ll be directing a retreat for a group of folks in recovery this coming weekend. Here is a passage from a book entitled 12 Steps and 12 Traditions that I’ve been reflecting on in preparation:
“There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation, and prayer. Taken separately, these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related and interwoven, the result is an unshakable foundation for life. Now and then we may be granted a glimpse of that ultimate reality which is God’s kingdom. And we will be comforted and assured that our own destiny in that realm will be secure for so long as we try, however falteringly, to find and do the will of our own Creator. As we have seen, self-searching is the means by which we bring new vision, action and grace to bear upon the dark and negative side of our natures. It is a step in the development of that kind of humility that makes it possible for us to receive God’s help. Yet it is only a step. We will want to go further.” (page 98).
Self-examination, meditation, and prayer. Spiritual practices that take us below the surface – not always an easy place to go or to be, but essential on the journey.