Perhaps you are like me, and you find that at times it is all too easy to separate your spirituality from practicality. This is the constant temptation we face to be religious- to believe and know all of the right things without much thought put towards whether or not these things are actually being lived. In a sense, I find spending time with God and His word to be easy; I sit, I read, I drink coffee, I enjoy His presence. But to take all that I learn in these moments into the rest of the world- ah, well, that can be another matter entirely.
I have been encouraged this week by a couple of readings I ran across, and so I would like to share them with you. These thoughts are for all of you that hunger for a faith that touches on every aspect of your real life:
In our community the other day, there wasn't much coffee. Coffee does me good down here in the desert. I was worried about not having any, about spending a few hours feeling dull and weak, and so- without perceiving the evil I was doing- I went into the kitchen before the others and drank up all that was left.
It seems a tiny thing, yet in that cup of coffee, taken and not shared with my brothers, is the root of all the evil which disturbs us, the poison of all the arrogance which selfishness, riches, and power create.
The difference between me and Jesus is right here, in an affair that seems simple, but isn't at all; after a whole life time it is still there to make you think. Jesus would have left the coffee for his brothers; I excluded my brothers.
Carlo Carretto- The God Who Comes
Everyday things, relationships with other people, daily work, love of our family- all these may breed saints. Jesus at Nazareth taught us to live every hour of the day as saints. Every hour of the day is useful and may lead to divine inspiration, the will of the Father, the prayer of contemplation- holiness. Every hour of the day is holy. What matters is to live it as Jesus taught us.
And for this one does not have to shut oneself in a monastery or fix strange and inhumane regimes for one's life. It is enough to accept the realities of life. Work is one of these realities; motherhood, the rearing of children, family life with all its obligations are others.
Carretto- Letters from the Desert
Spirituality that does not touch on these topics- life, parenting, even coffee- is not spirituality at all. If our faith in God does not lead to greater love for our friend, our neighbor, our spouse, it is not faith at all. In a season here where I am more prone to contemplation, thinking, and writing, I am striving to keep these words in mind. The way I speak to my kids during the break I take for lunch is just as important as the way I speak to Jesus in prayer. The manner in which I treat the cashier in the check out line is as significant as the manner in which I write my book. The two- inner devotion and external action- must walk together at all times. This is the heart of what Jesus taught.
Today, may you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and may you love your neighbor as yourself. And may you share the coffee.