The spiritual life is not for the “faint of heart.” When we think of prayer, faith, spirituality, we tend to experience the meaning of these words as giving warmth, comfort and security. But the way of the spiritual life involved these feelings but so much more. If we are to grow in the spirit, we will be stretched and prodded to go deeper, letting go of the familiar. To be transformed, the very heart of prayer and faith, is to change, a reality that can be both freeing and frightening.
Jesus entered the synagogue in his own town, a place with people he knew so well and a people who THOUGHT they knew this man Jesus. They didn’t. Familiarity truly can breed contempt. The words and teaching of Jesus to his own people were too much for them. Their narrow understanding of Jesus prevented their hearts from receiving a new way of not only seeing Jesus, but God. Hardened hearts can’t grow in the spirits; hardened hearts must be broken by love, making the spiritual life one of hearts shattered leading to hearts enlarged and transformed.
So many of us use our faith and religion to make us comfortable, allowing us to be in control of the prayers, ritual and direction. The spiritual life is meant to help us relinquish control, surrender to the direction of the Spirit, allowing our hearts, minds and lives to be transformed. The fire of the Spirit must first burn away that which diminishes our beauty: a hardened heart of ego and self absorption. If we let this happen, we inch closer and closer to Paradise.
Feast of St. Blasé: may all your throats be blessed!!!