Monday, March 06, 2006

Forty Days

I'm reading “Meditations on the Sunday Gospels”, which is a collection of sermons by various prominent personalities in the Catholic Church, and one in particular struck a chord with me.

Here’s an excerpt from the sermon for the first Sunday of Lent.
Let us be ashamed from now on to spare time for pleasures and gluttony, while our Savior is engaged in prayer and lengthy fasting. With Uriah, that upright soldier, let us say: The ark of God dwells in a tent, and my lord Joab is in camp fighting against the enemy, and shall we apply ourselves to pleasure?

This was written by Alonso de Orozco (1500-1591), and the brief biography states in part, “As an ascetic and great mystic, he suffered crisis and spiritual aridity from 1522 to 1551.”

Spiritual aridity. What a beautifully descriptive term for something that I see more and more often. To be honest, now, I don’t know the full Church’s definition of the term so I could be misapplying it, but it does seem to fit the state in which we have no interest in God, religion, mass, communion, reconciliation, scriptures, etcetera. Even if we keep on praying, keep on saying the words and going through the motions, we get nothing out of it. We’re not even necessarily interested in pursuing earthly pleasures. We just . . . exist in a sort of gray haze.

I’ve told God several times that I’d much rather go through hell on earth if that’s how I have to get to heaven (take note, I was careful to specify if that’s how I “have to” get to heaven – I’m not a glutton for punishment), so if I must live through a life where spiritual gratification always eludes me, I’ll just hope I handle it in a manner pleasing to God. However, the saying “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” applies well here. I have to be careful about asking for breaks from this, because I can’t be certain who would answer my plea for (apparent) ease of spirit.


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