Grace to you!
Faith journey is a spiritual movement towards a goal. Using his personal story, Saint Paul described it this way: “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14). Keeping an eye on that goal is crucial.
The saints well schooled in the spiritual life are constantly discerning God's will every step of the way. Settling in a place or situation of comfort and closing our spiritual eyes to divine direction is a stumbling block to reaching the goal of perfection. Perhaps that is why, for instance, the role of spiritual directors, those who help us to discern, is important? Maybe, also, why examination of conscience and particular examination (examen) are helpful spiritual practices for those who want to grow in discernment.
Abraham, our father in faith, leaves us a good example of the nature of the spiritual life, the life of faith. Genesis 12:1-9 depicts him as a sojourner, inspired all the way to where God wants him to go. He wasn't certain where, he simply followed the lead of God knowing that with God, his obedience of faith would be justified.
I wrote a great deal of this unique faith of Abraham and some of the incredible discoveries I made by reading, rereading and reflecting on his story in the book of Genesis in chapter two of my new book, Our Journey to God: Exploring the Power of Faith from Abraham to You. You will find it an interesting read.
On this, our spiritual sojourn, we will find many things on the way—the good, the bad and the ugly. A 17th century classic, The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, describes in a colorful fictional prose, what dangers the pilgrim could face and the temptations on the way.
Distractions are part of the experiences of the sojourner. Sometimes they come from events and circumstances, other times they come from people—from those we least expect it and from those we do expect it. Yet, it's in keeping an eye on the finish line that victory is assured.
One of the ways not to be mired in people-based distractions is knowing how not to hastily jump to conclusions. This sucks us into a state where we don’t want to be and muddies our spiritual perspicacity.
The Lord was point blank in Matthew 7:1-5 “Judge not and you will not be judged..." What first jumps at me reading these words of Our Lord was a private revelation in the Dialogue of Saint Catherine of Sienna.
The Saint was burdened by how to interpret these words of our Lord on not judging. The Lord explained to her that only He, the Lord, knows all the circumstances of any person's action. Hence, He tells us not to judge persons.
Judging actions is different from judging persons. Even so, censorious spirit isn’t a holy attitude. When we engage in person-based judgment, we are easily distracted and sucked into a state of mind where the Spirit wouldn’t want us to be. Hence, the sojourner should keep an eye on the finish line and avoid being distracted by those persons or circumstances that are capable of making us lose sight of the goal.
Are you convinced about God's plan in your life? Certain of what the Lord demands of you? Do it and don't look back. Avoid distractions. Blessings lie in being a sojourn to the upward call in Christ Jesus.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Monday Weekday 12 A: Gn 12:1-9; Mt 7:1-5]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.