Workshops for teachers, spring
training for Baseball players, ongoing courses for professionals, coaching,
reviewing, updating, cutting away the dead branches and debris--- life demands
constant labor to improve, upgrade and perfect.
Even more important must be the
constant labor at ongoing formation for followers of Our Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ. All of us our a W.O.P.--- “A
work in progress”, an incomplete project,
a task that can always be improved.
It is not uncommon for me to meet
adults who received a poor catechetical formation to make their First
Communion, and then from that day of their First Communion have had no spiritual
formation until they decide to get married, upon which they must comply to do a
six hour formation class to prepare them for the Sacrament of Marriage, to
prepare them to be faithful and loving spouses, to prepare them to be the best
of parents. Obviously the church encourages a more complete formation program
for its children!
Therefore, here are some practical
and concrete steps that we can take to implement an on-going program of
SPIRITUAL READING. Good books should be the best of friends.
They are always available, ready to be opened and read, and when put down they
do not get angry and if not visited for a long period of time they do not become resentful. With the consultation and advice of a good Spiritual
Director, formulate a good spiritual reading list. Father Thomas Dubay stated that busy people
only have time to read the best of books.
St Teresa of Avila would not admit women into the Carmelite order who
could not read; the reason being, the saint knew how much wonderful and inspiring
and educational material could be acquired by good reading! Establish your own
library of good catholic books!
SPIRITUAL DIRECTION. St. John of the Cross who is the patron of
Spiritual Directors put it bluntly: “He
who has himself as a directee has a dummy as a follower!” It is like the blind leading the blind. We
all have blind spots that we cannot see, but to others they glare like the noonday
sun! Spiritual direction serves to help
us to encounter God in our lives, to arrive at self-knowledge, to detect our
major spiritual roadblocks, and finally to seek out and find God’s will in our
lives. St. Teresa of Avila would have
never carried through with the reform of the Carmelites without spiritual
direction. She had St Peter of
Alcanatara, St. John of the Cross and St. Francis Borgia to help her to discern
God’s will! St. Faustina Kowalska would
have failed miserably to make known the treasures of Divine Mercy without the
able assistance of Blessed Michael
Sopocko. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
never would have found acceptance of the famous apparitions of the Sacred Heart
of Jesus, had it not been for the timely appearance on the scene of the Jesuit,
St. Claude de la Colombiere. Divine
light often radiates through the human prism of the Spiritual Director!
SPIRITUAL EXERCISE COURSES OF ST. IGNATIUS OF
LOYOLA. St. Ignatius of Loyola
(1491-1556), God raised up to rescue a world in spiritual decline and spiritual
battle: the Protestant Reformation was
in full force! He founded the Company of
Jesus—the Jesuits. He wrote thousands of
letters, anointed with gems of practical counsel and wisdom. The Holy Spirit
inspired him to compose the Rules for Spiritual Discernment. This spiritual masterpiece has proved to be a
precious jewel in spirituality to help us to discern the motions or movements
of the good spirit and open our hearts to receive and follow them. At the same
time, the rules teach us to detect the “Bad vibes” of the enemy so as to reject
them quickly, vigorously and constantly so
as to arrive at victory and receive one day the crown of glory. Finally,
God inspired St. Ignatius to compose the Spiritual Exercises. By doing the Spiritual Exercises and living
out this divinely inspired program of spirituality one ascends from a mediocre,
confused, apathetic spiritual life, to a vibrant, growing, dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ the King, a life-long
pursuit of sanctity of life and an authentic witness to the world of holiness!
SHARING THE FAITH. Personal faith is not lost by sharing it
with others. On the contrary, by sharing your faith with others it results in a
mutual, double process of enrichment.
The one who listens is enlightened and inspired by the spiritual
treasure shared and you who give are enriched for giving! Pray for and look for opportunities to share
your faith with others! Remember! Nobody can give what he does not have! The more spiritual treasures we have, then
the more we can give to others. A
perforated container gives nothing; an empty mind and heart can give only hot
ELECTRONICS MEDIA EXPLOSION! We live in a world with rapid progress,
especially in the realm of the Mass media and the electronic media! The mass media—means of modern
communication—can be used for evil or for good.
As for us, we will use it as a means for our own sanctification! The internet and good catholic websites—know
them, save them and log in to them; this can be a great source of permanent
formation! “You-tube” videos--- a short
spiritual message, maybe only a minute or two--- can enlighten us with an
insight to console us and shed light on our path the whole day. Podcasts!
These can be listened to at home, while cooking or cleaning, on the road
on the way to work or in the quiet of one’s room before retiring for the night!
Blogs! Tap in to short but “meaty”
spiritual topics, which might be on prayer, some virtue you need to practice,
some heresy that must be understood and resisted, or some Marian reflection to
lift up your mind and heart to “The Mystical Rose” who always points to Jesus
as the Way, the Truth and the Life. Her last words recorded were “Do whatever
He tells you!”
In conclusion, we are on a spiritual
journey to heaven. Ongoing Spiritual formation must be taken seriously. Many
distractions can detour us from the purpose of our life, which is to praise
God, reverence God, serve God and to save our soul for all eternity!
Jesus was asked what was the greatest
commandment and He responded: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your
heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your MIND!
and your neighbor as yourself.” (Lk. 10: 27).
Final prayer to pursue ongoing
Lord, help me to take seriously my
permanent spiritual formation so that I may be a worthy instrument in your
hands to save many souls for time and all eternity! Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom,
pray for me!