On the Necessity of


On the Necessity of Spiritual Direction

From Fr. Thomas Dubay--

from Seeking Spiritual Direction

Detecting mediocrity or inner weakness Were it a knowing being, lukewarm water would hardly perceive that it is "neither hot nor cold" (Rv 3:15). So also in human affairs progress cannot be ascertained except in terms of some norm of excellence. Whether it be tennis or basketball, scholarship or medicine, music or law, philosophy or theology, performance is evaluated in terms of the best. In matters religious, the Incarnate Word of the Father is the supreme norm.

Yet, there are more than a few people in our churches on Sunday morning who are quite satisfied with their moral and religious behavior. Polls report high percentages of the general population who feel they are clearly on the path to heaven, and few who fear the possibility of hell. These people may be well-mannered and respectable and decent in their conduct. But they regard thirsting after God and the holiness of the saints as visionary, high-flown, romantic, perhaps even fanatic, and certainly not required of themselves. Newman wrote of these men and women, "They have a certain definite and clear view of their duties; they think that the summit of perfection is to be decent and respectable in their calling, to enjoy moderately the pleasures of life, to eat and drink, marry and give in marriage, and buy and sell, and plant and build, and to take care that religion does not engross them.

One may say that their standard of concern with God and their own eternal destiny is a refined mediocrity, surely nothing resembling and absorbing pursuit of God as "The one thing necessary." (pp. 55-56)

Too true (for me) to be entirely comfortable. I like to think that I am ardent in my pursuit of God, but if I use any measuring stick--for example, am I further along the path to union today than I was last year at this time, I'm afraid I fall terribly short. I feel the Holy Spirit, Hound of Heaven, straining at that interior leash and occasionally pulling me along, or pulling my spiritual shoulder out of joint, and my primary reaction (though unwilled) is to say, "Bad dog, heel." But thank goodness for the yearning, because it is the only thing that comes close to keeping me on track.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on January 3, 2003 8:23 AM.

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