Sunday, September 20, 2009

Following Spiritual Direction

I live more and more with a purposeful sense of direction and responsibility toward the self that I am. It’s a multi-faceted sort of thing taking quite a lot into consideration.

This multi-faceted nature does however focus primarily upon developing my own perceived spiritual vocation, something carefully discerned, promised solemnly in spoken word and signed by my own hand before Christ, and celebrated by the monks that form the actual nucleus of my greater spiritual family.

Having said this, I also have to admit, when it comes to all the structural elements that are characteristic of monastic life, even those minimally prescribed for Oblates, I am far from the model of Oblate perfection.

It was not, however, a model of perfection that I offered on the Altar at the monastery. It was the struggling self that I was and am that was offered. It was this same struggling self that was accepted by Christ and by my monk brothers.

At the center of this life-path I’ve discovered the particular element of “this works for me.” I am able, with the aid of Sacramental means, to rationally assess and embrace the self that I am, replete with my shortcomings and failures, without bludgeoning myself or walking through life harnessed like an ox to a sled load of guilt. In accepting my own imperfections as part of the process of grace, I am also able, most of the time, to view less critically the imperfections of others.

The process of grace is not, however, something that is self-excusing or so individualistic that I discover myself to be living a life of spiritual or religious anarchy, something that I’ve come to conclude, after decades of being a willing participant and promoter thereof, is the greatest problematic condition fracturing the Body of Christ into so many splits, schisms, and sects.

I am no longer fighting against the spiritual and religious norms foundationally established in Christian antiquity. I accept them. I also accept the legitimate Apostolic Authority given to safely guide me in my faith-journey. These are no longer my personal conflict and it’s altogether difficult to describe the freedom found in finally giving up the strife of that long fight.

Nor do I necessarily feel the urgency to labor as a defensive apologetic or to follow a course that leaves me lost in the Wilderness of Eclecticism. I do though find it is rather difficult to communicate the values inherent in this life of faith without honoring their Christ-given Source and the clear streams through which they have flowed to finally reach the needy dark and murky waters of these modern times where we find ourselves.