Reflect that the acquisition of perfection consists not only in ideas and holy desires; but, the constant practice of a holy life is also necessary. St. Vincent Pallotti
by Executive Director Cindy Costello
What have you and God been up to lately?
Some iteration of that phrase begins most of my spiritual direction sessions. I mentioned this to a friend of mine who has a checkered relationship with God and he scoffed at the idea that God is involved in the world much less than that involved in the particular lives of people.
Although raised Christian, he finds it easier to believe in chaos theory than a kind and loving God. His feelings of hurt and anger toward God are easy to understand given some of his life circumstances; he blames God for misfortunes and others for not adequately preparing him for reality.
The reality is: Life is full of joys and sorrows and not always in equal proportion. God is as present in the celebrations as he is in the grief. He’s even there in-between: during the mundane tasks like dusting, laundry and grass cutting. But are we open and present to God during these non-eventful periods of time?
Unfortunately, my answer is, “Not really.” Have you ever really noticed how even the “no brainer, down times” of our lives are getting filled with stuff? Mowing my lawn isn’t even as relaxing because I don’t seem to be able to stop my brain from worrying about planting some fall flowers, adding mulch after the recent rain and so on.
Even my recent foray to the grocery store included upbeat, piped in music that derailed not only my quiet time, but my silent prayer of thanksgiving for good weather. Really I’m not “all about the bass, ‘bout the bass or the treble” while grocery shopping. I could have used a little quiet just to be reflective, thankful and open to God but the music overtook my good intentions. Just call me Ms. Distracto.
My life has come to the point where I have to plan to dialogue with God. My plans always include the good morning and good night prayers, drive time and a couple of other planned check in’s, maybe while making dinner or shopping. But without planning to be present, I sometimes forget to be present – or to paraphrase the old saying – I am planning to be absent.
St. Vincent said “Reflect that the acquisition of perfection consists not only in ideas and holy desires; but, the constant practice of a holy life is also necessary.” So, I practice and now I plan. I try to include God in my ongoing monologue and see him as ever present, ever interested–even in my ironing.
Sometimes God and I live a pretty boring life, but at least it is a life lived with one another.