Our Spiritual Journey…

(from a May 6, 1973 conference)

Our path to God, our spiritual life, is not well depicted either as a circle or a straight line.  Christian time is entirely centered on Christ Our Lord, the same yesterday, today, and forever. . . . We could in fact compare our pathway to God and the passage of Christian time with an ascending spiral, rather like the spiral stairway that leads up to the brilliant light at the top of a lighthouse.  As we go round the different aspects of the Christian life year after year, or celebrate Holy Mass week after week, as we renew our appreciation of the events we celebrate, we should gradually see more and more in them.  We should become more and more deeply implicated in them.  We should be nearer to Christ Our Lord each time, living the mystery more fully and more intimately and with greater appreciation.  We should be becoming more and more “Children of the Light”.

It is not at all unusual [however] for people to become discouraged on the path to God.  And yet discouragement does no good to anyone except the devil.  How can anyone with or beliefs become discouraged?  We believe that Jesus rose from the dead for our sakes after dying for our sakes.  How can we ever lose enthusiasm and excitement in living a new life for God? . . . Perhaps one reason is that if you are seeking the light which is at the top of a lighthouse, although at first you follow a straight line along the road towards it, if you want to get really close to the light you have to lose sight of it and climb up that spiral stairway inside, unable to see where you are going or where you have come from.  All you can see is the next step up, and you do not know how high you are until you actually reach the top.  You seem to be going round and round. .
Life for God if full of new beginnings, of new resolutions, of turning over new leaves, of trying again.  This repeated starting again is not a sign that we are going round in circles and getting nowhere.  Some people are optimists by nature and some pessimists by nature.  Some people notice that they have fallen down in God’s service so many times.  Others will notice that they have been picked up by Jesus so many times.  A pessimistic, impatient person becomes discouraged because he keeps finding he has been irritable and impatient.  He probably overlooks the number of times Our Lord has led him to apologize, to be humbled, to go to confession.  If Our Lord has intervened in our lives we are certainly getting somewhere.  Look at yourself alone and you can do nothing.  Look at Our Lord’s side of your life and you will see that you are growing.  The number of times Our Lord has stretched out His hand to pick us up is more significant than the number of times we have needed that help.  He never lets go in this life.

We travel towards God by a spiral staircase and can often only see one step at a time.  We seem to go round and round, and we do not see that we are getting higher up.  But each renewal, each starting again begins at a higher level than the one before. . . .

We have a great light in us:  the Light of the World lives in us, and we live in Him.  Every good thing we do, every sacrifice we make, every prayer, every suffering we accept, brings us nearer and nearer to actually seeing that Light.  After each confession, after each Communion, after each act of love, we are very close to Our Lord, and closer to Him each time we repeat them.  The Christian soul is a lighthouse, and Jesus is the Light.

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