As we near Thanksgiving Day and look ahead to Christmas, I am reminded of so many wonderful and comforting childhood memories. In future posts I will elaborate on the wonders of this time of the year, but for the moment, as I prepare and reflect upon the entire holiday season, I am once again disheartened at the secularism of it all. I am not surprised by it; I have come to accept it in a way. But I long for a time when we can see this period of our lives in light of something greater than ourselves. A recognition that this time of the year is more than decorations and music.
In this vein I wish to share with you the “12 Spiritual Learnings” from renown author and commentator, the Jesuit priest Fr. James Martin, SJ. It is my hope that these simple, yet profound, reminders of our spirituality will lead us all to a deeper sense of this time of the year. Please spend a moment each day this week in reflection on our deeper selves. What can we learn about ourselves …. ?
12 Spiritual Learnings: (Fr. James Martin, SJ)
1. First up: Stop worrying so much! It’s useless. (I.e. Jesus was right.)
2. Being a saint means being yourself. Stop trying to be someone else and just be your best self. Saves you heartache.
3. There’s no right way to pray, any more than there’s a right way to be a friend. What’s “best” is what works best for you.
4. Remember three things and save yourself lots of unneeded heartache: You’re not God. This ain’t heaven. Don’t act like a jerk.
5. Your deepest, most heartfelt desires are God’s desires for you. And vice versa. Listen. And follow them.
6. Within you is the idea of your best self. Act as if you were that person and you will become that person, with God’s grace.
7. Don’t worry too much about the worst that can happen. Even if it happens, God is with you, and you can handle it. Really.
8. You can’t force people to approve of you, agree with you, be impressed with you, love you or even like you. Stop trying.
9. When we compare, we are usually imagining someone else’s life falsely. So our real-life loses out. I.e. Compare and despair.
10. Even when you finally realized the right thing, or the Christian thing, to do, it can still be hard to do. Do it anyway.
11. Seven things to say frequently: I love you. Thank you. Thank you, God. Forgive me. I’m so happy for you! Why not? Yes.
12. Peace and joy come after asking God to free you — from anything that keeps you from being loving and compassionate.