Monday, June 25, 2012
Spirituality According to St. Francis de Sales
How is your spirit? Asks a nun in the first sentence of the book review on Spirituality Speaks to Women, in the Catholic Times. Diet for the spirit is the first step, she says. We have to get rid of the waste and gradually fill it with the good. When we starve the body we don't automatically get rid of the fat and waste; the same with the spirit by only suppressing our negative feelings, reproving and condemning they don't just disappear.
The nun strives to show how love is shown in our daily life. The book attempts to understand the internal life and the awakening to this life of the spirit. Awakening is the strength of spirituality. Accepting correctly the strength of spirituality and putting it into practice, we rid ourselves of worries and uneasiness and begin using time well, better our relations with others, and improve our prayer life. She works with the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales.
To live daily with joy and happiness it is necessary to look at our internal life. It seems like a big order and fills one with anxiety. But she says that working on spiritually does not mean asceticism, becoming a saint, and transcendent experiences, but rather taking concern for our inner life.
The sister tells us not to confuse feelings with the spirit. Many can't keep feelings separated from personality. There are persons that are rough in their manner who once known are virtuous and those who are gentle but once known are not so good.
How do we distinguish between spirit and feelings? When we are moved by our feelings and act on them; it may seem that we feel relieved, but the spirit is uncomfortable. When we do what the spirit wants it may at first seem difficult, but at the end we are at peace. This will take energetic effort on our part.
When despondent and anxious the sister wants us to ask ourselves why? Not to judge or give blame but rather to acknowledge what is bothering us. It is this light that comes from reflection that tells us in what direction we are to go and the sign of growth in the spiritual life.