The look in the eyes, the words from the mouth, how we eat, work and play, all are affected by the spiritual life. If God's spirit is in me then my spirit needs to reflect God's spirit, which will then very naturally appear in the life we live, says the writer of the Catholic Times' column on spirituality. We can, he says, live in the contemplate mode when playing tennis, climbing mountains or riding a bicycle. We do not have to be in church. He wants us to realize that it is not when using our intellects to its full capacity that we are in the spiritual mode. Determining how to swim faster or how to get to the top of the mountain the easiest way is using the mental faculties.
is a big difference in using our mental faculties and using a spiritual
approach to life. The intellect is a great gift we have received,
and to use our intellectual powers to understand God and life is a great
good. But remaining in this mode we will never come to what God's
providence wants to realize in us.
What do we do to free
ourselves from being habitually tied to the mental mode and begin living the
spiritual approach to life? First, he tells us to remember something from our past. We all
have something from the past, he says, that can bring us to the spiritual. When we
were baptized, we experienced something of the spiritual. But because of
our humanity, we slip quickly into the mental. Those who become tepid
go through this process.
to fixating on the mental is to become more contemplative, perhaps
praying before a burning candle, among other practices. Slowing down our
lives is necessary if we are to find in our too-hectic lifestyles the
leisure for contemplation. But what appears to be doing nothing is
difficult for us to accept. We revert to our smart phones, to the TV or
to our hobbies. Because of our acquired need for constant stimulation,
our internal abundance is difficult to reach. Prayer
and the contemplative approach becomes difficult the more we frustrate
ourselves by trying to understand everything by our mental approach to
We end up
failing to distinguish the mental from the spiritual.
Consequently, when using our intellects, we commonly misunderstand this to
be spiritual. Many only serve and pray in the mental
likes the concrete. Our eyes, thoughts, words and actions should be
concretely spiritual, he says. God is always working inside us, though
we often think that God is sleeping. When is God going to return? we
ask, not realizing he has always been with us; our task is to discover
him. And for this to happen, we don't need calendars. When our minds are
constantly busy, the spirit will not be able to enter. When we can't
activate our spiritual faculties, we will not be fully alive.