Monday, February 11, 2013

Living the Spiritual Life

What does it mean to live spiritually? What change, if any, does it bring to our life? A columnist of the Catholic Times answers by saying that to live spiritually is to align oneself with the will of God. And he uses the marriage union to show how the divine gift of love that animates everything that exists transforms all our activities, and most intimately in the marital union. But when this love is seen, mistakenly, as arising from merely physical and mental causes, we are likely to have a marriage whose joy is limited to the bodily and mental dimensions. 

The mystery of marriage is best seen, he says, when the partners are aware of its spiritual basis, and gives thanks for the union. Without the spiritual, God is not at the center but only the two partners of the marriage, and the body and mental faculties tend to be over emphasized. To place the body and the mental faculties in the proper perspective, they need to be seen as a manifestation of the divine love being shared in the marital union. 

A large segment of our society seems to think that only the body and mental faculties are important. It's a problem not only in Korea but in all societies. From the beginning it was God's plan to have us grow in the spiritual, mental and bodily dimensions of life, but humanity has always been more interested in what was easily perceived, believing it to be all that exists.

To live spiritually, says the columnist, is like having all three wheels of a tricycle functioning perfectly. One wheel aligns all our activities, including our personal  problems, with the will of God. The second wheel opens our heart in loving response to our brothers and sisters. And the third wheel energizes us to work for the reconciliation of society and solving its problems. He feels that the wheel most often missing, and causing us the most difficulty, is the one that aligns us with the will of God.

In Korean culture the spiritual dimension was acknowledged even if vaguely. And over many school gates in years past were the three words: body, knowledge, virtue. Granted that virtue can be a very natural attribute with no spiritual overtones, but it was better than what is generally considered today's primary goals for our young people: dreams,  success and health. These goals are similar to the attempts to satisfy just bodily and mental needs in marriage, while paying no  attention to the spiritual dimension. Without acknowledging the larger, spiritual dimension of life which makes possible our wise  pursuit of all limited goals, life ultimately becomes meaningless.