What is the nature of a life focused on spiritual reality? What does it look like in real life?
Some people think that a spiritual life means lots of praying, time spent in chapel-like space or in nature drawn away from the business of life or behaving in some strange ways and mannerisms.
As I am reading the stories of those whose lives are marked by connection to spiritual realities, I am not seeing the description above. What I am seeing is people whose lives marked by love, non-judgmentalism, unconditional love and non-violence. These people are known for their lack of any concern for their reputation, fame, safety, or finances.
The lives of spiritually-alive people are marked by the characteristics noted by St. Paul:
“… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” – Galatian 5:22-23
These characteristics or qualities are not created by efforts of “trying to be good.” While spiritual people like Mother Teresa were good people, the goodness comes from an inner transformation brought by letting go of their ego and choosing to live out of love, gentleness and goodness.
It is important note that these qualities are not born out of an effort to keep some form of moral code or legalistic attachment to a law. Interestingly, St. Paul says that these qualities are not guided any law. Why? Because these qualities are not defined by any legal definition. There is no legal definition of love. If there was then you could tell your neighbor that you did demonstrate love to them by doing what the law required. Love is greater than any law.
How is this inner transformation developed? It is developed out of an intimacy with the Divine lover who loves each one of us in spite of ourselves. Knowing we are loved unconditionally, freely and openly means that we live unconditionally, freely and openly. While there is a role for spiritual disciplines such as prayer, solitude, and worship; they are not the definition of a transformed person.
Embracing our acceptance opens us to live gently, kindly, and lovingly.
Ronald Friesen © 2016