In days gone by, whenever we set out on a journey we hauled out our maps, plotted the route with a highlighter and located our stopping points. Today most people have some kind of GPS unit to plug into the car, set their destination and listen to some voice tell us what to do. And we are so obedient to that voice. Of course only a fool would set out without knowing where he’s going or how to get there. In life, generally, it’s best to have some idea of where you want to go and a plan to reach that goal within a reasonable time frame.
The most important journey of our lives usually gets the least attention, the least planning and is put off indefinitely. Some reach the end of life in a panic because they weren’t prepared.
So it may be time to ask, have you chosen your final destiny or assumed it? Do you know what is needed on your part to reach Heaven or is just generally being a good moral person good enough? If you settle for ‘good enough’ in your work and in your relationships then maybe that’s your life plan. Just stay of of trouble with the law, keep the commandments and be nice to others.
When I taught High School, students would ask why good enough isn’t good enough. I often compared it to going to a concert. I can buy last minute tickets and sit in nose bleed heaven behind a pole or put in a lot of effort to earn the extra cash to buy a front row seat right in the center and maybe even get back stage time with the stars.
Reaching Heaven is certainly nothing we can earn on our own but it does require some effort on our part. After all, we are called to be saints. Most of us do the basics; go to Mass, pray, go to confession but penance, fasting, scripture reading and spiritual reading might be a stretch. If I want that best seat in the house then I might just need someone who knows a bit about getting closer to God. That person is a Spiritual Director.
The Director will do as much as you allow to choreograph your journey in the spiritual life. It’s way better than psychologizing because it always centered on you and your relationship with God and your final destiny. You can allow the spiritual director to know about your past and present relationship with God, your patterns of prayer, how you relate to people and even your sins, if you dare. Is that easy? NO, and it shouldn’t be if you are really going to work at it.
So like any journey, you can wander around on the main streets and back roads or get your personal GPS to set a clearer path. Your pastor may be able to make some suggestions. Try to find a person who is faithful to the teachings of the Church, is deeply prayerful, is other centered and seems to “get you”. I like a person with a sense of humor because I think God has one.
This article started as a tribute to my own Spiritual Director who just finished the certification process. I am proud of her because it wasn’t easy and I’m grateful for her guidance over the past three years. It has changed me. As you can see, I’m not a woman of few words!
So, thank. you Pat, for taking the road less traveled to walk with “a wretch like me.”